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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Jack Tzu (Jack Russell Terrier & Shih Tzu Mix): Pictures, Guide, Info, & Care

Jack Tzu (Jack Russell Terrier & Shih Tzu Mix): Pictures, Guide, Info, & Care

two jack tzu puppies

The Jack Tzu is a tiny, muscular little dog resulting from a cross between the Jack Russell Terrier and the Shih Tzu. They are loyal, loving, and a bit mischievous.

Breed Overview


10 to 11 inches


14 to 23 pounds


12 to 15 years


Black, brown, white, golden, cream, and light brown

Suitable for:

Active families, people who live in an apartment


Loyal, affectionate, intelligent, curious, friendly, gets along with other pets

More energetic than their parent Shih Tzu but not as fiery as a Terrier, many see the personality of Jack Tzu as a good compromise between the two opposing characters of the parent breeds. Their smart, playful eyes and unkempt fur will definitely steal your heart!

Jack Tzu Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Jack Tzu Puppies

Jack-Tzu puppies are little balls of energy. They often come from breeders (and if you do decide to go the breeder route, we have a list of questions you should always ask), but you may find one in a rescue shelter. They need a lot of love and attention and enjoy playing. Most are food-motivated, so they are easy to train.

Jack-Tzu puppies come with an initial cost but also cost monthly. Food, toys, treats, beds, warm clothes if you live in a cold place, and vet visits all add up. But it’s worth it to have one of these little guys by your side.

Jack Tzu - Jack Russell Terrier and Shih Tzu Mix
Image Credit: Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Jack Tzu

Charismatic, affectionate, energetic, and bubbly, Jack Tzu enjoys being the center of attention and adores the company of his humans more than anything else. Highly intelligent but also willful, he may be a better choice for an experienced owner as he tends to test your patience a lot.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Jack Tzu is a perfect dog for active families, with young children or not. He tends to fall in love with the person who takes care of him the most (feeds him, takes him for walks, plays with him), but he will not be distant with other members of his family. They are easy-going dogs who enjoy the company of humans as much as they do with other animals of their pack. He doesn’t mind having his belly stroked by complete strangers either!

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

This friendly and cheerful dog breed gets along very well with other dogs, of the same species or not. However, it is essential to socialize them from an early age by taking them to the dog park or visiting your friends with other dogs. Be careful, however, if you have other pets, such as kittens, rabbits, hamsters, or other small creatures. Jack Tzus tend to view small animals as potential prey; it is, therefore, essential to get them used to these little furry companions from an early age.


Things to Know When Owning a Jack Tzu

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Jack Tzu may be a small dog that is a little less energetic than a Jack Russell, but he still has a lot of energy. His food needs must be adapted to this characteristic.

What is the best food source for this small breed, according to most animal health experts? Don’t tear your hair out: high-quality kibble is an excellent choice, readily available at any good pet store or at your vet.

Indeed, this type of kibble contains superior quality ingredients that suit the dietary needs of these small breeds of dogs. One cup of dry food per day is more than enough, given their tendency to be overweight. Besides, get in the habit of giving them this ration in two separate meals to prevent your tiny glutton from gobbling up his entire daily ration in two bites!


The Jack Tzu has a lot of energy. He adapts very well to apartment life, but don’t think leaving it alone all day is a good idea! If he doesn’t spend his energy on a daily basis, he could exhibit certain destructive behaviors (like ruining your favorite sofa or your expensive leather shoes!).

Here are some ideas for activities with your pooch:

  • Bike trek
  • Agility games
  • Training
  • Dog park
  • Jogging

If you do these activities regularly, you will have a happy, tired little dog who will be ecstatic to snuggle up in your lap at the end of a long day of play.

Training 🎾

Despite his remarkable intelligence, the Jack Tzu is not necessarily so easy to train: he can be stubborn and mischievous. To put the odds in your favor, you should start training as early as possible, typically from week 7 or 8 of age. This breed responds very well to positive reinforcement methods, so plan for plenty of treats, petting, and praise to reward it at every stage of its training.

Be firm and consistent, but never impatient or rough with your puppy: he will remember it, and you certainly won’t get results any faster.

Grooming ✂️

The Jack Tzu does not require a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, daily brushing is necessary, as is the case with most breeds of dogs. He will certainly benefit from a few visits to the groomer. However, the coat of the Jack Tzu should never be shaved too short. Do not forget that the coat acts as a temperature regulator for your dog. Don’t worry that your dog is too hot in the summer because of his coat; on the contrary, it allows him to be insulated against the heat.

Note: This breed does not shed a lot and is often considered hypoallergenic. But let’s demystify this expression, which is also often used for Goldendoodle or Labradoodle dogs: no dog is really hypoallergenic! When you hear this word, it means that this type of dog spreads fewer allergens than other breeds because they hardly shed their hair. This does not make him a 100% hypoallergenic dog.

And although we talk a lot about the maintenance of the fur, you should not forget the cleaning of the ears, which is also essential. Make sure to do a good regular cleaning, and don’t forget to trim the claws! Finally, like many small breeds of dogs, you must also pay attention to their teeth. As such, plan to learn how to brush your dog’s teeth.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The life expectancy of the Jack Tzu is estimated to be between 12 and 15 years. The breed does not have many known health issues, but there is a trend for some diseases. They are known to have a blood disease called autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA).

However, adopting your puppy from a breeder with ethical practices will allow you to avoid or at least minimize the risk of contracting diseases since any good breeder does genetic tests on his breeding dogs. Thus, they avoid breeding puppies who might have too many genetic problems.

Minor Conditions
  • Nephropathy
  • Eye abnormalities and complications
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy
Serious Conditions

3 Little-Known Facts About the Jack Tzu

1. High Fashion Doggy

This hybrid dog breed was probably first developed during the recent trend for designer dogs in the United States. Most designer dogs were bred in the 1980s, and these dogs have become very popular in part because several celebrities have been seen walking them.

2. Tiny but Not Barky

Contrary to what people may think of small dog breeds, the Jack Tzu is not much of a barker. Granted, if a stranger shows up at your house in the middle of the night, he might wake you up with his not-so-fierce barking.

But in general, it is a breed of dog that does not bark much in its surroundings and is known for its very social side with both dogs and humans. However, each pup is different, and your dog may be afraid of strangers.

3. Pretty but Without a Pedigree

A Jack Tzu’s mixed lineage is what some see as his advantage, but not everyone agrees. Designer dog breeds may be popular among pet owners, but official dog clubs don’t share the same enthusiasm. The Jack Tzu, like other hybrids, is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), which means these puppies cannot have official pedigree papers. So, if you get a Jack Tzu from a breeder, you should ask for proof of good breeding.


Final Thoughts

In short, the Jack Tzu is a great companion for those looking for a dog that is energetic, affectionate, and with a lovely sparkle of mischief. He adapts easily to most climates and barks occasionally (only to warn of strangers in most cases).

Also, be careful of his tendency to be super greedy, which makes him prone to being overweight. Maintaining his hair, ears, and eyes should not be taken lightly, as this can quickly develop problems. Also, be sure to stick to your vet’s annual appointments, as this small hybrid breed can inherit health issues from its parents.

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Featured Image Credit: Bronty Hannah, Shutterstock

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