All About Shichon Puppies
Shichon puppies are a mixed breed of dog that is a cross between a Bichon Frise and a Shih Tzu. They are also known as Zuchons, Shih Chons, Zu-chons, and Teddy Bears, although a True Teddy Bear should also have some Poodle mixed in as well. The mixed breed is, of course, not recognized by the AKC but they are recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club and known as a Zuchon.
Because the breeds are mixed, a Shichon can have any of the characteristics of a Shih Tzu or a Bichon Frise. They can weigh from seven to twelve pounds. This crossbreed is hypoallergenic, so if you have allergies to dogs, this might be a good choice for you. They are very intelligent and the epitome of a lap dog. They want to be held, sit on your lap and be next to you in bed.
The Crossbreeding Controversy
The Shichon has little history. Most breeders breed one generation from a Shih Tzu parent and a Bichon Frise parent. They believe that this produces hybrid vigor, or a dog of mixed breed with superior health to one who is purebred. They claim to bypass the genetic diseases inherent in either one of the breeds of the purebred parents.
This theory is not accepted by purebred breeders and the dogs are not recognized by the AKC or other major kennel clubs. Purebred breeders put forth the opposite theory, that these people are playing with genetics and have absolutely no idea what kind of cross they will come up with. The puppies, rather than being less apt to have health problems, are more likely to because they can embody the worst of both parents just as easily as the best. Why not simply get a Shih Tzu or a Bichon Frise puppy?
Characteristics Of A Shichon
The Shichon is not the type of dog that should be left home all day while you are at work. The dog is very social and craves attention. That can mean trouble when he or she gets bored. While they want to please, they can misbehave if not given enough attention. The best case scenario is if you can take the dog with you to work. This would solve the attention problem. This dog can also be very stubborn, a quality it probably inherits from both parents. This can make the Shichon hard to train, especially in the housebreaking department. Some breeders litter train the dogs before they are sold.
Shichons are not as hyper as many other of the toy and miniature breeds. They do not need constant exercise, and would, in fact, rather just stay home and curl up in a chair or on the couch. That’s not to say they are not playful; they are. They are also very upbeat and spunky. They are just big enough that they shouldn’t present any difficulties living with children and reports show that they are quite affectionate with everyone.
The Shichon is sometimes called a teddy bear, because the crossbreeding makes for a very soft and cuddly coat. The coat will, however, need grooming to keep it looking its best. As with the Shih Tzu-Poodle cross, the Shih Tzu-Bichon Frize cross is supposed to have a longer nose that eliminates the breathing problems which are a genetic trait in the Shih Tzu. However, this longer nose cannot be guaranteed, as the puppies have an equal chance of inheriting a short nose.
Whatever your reasons for wanting a Shichon puppy, do as much research on the breeder as you can and try to get to meet the parent dogs in person. The breed is so new that there is little history with these dogs. Make sure the parents have the qualities you would want in your puppy.