The Shi Chi is a hybrid dog breed that comes from mating a Shih Tzu and a Chihauhua. Hybrid mixes, otherwise known as “designer dogs” are a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, it is thought that Shi Chis have only been around since the 1990s or early 2000s. So to understand them better, it is important to understand the where the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua breeds originate from.
The Shih Tzu (pronounced “Sheed Zoo”) was first bred in the 14th century. They were a cherished household pet of the royal Chinese families during the Ming Dynasty. Historians believe that they were originally bred by mixing Lhasa Apso and Pekingese dogs.
According to historical accounts, Chihuahuas date back to 9th century Mexico. They are thought to be related to the Techichi of the ancient civilization of Toltecs. Later, explorers brought the dogs to western Europe where they evolved into the modern day dogs that we know so well!
Would the Shi Chi Mix Be a Good Pet for You?
Because both the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua breed are considered small, or “toy” breeds, they are well-suited for a small apartment. They don’t need a whole lot of space! The Shi Chi is hypoallergenic, and sheds only minimally which means it’s a great pet if you suffer from allergies or if you don’t like to vacuum your apartment everyday or make a habit of carrying a lint roller around with you! They are make very nice family pets, however, they are tiny, delicate dogs, they are not advised for households with young children. If played with too roughly they could be seriously injured.
Shi Chi Appearance and Physical Features
A Shi Chi is a small dog! They grow to be about 10 inches, weighing between 5 to 16 pounds. Because they are a hybrid mix, Shi Chis can have a large variety of physical characteristics depending on which parent they share the most genetic traits with. They have almond-shaped eyes, a small nose, a round head, ears that are erect or hang, and a black muzzle. They can come in a variety of colors—the most common are white, cream, black, or brown. Also, a Shih Tzu is brachycephalic, which means it has a short muzzle. This can lead to breathing problems, so it is something to look out for when selecting a pet. Coat-wise, they tend to have a short undercoat (like a Chihuahua) while the topcoat is medium to long and smooth and silky.
Shi Chi Temperament and Personality
A Shi Chi is a feisty animal! A Shih Tzu is affectionate and loyal, while a Chihuahua is an excellent watch dog and fearless. Be careful, however, you may find your Shi Chi to be overly protective. This can lead to aggression. This problem can be prevented by proper training and regular socialization. It is important that you allow your dog to socialize with people and other dogs. You can achieve this by regular trips to your local dog park where he’ll get much needed exercise as well!
Training Tips for Your Shi Chi
Shi Chis are very smart animals and if you start early and are patient and consistent, it is possible to train them. However, they have a short attention span so always make sure that you keep your training sessions short. If there are multiple people training your dog, make sure that everyone uses the same words to avoid confusion. Also, always be sure that you train using positive reinforcement techniques rather than punishment, he will be much more susceptible to training if you reward him with a treat, praise, or a snuggle. On the other hand, if you let your frustration or anger show, your dog might think that they are in control and have the upper hand and become even more difficult to handle.
Shi Chi Health Issues and Concerns
Being a mixed breed, your Shi Chi can be prone to the genetic diseases and conditions of either the Shih Tzu or Chihuahua parent. Some of the conditions they are prone to include:
- Patellar luxation (kneecap dislocation)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar caused by underfeeding)
- Eye and vision problems (ulcers, cataracts, and epiphora)
- Obesity (caused by inactivity and overfeeding)
- Breathing issues (caused by the short muzzle of the Shih Tzu)
- Invertebral disc disease (due to a long back and short legs)
- Gum disease and tooth decay (this is caused by there not being enough room for all of the teeth in a tiny mouth)
- Necrotizing meningoencephalitis (a central nervous system disease that can cause pain and eventually lead to death)
- Idiopathic epilepsy
While this is a long, and overwhelming list, they are relatively healthy animals and can be expected to live between 12 and 15 years.
Exercising Your Shi Chi
A Shi Chi requires only a minimum of exercise, about 20 to 30 minutes per day. This can include light jogging, a brisk walk, or off the leash play time–ideally two or three times per day. Your pup will enjoy playing with you, perhaps fetch or flyball. He may even enjoy obedience competitions or agility exercises. You do want to avoid overexertion, if you are walking your dog and he begins to pant, be sure you pick him up and carry him home. Also, these tiny dogs are sensitive to the cold and are prone to shivering. If you are walking him in cold weather, be sure to bundle him up in warm clothing to keep him from getting chilled, and never leave him outside on his own for too long! If not given plenty of opportunities to play, he may get restless and become destructive in your home. Inactivity can also lead to obesity and other health problems.
Should You Buy or Adopt Your Shi Chi?
It is always better to either adopt your new dog or to purchase it from a reputable breeder. Do not purchase your dog from a pet store or puppy mill. Pet stores tend to care more about selling a large number of animals for profit rather than the health and happiness of the animals. They often get their animals from puppy mills which can be dirty and disease-ridden and offer little to no medical care.
Caring for Your Shi Chi
Your Shi Chi will most likely have a mid-length to long coat. If it it is on the longer side, it will require more frequent brushing than if it is shorter (two to three times per week vs. only once per week). Therefore, if you want to make things easier on yourself, consider taking your dog to a groomer every four to six weeks.
You should also care for your pup by brushing its teeth two to three times per week to daily (more frequent brushing is better). Also, be sure to remove excess wax and debris from his ears, and while you’re there, check for discharge or foul odors which could be a sign of infection. Also, clean the corners of his eyes with a soft, damp cloth. Keep his nails trimmed. This is best done by a professional groomer. Finally, bathe your dog once a month, not too often, as it could result in itchy dry skin.
Feeding Your Shi Chi
Always be sure to feed your Shi Chi a high-quality, protein-rich dog food that is low in carbohydrates. Cheaper foods can contain fillers and cause heath problems. Shi Chis can develop weight problems, so it is important to watch calorie consumption and don’t overfeed them, especially with treats. Obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and wear and tear on your dog’s joints. There are many different types and qualities of food out there, so it is better to base your dog’s diet on calories rather than a just a general quantity. A rule of thumb for portion size is:
- Feed your puppy 30 calories for every pound of weight
- Feed an adult 35 to 45 calories for every pound of weight
- Feed a senior adult 25 to 30 calories for every pound of weight
This amount of food should be given divided into 2 to 3 daily meals for proper nutrition.
Some Interesting Facts About Your Shi Chi
- The name Shih Tzu translates to “lion dog”
- The lineage of Shih Tzus can be traced back to seven males and seven females
- Like human babies, Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot on their skull, called a molera
- The smallest living dog is Milly the Chihuahua, she is only 3.8 inches tall!
- Chihuahuas have the biggest brains in relation to their size
- The most common names for Shi Chis are Max, Daisy, Buddy, Jack, Milo, Chloe, Leo, Olive and Franny
- Other names for the Shi Chi are Chi-Shi and Chi Tzu
How Much Does a Shi Chi Cost?
Depending on where you get your Shi Chi, this dog can cost as little as $150 if you adopt it from a shelter, or up to $750 if you purchase it from a breeder. This cost may or may not include microchipping, initial shots, or deworming, so be sure you know what you are getting. Also, despite this low initial cost, you should be sure to budget for veterinary visits, shots, flea prevention, insurance, training, licensing, grooming, food, treats, and more. This could come to about $960 to $1,100 annually.
Shi Chi Products ad Accessories
In summary, a Shi Chi is a wonderful pet for many types of families, big and small. They are energetic and friendly and will help protect you and your loved ones. They require only short walks and some gentle play time, a loving family, and plenty of tender loving care.
Other Similar Shih Tzu Breed Mixes
The Care-Tzu, or the Cairn Terrier Shih Tzu Mix is affectionate and playful. The Cairn Terrier was originally bred as a hunting dog, so you may find that its hunting instincts make an appearance. Keep it away from other smaller pets in the home.
The Zuchon or Shichon is a mix breed between the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise. It is gentle and affectionate and will do well with children of all ages and small pets. It is also perfect for homes with allergy sufferers as it is hypoallergenic.
The Pomeranian Shih Tzu Mix is adorable with its teddy bear-like appearance, but is better suited for older families or singles or couples without young kids. It may shed, so it will not be a good choice for those with allergies.
The Pug Shih Tzu Mix is a breed with health problems. Both the Shih Tzu and the Pug are brachycephalic, meaning they have a short muzzle. Therefore its offspring is pretty much guaranteed to have this condition. This can lead to various health problems related to breathing.
The Shi-Poo is a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. This friendly dog is great for families that have time to train and exercise their dog. Poodles were bred to be swimming and hunting dogs, so your pooch may love the water too. They are prone to separation anxiety, so don’t leave your dog alone for too long.
The Shorkie is a mix of Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier and is a very popular mix!They are independent and have little patience, so they may not be best for homes with small children. The are also very tiny, so they could get injured easily. That being said, they are lovable lap dogs and will develop a close bond with its family.
The Shih Tzu Maltese Mix is a wonderful family pet! They will get along well with children and other smaller pets. These dogs will do best in families who are able to be at home a lot. They form strong bonds with people and could get bored or depressed if it is left alone too much.
The Shih Tzu and Jack Russell Mix may be a mischievous, independent thinker. They are great at problem-solving and love to play. They are not recommended for families with small children.
The Shih Tzu Lhaso Apso Mix may not be the best choice for families and should be socialized early on so that it is well-behaved with strangers, children, and other dogs. These dogs also tend to have a loud shrill voice. They are wonderful watch dogs, however. In fact, Lhasa Apso dogs were originally bred as watch dogs in Buddhist monasteries!