Height: 9 – 12 in
Weight: 10 – 15 lbs
Life Span: 12 – 15 yrs
Coloring: Single, bi- and tri-colored; white, apricot, tan, black, silver, brown, gray
Area of Origin: United States
Similar Breeds: Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, Shihpoo, Bichpoo; any small designer dog bred for companionship
History and Origin:
A “designer dog” breed developed in the 1990s with the goal of producing the ultimate hypoallergenic companion breed, the Shichon is a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise. It is commonly known as a Zuchon, Teddy Bear Dog, Shichon-Teddy Bear or a Tzu Frise. The Shichon has found particular success as a companion and therapy dog for disabled or ill children; its appearance coupled with its strong desire to be in constant physical contact with people lend well to comforting and providing patient company to children.
Personality and Temperament:
A product of two breeds developed for companionship, the Shichon is a loving, attentive, and patient dog. It is playful and energetic, yet is content to curl up beside its owner for any length of time. Its small size and gentle nature make the Shichon a fantastic choice for the elderly or disabled. An attention-seeker, the Shichon is susceptible to developing Small Dog Syndrome as its size and demeanor enable its owners to treat it as a small human. If given the opportunity to take charge, the Shichon may become willful and stubborn, unwilling to give up the control that was given to it. Despite its size and calm temperament, then, it is essential to ensure the Shichon receives adequate socialization with other dogs and humans to help it become a well-adjusted member of the family. With this in mind, the Shichon can be a fantastic dog for the nervous or first-time owner.
Exercise & Training:
The Shichon requires little exercise, and as such is suitable for apartment living. It does enjoy daily activity, however, and will be happy with a walk or some play time to keep it physically and mentally stimulated. With an innate desire to please, the Shichon is typically easy to train, however it is not likely to win any obedience trials!
With a coat that may resemble either the Shih Tzu’s long, silky mane or the Bichon Frise’s frizzy, curly fur, the Shichon will need a decent amount of grooming attention in order to prevent matting and dullness. Daily brushing is needed if the coat is kept long, and a trip to the professional groomers three or four times a year is ideal if a shorter, more manageable coat is desired. Bathe only when necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
The Shichon is a small designer dog breed bred with the goal of producing a delightful companion dog, and as such is similar to other breeds of this nature, like the Shihpoo (Shih Tzu/Poodle), Bichpoo(Bichon Frise/Poodle), Pomapoo (Pomeranian/Poodle), Yorkipoo (Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle), among many others.
Interesting Facts about the Shichon:
1. As a designer dog breed, the Shichon is not eligible for registration with major kennel clubs, but can be registered in hybrid breed clubs, such as the American Canine Hybrid Club (Zuchon), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (Zuchon), International Designer Canine Registry (Shichon), and the Designer Breed Registry (Tzu Frise/ Zuchon).
2. Craving attention, the Shichon is happiest when it is in constant contact with its owner. It has been considered to be a “Velcro dog”, following its owner everywhere!
3. Due to the soft, thick coat typically inherited from its parents, the Shichon is sometimes referred to as a “fuzzy wuzzy” by its owners.