A Zuchon or Shichon is among the adorable mixed breeds. It’s the cross between the toy breeds Bichon Frise and the Shih Tzu. With its endearing face and expressive eyes, it is also nicknamed the “teddy bear puppy.” If you are eager to bring home a Shichon, this post will serve as your ultimate guide.
About the Shichon Puppy
A Shih Tzu and Bichon mix displays a beautiful silky or curly coat. It is fluffy just like a real teddy bear and comes in many colors like black, brown, red, and apricot. It boasts many delicate features in addition to its beautiful coat color and hypoallergenic features.
A Shichon puppy is a great choice for families who have allergies to pets but still eager to have a new addition to their household. As with other hypoallergenic breeds, a Shichon pup requires high amounts of grooming. Apart from brushing and bathing, your buddy also needs a trip to the professional groomer every eight weeks.
This pup will not grow more than 15 lbs. even when it reached adulthood so you will not have a problem carrying it around. Besides, this adorable dog is so hard to resist that you will love taking it everywhere or show it to the world. If you are planning to take your dog outdoors, invest in a travel crate.
Your teddy bear may be small but it has a big personality. It’s generally friendly so it is suitable for households with young children. Just make sure your children are trained on how to properly handle a tiny dog because they may hurt the Shichon. This pup is gentle even toward other animals and strangers. It will not be a problem introducing your Shichon to other pets you may already have at home.
This dog benefits from having hybrid vigor as a mixed breed. It’s especially true if you are planning to get a first generation or F1 dog. An F2 pup has far less stability when it comes to their health. Still, a Shichon has very few health problems. It has a long lifespan and can live 15-18 years on average. When well taken care of, some Shichons can even survive up to two decades.
Checklist for Your New Pup
Being a new pet parent, even to this tiny breed can be challenging. It may be small but it can be high maintenance in terms of grooming. To make your job easier, prepare these things in advance, even before the arrival of your new buddy:
- Dog bed – you will find your buddy getting lots of nap time during the first few months of life. To give your new pet a cozy sleeping area, invest in a dog bed with bolsters and raised sides. Comfort is the first thing to consider when buying a bed for your new buddy. Many Shichon pups are also fond of chewing so you will need to invest in a material that can withstand wear and tear. Memory foam with a removable washable cover is ideal for pups.
- Leash – a retractable leash is ideal for playful dogs that enjoy giving their environment a going-over. With a retractable leash, you can let your pup explore without controlling his every move. But if you wish to control more of your pup’s movement, go for a classic leash specially made for toy breeds.
- Brush or comb – a slicker brush is ideal for easy brushing, but you may also use other types of brushes for dogs with fluffy coats. A de-shedding tool makes it less complicated for you to get rid of dead fur. It’s safe to use even with young dogs because it’s simply a brush and not a blade.
- Nail clipper – for small breeds like Shichons, the best type of nail clipper to use is either a rechargeable nail grinder or a scissor-type clipper. Never use pliers-type nail clippers for your Shichon pup because those are only intended for large dogs.
- Toothbrush – invest in a dental care kit that comes with a soft silicone toothbrush. This kind of brush is perfect for small breeds. When buying a toothbrush for your pooch, look for one made of premium-quality and pet-safe materials.
- Shampoo – you can start bathing your pup when he is fully weaned. Most pups wean starting at three to four weeks of age, but it’s not the same for all puppies. Some of them only wean when they reach the seventh or eighth week of life. When your pet is ready for a full bath, use a shampoo made of natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe.
- Food bowl – you can find extra-small food bowls perfect for your little buddy. Keep the feeder or raised bowl for next time because it’s only recommended for grown-up dogs. If you want to protect your flooring, invest in a non-skid bowl.
- Water bowl – look for bowls with excellent water holding capacity. A stainless steel bowl and a silicone mat are ideal if you have a small dog or a puppy because it’s pretty good at catching any food and water.
- Chew toys – they can be helpful especially during the teething stage. Puppies have a natural desire to chew and lick, so it is advisable to use a chew toy that can be stuffed with food.
In addition to the essentials mentioned above, you will also need to invest in a good vacuum. This is a must for every household with pets even if you have a low-shedding dog. Before bringing your puppy home, it’s important to puppy-proof your home. One of the ways you can do it is by tidying up. Vacuum your floors and keep easily ingestible objects out of reach.
The first few months with your dog will be a bit tough, since you’re still getting to know each other. Use the opportunity to bond and get to know about your puppy even more. It will help to teach your dog basic obedience skills, like “sit” and “stay” so he will be potty-trained fast.
How to Groom Your Pup
A Shichon is a hypoallergenic dog but it requires a lot more time for grooming. Coat maintenance is important to keep their long coat healthy and shiny. A dog is called hypoallergenic if it does not produce a lot of dead hair or dander.
The truth is that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic breed, but dogs like Poodles and Bichon Frise are granted this status simply because the loose hair only gets trapped in their curls. This creates a belief that these dogs do not shed at all.
Grooming your pup can be done at home or at a pet salon. Your pup will not need a lot of brushing during the early years so it can be done two to three times a week only. You can increase the frequency of brushing to daily once your Shichon reached adulthood or turned one year old.
Feeding Shichon Pup
Nutrition is the most important thing to consider in caring for a puppy. Giving solids to dogs is advisable from 8-12 weeks of age. Your pup needs to breastfeed exclusively until the eighth week of life. Once your pup is ready for dog food, consider these choices:
- Natural foods
The advantage in serving natural foods, like real meat, fruits, and vegetables is you don’t have to worry about the preservatives. And since you are the one preparing your pet’s food, you are sure about all the ingredients you use. If you are a health-conscious individual, making homemade food for your buddy is the best option. Only serve high-quality proteins like beef, chicken, and turkey.
Pups can start eating bones at the age of three months but be cautious in offering them because not all bones can be given to dogs, especially to younger ones. If you are eager to give your pet bones, make sure they are raw and not cooked. When meaty bones are cooked, they easily break and may splinter. Also, they can cause intestinal obstruction when ingested.
You can offer a variety of fruits and vegetables. When serving fruits, make sure they are free from seeds or pits that can cause intestinal obstruction. Mangoes, for instance, are safe for dogs but the pit should be removed first. If you are serving veggies, make sure they are lightly cooked first because raw vegetables can be difficult to digest for small dogs.
- Dry dog food
You can find countless brands offering dry food for dogs, so it can be quite tricky to know which one is the best. To help you find the best formula for your pup, seek advice from your veterinarian because not all puppies have the same nutritional requirement. Dogs with certain conditions, like hypersensitivity to certain ingredients will also need a special diet.
Growing dogs need to be fed three to four times a day. It’s best to stick to a schedule so he will get used to the routine. Follow the feeding instructions mentioned on the label, but always consider your pet’s activity and metabolism as well. The frequency of feeding should be reduced to two feedings per day at six months of age.
- Wet dog food
There are instances when a vet will recommend feeding your pooch wet food instead of dry food. For example, pups with a tendency to be overweight or obese may be recommended to consume wet food because it contains half of the calories of dry food. If you have a picky eater, it’s also better to feed him wet food because it is easier to chew for your Shichon.
When choosing the wet dog food for your pet, look for a grain-free puppy formula. Grains are quite difficult to digest especially for small dogs. Like dry food, check if it is made of high-quality protein sources to support your Shichon pup’s energy needs. For Shichons with a sensitive tummy, look for a gluten-free, no-corn, and no-wheat formula.
This designer breed does not need a lot of exercise. A Shichon’s daily physical activities should not exceed 45 minutes per day. If you don’t have an active lifestyle or you are quite busy and don’t have a lot of time taking your dog outdoors, a Shichon may be the best crossbreed for you.
Play time is guaranteed to keep your pooch happy but try to limit it as much as possible. There are a lot of things you can do indoors, like playing doggie puzzles together. Take your pup to dog playgrounds at least once a week so he will have time to socialize with other dogs.
This dog enjoys lots of interaction with other people. It may be a bit clingy and cannot easily tolerate being alone. It has a tendency to develop separation anxiety so it is important that it always has company.
Shichon Puppy Price
As a designer dog, expect to pay a bit more when buying a Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise cross. You can find breeders advertising the Shichon for $500-$2,000. Legit Shichon puppy breeders, will eventually ask a bit more for a pup complete with health testing. This is to cover all their expenses caring for the pup before turning it over to you.
Before getting a Shichon pup, you will be required to pay a down payment. Breeders usually ask this to reserve the pup only to you and this will guarantee that the breeder will not sell the pup to other people interested in adopting a Shichon.
A Shichon puppy is a delight for its owners, mainly for its resemblance to a teddy bear. But there is more to love about this pup, like its intelligence, playfulness, and low-shedding tendencies. It’s definitely among the best choices for novice pet parents since it can easily adapt even to apartment living.