Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Jatzu

8-11 inches
8-14 lbs
12-15 years
Not applicable
Best Suited For
Families with older children, singles, seniors, people who live in an apartment
Cheerful, affectionate, curious, smart, playful, loyal, sweet, friendly
Comparable Breeds
Japanese Chin, Shih Tzu
Jatzu Basics

If you want a dog that’s equal parts sweet and fierce, smart and laid-back, affectionate and independent, you will find this extraordinary combination in Jatzu. These designer dogs might not be as well known as Doodle mixes, but they are growing in popularity all the same. And once you get to know one of these little fellas- it becomes crystal clear why these mixes are so coveted.

The Jatzu is a Japanese Chin and Shih Tzu mix and will inherit the traits of both parents. Granted, it’s hard to predict which of the breeds will be more dominant in the mix- but, either way, Jatzu is going to be a perfect little companion. Through centuries of selective breeding, both of his parents were developed to be sweet little lap dogs and friendly pets, and their mix will be the same.

From their adorable looks to lovely personality, the Jatzu has a lot to offer to his family. They are not high-maintenance dogs and make perfect pets for singles and seniors. Their small size and moderate activity needs are what draws apartment and condo dwellers to the breed. All things considered, Jatzu is a versatile pooch that does well in various conditions. Is this designer dog the right choice for you? Read on to find out!

From their adorable looks to lovely personality, the Jatzu has a lot to offer to his family.


The Japanese Chin and the Shih Tzu both come from Asia, but their mixed breed offspring was first born on another continent. Of course, we can’t know for sure the exact place and period when the Jatzu was first developed, but it’s highly likely that the breed had its start in the United States, sometime in the last 20 to 30 years. The reason why the origin of the breed is mysterious is that the majority of hybrids doesn’t have a well-documented past.

Not so long ago, all mixed breed dogs were thought of as mutts, and their existences was usually a matter of accidental matings between purebreds. It all changed, however, when an Australian breeder intentional crossed a Poodle and a Lab to get a hypoallergenic seeing eye dog. This opened a world of possibilities- breeders suddenly became interested in creating new and improved breeds from existing popular breeds. The Jatzu is probably a product of this trend- but no breeders have come forward to claim the breed as their own creation.


The Jatzu is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Japanese Chin. The mix is usually 50-50, with one parent from each of the breeds. This is called a first generation or F1 mix. Since this is the first generation of crossbreeding, the appearance of the puppies can widely vary. There is no set standard for the breed, nor a way to set it without further crossbreeding, so there’s no way to predict what the litter of Jatzu puppies will look like. One or two puppies could look like Japanese Chin, some could look more like Shih Tzu and others could be a mix of both. But, for some owners, their uniqueness is half of their charm! Multigenerational crosses are rare ( Jatzu x Shih Tzu or a Japanese Chin), as they can lead to re-appearance of some genetic issues in the breed.

Owing to the fact that the Jatzu is still a breed in development- and a mixed breed at that- he is not recognized by any of the major canine organizations, such as the American Kennel Club. As a result, Jatzu puppies won’t be eligible for registration or have official pedigree papers. If you’re buying a Jatzu puppy, make sure to ask for a health guarantee and thoroughly inquiry about his or her parents. This is the only assurance you can have about the quality of your pup’s family line.


Jatzu might not be a big dog, but they have a healthy appetite. Especially for treats and other delicacies! Of course, it’s not to say you should indulge their every whim. Like all other dogs, these hybrids will need a healthy, well-balanced diet to meet their nutritional needs. Jatzu does best on high-quality dry food for dogs. Kibble offers all the necessary nutrients in the right ratio, and it’s easily available in every pet store. The important part is to get the right brand: choose premium kibble that’s made of natural ingredients, without cheap fillers, artificial dyes, and a ton of additives. Ideally, Jatzu should eat food formulated to meet his own unique needs, including size, activity level, and age group (puppy, adult, senior). Small breed dry food formulas are usually an ideal match.

The size of these mixed breed dogs makes it easy for them to become obese. Even moderate weight gain can put unnecessary stress on their joints or lead to serious health issues such as heart and respiratory diseases or diabetes. To prevent this, carefully monitor their food intake. Stick to recommended kibble amounts (most manufacturers recommend a cup of kibble a day) and split that into two separate meals.

The Jatzu is a good breed for beginner dog owners as they’re not hard to train.


Eager to please and usually very smart, these designer dogs are highly trainable. The Jatzu is a good breed for beginner dog owners as they’re not hard to train- but you’ll still have to have the right approach to have success. Not unlike all dog breeds, the Japanese Chin and Shih Tzu mix also doesn’t respond well to yelling and punishment. If you’re harsh to them, they’ll budge and close off. Instead of teaching your pooch manners, you’ll teach them to be afraid of you. This is why positive reinforcement methods of training are the only that experts recommend.

Using rewards such as excited praise or treats to motivate your puppy to learn is a sure fire way to get their attention. Jatzu loves to be showered with affection and he’s not immune to yummies, neither- the whole process will go a lot faster if they have a prize to look forward to!

To make sure your pooch lives up to his potential, start with training and socialization as early as possible. Basic commands, potty training, leash training- all of these will make your life easier in the long run if you take time to teach them to your dog while they’re still young. To boot, exposing them to a variety of people, pets, and situations in their puppyhood will make sure they grow up to be friendly, adaptable dogs.


There’s always variation in appearance with designer dogs, but Jatzu is certainly going to be a small dog. On average, these cute mixes weigh between 8 and 14 pounds.


The cute looks certainly helped Jatzu become so in demand, but it is his lovely temperament that solidified their popularity. As a mixed breed dog, this petite pooch will inherit traits from both mom and dad- and the exact combination of them will vary with each dog. But, while each Jatzu is unique, there are some common qualities you can expect with the majority of these hybrids.

Owing to his parentage, Jatzu is a friendly, cheerful little dog. They are lively and happy, eager to please and always wanting to be by your side. These designer dogs are the offspring of generations of lap dogs and companions, so they will exhibit all of the traits that are desirable for this role.

Jatzus are sweet and cuddly, but they also have a playful, mischievous side to them. They can be a bit clownish if they figure out it charms the pants off of you, and will always go looking for adventure. In fact, if the Japanese Chin is the more dominant one in the mix, they might be a bit more “adventurous” than you’d expect: climbing up trees to “catch” squirrels is nothing weird for these cat-like doggos.

Common Health Problems

In some cases, crossbreeding leads to healthier, more resilient dogs. But that’s not a golden rule- look at it more like a stroke of luck. Jatzu, like any other designer dog, can be perfectly healthy if bred properly, or it can be at risk for illnesses that affect both of his parental breeds. This is why it’s important to get puppies from reputable sources only: pet stores, puppy mills and other dubious breeders don’t care about the genetics of the dog but only for profit.

In general, Jatzu shouldn’t have any major issues, but you should be aware of the breed-specific problems of his parents that he can inherit. These include early onset heart murmur, luxating patella, canine disk disease, eye issues, and brachycephalic syndrome.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy for a Japanese Chin and Shih Tzu mix dog is between 12 and 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

The Jatzu is not a couch potato, but they’re not canine jocks, either. They have a lot of spirit and can be a bit energetic, but owing to their size, their exercise requirements are minimal. A longer walk could have your Jatzu napping for a whole afternoon, and a few laps of fetch across the room will feel like an afternoon in the dog park. However, just because their small size makes it possible for you to exercise them indoors, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need daily time outside. Short walks are a must- your pooch needs the fresh air as much as you do. Be mindful of the weather, though: Jatzu doesn’t do best in hot summers due to their flat faces.

If you live in an apartment, Jatzu will be an ideal pet for you. They don’t need a big yard to burn off their energy- on average, 30 to 40 minutes of deliberate exercise will ensure your dog stays healthy and happy.

If you live in an apartment, Jatzu will be an ideal pet for you.

Recognized Clubs

The American Kennel Club and its counterparts don’t recognize designer dog breeds. However, some smaller organizations are enthusiastic about hybrids and their development. Those of them that recognize Jatzu include American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry.


With a mom and dad such as his, it’s no wonder that Jatzu has the loveliest coat. Both Japanese Chin and Shih Tzu have soft, silky hair, and their mix will too. Jatzu’s coat is usually medium to long and sheds moderately. Their fur doesn’t need any special grooming apart from regular brushing and an occasional bath.

But, while the quality of the Jatzu’s coat can be predictable, the coloring is another story. Jatzu comes in various colors and color combinations, sometimes with the recognizable Japanese Chin facial markings, and sometimes without it. Black and white, red and white, and cream seem to be the most common colorings of the breed, but many other shades are possible, as well.


An adult Jatzu will be small and fragile- let alone a mere baby. Jatzu puppies can fit inside of your palm, so it’s safe to say that they require careful handling so to avoid any injuries. Naturally, children shouldn’t play with such small puppies without supervision.

But, despite their tiny size and cute looks, Jatzu puppies will need early training and socialization. Even when they’re a few weeks old, they’re ready for some puppy kindergarten classes! Also, you should make sure to introduce them to other pets, people outside the family and kids (if you don’t have children in the household) as soon as possible. This will help them socialize and be friendly to everyone they meet.

Photo credit: gengirl/Shutterstock; James R Lowe/Shutterstock; TCGraphicDesign/Shutterstock

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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