Spunky, sweet, and smart- it’s really no wonder that the Shichi is such a popular designer dog breed. These charming dogs are the mixed breed offspring of a Shih Tzu and a Chihuahua- a combination that guarantees a lot of cuteness and a lot of spirit, all packed inside a petite body.
Also known as a Chi-Shi or Chi-Tzu, the Shichi is a small dog with a big personality – just look at our Dog-in-Residence, Oscar! Extremely loyal and always seeking fun, this breed even enjoys being around children. However, because they are small and delicate, these dogs should be handled with care. For that reason, families with young children might not be the best choice.
The Shichi is an all-around fantastic breed. Perfect for singles and active families, the Shichi will be ready for adventure, and is a lot of fun to be around. Their compact size and moderate activity requirements also make these designer dogs very appealing for people who live in apartments and condos. There’s no denying that these pooches have a lot going for them, but is the Shichi the perfect pooch for you? Read more about this unique crossbreed below to find out.
The Shichi is a small dog with a big personality – just look at our Dog-in-Residence, Oscar!
The Shichi is a designer dog breed- and there’s not a lot we know about designer dogs in general. Apart from the few of the most prominent ones, such as the Goldendoodle or the Labradoodle, hybrids don’t have a well-documented history and origin story. In fact, there’s still a lot of confusion about the difference between mutts and designer dogs. A lot of the mixes that are being intentionally developed by dedicated breeders can also be a result of an accidental mating between purebred dogs. This makes it hard to pinpoint the time and location when these mixes transitioned from “surprise” litters to actual breeding efforts.
Of course, even though there is not enough information about the origin of the Shichi breed, the history of the designer dogs trend can help us figure out a bit about this breed’s background, too. It’s highly likely that the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu mix was first developed in the last 20 to 30 years, somewhere in the United States.
Don’t let the enigma of their origin fool you into thinking that this breed is somehow mysterious. What we know about the parental breeds, both of whom have long histories as pets, tells us a lot about the qualities of their mixed breed offspring.
The Shichi is a cross between a purebred Chihuahua and Shih Tzu. The parents of this mix are purebred and the American Kennel Club recognizes them as such, but the Shichi doesn’t enjoy the same status. All designer dogs, including the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua mix, are not seen as actual breeds by the AKC. As a result, breeders can’t register their litters for official pedigree papers.
Despite that, a reputable breeder should offer a health guarantee and maybe even a form of certification from some of the smaller canine clubs.
Food / Diet
The Shichi does best on high-quality dry food for dogs. The kibble you choose for your pet should be made of premium ingredients, have a good ratio of protein, healthy fats and carbs. It’s important to steer clear from cheap brands whose foods are full of fillers and can damage your Shichi’s health in the long run.
These cute hybrids will not need much food to be healthy and stay in top shape. In fact, overfeeding them can be quite harmful- they are prone to obesity and can develop a myriad of health issues if they gain a lot of weight. You can feed your Shichi about ½ to 1 cup of a high quality dry dog food every day. Divide this amount into two servings, to keep them from gobbling it all up in one go and ending up with digestive issues.
When training your Shichi, positive reinforcement will work best.
When training your Shichi, positive reinforcement will work best. Because of their loyalty and willingness to be active, these dogs will embrace training sessions if they are enjoyable; otherwise, their short attention span could make it difficult to train them. Praise your dog often, reward him when him succeeds, and always be patient. Also, be aware that a Shichi could be a bit slow to housebreak, but kenneling may help with this process.
A small-sized breed, the Shichi weighs between 3 and 9 pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
Shichi’s are more than just super cute, photogenic little dogs; they also have a fantastic personality. You can expect that your dog will be enthusiastic and playful, as well as loyal even to the point of being on the possessive side (can we say adorable little guard dog?).
These dogs do have a shrill, high-pitched bark, and they are not afraid to use it to voice their displeasure, especially towards suspicious strangers. It’s also worth noting that these dogs like to yap (they are half Chihuahua, after all), so this designer canine breed isn’t for you if you’re in search of a docile, quiet pet.
Even though your dog can be quite serious at times, he will also always be ready to play with a new toy or indulge in a new treat excitedly. These dogs are fearless, but you should be careful because, even though they have a tough personality, they could easily become injured during exercise or play.
Common Health Problems
Shichi’s are considered to be long-lived dogs, just like their parent breeds. If you choose to bring a Shichi into your family, you should be ready to devote many years to giving your pooch endless amounts of love.
Because the Shichi is a crossbreed, it might inherit health issues that are commonly associated with its parent breeds. These include respiratory problems, eye problems, obesity, and hypoglycemia. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog will suffer from any of those conditions, as it’s difficult to predict the specific ailments that could occur. Also, the Shichi is bred using the hybrid vigor method, which allows offspring to be genetically stronger and healthier than their parents.
Both the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua can suffer from various eye conditions, so regularly examining your Shichi’s eyes is important. Also, because this adorable pooch is so small, you should never leave him outside for too long, whether it’s hot or cold outside. In fact, you can have fun putting your Shichi in adorable outfits to keep him warm when he needs to go outside when it’s cold, as that will prevent shivering.
The Shichi has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
These small dogs don’t need a lot of exercise, especially since they are naturally active and playful. Give your dog about 20 minutes of exercise every day, whether you go for a short jog or walk, or you let your dog play games like fetch or flyball. You can even get your Shichi to perform dog agility exercises, and obedience competitions may appeal to your pooch as well.
Shichi’s are more than just super cute, photogenic little dogs; they also have a fantastic personality.
The Shichi is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, as it is considered to be a hybrid breed. However, this breed is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), the Designer Breed Registry (DBR), the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), and the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).
A Shichi could have a short, medium, or long coat. It’s likely that your dog won’t shed too much, but if the coat is long, you should brush it daily in order to keep it looking shiny and healthy, and to prevent tangles.
Monthly baths are also recommended, and your dog should be bathed whenever he gets dirty as well. Just make sure that you dry the dog off completely after every bath because he is susceptible to feeling cold.
The Shichi is a toy dog, so it will also be a small puppy. As he grows, watch him carefully, especially when he’s around children, to ensure his safety and to prevent injuries. Overall, this is an outgoing and loyal breed, so if you bring out the best aspects of your dog’s personality while he’s young, by letting him meet new people and animals as often as possible, he’ll be a protective yet friendly adult.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. An advocate for better treatment of all animals, she enjoys producing content that educates others, helps them understand animals better, and inspires them to help, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, fostering strays, or simply giving their own pets a safe and happy home to live in.
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