If you’re looking for a compact family dog that’s both playful and affectionate, look no further than the Shichon. Also known as a Zuchon or Tzu Frise, the Shichon is small, packed with personality and always up for a good time.
This adorable mixed breed is certainly one of a kind, but that doesn’t mean he’s the right dog for everyone.
Here are 15 things you should know before getting a shichon.
1. The Shichon Is Considered A Designer Dog
Shichon dogs are not purebreds nor mutts.
The Shichon is not a purebred nor is he a mutt. In fact, the Shichon is what many consider to be a “designer dog”, also known as a hybrid dog or cross breed. These dogs are the direct offspring of two purposefully chosen purebred parents.
Though crossbreeding has been going on for centuries, (practically since the beginning of canine domestication), it has recently become a topic of controversy amongst dog breeders and enthusiasts.
Originally, the practice of crossbreeding was designed to perfect certain traits and to ultimately create a purebred dog. However, this practice often took generations of breeding to perfect, and the first and second generation offspring of two different breed dogs were generally not sold or considered much more than mutts or mixes.
However, in more recent years, first and second generation crossbreeds like the Shichon have become quite popular, hitching rides in the purses of celebrities and selling for thousands of dollars.
Due to the unpredictability of first and second generation crossbreeds like the Shichon, there is some controversy surrounding the practice. However, there are also some benefits. Many experts readily admit that it’s likely crossbreeds are healthier than purebreds.
Still, others disagree, insisting that genetics cannot be predicted either way and both crossbreeds and purebreds have just as much chance of suffering from genetic illnesses.
The debate is ongoing, but regardless, hybrid dogs like the Shichon continue to grow in popularity, joining homes worldwide as beloved members of their family.
2. The Shichon Is A Mix Between the Bichon Frise and The Shih Tzu
The Shichon is a cross between the purebred Bichon Frise and the purebred Shih Tzu. Both dogs are small, playful and affectionate, but they are also quite different from one another.
Let’s learn more about each unique breed to get a better idea of the variety of traits your Shichon may inherit.
The Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise dogs are clever comedians.
The Bichon Frise is an ancient dog with quite a history. It is believed his ancestors hailed from the Canary Islands, and enamored sailors are responsible for bringing this dog over into Europe.
In his early days, the Bichon spent his life quite literally in the lap of luxury. He was a noble dog with a noble family, where his duties included being adorable and adored. A clever comedian, the Bichon also has a history of being a circus performer. He excels in show and is an ever faithful companion who loves people of all ages and gets on well with other dogs.
Height: 9.5 – 11.5 inches
Weight: 12 – 18 lbs
Coat: White, curly, hypoallergenic
Life Span: 14 – 15 years
Personality: Spirited, affectionate, curious and funny
The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is especially fond of children.
The sweet and outgoing Shih Tzu was as beloved in his early days as an Imperial dog of China as he is today by his devoted fans. Knowing nothing but centuries of royalty and spending days on the laps of nobles being spoiled rotten, the Shih Tzu is a keen and devoted companion dog who is just the right size and temperament for families.
In fact, Shih Tzu’s are known to be especially fond of children, though it’s important youngsters are taught how to properly interact with any dog to ensure all get along safely and happily.
Shih Tzu dogs are revered as much for their incredible temperament as they are for their beauty, and their trainability and lavish coat make them instant hits at dog shows and competitions.
Height: 9 – 10.5 inches
Weight: 9 – 16 lbs
Coat: Long, soft, multi-color options, hypoallergenic
Life Span: 10 – 18 years
Personality: Loving, sweet, good natured, playful
3. Shichon Dogs Are Very Affectionate and Know No Strangers
Shichons are very affectionate and love people.
Considering the traits of the Shichon’s parent breeds, it comes as no surprise that the Shichon himself is going to be an affectionate, loving, and playful dog. He knows no strangers and is always up for a great time.
That said, he can be quite vocal, but his bark is simply a greeting to welcome any and every passerby into your home. This could be problematic for some who wish for a more quiet dog, but many appreciate this dog’s inquisitive love of strangers and enjoy his friendliness.
The Shichon makes a wonderful companion to social families and those who have company often, as he can never get enough attention and action, and will love being the center of everyone’s affections.
4. Shichon Dogs Are Hypoallergenic and Great For Allergy Sufferers
Though their coat type may vary, Shichon dogs are considered hypoallergenic.
If you or any of your loved ones suffer from allergies, the Shichon is a great dog to consider. While his coat type may vary, both his purebred parent breeds are considered hypoallergenic, meaning they shed less than most other dog breeds and produce less allergy inducing dander in their fur.
That said, we should note that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, and all dogs shed to some degree, even the Shichon. Grooming is a must with this dense-coated dog, and it may be wise to invest in some lint rollers to keep that lush hair off of clothing and furniture from time to time.
5. The Shichon Dog’s Appearance May Vary
A Shichon’s coat could be very curly or long and flowy, and his appearance will vary depending on his genetics.
Though we can say with confidence that the Shichon will be a compact, hypoallergenic dog, there is very little else we can predict about this hybrid. Remember, he is a cross between two different purebred parents, and as such it is likely his appearance will vary.
This is especially true if you get a first or second generation Shichon. However, third and fourth generation Shichons should be more predictable when it comes to size, appearance, coat type, and health issues.
Let’s take a look at the likely traits your Shichon may have below.
Shichon Height: 9 – 11.5 inches
Shichon Weight: 9 – 18 Lbs
Shichon Coat Color: white, cream, apricot, black, white, brindle, liver, brown, gold, blue, or a combination.
Shichon Coat Type: Dense, long or dense and curly. Hypoallergenic, soft and silky.
Shichon Eye Color: Brown
6. The Shichon Is A Bit Vocal, But Can Do Well In Apartments
Shichons are adaptable to many different home styles.
Due to his compact size, the Shichon makes an excellent dog for apartment living. He does well in small spaces but can also thrive in larger homes too, making him very diverse and adaptable.
The Shichon is also a wonderful traveling companion and will enjoy riding alongside you on road trips as you explore the world.
However, the Shichon is also known to be quite the “watchdog” and has a habit of using his voice. While his barks are friendly, they can be problematic, especially in confined spaces with thin walls.
7. The Sichon Does Best In Homes With Families Who Are Home Often
Shichon dogs are great companions for those who work from home.
The Shichon is a bred companion dog, and as such he does best in homes where he can be around his family as often as possible. Shichon dogs can be prone to anxiety and stress if left alone for long periods, and may even be prone to exhibiting some undesirable behaviors like chewing, potty accidents and other behavioral issues due to separation anxiety.
Still, it’s also important to keep in mind that the Shichon is a bright dog who responds best to positive reinforcement training. Never scold a Shichon for anxiety related behavioral problems as this will only exacerbate the issue.
For busy families with a Shichon, we suggest investing in dog sitters or dog walkers who can visit once or twice a day to keep your Shichon company until you get home.
8. Though He Has A Decent Lifespan, The Shichon Can Be Prone To A Number of Serious Health Issues
Though mostly healthy and robust, the Shichon can be prone from some serious genetic health issues.
The average Shichon lives to be between 15 and 18 years, which is always a plus when it comes to looking for a family dog. He is also known to be an overall robust and healthy crossbreed, though there are some potentially serious health issues owners should be aware of.
These health issues include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
- Ear Infections
- Dental Issues
- Legg-Calve Perthes Disease
- Kartagener’s Syndrome
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Corneal Dryness
- Retinal Detachment
- And Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
To avoid facing potential devastating and expensive health issues in your Shichon, experts recommend going through reputable sources when purchasing a puppy or rescue dog and ensuring you follow up with routine veterinary exams and check ups.
You may also have your Shichon health screened for potential genetic health issues so that you can prepare or prevent any that he is most susceptible to.
9. Shichon Dogs Are Great For First Time Dog Owners
These little dogs are compact, portable, and very low maintenance.
Because of his fondness for people, his eagerness to please, and his low maintenance disposition, the Shichon dog makes a wonderful companion for first time dog owners. His compact size means he is low maintenance, and his hypoallergenic coat, when kept short, makes for easier grooming and upkeep.
The Shichon is also friendly with everyone and makes for an all around pleasant family addition. Though he may pick one person in the family he prefers, chances are he will be an “everyone” dog and enjoy being around anyone who gives him attention and love.
10. Like All Dogs, Shichon Dogs Should Be Trained and Well Socialized At An Early Age
Try and give your Shichon plenty of positive first-impressions and experiences to ensure he grows up happy and well rounded.
While the Shichon is famous for his naturally pleasant personality, he still requires consistent socializing and training at an early age to reduce anxiety and behavioral issues. Socialization is especially important for small dogs who may develop a big dog ego, or who may be easily skittish.
To socialize your Shichon properly, we recommend introducing him to as many new situations, people, places and things as often as possible and ensuring these introductions are pleasant and fun for him.
The more positive experiences your Shichon can have in his early life, the more well rounded and happier he will be as he ages.
As we mentioned briefly above, the Shichon does best with positive reinforcement training methods which induces lots of treats and praise. This is a dog who is eager to please and very trainable, though he can shut down if he feels he has disappointed you.
11. Shichon Dogs Need To Eat A Quality Dog Food Specified For Their Age, Weight and Activity Level
Diet is very important to your Shichon dog’s overall health.
While the Shichon is a notoriously healthy dog with a long lifespan, you can help improve on these good genes with a healthy diet.
There are plenty of dog food options available including wet food, dry food and even raw food. The type of dog food that is best for your Shichon will be based on his unique needs and lifestyle, but keep in mind that there are also some basic nutritional needs all dogs require in order to thrive.
The Shichon will do best on a dog food that is specified for his age, weight and activity level and that is free of any additives, dyes, byproducts, or fillers. If you’re not sure which type of dog food would be best for your dog, we suggest speaking with your veterinarian.
12. Though Small, Shichon Dogs Still Need Moderate Exercise
Shichon dogs need plenty of exercise and play time each and every day.
The Shichon may be small but he is certainly active. This curious, outgoing and friendly dog needs plenty of playtime and exercise each and every day to stay happy and healthy. He will also need lots of mental stimulation to keep him from getting bored and subsequently destructive.
A good, brisk walk once or twice a day should suffice when combined with plenty of playtime in or out of the house. The Shichon may also get good exercise following you from room to room, which he will likely do as his primary goal in life is to be by your side.
13. Shichons Make Excellent Additions To Families With Children and Other Pets
Shichons can do very well with gentle and respectful children.
Shih Tzu dogs in particular are known for being wonderfully affectionate with children, but so too are Bichon Frise breeds. As such, it is no surprise that their Shichon offspring would make a great addition to families with children.
Still, keep in mind that the Shichon is a smaller dog who could be easily injured if handled roughly. It’s very important to teach children how to respectfully interact with dogs to ensure everyone gets along safely and happily.
Along with children, the Shichon is also known to do well with other pets. He is a social dog through and through and will love having another doggy playmate in the home.
14. Shichons Will Need Routine Grooming To Stay Happy and Healthy
Most Shichons need to be bathed every few weeks.
The type of coat your Shichon has can vary between being very curly, like his Bichon parent breed, or soft and flowy, like his Shih Tzu parent. Or, it could fall somewhere in between.
Regardless of which type of coat he has, the Shichon will likely need plenty of routine grooming and brushing to keep him happy and healthy. If you wish to cut down on grooming and brushing time with your Shichon, you might consider keeping him in a puppy cut, which is often much easier to maintenan.
Still, even then your Shichon should be brushed at least once a week and bathed every few weeks with a quality dog shampoo and conditioner. He will also need his teeth routinely brushed with a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste, and his nails should be trimmed every few weeks to keep them from splitting or breaking.
Because The Shichon can also be prone to ear infections, it’s very important to keep his ears cleaned and free of moisture and debris. Check them often to ensure they are clean, and be careful when bathing your Shichon not to get excess water into his ear canals.
15. Shichon Puppies Can Be Pricey, But It’s Important Not To Cut Corners
Shichon puppies generally cost between $1,900 and $6,000.
When going through a reputable breeder, the Shichon can cost between $1,900 and $6,000. In fact, some people have reported spending upwards of $10,000 on their Shichon puppy.
The price will vary depending on the quality of the Shichon’s parent breeds and the breeder you go through, but it’s important not to cut corners when purchasing a Shichon puppy.
While breeders may cost more upfront, they are also often more diligent and responsible, and will even be able to offer you health certificates proving your Shichon has been health screened and cleared of any serious genetic health issues.
Of course, you also have the option of going through a rescue to find your Shichon. Many local shelters and rescues specialize in specific breeds and breed mixes, and with a bit of research you may be able to find the perfect shelter to adopt a Shichon dog.
There are many benefits of going through a rescue that far surpass the lower price. On average, rescues cost between $100 and $300 to adopt, and they often include free initial vet exames and dogs who have already been behaviorally tested and health screened.
Whichever route you choose to take when getting your Shichon dog, make sure you steer clear of backyard breeders or unqualified online sellers. This will help avoid potential disaster and the chance of you unwittingly supporting a puppy mill or winding up with a sick puppy, which could cost you more in the long run anyway.
The Top Products Every Shichon Dog Owner Needs
Help your Shichon thrive in your home by preparing for him before he arrives.
Have you decided that the Shichon is the right dog for you? When considering bringing a new puppy or rescue dog into your home, preparation is key. We suggest dog proofing your home at least two to three day before bringing a new dog in, and ensuring you have all the essentials like food bowls, playpens, crates, toys, bedding, and more.
To help you out, we have listed some of the top five products every Shichon parent needs to help their Shichon dog live his best life.
Take a look!
ThinkPet Choke Free Dog Harness
Because the Shichon is a smaller dog, he can be more susceptible to trachea collapse if undue pressure is put on his throat, especially during walks. For this reason, we highly recommend investing in a choke-free dog harness for eraser and safer outings.
The above harness by ThinkPet is not only safer and more comfortable for a Shichon dog, but it also comes in a variety of colors and sizes so you can ensure you get the perfect fit and style. We also like that it is made of soft, spongy material for breathability and comfort.
Lotus Small Bites Baked Dog Food
Lotus is a quality dog food brand that includes all natural ingredients and baked kibble, so the nutritional value is at its highest. We like this dog food for smaller dogs like the Sichon because it is easier for them to eat and digest. The dog food is also rich in protein and calories to support your small dog’s quick metabolism and keep up with his energy level.
The kibbles are also baked in small, uneven shapes, making it easier for flatter-faced dogs like the Sichon to pick them up and eat them.
Arm & Hammer Dog Toothbrush Kit
Smaller dogs like the Shichon are especially prone to tooth decay and other dental issues, so it’s very important to keep up with your dog’s routine dental care both at home and at the vet. Along with keeping your Shichon on a quality diet, you can help ensure his teeth are healthy by brushing after each meal.
The above toothbrush and toothpaste by Arm & Hammer is made for dogs and comes with a unique toothpaste that is safe to swallow and also flavored to make brushing a more pleasant experience.
YiXiEr Custom Dog Tag
It’s always important to ensure you microchip your dog as soon as you get him and make sure the information on his chip is correct. Along with microchipping, you can better protect your dog with a custom name tag for his collar.
We love these cute dog tag charms which allow you to get all your information down while also adding some personality and pizazz.
SAVFOX Plush Dog Bed
Last on our list is this plush and comfy dog bed by SAVFOX. The Shichon is a cuddler by nature, and he’ll love this super cozy bed that not only supports his joints, but also helps reduce anxiety and stress while his family is away.
The bed comes in different sizes and colors depending on your needs and is also machine washable, which is always a plus.
And that’s that!
So, what do you think now that you know more about the Shichon dog? Is this the perfect addition to your family and lifestyle? Share your thoughts with us about the Shichon hybrid in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.