Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix – Personality, Training, Care and More
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix, also known as the Shichi, is a tiny breed with a big personality. As the name suggests, it is a cross between the playful Shih Tzu with the sassy Chihuahua and we end up with this bundle of joy. The Shichi is a master of cuteness.
Keep in mind that Shichis are crossbred, therefore many of its traits such as coat color and texture, temperament, and size will vary widely depending on their parents. Therefore, it is a good idea to understand what Shih Tzus and Chihuahua are like first so you know what to expect from Shichis.
As with any other crossbred dogs, one Shichi may look very different from the next, and it all depends on their parents. For instance, your Shichi could have a shorter coat of a Chihuahua with the size of a Shih Tzu. Normally, Shichis are about 10 inches tall and weigh in between 5 to 16 pounds.
Shichi may have varying personalities. Since the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua are very loyal and love attention, you can expect your Shichi to possess similar traits. Other than that, Shichis are energetic and tend to snap or growl, not to mention that they’re very possessive and protective. Because Shichis may inherit the aggressive tendency from their Chihuahua parent, so early socialization is advised for a more balanced personality.
A mixed-breed like Shichi may inherit health problems from their parents, including:
- Breathing issues (may require surgery in extreme cases)
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Retinal detachment
- Corneal ulcers
- Third eyelid gland prolapse
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Tooth decay and gum disease
- Idiopathic epilepsy
- Necrotizing meningoencephalitis
- Patellar luxation
- Heart disease
- Tracheal collapse
There’s nothing to worry about though, as Shichi and their parents are generally healthy. Shichis have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Pay extra attention to their eyes, ears, and teeth, however. Every day, brush your Shichi’s teeth, check and remove wax or debris from their ears, and clean the corner of their eyes with a damp cloth.
Other than that, Shichi’s skin could be prone to excessive dryness and other skin-related problems. Your vet should be able to recommend you the right shampoo to keep your pup’s coat and skin clean and smelling sweet. While you’re at it, ask your vet whether your Shichi needs a Chihuahua harness, as it can remove the pressure on their windpipe.
Finally, a small breed like this is prone to extreme weather. Always make sure that the crate or wherever your dog sleeps is warm during the colder months. For hotter months, consider bringing a bottle of water with you when you go out with your Shichi to prevent overheating and dehydration. Speaking of overheating, if they’re indoors, make sure that the room they’re in is properly cooled with an air-conditioner or fans.
When it comes to feeding, use high-quality dog food appropriate for their age. Never free-feed them, even treats. Consult your vet to establish a feeding schedule. A good diet should be rich in protein and low in carbs.
Both Shih Tzu and Chihuahua are infamous for being tough to potty train, but this is one of the first things you need to do early on for your Shichi. Have a daily routine for your pup as soon as possible for the best results. It may also tend to bark, so consider crate training to curb this behavior. Crate-trained Shichis are less prone to separation anxiety and therefore are less likely to bark while you’re away. Other than that, early socialization and positive reinforcement training will go a long way.
Shichi doesn’t require much exercise. Short daily walks around the neighborhood and some playtime indoor or in the backyard are enough. They do get tired easily, so if your pup is straining to keep up during walks, pick them up and carry them back home.
Coat Color and Grooming
The coat’s length varies. A longer coat may need to be brushed daily. For a shorter coat, brushing it a few times per week is enough. Shichis shouldn’t shed much since their parents do not. Their coat colors range from black, brown, white, tan, cream, black & white, and brown & white.
Children and Other Pets
Due to their small size and huge attention appetite, Shichi can adapt well to various living spaces. They should be fine hanging out in an apartment. They tend to be a bit aggressive at times toward other pets as well, so early socialization would be immensely helpful here. Shichis thrive when it’s the only house pet.
Shichi, like any other small breeds, should not be left around young children since they’re very frail and easily injured. At the very least, supervise the play session and teach the kids how to handle small dogs. If you also own other pets, especially larger dogs, always keep an eye out for your Shichi as a little rough-and-tumble play can lead to injury. For this reason, it is best if Shichi is the only house pet.
Unfortunately, although Shichis is a designer breed, there are plenty of these abandoned pups out there, largely because their original owners did not know how much care is needed for them. It is best for both your wallet and the dog if you adopt rather than buy.
For one, you are giving the dog a second chance at life and you also get to see what kind of dog you are going to get. Another benefit is that you would start out knowing exactly how to care for your dog. The people at the shelter should be able to tell you how to properly care for your Shichi.
Finding an animal shelter exclusively for Shichi can be difficult. However, you should be able to find a local shelter for either Chihuahua or Shih Tzu and they tend to have crossbreeds as well. By adopting, you are also helping an effort to combat puppy milling.