The easy-to-love Teddy Bear dog, a Shichon or Zuchon, is a mix between the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise. These dogs are often described as affectionate, intelligent, and outgoing. They are considered a designer toy breed and come in at a small nine to 12 inches in height and nine to 15 pounds in weight. They have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years. Teddy Bear dogs usually are cream, silver, black, white, or brown.
The Teddy Bear is relatively easy to take care of, making it an excellent dog for elderly persons or used as a therapy dog. Zuchons are one of the newest toy breeds to be created. Their calm and relaxed demeanor shines through as they give love to everyone they meet. These Teddy Bears can blend into just about any environment, as long as they are the center of attention. They have much love to give and do not like to be left alone. Grooming is a breeze for these small dogs. Apart from brushing fur and teeth daily, you will not have to worry about hair all around the house or frequent baths.
Although they have much energy, they are thrilled to be a lapdog and will not beg you to go outside every few minutes. However, they have a smaller bladder than larger breeds, so make sure they are well trained to avoid accidents inside the house. Shichons love to play and are very smart, so make sure to have a variety of toys for them both inside and outside. Feed them high-quality dry food to promote gum health and prevent any health issues down the line. Do so sparingly if you want to incorporate wet food as a special treat. Although generally healthy, make sure to have a great relationship with your vet so your Teddy Bear can bring you joy for as long as possible.
This Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mix is quickly becoming one of the most popular designer toy dog breeds out there, and you’re about to find out why.
Breeders started intentionally mixing Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise in the 1990s as designer dog breeds were gaining popularity. They wanted the size of the Shih Tzu and the temperament of the Bichon Frise. They are also designed to eliminate the majority of dander. Since they are hypoallergenic and adorable, demand for these Teddy Bear dogs rapidly increased. Teddy Bear dogs are now on the way to becoming a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club after a few more generations. On average, their litter yields four to five puppies.
Their use as therapy dogs has increased throughout the last decade. Calm and well-mannered, Zuchons provide the comfort of a teddy bear. They are pretty intuitive and can understand human behavior and emotions, which is unique for a breed of this size. Their size makes them an excellent option for children that need therapy or emotional support animals.
Zuchons are known to be happy, gentle little dogs. They have an excellent temperament for a small breed. Although they are high-energy, they remain pretty calm and are perfectly happy cuddled up next to their owner all day.
Teddy Bear dogs are pretty easy to train. They are highly intelligent and don’t usually have a tendency to chew or bark. If you do notice these behaviors, be sure to train against them while they are puppies. Shichons are prone to separation anxiety, so we recommend crate training to provide a safe and secure environment for when you need to leave the house.
Commonly, the main difficulties with training are with house training. It is essential to start with a bit of a Teddy Bear puppy, and crate training can help with this. Shichons are eager to please, but they can be stubborn. Reinforce positive behaviors with treats and rewards, and discourage negative behaviors with a stern “no.” Do your best to safely socialize them with children and other dogs from a young age, so they remain calm and friendly as they get older.
Shichons are excellent watchdogs that will alert you if something is amiss. They have a fierce loyalty to their owners and sometimes forget that they are so small. However, you won’t have to worry about any common yapping with other small breeds.
Shichons can thrive in apartment settings and are generally quite adaptable. These small dogs are great for first-time dog owners that want an easy-to-train, intelligent, and loving dog. Teddy Bear dogs do much better with positive affirmations rather than negative enforcement of commands. They are susceptible and would do better in a household that isn’t very chaotic or loud. Shichons love spending time with their owners and should generally not be left alone for more than a couple of hours at a time. When you need to leave the house, we recommend a 24-inch dog crate. Your Zuchon won’t feel cramped but will feel comfy.
Teddy Bear dogs don’t have the thick coat of real teddy bears, so you will want to get them a jacket for any cold walks, so they don’t get sick. There are not many jackets explicitly designed for Zuchons yet, so we recommend buying ones made for Shih Tzus. They are roughly the same size and will provide lots of warmth on those cold winter mornings. They also don’t do well in hot temperatures, so ensure they always have access to water and a calm environment to wind down after playtime.
Shichons are amiable dogs and will do excellent as a lovable family pets. They will be affectionate to young kids and grandparents alike. They generally do well around other dogs but be careful when introducing them to larger dogs. Because of their size, they can’t play quite as rough as larger breeds. Even the smallest drop can hurt their joints or bones. This goes for children in the household too. Supervise interactions between young children and your Teddy Bear.
They are not aggressive and don’t have their defenses when meeting strangers. Everyone can be their best friend. They also do pretty well with cats in the household, as they lack any hunting instinct that would make your cat feel threatened.
You won’t have to worry about shedding or drooling with Shichons. These hypoallergenic dogs are great for people with allergies. Their coats are medium in length and usually are wavy or curly. Their eyes are big like a teddy bear and can be anything from hazel to dark brown.
Their grooming routine is relatively low maintenance. Because they don’t shed, you’ll need to brush them daily to avoid any mats. We recommend brushing their teeth daily to prevent issues with their gums or tooth loss, as is common in smaller breeds. You’ll only need to bathe them about once a month. If you bathe more frequently, you risk drying out their skin. Take them to the groomer for a haircut whenever you notice hair getting in the way of their eyes, mouth, or nostrils. This can be irritating for them and can get messy at mealtime. Their Teddy Bear look is so iconic that you will likely be getting them trimmed before this becomes an issue.
We recommend using a comb with wide teeth and a slicker brush, which is a brush that has fine, short wires close together on a flat surface. The slicker brush will reach their undercoat, remove any hair, and prevent tangles. Follow through with a wide-tooth comb to get the fluffy teddy bear look we know and love. We recommend starting with a sensitive skin dog shampoo followed by a sharp skin dog conditioner for bathing. Be extra careful around the ears. You don’t want to get any water in the ear canal, which can lead to an ear infection. How often you clip their nails is dependent on the amount and type of exercise that they get. This can be stressful for adult dogs that have not been exposed to nail clippers before, so start their whole grooming routine as a young Teddy Bear puppy. We recommend a pedicure around once a month, or definitely when you start to hear them on hard surfaces.
Teddy Bear dogs are high-energy, so you will want to have some playtime and exercise throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be anything intense, but it does need to be fun. Play fetch and have other toys around the house, and take your Shichon on a 30 minute walk every day. Your Teddy Bear might even like to swim, so take them with you on your next vacation or pool day. Always keep an eye on them and immediately take them out of the water if they appear in distress.
Your mix will well love any toy recommended for Shih Tzus or Bichon Frises. We particularly love to chew toys designed for smaller mouths, squeaking toys to keep them entertained while you’re running errands, and interactive toys to engage their minds. Do not over-exercise your Shichon, especially when they are puppies. Over exertion can lead to joint damage or breathing issues. Take cues from your puppy to know when they are ready to go inside. Heavy panting, frequently starting and stopping, or general sluggishness means they are prepared for couch time.
Be careful when playing outside, as their size can make them easy targets for large birds looking for prey or other dogs that are too rough. They can also easily slip through fences in the backyard, so always watch them.
We recommend feeding your Zuchon a high-quality dry food made specifically for small, active breeds. Due to their size, they can be prone to obesity, so make sure you feed them the correct amount based on their weight and age. Include whole proteins such as chicken, beef, or lamb, and make sure there are plenty of fatty acids to promote a shiny, healthy coat.
The amount of calories your Shichon needs directly relates to their activity level. If your puppy loves to play and run around outside, they will need more food than an older dog that lounges around the house all day. When you give your Teddy Bear all the nutrients they need, they look better, smell better, and feel better. Discuss your dietary plan with your vet to ensure they get everything they need. We recommend about one and a half cups of dry food daily, spread out over three to four different meals as a rule of thumb. When you spread out their daily intake, they stay full for longer and you don’t have to worry about things like bloat, which can be very dangerous in dogs.
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