|Height:||7 – 10 inches|
|Weight:||3 – 12 pounds|
|Lifespan:||12 – 15 years|
|Colors:||Cream, white, brown, black|
|Suitable for:||Singles, seniors, families with children, apartment living, those who need a low-shedding dog|
|Temperament:||Vocal, energetic, playful|
Shichis are a cross between Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas. As you can imagine, based on these two parent breeds, the Shichi is a very small dog. Indeed, this breed is considered to be a toy breed, making them ideal for apartment living. They are loyal animals that make great companions for singles or seniors, and though they can be stubborn, they can be great candidates for obedience competitions with the right trainer. Keep reading our guide to find out everything you need to know about Shichis and whether or not they are the right dog for you and your family.
Shichi Puppies – Before You Get One…
3 Little-Known Facts About Shichis
1. Shichis Are Known By Many Names
If you have never heard of the Shichi before, it could be because you know them by another name. They are also commonly known as Chitzus or Chi-Shis.
2. The Shichi Is a Relatively New Breed
The Shichi is thought to have been developed sometime within the last 10 years or so, so they don’t have much of a history.
3. The Shichi’s Parent Breeds Have Much More Ancient Roots
Although Chihuahuas were first noted during the 19th century, it is speculated that the Chihuahua derives from the Techichi, a dog whose origins date as far back as the 9th century AD. The Shih Tzu is an Asian breed that has origins in Tibet. The Shih Tzu breed is thought to be about 2,000 years old.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Shichi
Shichis are energetic and affectionate animals. They are also highly intelligent, though some Shichis may have a stubborn streak inherited from their parent the Chihuahua that could interfere with efforts to train them.
You are probably familiar with the stereotype of the “yappy” small dog, and the Shichi is no exception. These dogs are known to be fairly vocal animals, especially when they encounter strangers or otherwise feel threatened.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Shichis are generally great family dogs that get along and enjoy playing with children. However, if your children are very young, these dogs may not be the best choice. A toy species, Shichis are very small dogs that cannot tolerate rough play. Human family members need to be careful when handling these dogs, and young children may not be able to understand that. In addition, a Shichi may take after its Chihuahua parent and snap after children if they get too rough and make your dog feel threatened. If you do have children, it’s important to teach them how to properly handle and interact with your Shichi to prevent harm.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
The extent to which your Shichi will accept other pets ultimately comes down to which of his parent breeds he takes after the most. While Shih Tzus are usually friendly with other pets, including other dogs, Chihuahuas don’t like to share the attention of their owners with other pets. No matter what, you should socialize your Shichi with your other pets from an early age.
Things to Know When Owning a Shichi:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
When choosing what to feed your Shichi, make sure to choose high-quality kibble that is formulated for small breeds. If you can find it, you could even select food formulated for toy breeds. In terms of how much you should be feeding your Shichi, you should keep in mind that small breeds need more calories per pound than larger breeds due to their high metabolism. Still, your Shichi will only require about a cup of food per day, spread out in multiple meals throughout the day. You can use calculators such as this one to determine how much food your dog needs based on his current and ideal weight.
Shichis are very energetic dogs, but being so small, they don’t need a lot of extra exercise. If you are looking for a dog that you can take on long walks and runs, the Shichi may not be the best choice; about 20-30 minutes of exercise per day should suffice for these pups.
The benefit of having a dog with relatively low exercise needs is that they don’t require a lot of space and would be okay without a yard. It also means that they are great companion dogs for seniors, who are likely to have some physical limitations and may not be able to bring larger pets out for long walks.
Once again, your Shichi’s particular blend of Shih Tzu and Chihuahua will determine how difficult he is to train. On one hand, Shih Tzus are very intelligent and docile, making them easy to train. Chihuahuas, on the other hand, tend to be independent and stubborn, which can lead to more difficulty in training.
Using positive reinforcement should make training your Shichi relatively easy. You should also keep in mind that it may take some time to house train your Shichi, but with the help of a kennel and plenty of patience, the process shouldn’t be too painful.
Your Shichi should have a fairly short coat that is low-shedding. As a result, grooming your Shichi will be fairly low-maintenance. If your dog’s coat is on the longer side, invest in a comb and bristle brush and plan to brush him about once per week.
You needn’t worry about bathing your Shichi unless it’s needed; bathing too often can strip his fur of necessary oils. However, you should plan to brush your Shichi’s teeth about three times per week, as they are prone to dental problems.
Health and Conditions 🏥
The Shichi is a relatively healthy dog that tends to live a long time; these dogs can live to be up to 15 years old. However, there is always a chance that your dog could inherit health problems from either of his parents. It is important to ask your breeder about your dog’s parental health history so that you have a full picture of the types of health issues your dog might face down the line.
Male vs Female
There are no known differences between male and female Shichis in terms of personality or physical size. However, you may be able to gain some insight into differences between males and females by learning about their parent breeds. Male Chihuahuas tend to be more aggressive than female Chihuahuas and will try to assert their dominance by barking, growling, or even nipping. Male Chihuahuas also happen to be more affectionate than their female counterparts.
Ultimately, there is no particular personality trait that can always be applied to one sex or the other one hundred percent of the time. However, if you’re able to spend some time with your puppy’s parents, you can start to get a feel for the type of behavior you can expect from your dog, whether it is male or female.
Overall, Shichis can make wonderful pets, but they may not be for everyone. If you have very young children, don’t have a lot of experience training dogs, or are easily annoyed by dogs that tend to bark, you may want to consider other breeds. Then again, if you are a single or senior adult looking for companionship or if you live in a relatively small space, the Shichi could be the perfect dog for you. If you decide to bring a Shichi home, you will likely be rewarded with many years of affection and companionship.
- Related read: Mi-ki
Featured Image Credit: Hornfinger, Shutterstock