A Shichon, also recognized as the Zuchon by various hybrid clubs, is the combination of Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu. This designer dog is one of the best choices for new or inexperienced pet owners. If you are a first-time pet parent, you may want to consider having a Shichon. With its cute and adorable look, who would not want one? Read on to learn more about this mix.
The origin of Shichons is not clearly documented but it’s safe to say that they were first developed during the mid to late 1990s just like the newer lines of designer breeds in the United States.
It is believed that Shichons were bred unintentionally. These days, the purpose of breeding Shichons is to have a good companion dog that will do well as a family pet.
As with other crosses, they are not acknowledged by the American Kennel Club. You may register a Shichon with the International Designer Canine Registry to make it eligible for pedigree services.
A Shichon is quite a tiny dog that grows around 9-12 inches and onlyaround 15 lbs. when fully grown. Having a Shichon is like having a Teddy Bear that has come to life because it is covered in a thick coat that is curly on top. They have a soft and fluffy coat that is hard to resist, just like a stuffed toy.
Due to its small size, a Shichon is easy to carry around or bring during travels. It enjoys being with its owner most of the time because it thrives on human companionship. It is also among the most loyal crossed breeds you will ever meet.
You can find Shichons in many show-stopping and amazing coat colors. Shichon puppies usually change their coat colors later in life but they develop it over time. They may come in lighter hues, like white, cream, buff, and apricot. Some sport three different colors, like the Shih Tzu’s beautiful black, gold, and white combinations.
Most of the Shichons come in a light shade because they have the Bichon Frise in their lineage. A Bichon Frise has a predominantly white coat. You may see a Shichon sporting a buff or cream color but most of them only have a white coloring.
A Shichon has curved tails, similar to Shih Tzu’s. They look more like their Shih Tzu parent than their Bichon Frise parent. Both the Bichon and the Shih Tzu resemble the Teddy Bear, but their coat colors and textures are very different from each other.
One of the reasons why they look like Teddy Bears is because they have dark and button-like eyes. This is among the characteristics you will see in both the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise.
As a double-coated mixed breed, expect this dog to shed moderately. The only good thing about this dog is it does not shed a lot so it is still a great option for people with allergies to pet hair. Both the Bichon Frise and the Shih Tzu are considered hypoallergenic so they will surely pass it on to their offspring.
The only drawback in having a hypoallergenic pet is that they require high amounts of grooming, just like their parents. Their coat’s length can go from medium to long and can be wavy or curly. Since a Shichon’s coat is prone to developing knots and tangles, it is important to brush it regularly using a slicker brush or a steel comb.
In addition to brushing, this dog also requires a trip to the professional groomer every two months to have his hair clipped. It has a long coat so it needs regular grooming. Their coat texture can be a combination of the Bichon Frise’s wavy coat and the Shi Tzu’s silky coat.
Like other mixed breeds, a Shichon’s personality is unpredictable. If the Bichon Frise’s gene is more dominant, the pup will eventually get more of its traits. If it’s an F1 dog or 50 percent of both breeds, it could have a nice balance of the two dogs’ traits.
If we would sum up all the similar traits of the Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu, the result is a pup that is smart, active, and social. This dog can be quite dependent because it enjoys being with its owner most of the time. But you will not have hard time training because you got an intelligent pet that is willing to please its owners.
Like many designer breeds,Shichons possess a hybrid vigor that makes them generally healthy. They boast a long life, especially when taken care well. On average, these dogs live for 12-15 years but this does not mean it cannot inherit health conditions from its parents. Watch for the following conditions because they are common among Bichon Frises and Shih Tzus:
- Bladder stones
- Hip Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
These dogs should be givenhigh-quality dog food appropriate for their size, lifestyle, and age. Avoid giving them too much food because they might end up suffering from obesity. To maintain your pet’s weight, feed him in the right intervals and amount.
There are dry dog foods that can be given for all life stages. It should consist of at least 40% dry matter protein and about 20% of fat and carbohydrates. Avoid giving commercially prepared foods that are made of animal by-products and fillers.
Also avoid giving sugary treats, like cakes and ice creams because they are not very good at metabolizing sugar. This may cause an energy spike and your Shichon may be more playful than usual. Stay away from giving your buddy salty foods. Too much sodium is as bad for your pet as too much sugar.
This active dog needs at least 20 minutes of walk per day to keep his joints healthy. They may be small but they boast medium levels of energy which makes it important to let them play freely either in a dog park or in your own backyard.
Aside from playing, it helps to stimulate their minds through games like doggie puzzles. You can find a lot of these on pet stores. Keeping them occupied with a range of activities avoids boredom and destructive behavior, which are often seen in playful dogs like Shichons.
A Shichon puppy is quite expensive, with a price tag ranging from $800- $1600. This still depends on their features and a breeder’s reputation. It’s rare to find them on shelters and rescue centers because they are not as common as other designer breeds.
To sum it up, a Shichon is one of the most adorable crossbreed pups one can have. They are charming and irresistible. Like other designer breeds, they boast hybrid vigor that makes them fairly healthy and enjoy a long life.