The Shichon (sometimes referred to as a Zuchon) is a hybrid 'designer' cross between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frisé. The Shichon combines many of the best characteristics of its respective breeds, with both being known for their friendly dispositions and outgoing nature.
Loyal and affectionate, the Shichon makes a great family pet (although, due to its small size, it's more suitable for older children than younger ones since it could easily be accidentally injured). Shichons are generally fine with other dogs and family pets, and they're very adaptable to different living environments.
Although they have plenty of energy and love to play, Shichons don't need a huge amount of space or a great deal of outdoor exercise. As long as they're getting short walks and enough indoor playtime and attention from their owners, they'll be perfectly content. And at the end of a busy day of playing, the Shichon loves nothing better than curling up on any available lap for his naptime cuddles!
Diet & Health
Like other Shih Tzu crosses, the Shichon needs regular grooming, and it's common for the Shichon coat to be curly. The coat color and markings for this breed can vary considerably, but can be any combination of cream, tan, gray/silver, red/black, and chocolate. Shichons shed very little and are hypoallergenic, so they're a great choice for those with allergies.
The Shichon generally weighs between 12-14lbs and grows to a height of around 12 inches. Their diet is similar to that of other small dog breeds. Wet food is not recommended as, like Shih Tzus, the Shichon cross can tend to have dental problems. Instead, they should be fed high quality dry kibble suitable for these small but high-energy dogs.
As well as oral health issues, Shichons can have problems with cataracts, hypothyroidism and respiratory problems. However, on the whole they are healthy breed with a longer than average life expectancy of between 15-18 years.
Shichons are intelligent and capable of learning and responding well to commands. However, they're not always the easiest dogs to train! Housetraining can take some time, and owners will need to be patient, as this breed does not respond well to negative reinforcement.
Owners should focus on being calm and consistent in their approach to training, and start the process as early as possible. The Shichon puppy should be praised frequently, and given the opportunity to interact with people and other dogs to improve his socialisation. With some time and work, the Shichon will more than reward his owner with his tricks and well-mannered behavior.
While the Shichon has only started growing in popularity over the last decade, both the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frisés have long histories. The Shih Tzu can be traced back as far as 800BC, while the Bichon Frisé – itself descended from the much larger Standard Poodle and Barbet – originated in the 1300s.
Shichons are frequently referred to as 'teddy bear' dogs because of their adorably fluffy coats and sweet faces!
As well as sometimes being called Zuchons, this cross is also occasionally referred to as a Tzu Frise (but Shichon is still the most common name).