“Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix”
If you’re thinking about getting this breed, then make sure you know what to expect. The Shichi (try saying that fast three times LOL) can be a great companion but make sure to research this breed first so that they don’t end up homeless.
Not everyone loves dogs. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. There are some people who don’t like dogs. (I know,right?) But even those people can admit that small puppies are cute. It’s also a well researched scientific fact that all dog are puppy. This means that even people who don’t love dogs can recognize how cute they are.
Dogs aren’t just beloved pets, however. They were bred from wolves, domesticated to help early man perform tasks. Dogs have been hunters, protectors, and friends for thousands of years. That said, the breeding hasn’t stopped even into the modern age.
These days, entire organizations exist to judge dog breeds. This is where the concept of a purebred dog comes from. These clubs, such as the American Kennel Club, dictate what a “pure” version of a breed should be. For every breed of dog, these clubs have a list of things that should be present.
Unfortunately, maintaining a “pure” breed requires a great deal of inbreeding. For this reason, many breeds of dog have common health problems. Not to mention, purebred dogs will often have temperament issues. These kennel clubs will claim that they list expectations for pure breed temperaments as well as physical characteristics, but this is questionable at best. In many cases, the expectations are vague and no longer than a paragraph.
Hybrid Breeds And The Shichi
In response, many people have begun breeding what are referred to as hybrid breeds. Hybrid breeds are bred from the mating of two different “pure” breeds. This is most often done for aesthetic reasons. Hybrid breeds tend to be small dogs, such as the “puggle” (a pug/beagle mix)and the papitese (a papillon/maltese mix).
However, one of the cutest hybrid breeds is the shichi. The shichi is bred from a shih tzu and a chihuahua, and it’s easy to see why. They’re adorable dogs, and they have a number of great traits from their parent breeds.
While a well-trained shichi is a great family dog, they’re not the easiest dogs to train. This is because they inherit their breed temperament from their chihuahua parents breed. Chihuahuas are known for their nervousness and aggression. While a chihuahua can be trained and socialized, generally they don’t take to strangers even at the best of times.
Shichi aren’t quite that bad, but they do tend to be loud. What’s more, they have a tendency to show aggression towards strangers unless they’re socialized. Unlike their chihuahua parent breed, however, they can be trained to approach strangers calmly. They’re still likely to bark, but with proper socialization, they can be easily taught that strangers can be friendly too.
That said, you can expect a shichi to make a lot of noise. Their bark is high pitched, again similar to their chihuahua parent breed, and they use it often. However, they also adapt well to tight spaces. They don’t mind being close to people and other animals, which means they’re great apartment dogs. Since they don’t need much space, you won’t have to worry about how to fit them into a small living area.
Shichi can be great with children, in large part because they’re so protective. They tend to show a fierce loyalty to their family, which may make them the cutest guard dog ever!
How To Housebreak A Shichi
Training, in general, can be a bit difficult with a shichi. It’s not that they’re obstinate, it’s that they have a short attention span. If you can manage to engage your beloved pet, you can get much further with training. So you’ll likely have to train as part of play time.
Because of the combination of nerves and attention span, shichi can take a bit longer to housebreak than other breeds. It’s important to be patient while training them since negative reinforcement simply makes their anxiety worse. Instead, praise them when they go outside. You can also try kenneling. Since they don’t need much space, kenneling shouldn’t trigger their anxiety.
How Much To Feed A Shichi
Shichi are small breed dogs, which means they don’t eat much. In point of fact, a smaller shichi only needs 1/2 cup of dry dog food a day! Larger ones are unlikely to need any more than 1 cup of dry dog food a day. This food should be separated and served twice daily since shichi will eat more than they should.
Like all dogs, shichi do best on a diet heavy with meat products. Look for dry dog foods that are heavy with beef, salmon, chicken, and other fish as these are the best for your beloved dog. Since they eat so little, you can even splurge on the extra high-quality food!
How Big Do Shichi Get?
Both the chihuahua and the shih tzu are small breed dogs, so it’s no wonder that the shichi is also small. The shih tzu grows to 11 inches tall and tends to be about 16 pounds at its heaviest. The chihuahua tops out at nine inches and tends to weigh six pounds at its heaviest.
The shichi manages to be right in the middle of its two parent breeds, tending to be anywhere from 8 to 10 inches tall. A full grown male shichi weighs around 18 pounds on average, whereas a full grown female weighs around five. This is a huge difference, so you should plan accordingly depending on the gender of your dog.
How Long Do Shichi Live?
The shichi has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, which is more or less on par with other small breed dogs. This is still a long time, so you should plan to have a decade or more to devote to a beloved pet.
Shichi are considered toy breeds, which means they’re bred to be “dainty”. This makes them more fragile than one might expect, so you should watch carefully for any injuries. Much like an energetic child, a shichi will often come home from playtime with a bruise or scrape.
They also have health problems similar to other small breed dogs. Small breed dogs often develop respiratory problems, as their lungs aren’t quite powerful enough to fuel their body. In addition, they can develop eye problems later in life. As your shichi ages, make sure to check regularly for cataracts. Sometimes these can be corrected with surgery, but often times it’s better to leave it be. If it’s not causing your beloved dog any pain, then it may be better to avoid surgery that could cause more problems than it solves.
On the plus side, shichi tend to have stronger genes than either of its parent breeds. Since it’s a hybrid breed, it’s more likely to have some dominant genes. This means a purebred shichi is liable to have fewer overall health problems as either a purebred chihuahua or a purebred shih tzu.
Adopting A Shichi
As with all dogs, shichi are often available directly from the breeder. You can also find them at the humane society, though naturally, they’re far less concerned with purity than they are with getting the dog a forever home.
Ultimately, shichi are great pets if you want something small and energetic. They can be great family dogs and fantastic apartment dogs. However, you’ll have to make sure you have time and patience to train a shichi. Otherwise, your new dog will fall victim to the same anxiety and aggression that often mars the chihuahua breed.
As long as you train and socialize them, however, shichi are friendly and playful. And that’s really all you can ask from an adorable puppy!