I know what you’re thinking. You see the beautiful little ball of fluff in front of you and desperately want to snuggle it. You should absolutely snuggle that little buddy. But you should also know something else: no, that’s not a teddy bear – it’s a Zuchon!
A non-shedding designer dog breed, the Zuchon is a mix of Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise. This breed is also known by the names of Shichon and Teddy Bear Zuchon (no surprise there, it’s such an easy mistake to make). Yet, no matter what you choose to call it, this dog will melt your heart and make a wonderful addition to your family. Zuchon’s fit into every home and fill them with joy. That’s a fact. You can look it up.
Much like its popular parents, the Zuchon is a highly-trainable, sweet, and friendly dog. All of these traits make them an ideal companion, regardless of your living conditions. Whether you live in a small apartment in the city or on a big country farm, chances are this adorable hybrid will blend right in. He brings joy everywhere he goes in one adorable little furry package.
Also, because Zuchons get along with everyone, there isn’t a lifestyle that this dog won’t fit into. They rarely bark, are hypoallergenic, love kids and other animals, and they can fit into an active or laid back lifestyle. They make fantastic family pets, but also excel as companions for seniors and singles. Boasting a happy disposition and a passion for playtime, the Zuchon will be a loving companion for many years to come. If you’re still unsure if the Shih Tzu-Bichon Frise mix is the right choice for your family or want to learn more about your newly adopted pet, then read on! We’re about to reveal everything that you could possibly want to know about the Zuchon.
A designer dog breed, the Zuchon is a mix of Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise.
The Zuchon does not have far-reaching historic origins like some older doggos do. This is a relatively new breed of dog that originated in the United States sometime in the last 20 to 30 years. A mix of Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise, the Zuchon is rapidly gaining popularity in households across North America. Although this breed of dog is relatively new, its popularity and fame is growing quickly. If you’ve ever looked at a Zuchon for 11 consecutive seconds, you should understand why they have become so beloved. But don’t let their newcomer status fool you: the breed is already as popular and beloved as some of the more established breeds that have been around for quite a while!
The result of crossbreeding a Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise, the Zuchon is a hybrid dog. The first generation is a true cross while successive breeding of the original puppies will eventually result in a more standardized look and temperament. For now, it’s difficult to predict which traits the Zuchon will inherent from its parents. Every pup is different. However, as time goes on a breeders develop more standardized Zuchons through subsequent generations of Zuchons bred with each other, this will change.
Either way, it's safe to say that no actual pedigree exists for a Zuchon…yet. To learn more about its possible quirks and traits, we can simply look at the parents. These are two old and established breeds, and their offspring will bear the personality and the looks that are a mix of both. What’s more, each new generation of Zuchons is bringing more defined features to the table, and that means that a unified look will quickly be merging.
In the life of every dog, diet plays a very important role. Sure, it’s no secret that all dogs love to eat – but what they eat is up to you. Be sure to feed your Zuchon high-quality dry food that is specifically designed for small and active dogs. Additionally, the food you choose should suit their current age- puppy, adult, or senior. Avoid wet and canned foods as the main part of the diet, as this could lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and bad breath. You can offer a home cooked meal of meat and veggies or a bit of wet food over the kibble, from time to time, if you want to treat your pet or entice them to try out a new brand of food.
Zuchon is a small breed dog and as such prone to obesity. Don’t free feed them and follow the feeding guide recommendations. This will ensure your pet doesn’t gain excess weight that could lead to a host of health issues. As always, if you are ever concerned about what to feed your dog, you should consult your veterinarian. While it’s always wise to use dog food serving suggestions to your advantage, no dog food manufacturer could possibly understand your pup’s specific needs quite like your vet. Always consult with them before making any major changes to your dog’s diet. That’s why you have a vet, after all! In the end, don’t hesitate to spend more on quality dog food, knowing that it will benefit your pet in the long run.
Intelligent and eager to please, the Zuchon is trainable because he is so easy going.
It is very important not to overlook the training process in the life of your pet. Without training, you are opening the gates for many key behavioral issues that can potentially have a huge impact on your life in the long run. So, training for a Zuchon is a must. Intelligent and eager to please, the Zuchon is quite trainable because he is so easy going. Use positive training techniques and be consistent with training lessons – you’ll see the best results when employing these methods. Stay away from physical or other harsh training methods, as they won’t work. That behavior is closer to abuse than any sort of training technique. In fact, you’ll often see the opposite of what you want to accomplish if you make the mistake of using those methods. Instead, offer lots of treats and praise for a job well done. This helps your dog stay interested while training. Arm yourself with plenty of patience and a ton of yummies, and great results are sure to follow.
Training and socialization should be started from early age. This ensures that your puppy will grow up to be the sweet and friendly dog that it has the potential to be. The basics include teaching your dog how to walk on a leash, where and when to go potty, as well as simple commands like drop it or sit. As these dogs tend to grow very close to their family members and don’t do well if they need to spend a lot of time on their own, they can be prone to separation anxiety. Crate training is a great idea for the Zuchon, since it helps dogs feel like they have a safe space to retreat to when home alone. As adorable as it is to have a velcro dog that never wants to leave your side, it’s important to train your pup to accept alone time. Otherwise, this will lead to behaviour problems down the road.
Zuchons weigh between 5 and 15 pounds and stand from 6 to 12 inches tall. Yeah – it’s not a large breed at all. These are small doggos that resemble tiny balls of fluffy fur and their size won’t be a challenge no matter where you live. The Zuchon will be quite comfy in a wide variety of living spaces, from tiny homes to large mansions. As long as they are not cooped up and confined, these doggos will be just fine. This is great news for city dwellers and apartment owners that need a small pooch that adapts well to different environments.
But, needless to say, do not take their adaptability for granted. Every dog needs healthy activity and exercise on a daily basis, no matter their size. A cooped up Zuchon that has no free room to relax, play, or zoom about, will certainly become unhappy. And that leads to many behavioral issues down the road, including anxiety, fear, aggression, and depression.
Sporting an excellent temperament, you’ll find that your Zuchon pup is always eager to please you. With a lively and spunky personality, Zuchons are known to be well-mannered. This makes them great companions for children of all ages as well as all kinds of animals too. Intelligent and affectionate, your Zuchon will be sociable, so make sure to take your pooch to the dog park and around town so that he can socialize. He needs it. Playing and hogging attention is high on their list of priorities, so make sure your dog gets plenty of both. He will need to feel like the centre of your world and you’ll likely treat him that way too. However, this breed isn’t all about just fun and games – he will also serve as a watchdog. Your Zuchon won’t hesitate to let you know when someone is at the door and this is generally the only time when he will bark as well. Obviously, this tiny pup won’t offer much defence as a guard dog, but at least he will keep you in the know. Thankfully, Even though the Zuchon is small, it’s not a yappy dog. So you don’t have to worry about unnecessary barking tangents. Your Zuchon will have more self-control than that. Especially with proper training and socialization.
Common Health Problems
With designer dogs, you never know what to expect. Their looks are not bound by standards, and their behavior varies based on which parent they favor genetically. Their health is similar- it is all about genetics and luck. A lot of people believe that mixed breed dogs are inherently healthier than their purebred fellows, but it’s simply not the case. Sure, sometimes the Zuchon can win the genetic lottery and be healthier than both mom and dad, but that still leaves the chance your puppy will be at risk for two sets of breed-specific health issues. So, when they lose the genetic lottery, they can lose twice.
Owing to the parents of this hybrid, he can be affected by conditions such as skin allergies, brachycephalic syndrome (if the Shih Tzu parent is more dominant in the mix), Cushing’s disease, patellar luxation, and eye problems. The best way to make sure your puppy is healthy is to get them only from reputable breeders. Pet stores, puppy mills, or dubious backyard breeders all sell dogs of bad breeding, ridden with congenital problems and often seriously sick from a young age. With careful selective breeding, it’s highly likely that a Shih Tzu and Bichon cross will be healthy and robust. Knowing and researching your breeder is the best defence against ending up with a hybrid dog that’s been bred unethically.
In addition to potential health problems that are related to parental breeds, the Zuchon can also have issues with plaque buildup (leading to tooth loss) and obesity. This is common for all small breed dogs and can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and good hygiene. There are of course plenty of dental toys and tools that can be used to help as well. A little research will go a long way to ensuring that your pup’s oral hygiene is never a problem.
The average Zuchon lives to be between 15 and 18 years old. A pretty big age for such a small doggo. As the average maximum lifespan for most dog breeds is 15 years, the longevity of this tiny breed can be surprising to some pet owners. This means that you’re in for a lot of great memories with your new pet: not only will they make your life fun and fulfilled, but will provide you with comfort and affection – in a way only dogs can. And all that for nearly two decades – an impressive lifespan for a dog. If you are looking for a great family pet that will stay by your side for a good chunk of your adult life, then this might be the one!
Of course, they can do this only if you help them reach those golden years in top shape – provide enough care and attention, making sure that their health is always a priority. This includes a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and regular veterinary checkups. With all this in place, there is no reason why your Zuchon pet won’t be able to reach that 18 years mark!
Small breeds usually tend to be very active and full of energy, like little sparks. And you’ll often have to meet this energy head on. The Zuchon loves to play, so most of his exercise requirements can be met with a game of catch or tug of war. That means he is the ideal roommate for people who live in apartments and condos. But he’ll still need fresh air and visits to the bathroom, so make sure he gets his daily walk and makes a few trips outdoors. A trip to the dog park will also help tire him out. On average, 30 to 45 minutes of exercise will be enough. But of course, not all pups are the same. So your dog might need a little more. You’ll be able to tell by their behaviour and work out a satisfying exercise easily enough.
This is an intuitive breed, so the Zuchon will match your energy level. Whether you want to get outside for a walk or want to relax on the couch, the Zuchon will be by your side, content to do whatever it is you want to do. Set the right example and you two will be healthy and bonded for life. But when those zoomies hit and the energy levels rise, a good round of playtime will be sure to drain the batteries out. And then it’s all about goofing, snoozing, and cuddling!
Sporting an excellent temperament, you’ll find that your Zuchon is eager to please you.
Because the Zuchon is a crossbreed, it is not recognized by major dog registries such as the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club. It is recognized by registries that accept mixed breed, crossbreed and designer dogs such as the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry. Still, just like it goes for many other designer breeds, the Zuchon also has a lot of clubs and organizations devoted to it. These are almost always run by long time owners and breed enthusiasts. As such, they are the ideal place to get all the necessary information about the breed, their needs and habits, and their temperament. A perfect thing for future Zuchon owners. Of course, here you can understand the breed’s pedigree as well – the fine details and aspects related to their unique appearance. For this reason it is always great to get in touch with long-time, veteran owners, especially if you are planning to become one as well!
It’s due to it fluffy coat that the Zuchon is mistaken for a teddy bear! This breed has long flowing, soft fur that is either curly or silky. Coats can be found in a range of colors: black and white, silver or gray, tan or cream, or any combination of these colors. You may even find coats in chocolate brown, red, apricot, and red/apricot and black. Another plus: this breed is non-shedding! Yet another reason why the Zuchon is an excellent choice for owners who live in apartments.
With its long fur, you’ll need to brush your Zuchon regularly (every few days), but this is great for bonding. If you choose to keep your dog in a puppy or teddy bear cut, you’ll find maintenance to be low. Just like one of its parent breeds, the Shih Tzu, your Zuchon pet will also be known for its fabulous and elegant coat. This coat will also require some extra work on your part – don’t allow it to become unkempt and matted. A regular brush and a trim will go a long way to keep your pet looking tidy. Of course, the best course of action would be taking them to the professional dog grooming salon. Here, your Zuchon can really come to shine, with their fur trimmed, cleaned, and smelling wonderfully. And best of all, it keeps all the loose hair away from your furniture.
It’s hard to resist a Zuchon puppy. They are so small and furry, it will be easy to let them get away with anything. But it is very important to remember that training starts as soon as you bring a puppy home. You will need to train and socialize your Zuchon puppy right from the start, and keep at it as he grows older. You can even enroll your Zuchon in Puppy Kindergarten classes, which lay the foundation for basic manners as well as a form of socializing with new people and pets. Why is this so important?
Because if you fail to socialize your Zuchon puppy properly, you risk them developing some nasty behavioral issues. These include small dog syndrome, anxiety, aloofness, and aggression. Like its parent breeds, the Zuchon can have the iconic “small dog attitude” which can make them a bit nippy and willful. If this gets out of hand, your pet might lash out and be overly protective of their food and toys. They can even growl and “fake bite” you as well! To prevent all this, make sure they are socialized early on. Introduce your Zuchon puppy to other friendly dogs, to children, and to new faces and environments. This all helps them become friendly, affectionate, and playful dogs later on in life.
Photo credit: Tiny Teddy Bear Zuchons
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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