The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix, often known as the Shichi, is a toy sized dog with a plus sized personality. Loyal, tenacious and loving, this sweet little dog has obvious appeal.
But does a mixture of these two popular breeds make a great pet too?
Where Does the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Come From?
When two different purebred dogs like the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua are bred together the result is referred to as a hybrid breed or designer dog.
There’s plenty of dissention in the dog breeding world about the practice of crossbreeding.
You might also enjoy:
Many dog lovers say a mixed breed has a lower chance of inheriting congenital diseases.
However, purebred breeders claim that through genetic testing they’re able to control inherited conditions while keeping the bloodlines pure.
One thing is certain; when it comes to mixed breeds, the outcome is uncertain.
This article will give you information on the pros and cons of mixed breeds .
Origins of the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua
Born to the lap of luxury, the Shih Tzu was developed in the palace of the Chinese Emperor centuries ago.
These regal lap dogs are thought to be the result of crossing the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.
The Chihuahua is thought to be a smaller version of the Techichi of the Toltec civilization.
The exact ancestry of the world’s smallest recognized dog breed is a little cloudy.
But there’s no debate that they’re closely associated with the Mexican State of Chihuahua, from which they get their name.
Fun Facts about the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
The name Shih Tzu translates to “lion dog.”
The breed almost disappeared during the first half of the 20th century.
Today the lineage of all Shih Tzus can be traced back to just 7 male and 7 female Shih Tzus.
According to the American Kennel Club, the breed is more than 1,000 years old.
Like human babies, Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot on the top of their skull called a molera.
The smallest living dog is a Chihuahua named Milly who stands just 3.8 inches tall.
Chihuahuas have the biggest brains of all dog breeds in relation to their size.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Appearance
Like any hybrid, the appearance of the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix can vary depending upon which parent they take after.
Puppies could resemble a tinier Shih Tzu with a shorter coat or a larger Chihuahua with long, flowing tresses.
Shichis tend to stand no more than 10 inches tall and weigh between 5 and 16 pounds.
Colors include black, brown, white, cream, tan, black & white, or brown & white.
They usually have a round face with ears that can pop-up like the Chihuahua’s or be floppy like the Shih Tzu’s.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Temperament
Each dog has its own personality, and when you factor in the traits of two different breeds, the outcome is quite variable.
Both the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua are very loyal and adore being the center of attention.
Each of these dogs also has a spirted side and snapping and growling is not uncommon for either breed.
The Chihuahua can be protective and possessive!
Don’t let their size fool you Chihuahuas can be aggressive.
Early socialization is important for the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix as they tend to be lively and excitable.
This is not the ideal breed to have around young children.
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix is small and delicate and needs to be handled with care as they can be easily injured if accidentally dropped or stepped on.
Training your Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
Potty training is one of the first things you’ll want your Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix to learn.
Unfortunately, both parent breeds have a reputation for being tough to potty train, so start establishing a daily routine right away for the best results.
The feisty little Chihuahua needs training as it also has a tendency for guarding and barking.
To avoid barking while you’re away, consider crate training.
If they become comfortable in their crate, it will reduce barking that results from separation anxiety.
The Shih Tzu can be a charmer, and it’s easy to let him have his way
Early socialization and positive reinforcement training that uses rewards to encourage good behaviors is the best way to get a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix to do what you want.
The Shichi is a house companion who will require short daily walks and some regular indoor or outdoor playtime.
Avoid overexerting a little dog. If he’s panting to keep up when you’re out for a walk, pick him up and carry him home.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Health
Although all purebred dog breeds come with certain health concerns, these two little dogs each have more than their share of serious health problems to contend with.
Shih Tzu Health
The Shih Tzu is prone to serious conformation-related problems.
In extreme cases surgery may be required for them to be able to breathe normally.
The disproportion of a long back and short legs also makes them prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease, a serious and painful condition.
The Shih Tzu is also at risk for a long list of eye problems including:
- corneal ulcers,
- progressive retinal atrophy,
- retinal detachment, and
- third eyelid gland prolapse.
Hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, and epilepsy are also found in the breed.
The Shih Tzu has a lifespan of 10 to 18 years.
For a little dog the Chihuahua has some big potential health problems and many are associated with their size.
Tooth decay and gum disease are a problem because their teeth don’t have enough room in their tiny mouths.
Daily teeth brushing, limiting sugar consumption, and regular dental checkups are a must for the Chihuahua.
The combination of having eyes that protrude and being close to the ground, put the Chihuahua at risk for some significant eye problems, including glaucoma.
Necrotizing meningoencephalitis is an inflammation of the brain found in small breeds.
It can cause strange, random movement and severe pain.
Idiopathic epilepsy is an inherited disorder of unknown cause, and is the most common form of seizures in dogs.
Other health concerns the Chihuahua faces include, patellar luxation, heart disease, and tracheal collapse.
The Chihuahua has a lifespan of 14 to 16 years.
Grooming and Feeding your Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
The coat of the Shih Tzu Chihuahua can be short, medium or long, or perhaps a mix, so grooming requirements will depend upon which parent they favor.
A longer coat will tend to be wavy and need to be brushed daily, for shorter coats, two to three brushings a week should suffice.
Neither the Shih Tzu nor the Chihuahua sheds much.
Pay close attention to their teeth, eyes, and ears
Their teeth should be brushed daily, ears should have excess wax or debris removed to avoid ear infections.
And the corners of the eyes should be gently cleaned with a damp cloth.
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix will do well on a high quality dog food that’s appropriate to their age.
Small dogs like the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua are prone to obesity, so watch their calorie consumption, including treats.
Being excessively overweight can lead to heart disease and diabetes, increases wear and tear on their joints, and can shorten their lifespan.
Do Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mixes Make Good Family Dogs?
Due to the numerous structural defects and health concerns that both parent breeds are susceptible to, we regrettably cannot recommend the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix.
For this reason we suggest you consider rescuing an adult dog from a shelter.
Rescuing a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
Rescuing a dog from a shelter will not only give a dog a second chance, it also gives you the opportunity to see exactly what kind of dog you’re getting.
It also means you are not supporting puppy mills.
Finding a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix puppy
If you do decide to get a puppy, never buy one from a pet store as almost all of these dogs come from puppy mills.
These are large breeding facilities that care far more about profits than the well-being of the animals.
It’s not uncommon for these puppies to be born into overcrowded and unsanitary conditions and receive little to no veterinary care.
The huge popularity of mixed and miniature breeds has only increased the incidence of these horrendous breeding factories.
Avoid the tiniest dogs or breeders who advertise “teacup” puppies
Find a reputable breeder who does genetic health screenings on all of their breeding stock to produce puppies who are as healthy as possible.
This puppy search article is a step-by-step guide to finding the puppy that’s right for you.
Raising a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix puppy
Here are two excellent reads to help you raise a puppy.
The Happy Puppy Handbook and Total Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dogs have all the information you need.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Products and Accessories
These brushes were made for taming the high maintenance fur of the Shih Tzu.
Chihuahuas can be prone to dry skin and other skin problems.
This shampoo is formulated to keep their coat and skin in top condition and smelling sweet.
The tiny Chihuahua is vulnerable to the cold.
Check out these fabulous fashions that will keep them warm and stylish.
A harness designed for a Chihuahua will remove pressure on their delicate windpipe and also make it hard for them to slip out of it.
Pros and cons of Getting a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
Cons: Both parent breeds have a risk of numerous health concerns that can be passed along to their offspring.
Pros: They make loyal companions and don’t require much in the way of exercise.
Similar Breed Mixes and Breeds
There are a lot of Chihuahua mixes around at the moment.
But you don’t need a Chihuahua to find a great dog.
Here are some small dogs with a healthier conformation that you might want to consider:
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Rescues
This is a growing list of Shih Tzu and Chihuahua rescue organizations.
Post your organizations details in the comments box below if you would like us to add you to the list.
- Shih Tzu Rescue
- Shih Tzu Action Rescue
- Canada Shih Tzu Rescue
- New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue
- Chihuahua Rescue UK
- Chihuahua Rescue Australia
- Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport
- Chihuahua Rescue and Transport.
Is a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Right For Me?
Although the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix has a lot in the way of looks and personality to recommend them, this is definitely a mixed breed who will require a lot of special care.
Whether you decide on a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix or another small breed, think about adopting from a shelter.
Not only will you know exactly what you’re getting in terms of size, appearance, and temperament, you’ll also be saving the life of a dog.
Do you own a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix? We’d love to hear about him or her in the comments below!
References and resources
- Duffy et al., 2008. “Breed differences in canine aggression,” Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
- Emmerson, T. 2014. “Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome: a growing problem,” Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Trappler et al. 2011, “Canine Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: Surgical Management” Compendium: Continuing Education for Veterinarians®.
- Itoh et al. 2008, “A Retrospective Study of Intervertebral Disc Herniation in Dogs in Japan: 297 Cases,” Journal of Veterinary Medical Science.
- Christmas, RE, 1992. “Common ocular problems of Shin Tzu dogs,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal.
- Capík, I., 2010. “Periodontal Health vs. Various Preventive Means in Toy Dog Breeds,” Acta Vet. Brno.
- Kanemaki et al. 2013, “Dogs and Humans Share a Common Susceptibility Gene SRBD1 for Glaucoma Risk,” PLOS One.