This could be long-haired or short-haired and it might vary in looks a whole lot, but one thing is certain, the Chihuahua Shih Tzu Mix is a friendly, social, ball of happiness. He’ll spice up your life, warm your lap and your heart, all without eating more than a cup of food per day.
Indeed, if you are an apartment dweller, or retired and traveling in an RV, this is the dog that can go with you and enjoy traveling with you. He’s got a few exercise requirements and is a relatively healthy dog with a personality that you cannot help but chuckle at.
The Chihuahua in him will be quite the ham and even a party animal from time to time, but the Shih Tzu in him will keep him a lap dog that much prefers creature comforts to the life of a watchdog. You’ll understand exactly what we mean as we explore more about each of the parent breeds and the things that your little mix is going to inherit.
Everything about this puppy is adorable, even his name – the ShiChi. Let’s talk about this little one’s mom and dad separately and then we’ll see which traits are likely to pass to your little one.
He’s Mighty and Fierce – He’s The Loyal Chihuahua
This tiny breed has been a favorite breed of Mexico for many generations. He’s gained popularity all over the world because of the way that he is tiny enough to go with you everywhere, and his ability to keep your home and yard free of rodents. In fact, he may be small, but the Chihuahua is an amazing little watchdog.
He ranks 33 in popularity, out of 193 breeds recognized by the AKC. He lives a long life, averaging 14 to 16 years of age and he will never weigh more than six pounds, with some of the teacup varieties barely reaching a pound.
The Chihuahua is both long or short-haired, depending on the genetics and bloodlines from which your dog comes from. The long-haired might resemble a Papillion to some people familiar with that breed.
Regardless of genetics, he will typically fall between five and eight inches tall at the shoulder. Again, teacup varieties may be smaller, barely reaching 4 inches tall at the top of their tiny heads.
One of the most common traits of the Chihuahua is its tiny head that is apple-shaped. You would note that when you pet them, touching your hand to their head is much like grasping an apple in both size and shape.
In personality, they are often referred to as a big dog in a tiny body. The Chihuahua is almost always ready to take on anything, having characteristics of terriers.
They’ll stand ready when challenged and videos of them frightening bears and even lions can be found on social media. This is why they are treasured in their homeland and all over the world.
The spunky personality of this little watchdog enables them to live in places that a much bigger dog could not, while still giving owners a watchdog.
Hailing from ancestry that included The Techichi, dogs originally kept by the ancient Toltecs. The Chihuahua is smaller but likely inherited that terrier tenacity he’s known for from the Techichi. The Aztecs overcame the Toltecs and destroyed them, inheriting the Techichi dogs and began breeding them to be smaller.
The Spanish Conquistadors eventually defeated Montezuma’s army and took over the lands of the Aztecs and it was though the originally Techichi was lost.
The dog’s tenacity, however, kept it alive and thriving in some small villages and places it had found some small footholds. It was preserved and continued to thrive and became the dog we see today.
The Aztecs and the Spanish, by way of conquest, are therefore credited with responsibility for the Chihuahua that you see today.
The breed was given the name Chihuahua for the region in which it was found again, thriving and popular among the people. The Chihuahua differs from many breeds of dogs in that he prefers a clan atmosphere of dogs like himself.
He much prefers the company of other Chihuahuas over other breeds of dogs.
Most dogs will accept other breeds readily and thrive in any pack. Chihuahuas are often seen as the odd man out and shirking the advances of other dog breeds who try to become friends.
This may be from the ancient genetics that helped them thrive as wild dogs, separating themselves from wolves and coyotes.
They are alert and highly intelligent. They also tend to lean toward the terrier personality so you shouldn’t let them get by with things because you think they are cute.
In fact, train Chihuahua puppies as soon as you bring them home and if you have other pets in the house, socialize them very early on to help them get beyond that clannish behavior that they’re known for.
They learn quickly and they enjoy pleasing their people, despite sometimes being labeled as a headstrong breed.
From little exercise to table scraps, it’s pretty easy for a Chihuahua’s weight to surpass the recommended 6 pounds. Besides the scale, you can tell if your chihuahua is overweight by examining its abdomen for the pooch.
Another way to tell is when you struggle to feel their bones when touching their shoulders, spine, or hips.
Slimming down can be complex, but at its core, it’s just calories consumed vs. calories burned. By reducing table scrapes and treats, you reduce the number of calories they eat in a day.
Then, by giving them more exercise, you increase their burned calories. When your pup is burning more calories than they are eating, they’ll use that excess fat for energy instead, resulting in weight loss.
The Luxurious Lap Dog – The Shih Tzu
This little dog is known for his affection and playful, loving spirit. Your lap is his favorite place to be and in the center of your world is where he dwells, often inserting himself into your space and demanding attention.
He will seem to have intuitiveness that you never knew a dog could possess, looking into your soul with his chocolate brown eyes that lovingly display his affection for you, moments before chewing a hole in your favorite blanket.
He’s truly loveable but spunky. They settle into wonderful adults who are rarely far from their owners but they can be quite a fuzzy handful as babies.
The Shih Tzu has very long, flowing hair that can extend to the floor and drape their face, drawing over their eyes as a curtain closed at dusk.
They need regular brushing and grooming, with either their hair pulled up into bows over their eyes so that they can see, or to be clipped so that their eyes are not completely grown over and renders them unable to see where they are going.
They often are seen as obnoxious by people who don’t know the breed. While they certainly do look like royalty when freshly groomed, they are like any other dog.
The Shih Tzu is of Chinese origin, lives 10 to 18 years, and weighs in at nine to sixteen pounds. When fully grown, he’ll be approximately nine to ten inches tall. He’s the perfect size to fit in your lap and that was essentially what he was bred for.
It is believed that he is a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingnese. Shih Tzu literally translates to “Lion Dog” and when he is clipped as such, he certainly looks the part of a tiny lion.
He graced the laps of many emperors and dignitaries, mostly bred as a companion animal due to is gentle, affectionate nature. He has been a beloved companion dog ever since.
Often, the Shih Tzu was given as a gift to dignitaries and world leaders, having been one of the most prized possessions of the emperor it was considered the ultimate gift that could be bestowed upon anyone.
Regal in appearance, long on personality, and short on faults, the Shih Tzu continues to be one of the most cherished dogs in the world.
Always in favor of those who breed and show dogs, as well as a favored pet of apartment dwellers, the Shih Tzu is very solid and in no danger of being lost like so many other breeds have been.
Shih Tzus will do well on any high-quality dog food but can have a tendency to over-indulge so take care to ensure that he gets daily walks and isn’t allowed to eat more than he needs. This will help to ensure that they live a very long and healthy life.
Being that they can live as long as 16 years, sometimes extra consideration to their needs should be taken.
Give them joint supplements starting early in life and do all that you can to keep them in good health by maintaining physical fitness. They, being lap dogs, can become lazy and enjoy lying about all day long.
When training him, you’ll note that your Shih Tzu will do anything for a treat, but this can lead to weight gain, so make sure to cut back on meals when doing a lot of training with him.
He’s very intelligent and loves to learn. You’ll find it easy to work with your Shih Tzu. If you use a reward-based, positive training style, he’ll be very receptive to learning new things.
In fact, he’s a social little dog that will get along with all other breeds and won’t mind other types of household pets either.
He enjoys pleasing you and spending time with you is his main goal, so he will work hard to please you whenever he can. These little dogs can be like velcro at times and if you love a cuddle bug, the Shih Tzu is it.
He isn’t much of a watchdog though he may bark at a car in the driveway. It is less of a trait for them to be barky, however. As the AKC says, “when you own a Shih Tzu, you own a little piece of Chinese history.”
He’s a great family dog, good with children and other pets, but equally happy to live with a retired couple in a home that is relatively calm and boring. AS long as he’s in your lap, he’s a happy dog.
The ShiChi Mix – Perfect For You?
This little mixed designer breed is going to win your heart, just you wait and see. He’s tenacious, a trait of both breeds, he’s also a cuddler who loves his people the most, also a trait of both breeds.
Where he might vary the most, would include his looks. Depending on which parent he takes after, his ears could be long and erect, or flop over like those of the Shih Tzu. His face will typically be round and the length of his fur may be short or long.
In some cases where long fur is present, it can sometimes be wavy. This is a Shih Tzu trait that sometimes comes shining through.
Colors can range from browns, blacks, whites with patches of gray, brown, or black. They may be solid colors of anything in the middle.
It’s also not uncommon for a Shih Tzu to be a dark color as a puppy and become lighter in color as he grows. Understand that your ShiChi puppy may change somewhat as he or she grows.
Since both parents of this cute little baby are small dogs, it is more likely that your ShiChi will remain under 15pounds. The range might be from 6 pounds to 16 pounds, however. They will also live for a very long time.
Please, don’t get a ShiChi puppy unless you are prepared to take care of them for as long as 16 years.
They live a very long time, certainly much longer than big breeds, and they are as deserving of your love and attention as an old dog as when they were puppies.
You might also be interested in seeking out rescue groups to find out if older dogs are available for adoption.
Sometimes they end up in a rescue when their owners die or go to nursing homes, or simply when families find that life has changed and they can no longer keep a dog.
Do your best to plan ahead and ensure that a family member is willing to ensure that your beloved ShiChi is taken care of in the event that your life changes or ends unexpectedly.
Remember that this breed is a very long commitment and you should be prepared for that.
Their personality is a mix of both parents; spunky, energetic, intelligent, playful, and very affectionate, the ShiChi is a precious addition to any family. They are gentle, sometimes fragile, and also very feisty.
This doesn’t always make a great combination with small children. They aren’t recommended in homes with small children, though they can be excellent friends to older children who understand how to properly treat a pet, being gentle and calm with them.
Small dogs are loving and they typically have a very sweet nature but they are also fragile because they are so small. When small children get rough, albeit unintentionally, small dogs can get nippy and snap while trying to defend themselves from being hurt.
Parents should either hold off on getting a puppy or choose a larger breed that can handle the rough play of children.
ShiChis are smart and also can be somewhat headstrong due to the protective Chihuahua in their parentage. You should be prepared to work on socialization and training to prevent negative tendencies toward possessiveness of toys and food.
Working from the time your puppy is very small and continuing training into adulthood is the best way to ensure that your ShiChi is always a well-behaved member of the family.
Chihuahuas are known for being barky little dogs. Your ShiChi is apt to be an expressive little do, both in personality and via the mouth. Training will help you avoid those trying times when your ShiChi is barking at anything that the wind blows.
You should work on distractions from barking very early on. The more you socialize and train your dog, the fewer problems will arise with barking as an adult.
When it comes to training, work with positive training methods and you should seek help from a trainer to teach you if you have no experience of your own in dog training. It is never too early to start training.
Begin on day one, even if your puppy is only 8 weeks old. Some trainers will come to your home and begin working with you when your puppy is not yet vaccinated to venture out to group classes with other dogs.
You’ll want to ensure that your dog is always exercised and kept moving. They have a tendency to get lazy, especially as they grow older. They enjoy snuggling and sleeping, which can lead to weight management issues.
To ensure that they remain in good health, see to it that your ShiChi gets out of the house and has some supervised play and exercise time. It’s a great excuse for you to get off the sofa and take a walk yourself.
Just twenty minutes of play and exercise each day is enough to ensure that your ShiChi stays happy and healthy, remaining calm indoors and easy to keep in any environment, including small apartments.
The ShiChi can adapt to any lifestyle but will be most happy when he is near you. Have puzzle toys for him so that he is mentally worn-out too.
These have been proven to increase IQ and exhaust them mentally, as well as physically. This leads to a far more calm animal.
Caring for your ShiChi may differ slightly depending on whether he has inherited a smooth coat (short hair) or a long coat of fur.
Brushing will range from once per week to 3-5 times weekly depending on the fur your dog has. The more you brush, the healthier and shiny the coat will stay.
You should also brush more often if they spend time outdoors where many things can get caught and tangled in the fur causing matted areas. These will get worse until they pull and tear at skin and need to be cut out by a groomer.
Trim the nails at least once per month. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a toothpaste made for dogs. Small dogs tend to have more problems with their teeth than larger breeds do.
This may be due to owners feeding more canned food to smaller dogs that lead to tartar on the teeth.
Be watchful for any signs of tartar and tooth decay. Your veterinarian can help you and also make certain to only use toothpaste made for dogs. Fluoride in human toothpaste is very bad for dogs.
Many small dogs lose their teeth in old age and since the ShiChi lives for a long time, you should do all you can to ensure that he keeps his teeth for as long as he possibly can.
Losing their teeth can lead to other health problems that makes their lives more difficult and forces you to feed them special diets of soft food for the rest of their lives.
Regular bathing and ear cleaning should also be done every 4 to 6 weeks. This is a good time to check teeth, nails and check them all over for bumps, knots, and any abnormalities.
Most owners catch cancerous tumors during these sorts of body checks that can be as simple as an all-body massage. It’s a great bonding time and a chance for you to look for ticks and splinters between the toes, in the ears and so forth.
The ShiChi is adorable, loyal, lovable, and intelligent. He makes a wonderful dog in homes without tiny children. He can have some guarding instincts and barking behavior inherited from the chihuahua parentage.
Overall, these behaviors can be mitigated with early training and socialization.
He may not be a perfect breed for someone who has never had a dog before as these behaviors can be challenging for someone who is not a strong pack leader.
If your heart is set on a ShiChi, do a lot of research and preparation. Be sure that you can handle the training, the grooming, the exercise and the commitment that will last for as long as 16 years of your life.
That’s a very long time and some people have no idea where they will be in 16 years. Be prepared to make that commitment and you’ll have the chance to spend many years with a wonderful little dog that will add a lot to your life.