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Everything you need to know about the Shih Tzu cross

Black and white shih tzu advice

Shih Tzu mixes make fantastic lap dogs

© Pixabay

Some toy dogs have a tendency to be a little self-centred and haughty but the Shih Tzu is not one of them. The purebred Shih Tzu is a ready-made companion.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 14/05/2020, 11:00

She is not especially playful (although will show moments of playfulness), nor is she a fearsome guard dog (except when your own safety is threatened). What a Shih Tzu does best is to be by your side at any given time of the day or night.

Originally the favourite pet of ancient Chinese emperors, the ‘Chrysanthemum Dog’ is still one of our nation’s favourite dogs; her gentle and affectionate personality has seen her adored through the centuries. To know what you might be getting by adopting a Shih Tzu cross, you must first learn all about her pedigree parent, the Shih Tzu.

Physical characteristics of the Shih-Tzu

Breed colours of the Shih Tzu range from gold and white to solid black. Shih Tzus tend to stand between 8 and 11 inches at the shoulder.

Squashed-face dogs include shih tzus and pugs.
The Shih Tzu © Pixabay

Shih Tzu temperament and training

The breed is a trustful kind and although initially wary of strangers, the dog easily makes friends. A Shih Tzu is an adaptive animal capable of finding peace and comfort in any type of living space, especially where there is warmth and company. To this end she is not happy to be left in a cold room or outdoors, and will be especially unhappy about being left alone. That being said, as long as she is eventually reunited with her family she can deal with short periods of loneliness reasonably well.

Training is an exceptionally important part of rearing a Shih Tzu cross breed. These are dogs that are alert, eager to learn and keen to please their owner. Concise and consistent training should begin at about six months, and positive interaction during training will make for a well-rounded and sociable individual. Inconsistencies of training will lead to confusion and behavioural difficulties.

Shih Tzu exercise requirements

The breed requires more than a little exercise and a Shih Tzu should be walked at least once a day. If you deny her the chance to burn off her energy you will find her using one of the rooms (and the furniture) as an assault course. The same can be said of a Shih Tzu cross, but the energy level of such a dog is largely determined by the breed of the other parent.

Grooming a Shih Tzu

A Shih Tzu's grooming is time-consuming and costly. This breed does not shed, making them a better choice than most for people who are allergic to dogs, and one of the best choices for people who like their homes neat and tidy! But because their hair grows continually, you will either have to visit the groomer often (to keep the coat short and easy to maintain), or comb through that long hair every single day.

Shih Tzu health problems

The Shih Tzu purebred lives between 10 to 16 years. However, during that time, the dog is vulnerable to the following diseases and conditions, and it should be assumed the same applies to the cross breed:

Hypothyroidism

A hormonal condition that leads to a reduction or absence of thyroxine in the blood. Thyroxine is integral to the regulation of metabolism and immunity. This chronic illness is usually treated by the administration of a lifelong thyroid supplement.

Intervertebral disk disease

Toy breeds such as the Pekingese, Basset Hound and Welsh Corgi are especially prone to this disease which brings about a degeneration of the intervertebral disks of the spine. The condition is accompanied by a lot of pain. Treatments of the disease may include pain killers, steroids and surgery for the worst cases.

Breathing problems

The Shih Tzu is a dog that is known as brachycephalic or ‘squashed-face’. The inbreeding of this feature of the dog causes her to be susceptible to breathing problems. The PDSA has published some useful tips for prospective owners of squashed-face dogs.

Haemolytic anaemia

The Shih Tzu (and potentially a Shih Tzu cross) is more likely than most dogs to contract an illness called haemolytic anaemia, an immuno-pathology that stimulates the destruction of red blood cells by the body’s own immune defences. The treatment of this disease involves a prolonged administration of immunosuppressive therapy.

Top 5 Shih Tzu mixes

Shih Tzus are normally crossed with breeds such as the Poodle, Beagle, Terrier and Spaniel, all of which have hefty stamina. Take a look at some of the most popular Shih Tzu crossbreeds:

The Bea-Tzu: Beagle x Shih Tzu

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Isabella (@isabellajune_) on

Bea-Tzus are a good choice for people who like the laid-back and affectionate personality of the Shih-Tzu, but also want an active dog who can keep up on long hikes. In fact, Bea-Tzus may get restless or even destructive after too much sofa-time, so you need to make sure you have lots of time to devote to exercise and playtime if you're thinking of adopting this mix. Training must start early, as both Beagles and Shih-Tzus can suffer from separation anxiety. Barking may also be a problem in this mix breed, so it may not be the best choice for apartment dwellers.

The Shi Poo: Shih Tzu x Poodle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Millie & Teddy the Shihpoos 🐾 (@millieandteddy_) on

Shih Poos are a great choice for people who don't like shedding or who suffer from allergies. These dogs are usually more spunky and energetic than the Shih-Tzu, all the while retaining their affectionate personality. They may also be easier to train than their Shih parent (Poodles being one of the smartest breeds out there). That means they can easilt outsmart you though, so make you keep this mix mentally active every day! This mix tends to be a better match for the elderly or families without children, as they don't typically enjoy too much rough-housing.

The Shih Apso: Shih Tzu x Lhasa Apso

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Teddy 🐾 shih tzu + lhasa apso (@teddy.tzu) on

Shih Apsos are the quintessential lap dog! They love nothing more than spending time with their owners, especially if it involves cuddling on the sofa. Their affectionate personalities does mean that they can develop separation anxiety if not properly habituated to being left alone, so make sure you nip that in the bud! They also bond fiercely with their owners, so jealousy can be a problem. Make sure your Shih Apso is properly socialised, especially in his younger months! As with many ancient breeds, both Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos can be quite stubborn, so arm yourself with patience during training.

The Mal Shi: Maltese x Shih Tzu

The Mal Shi is a good choice for people who want a Shih Tzu who's a little smaller, a little easier to train, and just a tad more friendly. Indeed, Mal Shis love just about everyone they meet! They also love to please and are therefore easy to train. Their coat is easy to care for, just as long as it's trimmed regularly. They are not usually recommended for families with younger children, but this is only because they are small dogs who could easily get injured if handled too roughly. That being said, their loving and gentle personalities make them fantastic family pets!

The Cava Tzu: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Shih Tzu

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by A Cava-tzu Called Charlie (@charlie_the_cavatzu) on

Cavaliers and Shis are perhaps the two most laid-back and easy-going breeds there are. So it's no surprise that with a Cava Tzu, you get a very friendly, affectionate, and flexible dog. Cava Tzus just want to be near you, whatever that entails. That's not to say they can't be left on their own, as long as they make a habit of it from a young age. This mix gets along great with kids, and adores playing games with them. Cava Tzus also make a great choice for people living in apartments, or who cannot commit to high exercise demands. They are more than happy with a half hour walk a day, and spending the rest of the time on your lap!

Haven't found the Shih-Tzu cross of your dreams? Here are some other mixes:

Going by the accounts of the owners of Shih Tzu mixes, the dog appears to retain the beauty of the pedigree and its love of companionship and loyalty.

Check out these other mixed breeds: