The Shichon, or Zuchon, is a mix breed between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise.
Affectionately known as the Teddy Bear Dog, because of their soft curly coat, cute-size and loveable nature, they are a very playful and loyal hybrid. This compact little dog has an easy-going nature and is great around children, making them a great addition to the family.
They have a hypoallergenic coat too, making them suitable for families with dog hair allergies.
Because of their small size, they do not have demanding exercise or food requirements. This also makes them suitable for seniors or apartment living.
The Shichon certainly ticks a lot of compatibility boxes, so are they the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out…
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What Is A Shichon ?
Shichon dogs are a toy-breed bred to be a companion pet.
The Shichon is a result of the designer dog breed trend. They originated in America within the last 20 or 30 years by breeding a Bichon Frise x Shih Tzu mix.
Breeders started with a goal to harness the gentle and friendly nature of the Bichon and combine it with the compact size of the Shih Tzu; the result is a hybrid who is devoted and affectionate.
Available in a wide variety of colors, and weighing just 10-15lb, they are a kind and sociable breed.
Most Shichons are first generation hybrids. This means one of their parents was a purebred Shih Tzu and the other was a purebred Bichon Frise.
Because they are a hybrid, there can be huge differences in appearance and temperament:
- To create a more uniform appearance and temperament, breeders mate two unrelated Shichons with each other. These puppies are known as second generation (i.e. F2).
- Alternatively, a Shichon can be bred with a purebred Shih Tzu or Bichon (i.e. F1B).
The Shichon is not registered with the American Kennel Club or other major kennel clubs because they are not purebred. They are however recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club.
Why We Love The Teddy Bear Dog
- The Shichon’s coat does not shed. They are known as a hypoallergenic breed and are suitable for allergy sufferers.
- This breed does really well with children.
- They make a great addition to a loving family who doesn’t have the luxury of a spacious house or backyard.
- The Shichon is known as the ‘Teddy Bear dog’.
- Shichons are very socialable with other canines and are also known to get on well with other family pets in the household.
The average cost of a Shichon puppy is between $800 to $1,200 USD.
When a Shih Tzu mates with a Bichon Frise, because of breed-size differences, typically the mother is the Bichon Frise.
Their litter size will likely be around 4 or 5 Shichon puppies.
This breed will keep growing until around 12 months of age and mentally mature at around 18 months:
|Age (months)||Weight (lb)|
Shichon Size, Appearance, Color and Coat
The Shichon is known as the ‘Teddy Bear’ breed for good reason.
Their compact size, cuddly nature and soft coat give them an undeniably cute appearance.
With an endearing face and expressive eyes, their looks are one of the main reasons for their popularity.
They have little floppy ears, a black nose, and brown button eyes, which are quite close together. They have short stumpy legs, a level back and a medium length tail that curls over their back.
How Big Do Shichons Get?
The Shichon is classed as a toy-sized breed. Both males and females usually fall within the range of between 10 15 pounds once fully grown. They usually stand at around 9-12 inches to the withers.
Color and Coat
Shichons are considered a hypoallergenic breed because they shed next to no hair.
The Bichon Frise is generally solid white all over. However, Shih Tzus can come in a range of colors (e.g. grey, silver, cream, tan, apricot, reddish black, chocolate).
For a Shichon, this hybrid will usually adopt lighter color shades from their parents. You should expect them to be:
Their color usually fades as they get older.
The coat will either take after the Shih Tzu (long and silky) or the Bichon (curly), or be a mix of both. This means that loose and dead hair gets trapped in the undercoat and curls, so mats form very easily if they aren’t brushed daily.
Shichon Temperament and Behavior
As this breed is a hybrid, it can be difficult to say which parent they will take after. Sometimes with hybrids, they take more after one parent breed, or they could inherit an equal mix of both parents’ traits. Luckily, both parent breeds share very similar personality traits.
You can expect your Shichon to be good with children and enjoy playing.
Despite their playfulness, they can also be very laid-back. Many relish an affectionate cuddle and to sleep on the sofa next to their family.
Shichons are a gentle but outgoing hybrid who adore their family and enjoy a social run in the dog park to let off some energy.
As they form strong bonds with their family, this breed doesn’t do very well when left alone.
If this hybrid is left alone for more than a few hours, it will cause stress and frustration. Owners with busy schedules are not suited to this breed.
Levels of aggression in both parent breeds are low. Because of this you are unlikely to find an aggressive Shichon dog.
Vocalizations such as howling and barking can be present in both parents. Because of this trait, they can sometimes be a little protective of their family by vocalizing at the threat. While this may suit owners looking to raise a watchdog, it doesn’t appeal to families looking for a relaxed and peaceful companion.
Intelligent breeds, such as the Shichon, can adopt barking as a means to communicate with their humans. However, they may also unintentionally, quickly learn that persistent barking will soon gain attention. Care must be taken to train them to prevent undesirable attention-seeking.
The prey drive of this mix is non-existent. Both parent breeds have been bred for companionship for centuries, because of this, they are great with other family pets or neighbourhood cats.
Do They Make Good Family Dogs?
Shichons and children get along really well. They make a wonderful addition to the family because they were bred for this purpose (i.e. to be great around children)!
But note that accidents happen, so supervision is still a must with young children.
This breed should only be around children who know how to be around dogs (e.g. no roughhousing).
They can easily get injured if dropped from even small heights or fallen on by a wobbly toddler. So it is generally preferred if the children are over 8 because of their tiny size.
Care Guide (Grooming, Feeding & Exercise)
Due to their calm character, the Shichon is suited to novice owners, seniors, and people with smaller houses or apartments.
They require daily exercise (though not extensive), a regular feeding routine and plenty of grooming.
|Daily Food Consumption|
|Cups of Kibble|
High quality kibble, fed twice a day in half-cup-measurements, is ideal for this hybrid.
Wet food is not recommended for a Shichon dog, because (like their Shih Tzu parent), they are prone to dental problems.
Choose the best kibble your budget will allow but avoid cheaper options, as it is typically lower in nutrients.
Where possible, select a kibble specially formulated for small breeds to suit their small teeth.
Finally, this small mix can be prone to obesity so a close eye should be kept on their food intake. To avoid overfeeding stick to one cup of kibble each day.
|Minutes||30 to 45 minutes|
The Shichon is a very laid-back and relaxed dog breed.
Due to their short legs and laid-back nature, they don’t need an exhaustive amount of exercise. They prefer short periods of intense activity, such as interactive games with their owners.
A stroll around the park (or a game of fetch) usually meets their daily exercise requirements.
They are well suited to canine sports such as agility and obedience. A combination of mental and physical stimulation will help reduce the occurrence of unwanted and undesirable behaviors around the home.
Known for being a social breed, training a good recall is important, to help retrieve them after playing with their canine friends!
Training A Shichon
This dog is known to be an intelligent breed.
Unfortunately, due to their stubborn streak and adorable appearance, training can be a little difficult.
It can be very easy to mother and over-nurture this breed. It is important to stick to a training plan, this will help develop a well-rounded dog.
They are very quick to learn new tricks, but are particularly difficult to housebreak or train obedience.
House training any small-breed requires that training begin from day one and persevere with patience and consistency.
Positive reinforcement is the preferred method of training for Shichon dogs, just be careful with the amount of treats they are eating!
Socialization, from the moment you adopt, is crucial for exposing them to all sorts of experiences.
Whichever coat-type they inherit from their parents, this mix is likely to require a brush 3-5 times a week.
For curlier coat-types, this will mean daily brushing with a comb to ensure the coat is mat free.
Shichons are likely to require frequent trips to a professional groomer. Every six weeks will be enough to help maintain their clean and tidy look with that signature teddy bear appearance.
This breed grows an excessive amount of hair around their eyes. You often see them with their hair in a top knot to keep it off their face. Facial hair will require trimming every two weeks. If left to grow it will increase the risk of eye infections and even affect their vision.
Teeth brushing is recommended twice a week (if they can be trained to cooperate). If they refuse, abrasive chews such as chicken feet, in conjunction with their dry kibble diet, will work.
Nail clipping should also be done regularly to prevent them from growing too much and causing pain and discomfort.
Known Health Issues
Shih Tzu’s have an average lifespan of between 10 to 16 years, while Bichon Frise’s are known to live for around 12-18 years.
You can expect your Shichon to live for 10-18 years.
Their lifespan, and quality of life, is aided by hybrid vigor.
Hybrid vigor often occurs with first generation mixes. They usually have increased vitality as they often do not inherit the congenital diseases of their purebred parents who are sometimes subjected to inbreeding.
Unfortunately, they are not completely risk free of health issues.
Something which is common in both parent breeds is developing portosystemic shunt. This is where major blood vessels fail to supply the liver with the oxygen and nutrients it requires.
The result is blood (which also contains toxins) bypasses the liver and goes straight into circulation.
This can sometimes be treated with medication (including antibiotics and anti-seizure) medication but may require surgery.
Shichon Dog Facts
|Size||9 – 12 inches|
|Weight||10 – 15 pounds|
|Lifespan||10 – 18 years|
|Price||$800 – $1,200 USD|
|Suitable For||Families with children, Seniors in apartments|
|Color||White, Grey, Silver, Cream, Tan or Apricot|
|Temperament||Devoted, Affectionate, Social, Playful and Extroverted|
The Shichon is a compact little hybrid dog with a big heart!
He is highly likely to be devoted and affectionate to all family members, including children and would suit a household where someone is at home for most of the day.
They love short bursts of play, and require a daily walk of around 30 minutes.
After they have had their exercise they will have quite a laid-back attitude. Because of this they suit senior owners too.
Training and grooming the Shichon will take patience and persistence, but the reward of a loving and loyal companion is priceless.
What are your thoughts on this teddy bear crossbreed? Let us know below.