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The Jack Tzu: Jack Russell and Shih Tzu crossbreed

Jack Tzu - crossbreed Jack Russell and Shih Tzu advice
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The Jack Tzu is a Jack Russell terrier and Shih Tzu mix. Although not yet recognised as a breed in its own right, the Jack Tzu is becoming a popular choice for people looking for a lively pet that doesn't take up too much space.

By Ashley Murphy

The Jack Tzu is a mixed breed between a Jack Russell and a Shih Tzu. This crossbreed is getting more and more popular in the UK. It's small size and fluffy face will have your heart melt.

Physical characteristics

Like its parent breeds, the Jack Tzu is a small but durable animal with the following characteristics:

  • Weight: The Jack Tzu will weigh somewhere between 12-22 pounds.
  • Size: Like the Jack Russell and Shi Tzu, the Jack Tzu grows to 10-12 inches tall.
  • Colour: This really depends on the parents, but common shades include black, white, golden, brown, white, and mixed.
  • Coat: This can go either way.

Some Jack Tzus follow the Jack Russell line; their coats will be short and a little bit rough. Others will have the same long, silky coats as the Shi Tzu side of the mix.


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Like all breeds, the Jack Tzu has its unique personality. Generally speaking, Jack Tzus are highly sociable animals that get on really with children. They’re affectionate, loyal, and fairly quiet. However, given the Jack Russell's feisty nature, Jack Tzus can get very excitable and even aggressive if provoked in the wrong way.


Jack Tzu’s need socialisation and obedience training from an early age. These dogs make great family pets, but the wrong kind of environment will bring out their stubborn side. They might only be little, but an untrained Jack Tzu could grow into a big problem. They’re likely to make a lot of noise and will chase any small animals on sight, including family cats. This instinct is written into their Jack Russell genes. Jack Russells were first bred in the late 19th century to hunt foxes!


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Exercise routine

Despite their small size, Jack Tzus need lots of exercise. A walk a day should be enough, but these energetic animals will need more than a gentle stroll around the block. They also have a very playful nature, so get ready for long games of fetch and other fun doggy games.


Depending on their age and size, Jack Tzus need 450-650 calories per day split between 2-3 meals. Some dogs can eat four times this amount, so feeding a Jack Tzu won't be too expensive. Try not to feed them after 6.00pm. This will help them digest their food properly, reducing the likelihood of any midnight accidents. Given the chance, a Jack Tzu will eat everything in sight. So try not to overfeed them as it could lead to obesity.


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How much grooming is needed?

Again, this depends on each crossbreed. Longer haired Jack Tzus will require a weekly grooming session. If not, their coats will get long, tangled, and unhygienic. Shorter haired breeds will be much easier to manage. A monthly grooming session will keep their coats neat and tidy. Jack Tzu's ears should be checked for infection and wiped clean at least once a week. Teeth brushing should happen at least three times a week, and preferably daily.

Common health issues in Jack Tzu crossbreeds

Jack Tzus have a predisposition to liver problems, eye problems and ear infections. Unlike a lot of smaller dogs, Jack Tzus have a tendency towards Hip Dysplasia, a genetic deformity of the hip joint. Symptoms of dysplasia include decreased activity, stiffness and reduced movement, and a distinct “bunny-hop” walk. Hip Dysplasia can be lead to complete lameness if not treated by a vet.

Breeding concerns

Due to the rising popularity of this crossbreed, some unscrupulous people are breeding Jack Tzus and selling off the puppies as authentic crossbreeds. Many of these offspring can suffer from serious medical issues and health complications. Such things are very expensive to treat. More importantly, they greatly reduce a dog's quality of life. So do some research on the breeder or seller. You want to ensure these people are ethical and trustworthy.


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Cost of a Jack Tzu crossbreed

An authentic Jack Tzu can cost up to £550. If a breeder is asking for this much, you should expect some proof that the dog is an authentic Jack Russell/Shi Tzu crossbreed. Medical costs and insurance will cost between £350-450 per year. Other expenses, like food, toys and grooming, will set you back £300-500 per year.

Like all dogs, Jack Tzu’s need to be cared for in the right way. That being said, this small and friendly breed will make a great dog for first-time owners. Jack Tzu’s are also great family pets with a personality that is much bigger than their small physical stature!

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