Known as the Teddy Bear Dog, the Shichon is a crossbreed between the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise.
Other name combinations would be Shih Tzu-Bichon Mix and Zuchon, but basically, they all refer to this cuddly, playful, and all in all cute doggo that could just melt your heart every time.
A relatively young breed combination, the Shichon has only been around for around 20 to 30 years and is believed to have first been bred in the United States.
Although not yet considered a breed of its own, it may well soon become established since more and more are opting to have this particular mix breed as their pet and companion.
And why not? They are such adorable pets.
With a height that can range from 9 to 12 inches and weight that can range from 9 to 15 pounds, this breed can fit into any household, whether it be a loft or a studio apartment in the city or a farmhouse with a huge space to run around in.
Shichons also have relatively long lives that range from 12 to 18 years or more.
So, you can expect many great memories and awesome stories from these cuddly lumps of fur.
It is said that they take after their Shih Tzu parent in terms of size, making the Zuchon quite portable and easy to manage.
Usually, a combination of black, cream, apricot, white, grey, reddish-black, chocolate, and tan, their fluffy, silky coat is mostly curly and soft that you may be tempted to keep petting this loveable dog for hours on end.
Some come in a solid color, but they are still equally cute and adorable. Some Shichon might even change coloring once it starts to enter a more mature age.
They are characterized by their hanging ears, a black button nose, an average length tail that tends to curl towards their back and, gleaming brown eyes that just beckons you to play or gives off the most irresistible puppy dog eyes ever, literally!
Setting aside the fact that this dog breed is just cuteness on four legs, let us discuss further why this particular breed will make an amazing addition to your family.
Great Temperament and Loves to Show Affection
It is said that Shichons are blessed to have inherited their friendly disposition of the Bichon Frise.
Being such, the Shichon a very approachable, adorable dog and easy to handle.
They have great intuition and can respond accordingly.
They do not give off any overwhelming vibes and thus make for great companions and are said to help people who have stress and anxiety issues or those who need emotional support.
They are also fiercely loyal and will be by your side to snuggle and show affection, especially in need.
This breed makes for a great companion and playmate for kids because of their fun and playful nature.
They do not get overly excited, rambunctious, or hyperactive.
Hence, they make great introductory pets to people who have not had any experience of owning or being with pets or those who get overwhelmed easily.
Since they are a friendly breed, these dogs make great companion dogs not just for humans but also to their fellow dogs.
They require socialization and playtime with other dogs to maintain their welcoming traits.
A Shichon can be like a child from time to time, following you from one room to another, and show you that you are its whole world.
It will snuggle with you and give kisses, especially when they sense that their humans feel down or need to be consoled.
They can also be highly protective despite their size.
They make for great watchdogs and will alert you if anything suspicious is happening or if there is anything that is cause for alarm.
Very Trainable and Learns Commands Easily
This dog breed is known for being very intelligent and can learn commands easily.
However, their playful nature can sometimes get in the way of training, so you have to bring with you extra amounts of patience while the dog is in training.
You have to invest time to get the dog to familiarize and learn the tricks and commands, and you have to be consistent and follow through with the training.
Being firm and constant in implementing the training techniques will help the dog learn faster.
It is also a good trick to device positive reinforcement techniques like giving treats as a reward for good performance or good behavior.
It is always an advantage to start training your dog while young.
Not only will this enhance their already friendly nature, but it will help them in staying in touch with their sensitive nature, as well.
Potty training can easily be achieved by using potty pads if you are keeping them indoors, or you can also lead them to go outside or on a leash if they need to do their business.
Some people have successfully training their Shichons to use actual toilets, but that may be too much for a non-professional to handle.
Grooming is a Breeze
Despite being all such a fluffball, Shichons do not shed like other dog breeds.
This means that you will not be finding tufts of dog hair all over your bed or furniture, and you will not need to follow your dog around with a broom or vacuum.
They are also a hypoallergenic breed, which only means you can enjoy its company even if you suffer from allergies.
However, they require regular grooming, especially around the eye area, where they tend to grow excess hair.
If left unattended, this may cause vision impairment or can lead to an eye infection. So, a visit to the groomers should be done once every month.
Clipping of hair can be done once every three months to preserve the curls’ lusciousness and silkiness and prevent getting too shaggy and unruly.
If you are one who loves kisses and enjoys face-to-face interactions with your dog, brushing its teeth is essential once every other day so that tartar build-up will be prevented.
As for the nails, trimming or filing them down once every two weeks is necessary, but they will naturally wear down their nails more often.
A once-a-week brush session is advised to keep the hair from getting tangled or matted.
Bathing can be done once a month, but no more than that. Overbathing dogs can cause their skin to dry out, leading to irritation and overall discomfort to your dog.
Try using a pet-safe shampoo, which will help clean out any oil and debris caught into the dog’s coat.
After, apply some conditioner so that the hairs retain their smoothness and then brush it out while the hair is still a little wet so that the hair does not get tangled.
Being a small dog breed, Shichons may need an extra layer of clothing during cold weather, so it is good to pick up a sweater or two.
Health Considerations Are Minimal
The Shichon have relatively sturdy health and, with proper care, will maintain this healthy and robust stature for a long time.
They are considered one of the healthiest dog breeds and only require occasional visits to the vet.
There are some things that you have to look out for, as the Shichon has also inherited some of its parents’ common health problems.
It tends to have sensitive skin like dryness, which can later become inflamed or irritated.
You can look out for any manifestations, particularly around the ears, feet, and anal region.
It is important to use pet-friendly products when caring for this dog.
Also, as earlier mentioned, they may have some issues with their eyesight due to the overgrowth or hyper-growth of the hair around their eyes.
As a small dog breed, they can also be prone to fractures, hip dysplasia, or bones’ dislocation.
So be mindful when going about or playing with your dog.
Due to this particular dog breed’s high tendency to become obese, having patellar luxation is also high.
This happens when the knee cap rides outside the femoral groove when the knee’s position is flexed.
This occurs because the leg of the dog is having difficulty in bearing the body weight.
Although they may not outwardly show signs of pain or distress and may even be able to relieve the pressure by kicking their leg, the dog is still experiencing some discomfort.
During their more advanced age, they may develop cataracts and have chronic dry eye.
This can be potentially dangerous as the tear glands’ ability to produce tears is impaired, and the much-needed lubrication for the eyes is not supplied.
This can lead to trauma in the eye itself. This may result from medication, so be wary before supplying your dog with over the counter cures.
Shichon Can Fit Any Lifestyle
The size of the Shichon makes it a great pet for the urban dweller who does not have a vast amount of space to let their dog run free.
It can easily fit into any dog carrier suited for mobility needs and does not require too much space for you to house them.
They are also not so demanding about physical activities.
This breed only needs around five miles of walking a week and at least 45 minutes of running and playing every day.
They love doing fetch and doing tricks to burn off any extra energy they may have and help keep obesity at bay.
Despite being playful, the Shichon is a pretty calm breed and is not excitable.
They do not bark incessantly, unlike most small dog breeds, which can get quite annoying.
They are also adaptable to their surroundings and are generally considered one of the most well-mannered canine companions, even in a small household.
Their ability sense when their human is down or is experiencing any distress makes them a perfect fit for those who cannot easily articulate their emotions.
Since they hardly tend to seek prey or be dominant, they go wonderfully well and co-exist with other household pets.
They are not an aggressive breed, which makes them a good playmate for children as they tend to be very careful and very tender towards their humans.
However, it is always recommended that playtime be supervised to avoid any physical harm due to the dog’s small size and fragile physique.
A drop, even from a short height, may cause physical injury on the dog.
Shichons are acknowledged as the perfect breed if you lead a very hectic and fully packed schedule as they do not need hours on end to get the required exercise time.
They can even complete their requirement in a small space. A few tosses with a ball or several minutes walking around the apartment will suffice nicely.
They also do not need too much attention; however, they also tend to develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.
To combat any boredom, it is essential to have a variety of chew toys so that the dog will not resort to chewing on your slipper or your furniture.
Their caring, loving, and loyal nature and the fact that they do not require too much extraneous physical activity makes them suitable companion dogs for seniors.
Although lauded for being a family pet, Shichons will also be a wonderful fit for single individuals.
They live for cuddles and give their full attention to their humans.
They are surely an amazing source of entertainment and delight and, at the same time, can become mellow depending on what it can gather from its surroundings and the behavior of its human.
Feedings and Dietary Needs
Speaking of chewing on things, a Shichon’s diet is that for a small breed of dogs with fairly high energy.
They are usually fed with high-quality dry food. Keeping a regular schedule and diet is essential because this breed tends to overheat.
Maybe it is because of their cuteness that their humans can not say no to them, especially when they start begging, cuddling, and nuzzling for treats.
But you have to be steadfast in keeping the diet; otherwise, your dog may become obese or suffer some other illness like heart disease or diabetes.
The dietary requirement for these dogs will change depending on their age.
It is best to consult with your veterinarian to fully understand the dog’s feeding requirements and if they will need any additional supplements or vitamins.
Remember, dogs may have different dietary requirements, depending on their weight, size, energy level, and overall health.
So, take your pup to the vets for a complete assessment.
Depending on the parents’ pedigree and the generation level of the dog, a Shichon puppy can come within the 1,000 USD range.
You have to do plenty of research into your breeder’s background if you opt to purchase a puppy through a breeder.
There are lots of scams and backyard breeders who are not entirely sure of how they go about inbreeding Shichons or are not practicing safe and healthy breeding techniques.
Be wary of buying puppies over the internet or in pet stores as they may be a product of a puppy mill.
These are commercial breeding operations that give no regard to the safety and temperament of the dogs.
They only care about the profits and do not consider if the mother’s body has been overworked from the pregnancy.
So, you have to take time and make an actual visit to the breeder in order to make sure that they are observing ethical practices.
Another way to go about in order to acquire this breed is through adoption.
Yes, even if this is a mixed breed, there are organizations or humane societies that shelter rescued animals.
You just have to be extra patient in looking for and pairing with the right Shichon.
The cost of adoption could be anywhere between 75 USD to 250 USD.
This usually includes services such as vaccinations, deworming, spay or neutering procedures, and, in some cases, even heartworm testing.
Adopting comes with additional perks because the dog may have already had some previous training, and the puppy phase of stubbornness may have already passed.
In conclusion, this pint-sized pup may be small in its packaging, but it will be willing to go above and beyond when it comes to showing love and affection.
It is low maintenance, fiercely loyal and protective, and will stand by your side, especially when you need it the most. Overall, the Shichon is the teddy bear that will melt your heart.