Touted as the American Teddy Bear, the Shishon or the Bishihtz is a hybrid breed between a Bichon Frise and a Shih Tzu. It was bred specifically to bring out the best characteristics of these two pure breeds, and for that reason it is considered one of the most popular designer dogs today.
Apart from being very small in size, one of the breed’s distinct characteristics is that it is considered hypo-allergenic. It doesn’t shed much at all because it has hair and not fur, making it a good choice for families who are looking for a companion dog and a loving pet.
If you are interested in learning more about this designer breed, here are some of the most important characteristics you should be mindful about:
One of the most notable characteristics about the Shishon is its longevity. The Shishon’s average life expectancy tends to be about 15 years – provided that it has a balanced diet, is brought to the vet regularly and exercises on a daily basis. This can be largely attributed to the fact that one of its parent breeds, the Bichon, is generally considered a healthy breed that can live anywhere between 16-20 years. Yet, the Shih Tzu doesn’t fall far behind in terms of life expectancy, with a slightly lower lifespan of 10-16 years.
Truth is – the Shishon can suffer from any health issue that is common among Bichons and Shih Tzus. Most often than not, though, the Shishon is likely to have fewer health issues compared to these two breeds, due to the fact that these the parent breeds do not share the same health risks and susceptibilities. One of the best ways for you to ensure that your Shishon has a long lifespan is to get your pup from a reputable breeder who is honest about the history and health conditions of your pup’s parents.
Just like many designer dog breeds, the Shishon has inherited the best qualities from both of its parent breeds. They are usually very intelligent, friendly and active, which makes them fun to be around and easy to train. This breed is also known to be good with children and other pets too, provided that it gets proper socialization at a very young age.
As they are known to be affectionate and love to be around people, Shishons also become strongly devoted to their families and would therefore make for loyal pets and excellent watch dogs. Even though they are small in size, this dog would stop at nothing to alert its family when a stranger is nearby. Barking can therefore be one of the training issues you will likely encounter among Shishons, but this is not impossible to correct at all, because it is generally a good-natured dog.
The only one thing to be mindful about is the breed’s need for constant companionship. As both of its parent breeds are prone to separation anxiety, Shishons can also suffer from stress and unease when they are left to fend for themselves for prolonged periods of time.
Below are some of the popular characteristics of the Bichon that Shishons seem to have acquired:
Thankfully, the Shishon has not gotten the Bichon’s stubbornness that sometimes makes them sometimes difficult to housebreak.
When it comes to their similarities with Shih Tzus, these include their gentleness, their strong need for companionship, as well their intelligence. Luckily, the Shishon has not gotten the Shih Tzu’s snootiness, shyness and potential for mouthiness.
As the Shishon is a cross between two small breeds of dogs, the breed is naturally small as a result. It has an average weight of 10-15 pounds and an average height of 9-12 inches, making it an excellent choice for homeowners who live in apartments and don’t have a lot of time to enjoy outdoor activities with their dogs. The added benefit of small-sized dogs is that their exercise requirements tend to be a lot less too, so there is not as much need to take them out for an extended outdoor exercise every day.
If you are wondering how their parent breeds fare in comparison, the Bichon typically stands tall between 9-12 inches and weighs about 8-12 pounds, while the Shih Tzu has an average height of 8-11 inches and an average weight of 9-16 pounds.
As Shishons are a relatively new designer breed, it is highly unlikely that there would be rescue organizations dedicated solely to the breed. What you can do instead is to get in touch with specialized breeders who focus solely on breeding Bichon Frises and Shih Tzus. This is a good way for you to have your own walking teddy bear with four cute little paws.
It also never hurts to go online and check out Shishon or Bishihtz pages on Facebook. It is always a good idea to connect with other Shishon owners, as dog owner communities (no matter the breed!) are usually very sharing and helpful when it comes to giving tips and advice on responsible pet caring. Some of them might even recommend you to an excellent breeder, or post about rescue Shishons.
Another idea for you is to check out niche breed rescue organizations like Tiny Paws Small Dog Rescue that is focused solely on helping small breed puppies and retired breeder moms. Your household can soon become a foster family, provided you meet the policies set by the organization.
You can also check out BichonRescue.org for a directory of all Bichon shelters and foster homes in each state, as they might also be taking in designer breeds as long as one of the parents is a Bichon. ShihTzuRescue.org is another great resource you can check out that lists all the breed-specific shelters and foster homes in the USA.
Wishing you all the best in finding a Shishon that can make your home an even happier place!
Have an American Teddy Bear? Please share a picture in our facebook group!