Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
fast facts

About Care-Tzu

15-20 lb
9-13 inches
12-15 years
Best Suited For
first time dog owners, families with kids and other pets, apartment dwellers, those who work from home
social, playful, energetic, affectionate, headstrong
Comparable Breeds
Cairn Terrier, Shih Tzu
Care-Tzu Basics

The outgoing little Care-Tzu brings together the headstrong personality of the Shih Tzu and the curious nature of the Cairn Terrier for a friendly, social little family dog that loves kids, meeting new faces and other animals… though the terrier in him may mean the cat can expect to be chased.

The outgoing Care-Tzu is part headstrong little Shih Tzu and part curious-natured Cairn Terrier.


The Care-Tzu comes from the Cairn Terrier – a working breed that hales from the Scottish Highlands and dates back to the early 1900s and the Shih Tzu which has been traced to Tibet and China in the year 800. The Care-Tzu likely dates to the 1980s when breeders first began crossing pure-bred dogs to create Designer Dogs. This type of dog was developed to produce pups that are free of some of the health issues pure-breds can experience and that carry desirable traits such as gentler personalities, smaller sizes and hypo-allergenic qualities.


Although the Care-Tzu isn’t eligible to join the American Kennel Club (AKC) due to his Designer Dog status, both of his parent breeds are members. The Cairn Terrier joined AKC’s “terrier” group back in 1913 while the Shih Tzu became a member of their “toy” group in 1969.


The high-energy Care-Tzu is a small dog that will need a nutrient-rich kibble specifically designed for his age, size and activity level. Because he has a high tendency to become obese, don’t plan to free-feed him but opt for 2 to 3 smaller meals each day. Choose a high-quality kibble that is low in fillers / carbs that may cause him to overeat to feel full.

The friendly and outgoing Care-Tzu is perpetually happy and gets along with everyone.


While the Care-Tzu comes from 2 intelligent breeds who pick up commands quickly, the Terrier side of this little dog can make training a bit of a challenge. Patience and a firm, consistent approach will be required as this independent-minded pooch can become distracted and bored. Keep him engaged, establish pack leadership and entice him with loads of verbal praise and rewards of your choosing when he gets it right.


Once grown, the Care-Tzu will weigh between 15 to 20 pounds.


The friendly and outgoing Care-Tzu is perpetually happy and gets along with everyone including strangers – so he’s not an ideal watchdog. He is a highly curious little dog that can be a bit of an independent thinker, so early training is needed to help set boundaries. The terrier in him results in a dog that likes to hunt and chase and while socialization will help curb this instinct, he needs an outlet for his energy or he can be prone to picking up destructive behaviors. His love of active play and human companionship makes him a great family dog.

Common Health Problems

Care-Tzu’s are a typically healthy dog given they have been bred with an eye toward eliminating the health issues that can plague the parent breeds. That said, you need to be aware of what your little guy could inherit and with the Care-Tzu that can include joint issues including Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, hypothyroidism and a neurological disease called Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy.

Life Expectancy

Your Care-Tzu will have a long life of between 12 and 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

The terrier in your Care-Tzu means you have an active dog who will need regular daily walks in the 30-minute per range to keep him physically fit and calm. Because of his smaller size, he’s not up for a marathon walk but could be enticed for a little run during his outing. Regular trips to a dog park are a great way for him to burn off some energy and interactive playtime such as a tossed ball will be a big hit with this pooch.

The outgoing Care-Tzu is highly curious and sometimes stubborn.

Recognized Clubs

Because the Care-Tzu is the result of crossing 2 different purebreds, the Care-Tzu does not qualify for the American Kennel Club (AKC) however he is recognized by Designer Breed Registry (DBR) and the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).


While the Cairn Terrier side of this dog is considered hypoallergenic the Care-Tzu is not and will require regular brushing to keep his soft, thick (often scruffy looking) coat matte- and tangle-free. Plan to brush this low-shedding dog 2 to 3 times a week to keep loose hair in check and ensure he looks his best. Bathe only as necessary and always after brushing to prevent tangles from turning into knots. Because smaller dogs can be prone to dental issues, brush his teeth once or twice a week and inspect / clean ears weekly to avoid potential infections.


The Care-Tzu is the offspring of two highly intelligent yet stubborn breeds and he’ll need early socialization and obedience training to teach him how to play nice with other animals and establish pack leadership. Because this active little dog can inherit joint issues later in life, avoid the temptation to overdo exercise to help him burn off steam. Any injury to his tiny limbs can become a big problem as he gets older.

Photo credit: Monika Gniot/Shutterstock; BoBoMuMu/Shutterstock; Krasnie Lapki/Shutterstock

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

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