The Zuchon mixed dog breed is known as a Shichon in many circles, and it’s a combination of two pure breeds, the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise. Other names used for it include Tzu Frise, Shichon Teddy Bear, or Teddy Bear. All good names for this small cuddly mixed dog breed.
As you may know, when two dog breeds are combined, the resulting puppies will get a mix of genetics from both parents. As a result, they can look like one breed, and have the temperament and intelligence of the other. Just as easily, they can have a little bit of both in all areas, creating a truly unique dog.
You should always be prepared for anything when you get a mixed breed dog. This is because having two different breeds as parents makes predicting what type of dog your puppy will grow up to be almost impossible. But Zuchons are almost always excellent companions and they love cuddles.
Quick – Pros & Cons
Hybrid Zuchon dogs are quite popular and they are great pets to have around the house. If you want a cute dog, a Shichon can be great, and it’s just as good as one that is a purebred.
The mixed breed that comes out of the combination of a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise will be friendly and loving, affectionate and will behave well.
A Zuchon is typically between 9 and 12 inches tall, lives up to 18 years (though typically less than that), and weighs anywhere between 5 and 15 pounds (2.2kg to 6.8kg).
Zuchon dogs are great additions to families that have kids, but they are just as good as pets of seniors or single people. They can live in a house that doesn’t have a yard, or in an apartment.
- Highly intelligent
- Incredibly intuitive
- Excellent watchdogs
- Can live in small spaces
- Children need to be gentle with them.
- They need attention, issues leaving them alone for long.
You’ll need to spend some time teaching both your Zuchon and kids how to treat each other. Zuchons are very small so a little bit of rough play can be extremely painful for them, and a drop just a few inches off the floor can be bad, especially for a Zuchon puppy.
Zuchons are extremely social dogs and can’t cope with being left alone at home all day every day. They need as much attention as possible.
Temperament of Zuchons
Zuchon dogs are extremely lovable and want all the attention and cuddles their owner can give. He also makes a very good watchdog as you will be alerted the moment someone arrives at your door, even if they don’t ring the doorbell.
A lot of watchdogs are known to be aggressive or at least they will get aggressive from time to time. However, Zuchon dogs don’t have an ounce of fury in them and they love everyone. Despite its small size, this mixed breed is often preferred for not being as vocal and angry as other small-sized dogs.
In addition, these companions will not bark as much and will enjoy being around other pets and kids. They will make great pets and they are happy and love to play all the time.
Is it good with children?
Unlike getting a big dog used to your child, where you’re always fearing that he might hurt your kid, your Zuchon, on the other hand, will need to be protected against your child. If the dog is in a lot of pain he will naturally attempt to defend himself and bite until he can run away.
Zuchon dogs are very small so they’re not anywhere near as robust as a big dog and can’t take the excessive love of smaller children. It’s also known as a Teddy Bear, so it’s no surprise your kid will love to carry it around and cuddle it a bit too aggressively.
All you have to do is teach your little one how to treat your new dog and they’ll soon be best friends. And naturally, every dog needs to learn how to bite without hurting while he’s playing. This won’t take long, as Zuchons are very kind and sweet.
Behavior towards strangers
Zuchons are not aggressive, which means that your visitors will have a lovable Teddy Bear asking for cuddles as soon as they step into your home. But it’s always better to socialize them as soon as possible to ensure there’s no anger left to deal with when they’re older.
Unfortunately, this also means that if you lose sight of them at the dog park they’re very easy to steal. They love getting petted by anyone, and the more attention they get, the more they trust the person giving it. You should always keep an eye on your Zuchon, especially if he’s socialized.
How it does with other pets/dogs
When it comes to other pets and dogs, Zuchon dogs will get used to them very fast. This is thanks to their social butterfly-like nature and you will find them playing around very quickly if the other pets are just as playful as him.
One thing you should keep in mind is that it’s best to keep your Zuchon around pets and dogs that are not much bigger than him. This will prevent bad injuries just from a little bit of soft playing with a bigger dog. They’re very sensitive and fragile beings.
If you need to introduce him to a bigger breed, it’s best if the other dog is still a puppy so he can learn to be gentle with your Zuchon from a young age.
As mentioned before, Zuchon dogs lack the aggressiveness of other small dogs. Even the males are a lot less territorial than most dog breeds. But since this is a fairly new mixed breed, you should always expect anything.
The best way to ensure that you won’t have to deal with an aggressive dog is to socialize it while it’s a puppy. The more people, pets, and dogs it meets, the fewer chances of becoming a territorial dog there will be. Zuchons can be social butterflies and they love attention from anyone.
Does it bark a lot?
Having a watchdog’s instincts, your Zuchon will always let you know when someone’s at the door, before they even get near the doorbell. However, they don’t tend to respond to other dogs or bark at any passer they see.
Zuchons love playing so you might hear a lot of playful barks, especially when they’re younger. But they aren’t known to bark excessively and without a good reason. This means that Zuchons are not your typical yappy small breed.
Appearance and Grooming
Zuchon dogs are small and look a little bit like teddy bears. Their fluffy look makes them popular all over the world. You also won’t have a lot of grooming to do, despite the fact that they have a pretty long coat.
The combination between the Bichon and the Shih Tzu brings out some great qualities in this hybrid. One of the main advantages of this mix is the fact that it doesn’t shed, so even people with allergies can have them around.
How big does it get?
Zuchons are small and adorable. At 6 months old you can expect males to grow up to 6.5 inches and weigh around 7lbs, and females to grow up to 5.5 inches and weigh around 6lbs.
When they reach one year, the male Zuchon can be 9.5 inches tall and weigh 10.5lbs. While the female Zuchon grows up to be around 8.5 inches and weighs somewhere around 9.5lbs. And at 18 months old they remain pretty much the same.
An adult Zuchon can grow up to be up to 12 inches tall, and the average weight can range anywhere from 5 to 15lbs as they can also remain as short as 6 inches.
What does it look like?
Both parent breeds are known to have coats that are quite impressive, so you can only expect your Zuchon to look the same. They often end up looking like teddy bears, just a little more roughed up. If you’ll want to maintain their teddy-bear look you will have to opt for grooming.
Their eyes can be either hazel or brown and their noses are always black. Zuchons also have their heads a little rounded, with a flat but wide muzzle. Generally, their ears are floppy and furry, while their tails curl over their backs.
Appearance and color
The coat of this breed is fluffy, one of the many reasons why people love them. They are also known as teddy bears and for good reason. They don’t shed, so grooming is done in order to keep the long fur untangled, but at least you don’t have to clean the house of hair all the time.
The colors that you will find these dog coats in range from cream/tan, silver/gray and black/white, to the rarer all black, red/orange and brown. Zuchon dogs have solid bodies and strong legs and paws regardless of which parent they take after.
Type of coat
A Zuchon’s coat is long, it flows and it can end up being either silky as the Shih Tzu’s coat, or curly like the Bichon Frise’s coat. Since it’s impossible to predict after which parent your dog takes more after, you can even end up with a Zuchon with a totally unique coat.
It’s highly unlikely for your Zuchon’s coat to be as long as the Shih Tzu’s fur, but you should still be ready for anything.
How easy it is to groom?
When it comes to grooming, Zuchons are some of the easiest dogs to maintain in the world. They don’t shed, so you can finally say goodbye to gathering lots and lots of hair from carpets every week.
However, since they have a long coat, this means you will have to brush them daily to prevent the fur from entangling. Generally, for their grooming, you will need a brush, dematter, scissors, and a nail clipper.
Care Guide – Diet, Exercise & Health Issues
Zuchon dogs don’t need a lot of exercises to remain healthy and happy. They can even do well with nothing more but daily playtime at home. But it’s recommended to take them on a short walk every day for up to 15-20 minutes.
Their diet is also not too complicated. But you should never decide on what to feed your dog all on your own, without consulting the vet first. You never know what surprising allergies he might end up having.
Your Zuchon will do very well in an apartment and with elder people as well. But if you have a garden, your dog will love to sunbathe, play, swim, and other activities that keep them occupied.
Diet Tips: What does it eat?
Since Zuchons are small dogs they don’t eat too much, which means you can afford to invest a little more in the quality of the food. It’s best to feed your dog high-quality dry food as it contains a lot of the needed nutrients your furry friend needs.
On the other hand, you should stay away from wet and canned foods when you’re deciding the main part of their diet. It’s OK to feed them wet and canned food from time to time, but if you rely on them regularly, the dog could end up suffering from tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and bad breath.
It’s best to cook a meal of meat and veggies for your Zuchon if you want to treat it from time to time. This homemade food can also be placed over a new brand of dry food that your dog refuses to eat yet.
Exercise Requirements: Keeping the dog in shape
Zuchons are not active dogs. So if you’re looking for a dog that can keep up with you while you jog, hike, and go on walks all day, this little teddy bear is not the best choice. All the activity a Zuchon needs a day is a 15-20-minute walk.
Your Zuchon will have a pretty low level of activity requirement, so it he will need is to walk at least 6 miles a week. You can offer him a little more exercise by walking him up to 8-10 miles a week, especially if it’s starting to gain considerable weight.
Small dogs tend to gain weight pretty fast so be careful about how much they eat compared to how much they exercise.
Common Health Issues for a Shichon
Whenever you get a mixed breed dog you need to take into consideration that you might have to deal with the diseases their parents are prone to. Try to get as much information about your Shichon’s health as possible before taking it home.
Some major concerns for all Zuchons are Patellar Luxation, Deafness, and Canine Hip Dysplasia. The minor concerns are Allergies, Liver Disease, Epilepsy, Diabetes, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). There might also be some occasional diagnostics such as Reverse Sneezing, Portosystemic Shunts, Juvenile Cataracts, and Bladder Stones.
You should be ready to do a few tests for your little teddy bear each year. This includes Eye Examination, Blood Count, Internal Imaging (X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI, etc), Hearing and Ear Tests, Urine Sample, Physical and Neurologic Exams.
Training a Zuchon
These dogs are easily trained, mostly because they love to please and they are clever as well. In order to get great results, the trainer should use consistency and techniques that are positive. Praising works much better with this dog, so avoid being too harsh with it.
Zuchons tend to see themselves as small humans and they will attempt to mimic your behavior. You won’t have to work too much when trying to lay the groundwork for a life of great behavior and obedience.
It’s highly recommended to start teaching your little teddy bear easy commands such as “sit” and “paw” from the first few days of having him. This will help you teach him who’s in charge and start building his good behavior.
Zuchons are great pets and very civilized companions. They love to please their humans and positive training will work very effectively from the start. You’ll need to be patient and avoid being harsh on it, as this will make the dog scared of you.
It’s highly recommended to introduce this little teddy bear to as many new dogs and strangers as possible. This is because Zuchons are highly sociable dogs and love all the attention they can possibly get. If you don’t get many visitors, you should take your dog on walks in crowded dog parts so he can socialize.
Regardless if you plan on taking your dog everywhere or just keeping him at home with the family, socialization is very important. It keeps the dog happy and it lets him know that not everyone that isn’t family wants to hurt his family members.
Zuchons can live happily with old people and in small apartments. All you have to do is invest in a few toys that your dog can play with all on his own. But if you can, taking him on a 15-20 minute walk would be great.
He might not need a lot of exercises, but he will need a lot of attention. This is not a dog that can be left alone all day or ignored in the backyard.
Breeding & Puppies
Zucons are more and more popular all over the world and their breeding started in the 1990s. This means you can easily find a breeder anywhere you are. But it’s very important to find a good one that treats his dogs very well.
While the dog is still a puppy, it is important that you make sure it is healthy, and you need to look out for both the potential health problems of the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise.
Since the dog gets its genetics from both breeds, you never know exactly which side of the gene pool it will borrow most. Make sure you are aware of the potential health problems of this breed and you know how to deal with them.
The Zuchon puppy is quite cute. Kids will love them and they will enjoy playing with them and having them around. If you want a small dog in your family, these hybrids are great choices.
Finding a Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu Mix – Kennels & Pedigree
Zuchons are small dogs that don’t require a lot of maintenance. But sadly, this still doesn’t mean that you won’t find them in shelters. Although getting a dog from a breeder means knowing a lot more about the dog, if you can afford to take care of an unpredictable dog it would be great if you’d adopt.
Generally, breeders avoid breeding two mixed breeds together so the result won’t be too distanced from one of the parents. But since Zuchons are extremely popular, as time goes by breeders will develop more standardized Zuchons by breeding them generation after generation.
Put as much effort in searching for everything you can about your breeder as you put in looking for a specific type of dog. It’s best to only get a puppy from a certified breeder that takes good care of his dog’s health needs.
How much does a mixed Zuchon cost?
You can find Zuchon puppies that cost as little as $600. But depending on the breeder, pedigree, and whether the puppies are from two bloodlines of show-dogs, the price can easily go up to $2500.
If the price is suspiciously low be careful where you buy from and the conditions the parents of the Zuchon are bred.
History & Origins of the mixed breed
The Zuchon may be an adorable teddy bear-like dog that’s barely getting known in America and all over the world, but its parents are legendary breeds.
Bichon Frise dogs originated in Italy and were brought to France in the 14th century. They are related to the Bolognese, the Maltese, the Havanese, and the Coton de Tulear. In 1971, the American Kennel Club recognized this breed as a pure breed.
The Shih Tzu is believed to be one of the 14 oldest dog breeds in the world. They are even portrayed in paintings, writings, and art from 618 to 907 A.D. In 1928 the breed arrived in England and later found its way to the U.S.A. The American Kennel Club recognized the Shih Tzu in 1969.
Zuchons were first bred in the U.S.A. in the 1990s while trying to create a teddy bear-looking dog that’s great with kids and also a great companion.
Zuchons are some of the sweetest dogs in the world. They’re very intuitive, adapt easily, and they make excellent family pets. They love attention and cuddles and would be miserable being left alone all the time. This is while they thrive better in a busy home than in a big empty house where there is no one home to pet them.
You don’t have to be very active to have a Zuchon either, they make great companions for the elderly and as therapy dogs as well. This is because of their great capability of reading the environment. They’re also very lovable, sweet, obedient, civilized, and adorable.