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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Jatzu (Shih Tzu & Japanese Chin Mix) Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Care & More

Jatzu (Shih Tzu & Japanese Chin Mix) Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Care & More


The Jatzu is a mixed breed dog that has one parent that is a Shih Tzu and one parent that is a Japanese Chin. This breed is also sometimes called the Chin-Tzu. These intentionally bred crossbreeds make great pets for just about anyone, from children to seniors. The intent behind breeding these dogs is to achieve the best of both breeds and create a new dog breed that is loyal, playful, and curious, while showing an eagerness to please their owners.

Breed Overview


8-11 inches


8-20 pounds


12-16 years


Black, white, cream, apricot, brown, silver/blue, pied, brindle

Suitable for:

Homes with gentle children, apartment living, senior citizens


Playful, cheerful, people-pleasing, social, friendly, curious, stubborn

Jatzus are highly trainable and enjoy games and activities, making them great for anything from agility to nose work to playing with toys in your home. They don’t have to be good at something they’re doing because they’ll enjoy just being there and participating. Coat care aside, Jatzus are relatively low maintenance dogs, thanks to their loyal and fun personalities. They’re not the best option for everyone, though! There are still things to consider before you bring home a Jatzu.

Jatzu 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.


Jatzu Puppies

The Jatzu is a designer breed, which is why it is so important to find ethical breeders who are not breeding and selling Jatzus to “get in on the action” of a new designer breed. Purchasing from puppy mills and backyard breeders can result in spending large amounts of money on a puppy that may be plagued with expensive health problems throughout its life.

When you purchase a new puppy, you should be prepared to fo to three or four vet visits within the first few months of ownership. Keep in mind that these vet visits typically don’t include the cost of flea, tick, and heartworm medications. You should also be prepared to have the following puppy essentials: toys, accessories like leashes, grooming tools, high-quality puppy food, and everything else needed to provide a comfortable home for your new puppy

Image Credit: Left- No-longer-here, Pixabay | Right- GoranH, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Jatzu

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Jatzus can be great family dogs, especially with older or calm children. They are not tolerant of overstimulating situations, like with very young, loud, or rambunctious children. If your home is loud and chaotic, then a Jatzu is likely not a good choice. If you have children who are calm and understand proper care and handling of a dog, including understanding when to give a dog a break, then a Jatzu could bring a lot of joy and fun to your home.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Since these dogs are not a developed breed, you never know exactly what you’re going to get temperament-wise. This means that some Jatzus are great with other animals and some are not. With proper, slow, safe introductions, many Jatzus can happily live in a home with other dogs, cats, or other animals. Due to the stubborn and bossy nature of these dogs, it may be difficult to introduce new pets into the home once your Jatzu is established in the home.


Things to Know When Owning a Jatzu:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Jatzus do not have specific dietary requirements, but they tend to be big eaters. This makes them prone to obesity, which can cause stress on the joints, back, and internal organs. They should be fed high quality food in proper portions. If you’re unsure of portioning for your dog based on their age or weight, your veterinarian can point you in the right direction.

Exercise 🐕

These dogs are high energy but due to their size, their exercise requirements are relatively low. Keeping your Jatzu active will help stem some behavioral problems and prevent obesity. Movement and activity also keep the joints strong and lubricated. This will help prevent arthritis and back injuries as your dog ages. Find an activity that both of you enjoy because your Jatzu will be happy to do most activities as long as they’re with you. This can be daily walks, running around the yard, or participating in sports. Keeping their mind active is important too, so provide games, puzzles, nose work, and other stimulating activities.

Training 🎾

Many Jatzus are highly trainable, thanks to their agreeable nature. However, they can be extremely stubborn and if you become frustrated with them during training, they may choose to stop cooperating altogether. Training should involve lots of positive reinforcement, boundary setting, and interesting games. Keep training interesting and fun for your Jatzu. This will help hold their attention for training and build the relationship between the two of you.

Grooming ✂️

Shih Tzus and Japanese Chins are both longhaired dogs that have high grooming requirements, and Jatzus take after both of these breeds’ coats. They tend to have long, straight coats that can grow to the ground or longer. The fine hairs of this coat are prone to tangles and mats, so daily brushing is a necessity for Jatzus. They should also receive routine visits to a groomer to keep their coat healthy and trimmed. Some people choose to shave their Jatzus to make coat care easier.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Luxating patellas
  • Dental disease
  • Entropion/Ectropion
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Allergies
  • Skin infections
  • Otitis externa (ear infections)
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Eye injuries
Serious Conditions
  • Heart valve disorders
  • Cataracts
  • Portacaval (liver) shunt
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Exposure keratopathy
  • Kidney/bladder stones
  • Avascular/aseptic necrosis of the femoral head

Male vs Female

Males may be more outgoing and playful than females, making them a better option for homes with children. Females may be more cuddly and less welcoming of strange people and animals than males. These things will vary significantly between individual dogs, though, so don’t just rely on the sex of the dog to choose a dog with a personality and temperament that suits your home.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Jatzu

1. Japanese Chin Origins

The Japanese Chin is believed to have actually originated in China as a companion dog of royalty and was introduced to Japan as a gift from the emperor of China. The Japanese Chin and Pekingese likely started as the same breed, but changed over time through selective breeding, leading to the creation of two separate breeds.

2. Shih Tzu Origins

Many people believe that Shih Tzus originated in China, but they actually originated in Tibet. Shih Tzus were gifted to Chinese royalty by Tibet, leading to the introduction of the breed in China and the beginning of breeding programs. These original dogs were likely bred with Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, or Pekingese dogs to create the Shih Tzu as we know it today.

3. Kennel Club

Since the Jatzu is considered to be a breed in development, they are not recognized by any major kennel clubs, like the AKC, and do not have a breed club. This means that Jatzu puppies and dogs cannot be registered with any major kennel or breed clubs.


Final Thoughts

Jatzus are fun, cute little dogs, but they are prone to the same things that all designer breeds are prone to puppy mills. Many puppy mills and backyard breeders will breed crossbreeds, like Jatzus, and sell them to pet shops or directly to consumers. Dogs from these environments may have behavioral or health problems throughout their life. It is important to ensure you are purchasing a Jatzu from a responsible breeder who is not producing tons of breeds or litters per year and whose main goal is the wellbeing of their own dogs and the puppies they sell.

If you’re interested in a small breed dog that will be happy to go on adventures with you, or cuddle on the couch and take a nap, then the Jatzu might be right for you. They can make excellent pets for older children and children that treat them with gentleness and respect. They can also be great dogs for senior citizens since they provide companionship and affection with easy to meet activity needs. Jatzu grooming is a daily time commitment, though, and visiting a professional groomer can get expensive quickly, so consider the grooming needs before choosing a Jatzu.

Featured Image Credit: Jatzu (Kona), Jon, Flickr, Attribution CC 2.0

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