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Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Care-Tzu is a small mixed dog, the result of a breeding between the Cairn Terrier and the Shih-Tzu. This is a small cross breed who can often be found participating in competitive obedience and agility. They have a life span of about 12 to 15 years and are known for being very friendly, social and joyful.
Here is the Care-Tzu at a Glance
Average height 9 to 13 inches
Average weight 15 to 20 pounds
Coat type Fluffy, scruffy, soft, straight
Hypoallergenic? Can be – Cairn Terrier is
Grooming Needs Low to moderate
Shedding Low
Brushing Two times a week
Touchiness Somewhat sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Moderately so
Barking Occasional
Tolerance to Heat Depends on coat, low to good
Tolerance to Cold Good to very good
Good Family Pet? Good to very good
Good with Children? Very good
Good with other Dogs? Good with socialization
Good with other Pets? Good with socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Moderate to average
A Good Apartment Dweller? Good to very good
Good Pet for new Owner? Good to very good ( he is small but active)
Trainability Moderately easy
Exercise Needs Fairly active
Tendency to get Fat Above average
Major Health Concerns Cryptorchidism, Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy, Hypothyroidism Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Patellar Luxation, umbilical hernia,
Other Health Concerns Craniomandibular Osteopathy, allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, dental problems, snuffles, reverse sneezing
Life Span 12 to 15 years
Average new Puppy Price $400 to $600
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $550
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $300 to $400

Where does the Care-Tzu come from?

The Care-Tzu is a newer cross breed, developed as part of the new trend for designer dogs. Designer dogs usually being two purebreds together and their offspring are often given a name that blends their own. These have been happening for the last 40 years or so but their surge in popularity is more recent happening in the last 20 years. Mixing breeds is not a new thing but this surge in the number of different designer dogs means there are a lot out there now. Unfortunately a lot are being bred with no care or thought, just to make money by puppy mills and poor breeders. Therefore when buying any designer dog always be careful about where you buy from. Being one of the more recent dogs there is no history known for the Care-Tzu. We do not even know who, when or why they were bred. So we look at the parents to get an idea of where they come from.

The Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier was developed on the Isle of Skye over 200 years ago by Captain Martin MacLeod. At first he was just classed as a Scotch Terrier but when a new system was introduced in the late1800s he was then classed as a Skye Terrier. It was not until the early 1900s that he was given his own designation and named after Scottish burial sites. It was also around that time that he arrived in America.

He is today known as a happy and friendly dog who loves to be social and meet people. He is still very alert and can be independent in nature though. He barks, digs and chases things, all characteristics from his hunting days. He is a very loyal dog and gets on well with children but does respond well to being scolded as he is quite sensitive. For a more stable dog he needs early socialization and training.

The Shih-Tzu

The Shih-Tzu is one of the oldest dogs around and comes from either Tibet or China. They were treasured as companion dogs and can be found in paintings and documents across Tibetan and Chinese history. They were referred to as little lion dogs and were docile, intelligent and happy. The first breeding pair to leave China and come to England happened in 1928. In 1969 he was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

The Shih-Tzu today is still very much a companion dog. He wants to spend his time with you, is eager to please and is very affectionate. He will spend as much time as he can in your lap and is a happy little dog when he has lots of attention. He can be lively and likes to play and is friendly too.


The Care-Tzu is a friendly, social and outgoing dog who loves to play and is generally very happy all the time! He is also quite intelligent and is moderately easy to train because of it. He loves to have a lot of toys to play with though he is not much of a fetcher so don’t expect him to be happy if you throw one if his favorite balls away for him to bring back! He tends to greet strangers as long lost friends and he loves to show affection.

What does the Care-Tzu look like

He is a small dog weighing 15 to 20 pounds and standing 9 to 13 inches tall. He is longer in body than he is tall and has a long tail too that he usually holds up. His ears can be flappy but he can also have one ear standing up and one flopping down. His coat is straight, fluffy and soft and common colors include gray, black, tan and silver.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Care-Tzu need to be?

This is a fairly active dog who if kept in an apartment despite being a smaller size will still need regular outdoor time. A couple of brisk walks plus play time are a good start. You could also treat him to dog park visits where he can run off leash. Making sure he gets the exercise he needs is important not just for his health but also for his behavior and happiness.

Does he train quickly?

The Care-Tzu is moderately easy to train meaning while he will not need extra time and support to get through it he will also not be super quick, it will be a gradual process. Early training and socialization are a key part of being a responsible dog owner, it is not something to skip just because he is a small dog. Be patient but firm, stay consistent and use positive methods like offering treats and praise.

Living with a Care-Tzu

How much grooming is needed?

They have low to moderate grooming needs, he should be brushed two to three times a week and he is considered a low shedding dog. The Cairn Terrier is considered to be a hypoallergenic dog so the Care-Tzu can be too. If there is an allergy that is an issue then the person with the allergy should visit the dog before you buy it just to make sure there is no reaction. He needs his ears checked and wiped clean once a week, his teeth brushed at least two to three times a week and his nails will need clipping if they get too long. When it comes to bath time this is something that should be judged according to whether he really needs one. Over washing can dry out the natural oils in his skin.

What is he like with children and other animals?

He is good with children, he will play with them, be energetic and loving with them. He is also good with other pets. When it comes to his interactions with other dogs he does need a bit more help so make sure that is part of his early socialization.

General information

He barks occasionally to frequently but is not likely to bark as a watchdog alerting you. He needs to be fed ¾ to 1½ cups of high quality dry dog food a day split into two meals at least.

Health Concerns

He can inherit health concerns from his parents so to have more chance of avoiding this buy from a good breeder and ask to see health clearances for the parent dogs. It is also a good idea to visit the puppy before buying. Issues that can come from the parents include Cryptorchidism, Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy, Hypothyroidism Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Patellar Luxation, eye problems, liver problems, kidney problems, bladder problems, umbilical hernia, Craniomandibular Osteopathy, allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, dental problems, snuffles and reverse sneezing.

Costs involved in owning a Care-Tzu

A Care-Tzu puppy could cost between $400 to $600. Other costs include a crate, carrier, bowls, micro chipping, blood tests, neutering, shots, deworming, collar and leash. These come to between $360 to $400. Annual costs for medical basics like check ups, pet insurance, vaccinations and flea prevention come to between $435 to $550. Other necessities like food, toys, treats, license and training come to between $300 to $400 a year.


Looking for a Care-Tzu Name? Let select one from our list!

The Care-Tzu is a friendly dog who is full of joy and tends to make everyone who meets him smile. He will need some exercise as he is lively, and he can be vocal sometimes so that may be a concern if you have noise rules where you live.

Featured Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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