The mix of the Chihuahua and the Shih Tzu make a lively, courageous, happy and loyal companion. These two toy breeds make an exceptional cuddle buddy that will want to sit on your lap in between play sessions. Although the ShiChi or Chi Tzu is small, their personality is unmatched.
The ShiChi is one of the few mixed breeds to be recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Clube, the Designer Breed Registry, the Dog Registry of America, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, and the International Designer Canine Registry. This makes the breed easier to find than most other designer dogs.
The Chihuahua is known for its spunky, outgoing nature and so is the Shih Tzu. You probably couldn’t find a better combination breed as their personalities are so alike. These designer dogs are bred solely for companionship, though with their loud bark you’d think they were guard dogs!
Similar to most toy breeds, a ShiChi is suitable for first-time dog owners. Their small size makes them perfect for a small family or a small apartment roommate. ShiChi’s thrive in most environments as they don’t require a lot of space. They’ll want to be near you, and the family but they’re likely to pick favorites!
Is the ShiChi right for you? This guide will walk you through whether or not you’re ready for this small ball of energy!
Designer Toy Breed
A “designer dog” is any mix between two purebred parents. For any mixed breed to be classified as a designer, the parents would have to be bred pure for generations up until the point of being bred with another breed. A true purebred dog will have puppies that have the same characteristics and temperament as their parents.
The benefits of owning a purebred with proper papers are you’ll have a reasonable estimate on how your puppy will act. With a designer dog, you don’t have that luxury, as the puppies could take characteristics from either parent. However, this is the only true negative to owning a designer dog (unless you care about coat color).
Designer dogs are less likely to inherit diseases than their purebred parents, and this can be a lifesaver for certain breeds. Keep in mind that not all designer dogs have to completely purebred, as some crosses require a less even split.
Toy refers to the size of the dog breed and how likely the breed will grow past a certain point. Toy dogs are going to be tiny; they’re the smallest breeds you can find.
Shih Tzu Overview
Known as the “Lion Dog” by the Chinese, this breed is one of the most photographed dogs on the planet. This celebrity breed is known for its elegance and beauty, yet their personalities show an entirely different element to them.
They’re no princess; they’re actually quite independent. Shih Tzus made excellent watchdogs because of their loud bark and were initially bred for this purpose.
Shih Tzus are also spunky, outgoing, alert, playful, brave, fierce, and fun-loving. They love to make friends with adults, children, and other dogs. You can bet the Shih Tzu will run up to you when you open the door even if you’re a stranger! Just watch out for their protective nature of their fur parents!
All-in-all, Shih Tzus are tiny little sweethearts who are well mannered when trained right. They require little grooming, are easy to train, and require little exercise to stay healthy. Shih Tzu’s will live approximately 13 years and won’t weigh any more than 16 lbs. The Shih Tzu makes a great parent breed for many mixes due to their laid back personality.
Although tiny, the Chihuahua is a fierce, loyal breed that likes to make their presence known. Timid isn’t in their dictionary; they are well known for squaring up even the biggest dogs. Chihuahua’s know what they want and know how to get it.
These purse puppies will be loyal to one person and one person only. This doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly as they will love every single person in their extended family. However, the Chihuahua will want affection from their favorite person and will shy away from others.
Chihuahuas need to be trained to promote positive behavior as their owners often overlook this. Socializing this breed is very important, or you might have a terror on your hands. No one likes a spoiled brat. Chihuahuas can have both an apple-shaped head or a deer-shaped head.
Their yappiness makes them the perfect watchdog. They require little grooming, are average to train, and require a minimum amount of exercise. Chihuahua’s will live approximately 16 years and won’t weigh any more than 6 pounds. Because of their size and zest for life, they are often mixed with many other breeds.
Shih Tzu and Chihuahua Mix (Shichi)
There are no records are to who created the mixed breed Shichi, but it’s possible that they were created during the late 21st century, or maybe in the early 2000s. Establishing uniformity with the breeds characteristics, health, behavior, and temperament are difficult with any mixed breed, but it’s more difficult if they’re a recent mix without valid paperwork.
The Shichi will likely take after their parents, so if you can ask the breeder to see papers, you’ll have a better idea. For example, if your Shichi’s Shih Tzu parents has a long coat, it will likely have a long coat. They will also inherit their coloring and behavior from their parents as well.
You’ll likely get a fearless, loyal, and outgoing watchdog that loves people. Since both parents need low energy and grooming requirements, that will pass on as well. Their trainability could fall into question as the Shih Tzu is more natural to train than the Chihuahua.
Appearance & Grooming
If your fur baby has a short coat grooming won’t be an issue. It’s still necessary to brush them once weekly to keep their coat clean, as being closer to the ground means they’ll get dirtier faster. The closer your ShiChi’s coat is to the Shih Tzus, the more likely you’ll have to brush them daily to remove any clumps, mats or tangles.
ShiChi’s could also be bred with a long coat. If your pet has this coat, you should bathe them at least once a month while also grooming them regularly. Nails should be clipped as a part of their grooming routine, and so should cleaning their ears. Look for inflammation, discharge, or foul odor. Always brush their teeth once or twice a week to keep them from visiting the doggy dentist.
Their coat color could range from black to white and everything in between. Take a look at their parents to see what the puppy litter will most likely resemble.
Don’t make the mistake of not training a small dog. They still need just as much care as a big dog and need to be socialized early, so they don’t bark at every stranger they see. Even if your puppy is well mannered, playful, and full of energy, you still need to approach them like any other dog.
Any small dog needs to be housebroken, as small dogs have smaller bladders. It may be difficult to train this at first. Multiple accidents will happen overnight when they’re puppies. Have patience when teaching your ShiChi, as they have two pet parents that are proud and excitable.
This doesn’t mean they’re difficult to train. ShiChi’s just need a little bit of ego-stroking by giving praise and treats when they do something you like. If you reward them for good behavior, they will quickly want to imitate it to get your attention.
Exercise & Living Conditions
Apartments are great homes for the tiny ShiChi as they require little space and almost no exercise. You won’t have to walk your companion every day. Playing with them by tossing a ball or running around the apartment for 30 minutes will be enough to satisfy their exercise needs.
Play is the ShiChi’s favorite way to exercise, so play with them to your heart’s content! They will even like to play with small children or other adults in the house. Just make sure children understand that the ShiChi is small and needs to be pet gently.
ShiChi’s are indoor dogs and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. They have bad separation anxiety and would prefer to travel with you on your shopping trips. They’re also more likely to sleep with you, so letting them on your furniture is a must.
We cannot stress the importance of training enough, as poorly trained dogs could develop “small dog syndrome,” which is found in small dogs that aren’t trained or socialized properly. Since the ShiChi is easy to train with positive reinforcement, this is unlikely to occur if you have the patience to train them every single day.
Toy breeds are often healthy, but they do have a higher risk of hypoglycemia than the average-sized dog. This happens when you don’t feed your dog enough. You’ll likely want to feed them less due to their small stature, but because they’re so hyperactive, they use up their energy quickly.
This can be remedied if you feed them in small portions multiple times a day. Make sure to go to the vet once your puppy reaches adulthood so they can determine your pups calorie needs.
ShiChi’s are also at risk for breathing issues like luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, and cataracts. Overall your ShiChi will likely be healthy over the long-term.
Since ShiChi’s are small, they don’t have high-calorie needs. This also means they’re at a higher risk of becoming obese, so care should be taken when feeding these pups on a regular basis. As already mentioned, small portions multiple times a day is optimal for them.
Vets will recommend between 140 to 325 calories of protein-rich, high-quality dog food every day. Pay attention to your dogs’ activity levels as the more they like to play, the more they’ll want to and need to eat. Usually, a half a cup to a cup of food per day is recommended for a Shi Chi.
However, pay attention to the number of calories in your dogs’ food as opposed to how many cups you should feed them per day, as dog food will vary significantly in calories. You won’t want to accidentally overfeed your dog because you were going by measurements instead of calories.
As Family Pets
ShiChi’s love to be the center of attention in your household, so give them lots of love, but are they going to be a good match for your family?
- The ShiChi is friendly, fun dogs that love everyone, including children and other pets.
- Proper socialization will ensure they don’t bark every time someone comes to the door.
- They don’t require a lot of room. A small apartment is optimal to house them.
- Grooming requirements are low if their coat is short and high is their fur is long.
- Weekly baths are also required for longer coats.
- ShiChi’s don’t shed, so they can be considered hypoallergenic.
- Playing is a ShiChi’s favorite way to get exercise!
- Make sure they get at least 30 minutes a day of rigorous playing.
- Lazy is a foreign word to the ShiChi. These are active pups!
- Shichi’s personality will be big dogs in a small package.
- These pups require a lot of love and praise.
- Health problems are very minimal, and most of them have to do with being overweight or old age.
- As long as they’re well looked after when they’re young, most health problems are unlikely to develop.
- Finding a reputable breeder will make it easier to track the parentage of your puppy.
- Since the ShiChi isn’t prone to health issues, but it’s always easier to investigate before you buy.
If this sounds like the companion you want to take home, keep reading below on how to find one!
Breeders & Puppy Prices
It won’t be challenging to find the ShiChi anywhere in North America, as most of their owners live in that continent. They are also a cheaper dog breed on average.
A reputable breeder is essential for a mixed breed because you’ll want to see the papers of their purebred parents. As mentioned, great breeding isn’t necessary with the ShiChi because they aren’t known to have health problems. If you’re not interested in getting your puppy from a breeder, you could search for rescues. Contact your local Chihuahua and Shih Tzu clubs for local breeders and rescues.
Since both the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua are popular breeds, you could find a rescue pretty easily. They are more likely to be adopted than larger breeds, so if you see one in the shelter, I would go down and adopt right away.
This option is cheaper, with the only negative not knowing the parents of the dog. Still, these pets will need loving homes and will be great companions, whether they’re purebred or not. Check out the Chihuahua Rescue and Transport or the Shih Tzu Rescue Inc for more information about rescues.
If you want a happy little guy who always requires your love, attention, and affection look no further than the ShiChi. These cute, lovable toy-sized companions will work great for anyone who hasn’t owned a dog in the past as they require little training and barely any exercise.
Keep in mind that the parents of the ShiChi make excellent guard dogs, which probably means your dog will be one as well. Proper socialization and training will make sure your pup won’t bark at strangers. However, it’s more likely that your pup will jump into the arms of anyone who walks into your door.
If you hate yappy, noisy dogs, you’re a busy professional, or you have very young children I would recommend passing them up. Their attention requirements are very high (it’s why I mentioned it twice) and will do poorly with any owner who leaves them alone for long periods of time. If you’re not good at implementing positive reinforcement while training, this breed will grow to resent you.
Inadequate training could cause your puppy to get “small dog syndrome,” which is commonly found in untrained small dogs. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting this; you won’t want a princess on your hands!
However, if you have children that are older than 8, have allergies or are hypersensitive to dander, have a small amount of space, can walk them daily and have enough patience to train them they’ll be perfect for you!