Do you live in an apartment or a smaller house and have a somewhat insatiable love for little adorable dogs? If yes, then the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is for you. These dogs are also known as Shi Chis and are gaining increasing popularity as one of the more recent designer dog.
These little dogs are not only adorable, they are also exceptionally intelligent (even to the point of cunning!). Before you decide to take one home, it’s always important to find out more about the breed so you’re absolutely sure if it’s the right fit for your family, home, lifestyle and even your expectations.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mixes are also known as a toy dog – meaning one thing: they’re pretty tiny. Obviously, their size comes down to their ancestors, the Shih Tzu (one of the oldest breeds you can find in the world) and the Chihuahua who are both small dogs as well.
These dogs are can vary in size, but they are generally about 10 to 12 inches long and weigh anywhere from 5 to 18 pounds.
Since these dogs are of a mixed breed, their top coat and undercoat can vary slightly. Their undercoat resembles the Chihuahuas being shorter while their top coats resemble the Shih Tzu with medium to longer coats which are soft and wavy.
However, since they are a mix afterall, it is possible to get pups who have coats which resemble one of the types rather the other more.
The Shi Chi comes in a wide range of colors. They usually have a white coat with brown or tan markings, but they come in other colors as well. For example, they can be full white, full black, full brown, brown and white, cream colored or in very rare cases, tri-colored.
The only part of the Shi Chi which is distinctly Chihuahua is their head shape. They tend to have rounder heads like that of a Chihuahua. Their ears however can either be pointy or floppy, depending on how much of them are either Shih Tzu or Chihuahua.
One word: attention. This is what these little dogs need the most. Most of the things they do is for the love and play time they get with their moms and dads. The irony is, they love attention but tend to have a generally short attention span. They can sometimes get distracted and start to focus on other things, but with the proper training this shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Shih Tzu Chihuahuas can be mischievous little dogs, and their imagination is not one to be perceived as little due to their size. These little fellas are pretty intellectual, which means they like games which they need to think about. A dog puzzle will delight your shi chi more than anything.
Obviously every dog is different, but other than mischievous, these dogs are quite loyal. They can sometimes be a little bit childish and excitable. They love their families with their little big hearts as most dogs do, and they are pretty adaptable to love with any size of family. Due to their excitable nature, the shi chi will often yap when there are strangers present. However, they usually mean no harm – it’s more likely that they want your attention and love.
See: Feist Dog
Fair warning though, these little dogs can be a little rough when it comes to tumbling around with the younger kids. As much as your pup might like little Johnny over there, it’s best that you keep them away until they can handle the roughness of play, or let them play under careful supervision. Sometimes, the children can also get a little rough and these dogs can be delicate, so it’s best to keep an eye on them when they’re playing together.
Is It Easy To Train the Shi Chi?
As mentioned earlier, these dogs can be pretty bright. However, having them being a little too bright can be difficult. Yes, it’s kind of like a double edged sword. It’s important for you to remember that whenever you are training them, never show your frustrations with them.
If you do, it will give them the impression that they have the control over the situation and more importantly, you. That is exactly how smart and even cunning they are – so always be on the lookout!
One way to keep your short attention spanned dog on track is to give a lot of praise and make use of treats. When there are treats involved, your dog is most likely to stay focused and intent on learning.
See: Black Mouth Cur
Like most dogs, try as much as possible to train them since they are young. The younger they are, the easier they will be to manage when they get older and more stubborn, as we have seen from the Chihuahua side of the family breed.
These dogs can sometimes be difficult to housebreak, and kennelling has been proven to be a viable option when training these pups. You are also advised to train them in meeting new people, such as your relatives, your neighbors, and strangers in the street. Since they can get excited easily, the more used to they are to meeting new faces, the less problems they will cause you in the long run.
When you train your pup, remember to persevere and don’t give up easily. You should also try and incorporate using the same words every time you’re doing training, and familiarise your friends and family with these phrases so they don’t get confused.
These dogs aren’t the most physically demanding, as most small dogs are. However, your shi chi will need its exercise as to keep it from driving you up the wall with its mischievous antics.
“How much should they exercise then?” you might ask. Most Shih Tzu Chihuahua owners usually take their dogs out for regular walks, either one or two times a day, for not much more than 20 minutes per walk. Not so bad, if you think about it.
Also, since they are considered apartment dogs, giving them little intellectual toys can satiate their immeasurable curiosity.
These dogs are considered a new breed so there’s a lot of scientific research yet to be done. However, rest assured that generally, they are categorized to be pretty healthy dogs. That aside, they do sometimes suffer from some health issues relating to their parent breeds. These include:
- Patellar Luxation
- Collapsed Trachea
- Bladder Infections
- Kidney Issues
- Eye Problems (such as cataracts and ulcers)
Due to these issues – and this is something that everyone should remember before getting a dog – take your dog to the vet to check his or her health as well as checking with the breeders and paying more attention to its parents’ health before deciding on one.
I would recommend that you take special note of your Shi Chi’s eyes. This is because its parent breeds are actually known to suffer from eye health issues.
Depending on how long your dog’s fur coat is, the grooming can be easier or more difficult. If they have longer coats, then grooming will be necessary about 3 times a week. If you like to keep your pup’s coat short, then grooming about once a week is all you need.
The one nice thing about these pups is that they don’t shed that much, so you don’t really need to worry about having fur over all your things and clothes!
The shih tzu chihuahua mix is lovable, compassionate, and will be a wonderful fit and addition to your home. If you want a friend who will always be by your side with an excited happy vibe, and stay with you through thick and thin making you smile, then this is the dog for you. These gentle little canines will never let you regret your decision to get them, and you’ll never think twice about adopting another!