The Shih Tzu/Chihuahua hybrid – generally knows as the Shichi – is one of the more unusual Shih Tzu crosses, although its popularity is increasing. But what this small dog lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in personality – the Shichi is friendly, fun-loving and fearless. Extremely loyal, he wants to be around his humans at all times, and he's more than willing to take on a guard dog role when required (he may be tiny, but he's got quite the bark!).
The Shichi is perfect for families, singletons and the elderly, and is great with children (although his small size means that playtime with children should always be supervised so he doesn't accidentally get injured). In fact, Shichis are so small that they require fewer than thirty minutes of exercise per day. This can either be a short walk, or indoor or outdoor playtime. The Shichi will be perfectly happy with a mostly indoor life as long as he has enough toys and interaction with humans (and other animals, if there are any) to keep him occupied.
Diet & Health
Shichis typically grow to around 8-10 inches and weigh between just 3-9lbs, making their dietary requirements fairly minimal. Dry kibble is recommended as it's better for oral health, but the Shichi diet can be supplemented with some wet food if required. Health wise, most Shichis shouldn't experience major health problems, but can suffer from issues associated with their respective breeds, such as respiratory problems and eye conditions.
The Shichi coat varies considerably and can be short or long, and come in a wide range of colors. Shichis don't shed very much, so regular grooming is needed to keep the coat in good condition. Bathing is also fine, but owners should remember that these little dogs get cold easily so should be dried thoroughly and kept warm if exposed to water.
When it comes to training, Shichis are generally willing and enthusiastic. However, training must be fun for them or they're likely to lose interest. Owners should start the training process early and remain calm and patient at all times. Positive reinforcement is what works for these little dogs, so ensure there's plenty of praise and treats on hand to reward progress. Like other Shih Tzu crosses, the Shichi can have difficulties with housetraining, which may take a little more time. Again, patience and encouragement is required here.
Shichis are known to be a little bit on the yappy side (that's the Chihuahua in them!), so potential owners should be aware that they can be somewhat noisy. However, they are fiercely loyal, playful and hugely engaging, making them enormously rewarding companions for anyone who can appreciate their particular quirks.
The average Shichi life expectancy is between 12-15 years.
The Shichi is sometimes referred to as a Chi-Tzu or Chi-Shi.
The Shichi's face can vary a lot depending on breeding – they can resemble Shih Tzus or have the narrower, more pointed faces of their Chihuahua parent.