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Shih Tzu Bichon Mix Breed Information: Shichon Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

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Last Updated: April 24, 2024 | 13 min read | Leave a Comment

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A delightful little pup, the Shih Tzu Bichon Frise mix is an adorable, almost teddy bear-like dog. A blend of two beloved small dogs, the Shichon has plenty of loveable characteristics.

The Shih Tzu Bichon Frise has a few different nicknames. Along with Shichon, the mixed pup is also called the Teddy Bear dog and Zuchon. This designer dog is relatively new, and while not an official breed, they are quite popular.

If you want an adorable fluffy pup with a huge personality, this pocket-size crossbreed might be the right fit. Let’s learn a little more about this fluffy and feisty mixed pup.

Shichon
    • weight iconWeight9-15 Pounds
    • height iconHeight9-12 Inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan10-15 Years
    • color iconColorsBlack, White, Cream, Grey, Silver, Red, Apricot
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

Breed History

Mixed-breed dogs inherit characteristics from both parent breeds. This leads to some unpredictability in both appearance and temperament. They can take after one parent more or may inherit a mix of traits from each. Because of this, there is a good amount of variation among members of mixed-breed dogs. Getting to know more about each parent breed can help you get an idea of what your mixed puppy might be like.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu smiling.
The Shih Tzu is the Chinese Lion dog and is a small, lovable, and friendly breed.

The Shih Tzu is surrounded by myth and mystery. The breed is believed to have been bred by Tibetan holy men who wanted to create a small dog resembling a lion. They were both companions and watchdogs. These tiny little pups were highly revered by the monks and within imperial China. The breed almost became extinct after the end of imperial rule.

A handful of pups, about fourteen, fortunately, made their way to the U.K. From those dogs, today’s Shih Tzu population has grown. They are popular as pets but also have quite a presence in the show ring. This breed has a happy, perky, quite friendly personality. They love people, as well as other dogs of all sizes.

Shih Tzus are petite, reaching between nine and 16 pounds when fully grown. They stand just eight to eleven inches tall at the shoulder. The tiny Shih has a dome-shaped head, big, rounded eyes, a short muzzle, and large ears. They have a notably wide-eyed gaze, which gives them a very innocent look.

Shih Tzu’s are most recognizable for their long, silken hair. They have double coats and can come in a variety of different colors. Some owners choose to keep their flowing coats along, while others trim them a little shorter to help manage all that hair.

Bichon Frise

Small Bichon Frise Dog sitting outside in grass.
Bichon Frise dogs are small white balls of fluff.

The Bichon Frise is a dog breed associated with France, though they likely originated in the Mediterranean centuries ago. It is believed that their ancestors served as companions to sailors traveling around the world. These little pups were sometimes used to barter and trade, making them popular in many places around the world.

Bichons became popular in France during the Renaissance, even becoming revered pets for royalty. These little pups served as companions and lap dogs. After the French Revolution, they became less favored due to their connection to the nobility. The little breed found a home among circus performers and street entertainers, picking up the ability to do amazing tricks.

The breed made its way to America in the 1950s, slowly gaining popularity. The American Kennel Club registered the breed in 1971, and they have become an extremely popular family pet and are once again favored by the rich and famous. Because they were always bred to be lap dogs, these pups are pretty friendly, love attention, and have a natural talent for bringing a smile to your face.

The Bichon Frise is an absolutely adorable breed, which looks remarkably like a fluffball. They are small, reaching only seven to 12 pounds and standing nine to 12 inches tall when fully grown. This breed is well known for its striking, powdered sugar white coat. The breed standard allows for some off-white coloration in the coat, including buff, cream, and apricot. A purebred Bichon only comes in white.

The Shih Tzu Bichon mix uniquely blends these two amazing, tiny breeds.

Temperament

Shih Tzu Bichon Mix face up close.
The Shih Tzu Bichon Mix is much like both parent breeds in terms of looks and behavior.

The Shichon is an incredibly friendly dog. Both parent breeds were explicitly developed to be agreeable companions and ideal lap dogs. They have an amicable temperament and fit in almost any family setting. From a single person to a huge family, these fluffy little pups make almost perfect companions.

They love attention and will want to be a part of everything you do. Once you bring one of these pups home, expect them to be a constant fixture right next to you. They are quite smart, curious, and very friendly with both people and other pets. Their agreeable personality has made this mix popular for therapy and emotional support dogs.

Though tiny, the Shichon can make a lovely watchdog, as they emit quite a bit of noise when something is amiss. These qualities make them an excellent choice for seniors and families with young children. They are adaptable to new situations and eager to please. Along with that, they have a naturally gentle demeanor. While no dog has a perfect personality, this pint-sized mix comes pretty close.

Because these dogs become so attached to their owners, they may become clingy. The Zuchon often suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone for a long time or left alone frequently. The Zuchon is an excellent breed to crate train due to its size and probability of developing separation issues. Consider a doggy daycare for this breed if you must be away from home for several hours. They also need plenty of interactive toys to keep them mentally stimulated.

Size & Appearance

Shih Tzu Bichon Mix looking up at the camera with short hair.
The Shichon exhibits characteristics of both breeds and has naturally short hair.

The offspring of two toy breeds, the Shichon, is always a small dog. Most range between nine and 15 pounds, though some are smaller. They often stand between nine and 12 inches at the shoulder. Their size will depend on their parents’ size and which one they take after more.

Although the Zuchon is a small dog, the breed is well-built, sturdy, and strong for its small size. Their heads will be round to a dome shape, with rounded faces and features. They will likely have wide, expressive eyes and button-like noses. The ears often drop to the side and are somewhat floppy. The Shih Tzu Bichon mix has a puffy coat with an adorable curly tail. They truly do look like adorable teddy bears.

Coat & Colors

Because both parent breeds have thick, fluffy double coats, you can expect that your teddy bear dog will be quite the little poof ball. Their coats will likely be medium to long and require good grooming and care to keep them healthy.

Purebred Bichon Frise only comes in white, but the Shih Tzu can come in many assorted colors. Depending on the specific genetics of the parents, your mixed pup can come in various colors, including black, white, cream, grey, silver, red, and apricot. They will not shed as much as you might think for having so much hair. Daily brushing can help manage shedding and remove loose or dead hair to keep their coats soft, full, and healthy.

Exercise & Living Conditions

Shih Tzu Bichon Mix sleeping.
The Shih Tzu Bichon Mix might be lazy at times but is typically full of energy.

Despite being small, the teddy bear dog has plenty of energy and needs regular exercise. Zuchons need a walk every day. About 30 minutes is a reasonable amount of time. Along with that, work in a couple of play sessions. These include playing chase around the yard, fetch, and one-on-one plea sessions with interactive games and toys.

A sturdy crate, a comfortable bed, and plenty of toys are necessary for these dogs. They are pretty hyper and clingy, and due to their tiny size, a crate is a beneficial tool to keep them safe when you need to leave home and to prevent them from escaping or getting into areas they shouldn’t. Because of their small size, they can easily find their way in and out of things and through small openings.

These little pups love to play outside but shouldn’t ever be left outside alone, let off the leash in an unsecured area, or expected to live or sleep outside. Because they are so petite, they can be pretty fragile and do not do well in extreme temperatures nor stand up well to the outside elements for lengthy periods. The Shichon is a great breed to consider getting a doggy raincoat or stroller.

Training

The Shichon comes from two clever breeds and has a prominent level of intelligence. That is wonderful news because they can learn to do many things, love to please people, and learn to understand various commands. However, their intelligence and curiosity can lead to a stubborn streak. Be sure to start obedience training early, or you will quickly find your home and life ruled by this petite fluffball. Socialization is key, as teddy bear dogs are so friendly, and cute strangers and friends alike will be smitten. You must be sure your pup knows how to behave in social situations.

Shichons are particularly hard to potty train and housebreak due to their highly social nature. They love to be the center of attention and do not want to break away for anything, even to go potty. Because of this, you must start potty training with them as soon as they come home. Setting a schedule for every two to two and a half hours to take them outside is helpful.

You’ll need to place them in the same spot every time and encourage them to go potty. Doing so will help create a spot they smell and are drawn to when it’s time to go. You also want to take them out about 30 minutes after eating and at least once at night until they are fully housebroken. The approach differs from the process you would follow for other breeds, but this mixed pump is notorious for being difficult to potty train.

While many of these pups are easy to train, some owners have a challenging time. If this is the case, there are plenty of resources to help you, including online dog training classes, in-person training classes, and dog training apps that you can consider. You will need to reinforce behavior expectations throughout their life. (As a longtime small dog owner, I know firsthand that they are so cute they often get away with a lot of naughty behavior.)

Health

Shih Tzu Bichon Mix looking up at the camera on an orange shag rug.
There are a number of health issues you should be aware of from both parent breeds.

The Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix is generally very healthy due to the purebred nature of their parents. Like other small breeds, they have a reasonably long lifespan and can live about 12 to 16 years on average. However, they are still at risk for some common health concerns and some that affect their parent breeds. This mix can develop health conditions throughout their lives, including:

  • Patellar Luxation – This condition occurs when the kneecap moves out of place and can cause pain and mobility issues.
  • Cushing’s Syndrome – Cushing’s occurs when a dog’s body produces excess cortisol. It often affects middle-aged to older dogs more and can cause various symptoms.
  • Sensitive skin and skin issues – The Zuchon can be prone to itchy, dry, flaky skin. Symptoms range from mild to severe, leading to inflammation, infection, and hair loss.
  • Chronic dry eye – These mixed pups can be prone to dry eyes and may need tear-stimulant medication to treat the condition. Dry eyes can become painful, infected, inflamed, and even develop ulcers.
  • Gum and periodontal disease – Due to the unique shape of the Shih Tzu Bichon Frise mix’s head, these pups are at a higher risk for periodontal and gum disease, as are all small breeds. This can cause bad breath, infection, pain, tooth decay, and more. Regular cleaning and exams are imperative to keep your mixed pups’ teeth healthy.
  • Cataracts – Cataracts can cause a dog’s eye lenses to become cloudy and can sometimes cause partial or total vision loss. It can occur in one or both eyes. Cataracts are often a heredity condition or can develop because of diabetes.
  • ObesityObesity can be a concern with smaller breeds. This breed loves to eat and is always happy to have a treat, so you must be careful not to overfeed them. On a smaller dog, even just an extra half a pound or pound can be a significant amount of weight. It can cause undue stress on their joints and overwork essential body systems.

It can be overwhelming to see the variety of illnesses Shih Tzu Bichon Frise mixes can suffer from. Pet insurance is available to help give you peace of mind. It can help pay for a portion of unexpected vet expenses that are included in your policy. We encourage you to learn all about the best pet insurance. Our insurance experts have even written about the best insurance for Shih Tzus.

Nutrition

Shichon pups do best on food formulated for smaller breeds. Because they have such high energy, they need nutritionally dense food. Smaller dogs may do better on several small meals spread throughout the day.

You should stick to a small breed-specific formula developed for the appropriate life stage your pup is currently in. Puppies need higher calories and fat than adults and seniors. Senior dogs eat less but still need the proper amount of calories, though they will need less than puppies.

Consider mixing in fresh or human-grade food for these little pups. Even though these are pricier options, a little bit goes a long way because these dogs are so small. Fresh meals offer top-notch nutrition, as well as excellent flavor and variety. The high-quality ingredients, natural recipes, and cooking methods can make a huge difference in your pup’s nutrition.

Grooming

The Shichon has a fluffy double coat that can be of varying textures depending on their parents. This mix is a fantastic choice for allergy sufferers because they do not shed as much as some other breeds.

Shichons need daily brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Professional grooming is advised every few months. They will need a bath about once a month to keep their coats and skin free of dirt and debris. Do not bathe them more than this. It can dry out their skin and strip the natural oils that help keep the coat luscious and healthy.

The Shichon also needs regular teeth brushing and a professional cleaning about once a year. Dental care is very important, especially due to the risk this breed faces for periodontal disease. Remember to regularly check and clean their ears, as well as clipping their nails about once a month.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Shih Tzu Bichon Mix rescue puppy.
Adopting a Shichon puppy is a wonderful way to welcome this breed into your home.

These are designer dogs and are most often purposefully bred, so you may be able to find puppies by looking at either Shih Tzu or Bichon Frise breeders. However, because they aren’t a recognized breed, you may need to wait a while to find puppies.

Shichon puppies are pricey and cost between $1,500 and $3,000 on average. The price depends on the age, parent’s bloodlines, breeder’s location, and time of year. You may find one for a home breeder for a little less, starting around $900. If adopting from a home breeder, you must ask to see the facility to meet the parent dogs and ask for any health records or test results. The same goes for more prominent breeders.

If you cannot find this exact canine blend, consider other popular Bichon mixes like the Poochon and Shih Tzu mixes like the Shorkie instead.

Rescues & Shelters

This designer mix is unlikely to be in a shelter, but it is always possible. If you are interested in adopting a rescue dog, a breed-specific rescue for the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise is an excellent place to start. You can also check with local shelters and rescue groups to see if they have any of these mixed pups available. Far too many animals in shelters are waiting for homes, so adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful way to save a life and ease the burden of animal rescue groups and shelters.

Shelter dogs are also often older and may need less basic training than younger pups. That said, there will be even more unpredictability as the history of many shelter dogs often remains unknown.

As A Family Pet

The Shichon can make a fantastic pet in the right home. Because they are so small, they do not need a lot of room and can fit in just about any household. They are a great fit for apartment life.

This mix can be high energy, likes to be the boss, and can develop separation anxiety if left home alone for too long. The Zuchon is not a good match for people who are not home very much, do not like to cuddle with a fluffy, adorable puppy, and do not have a lot of time to give a dog. This mix requires plenty of attention and is high maintenance for grooming and care. They can be a bit challenging regarding potty training, but are people pleasers and love to learn new things. These dogs are very agreeable and can adapt to almost any situation, making them popular pets for families of all shapes and sizes.

Have you adopted a Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix? I’d love to hear about your little fluffball in the comments.

Am I Ready To Adopt A Dog?

Adopting a dog of any breed, especially a smaller dog, is a big responsibility. Of course, our fur babies are relentlessly cute and can bring hours of fun to your day. All dogs, even tiny ones, are a lot of work. Smaller dogs, in particular, are challenging because they often are very clingy, can be loud barkers, and can sneak out or injure easily. Due to their small size and fragile bodies, these pups often require more care and supervision than their larger counterparts.

Bringing a dog into your life means making a financial, emotional, and time commitment. Small dogs can be crate trained, but that doesnt mean they can be locked in crates daily for hours. These little fluffballs are highly interactive, very social animals and need their owners’ attention, care, and love. Before adopting any dog, ask yourself how much time, money, and energy you have to give them. If you live in a home with other people, especially children and teenagers, it is crucial to discuss bringing home a new dog with them first to ensure everyone is ready to pitch in and help.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Danielle is a dedicated pet owner with over 30 years of experience. She has raised many different dogs, from very small five-pound Chihuahuas to 85-pound Labrador Retrievers. She believes all animals are special and deserve to have a high-quality life. Danielle is a dedicated researcher who spends countless hours reviewing the latest research and data in pet care, health, and products. She is devoted to bringing our readers the most current, helpful information.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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