A designer dog breed, the Shichon is a 50/50 hybrid of the Bichon Frise and the Shih Tzu and is also known as the “Zuchon” or “Tzu Frisé.” Their history is widely debated, particularly regarding their origin story, but most dog fanatics agree that the Shichon were first bred in the USA about 20–30 years ago.
This guide will tell you everything that you need to know about Shichon dogs, starting with their parent breeds.
Apricot, black, chocolate, cream, gray, red, silver, tan
Families with children, those looking for a low-shedding dog, apartments, houses with or without a yard, singles, seniors
Loyal, affectionate, friendly, outgoing, playful, adaptable
The Shih Tzu is also known as the “Fo Dog” or the “Chrysanthemum-faced dog.” There’s a bit of debate about whether they originated in China during the 10th century or the Tang Dynasty in the 17th century, but regardless, they were popular among the Chinese royalty.
Unlike the Asian Shih Tzu, the Bichon Frise originated in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. They were introduced to Tenerife and the Canary Islands by Italian traders and were later exported to France by French sailors. They were, like the Shih Tzu, popular companion dogs for the French nobility during the 1500s.
If you are looking for a pup that sheds less than other breeds, you are in luck with the Shichon. They also make a wonderful choice for those living in apartments. They will be equally happy in a house, with or without a yard.
They are loyal and outgoing. You can choose to go through a breeder or you can check shelters in your area. Whichever route you choose, be sure to do your research. Ask lots of questions so you can make an informed decision for if the Shichon is the dog for you.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Shichon
Shichon dogs are adoring companions. They’re a happy mix of playful and quiet, which gives them more than enough energy for a walk around the block or a game of fetch before they settle on your lap for a siesta. Their adaptability makes them a suitable companion for all household types, from tiny apartments to large houses with fenced-in yards.
Although these dogs are not renowned among the most intelligent dog breeds on the planet, what they lose in smarts, they more than make up for in friendliness and affection. Their determination to please their family members also makes them relatively easy to train.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Friendly to a fault due to their ancestry and highly adaptable, Shichons match well with families with children, singles, and seniors. They play well with both young and older kids but can get easily hurt due to their size, so remember to teach children how to play safely with their canine friends.
The Shichon’s desire to be close to their family members does have a downside. They’re a breed prone to separation anxiety and shouldn’t be left alone for too long. Try to break long days at work with a trip home for lunch to give your puppy the attention that they need.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Properly socialized, the Shichon is a renowned friend of dogs and other pets alike. Their lack of prey drive also enables them to get along with animals smaller than they are. Still, it’s always a good idea to monitor interactions with other pets until you know how your puppy will react.
Start to introduce your puppy to other animals and dogs as early as possible. This will help ensure that your Shichon grows up to be a well-rounded dog with important knowledge of how to behave around other pets.
Things to Know When Owning a Shichon
With their easy-going natures, Shichon dogs suit both new and veteran dog owners. Their care is simple compared to many other dog breeds, and they don’t require much maintenance. We put together this section on food, exercise, training, grooming, and health conditions that you should know about before you welcome your Shichon home.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
High-quality food formulated specifically for small dog breeds is the best option for the Shichon. It’s important to monitor how much food and treats you give them, though, as their appetites are often bigger than they are. While they enjoy a game of fetch, they’re not one of the most active dog breeds and can be prone to obesity if overfed.
One cup of food a day, split over two meals, is recommended but should be adjusted according to your Shichon’s treat intake and activity levels. If you’re not sure what dietary requirements your puppy needs to meet, check in with your veterinarian for recommendations on suitable dog food.
Neither the Shih Tzu nor the Bichon Frise are overly active dogs. The Shichon, as a mix of the two, is happy in both apartments and houses with a yard. They’re adaptable and don’t require an active family, often doing well with seniors.
A daily walk for at least 30 minutes and active play sessions will keep your Shichon on the go and reduce any destructive behavior caused by boredom.
One of the biggest issues that people have with Shichon dogs is house training. It’s a lengthy process and without consistency, can take much longer and give your dog mixed messages. Staying positive and rewarding good behavior will help you teach your dog how to behave.
This also extends to socialization. While the Shichon is naturally friendly, a trait gained from the Bichon Frise, your puppy will be happier when they experience a wide range of situations. Not only will this teach them how to behave around other people and pets, but they’ll also be less likely to cower at new things.
Despite their low shedding trait, Shichon dogs require a great deal of grooming to stop their fur from matting due to the constant growth of their coat. Their coat texture can vary depending on their parents, but regular grooming and trimming sessions are still a must.
Fortunately, your Shichon puppy isn’t so high-maintenance to require regular trips to a professional groomer; you can handle their grooming needs yourself. In fact, sitting down for a daily brushing session is a great way to bond with your dog.
Shichons have narrow tear ducts, which can lead to staining on your dog’s fur. It can be cleaned with a soft, damp rag. You should also make sure to check their ears for dirt regularly and trim their nails.
Health and Conditions 🏥
As a hybrid breed, the Shichon is relatively healthy overall. The most common health issues they face also affect the Bichon Frise and the Shih Tzu.
Male vs. Female
Female dogs tend to be more desired among dog owners simply to avoid dominant or “alpha” behavior. It can be surprising for new dog owners to learn that female dogs are more likely to exhibit these unwanted traits due to the pack mentality. It’s the females that are more stubborn and likely to challenge your authority. In general, male dogs tend to be more obedient and affectionate.
This is the same for the Shichon. However, this doesn’t mean one sex is better than the other. Both male and female Shichons are loyal to a fault and happy to be part of the family. It’s important to remember these dogs have personalities of their own and aren’t limited to the stereotypes of their sexes.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Shichon
Little is known about the origins of the Shichon, being so new to the dog world. Still, there are a few interesting facts about the breed that not many people know.
1. They’re Known as the “Teddy Bear” Dog
The Shichon’s cute appearance makes them an adorable companion. With their medium-length, curly fur, it’s no surprise that they’ve earned the “Teddy Bear” nickname.
2. Shichons Are Good Therapy Dogs
Shichon dogs are low shedding and hypoallergenic. They also inherit the Bichon Frise’s “strangers are friends that we haven’t met yet” mentality. This friendliness and loyalty make them popular therapy and emotional support dogs. Their adorable, cuddly nature helps too.
3. Shichons Almost Didn’t Exist at All
While the Bichon Frise was never in danger, the Shih Tzu suffered during the Chinese Revolution. Due to being “royal” dogs, many of them were slaughtered and only a handful survived. Fortunately, the breed was saved by breeding programs in the USA and the UK.
With the Shih Tzu being an important half of the Shichon’s ancestry, the Shichon wouldn’t exist without those survivors and dedicated breeding.
Suited to a wide range of families and household sizes, the Shichon is a breed that loves to please and cuddle with their families as much as they enjoy a game of fetch and a trip to the dog park. They adore making friends with as many people and pets as possible and don’t enjoy being left on their own for too long.
A 50/50 mix of the Mediterranean Bichon Frise and the Chinese Shih Tzu, the Shichon is almost the descendant of royalty. With their ancestors’ history as popular companions to both the French and Chinese royals, the Shichon commands respect — even with their adorable, teddy bear appearance.
Featured Image Credit: Kirsten Thompson, Shutterstock