11 Surprising Facts About the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix (Shi Chi)

Shi Chi sitting on the floor

​Credit: Shaun Dawson / CC BY

As you might already know, if you’ve read any of my articles, I’m a big fan of mutts. We tend to think that they are “less” than purebred dogs, and yet, they are full of surprises. They usually live longer, are easier to train, and they are honestly just wonderful. Today’s article is about another one of my favorite mixed breed dogs: the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix, a mix between the Chihuahua and the Shih Tzu. Both these dogs are some of the most popular toy dog breeds around, so it is only natural for their mix to be famous as well.

If you are one of those people who love small dogs, then the Shi Chi is definitely for you. Tiny, adorable, and friendly, he is the perfect family companion. The Shi Chi will definitely turn your life into an eternally beautiful summer (he’s better than a boyfriend or a girlfriend, who needs human love anyway when you have dogs?). He will warm your heart with his cuteness and adorable expressions and will make you love dogs even more than you do now. But, before you adopt one into your home, there are a couple (eleven, to be more precise) facts you should know about this mixed breed.

So, folks, sit down, make yourself a coffee (or a tea, if you are like me), and get ready, this is going to be a long ride!

Who are the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix’s purebred parents?

Before learning about a mixed breed, it is always good to learn about their parents. As I’ve said it times and times again in my other articles, you will never know how your mixed breed dog will be like. But, if you learn more about the purebred parents, you can still have an idea about your mutt’s looks and temperament. I’m not saying that this is a perfect guide (since every single dog is unique, just like us people), but I will include as much information as I can, for your sake, dear reader.

So, here we go, the answer to our first question: who are the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix’s purebred parents?

The Chihuahua

Chihuahua laying on a bed

Look at this tiny baby!

The Chihuahua is saucy, sassy, and full of life (man, am I proud of this sentence). Famous for being the world’s smallest dog, the Chihuahua is a tiny dog with the personality of a huge Rottweiler. He truly doesn’t know how small he is and will always try to be the boss. His kind of wild kind of endearing personality makes him the perfect choice for many people. Even though Chihuahuas have a confusing reputation (they are known for being snappy and mean, like my little sister, god help me), they are actually extremely affectionate animals. They usually form a very close bond with their owner and will follow them everywhere around the house, and outside too, if they can.

Even though Chihuahuas are tiny, they can actually compete in agility and obedient trials and will be as good at it as any bigger dog. They might not have the body for it, but they sure have the mental strength (just like small people… sorry, I’ll stop the short people jokes).

Because of their larger than life personality, Chihuahuas can be quite hard to train and might develop “small dog syndrome” if you are not careful enough. This is why the use of positive reinforcement is important while training and socializing your tiny dog. It also helps to keep in mind that Chihuahuas are extremely curious animals, and they will go all the way to try and escape, so they can explore the world.

Of course, because of their personality (that I would not call vicious, but more like strong), they usually don’t get along with other dogs (unless they have been socialized since puppyhood). They tend to think they are the pack leader, and this does not fare well with bigger dogs that might injure them. But bigger dogs are not the only threat to these tiny beasts. Small children can be dangerous as well. Since Chihuahuas are extremely fragile, they might get hurt while playing with kids who do not know how to behave around dogs.

One surprising fact about Chihuahuas is that they make amazing watchdogs. Since they are weary and mistrustful of strangers, they can get extremely worked up when they see one in the house. This, in itself, is not a bad thing: a Chihuahua in the house will be able to warn you about danger or trespassers. But, they might also become aggressive against people who mean well, which is why it’s important for you to teach him that not everyone is bad.

All in all, Chihuahuas are unique little animals that brighten up your day with their amazing personality. If you know how to take care of one, he will be your loyal friend and companion for life.

To learn more about Chihuahuas, click here.

The Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu smiling at the camera

My heart is melting :’)

Did you know that “Shih Tzu” meant “little lion”? Yeah, me neither (the more you know, really). But, there is nothing vicious or strong about this tiny dog. The Shih Tzu is a fancy dog, that’s for sure. With his regal coat and his tiny face, he is more like a porcelain doll than a fierce protector. But, Shih Tzus are not adopted to protect. They are, first and before everything, companion dogs. Friendly and loveable, they brighten up people’s lives all around the world (and they make great YouTube stars as well).

The Shih Tzu was originally a royal dog, adopted by the imperial Chinese family during the Ming dynasty. Now, they are the perfect companion for lonely people (I really need one, man), and make for extremely friendly and playful pets. Shih Tzus are natural divas (watch out, Mariah Carey) and they don’t allow people to ignore them or pass near them without petting them. Extremely sociable, the Shih Tzu loves nothing more than to be in the spotlight, and he makes friends everywhere.

Just like the Chihuahua, the Shih Tzu is too tiny and fragile to live with small children, as he could get hurt easily. Due to his friendly nature, he gets along with all kinds of dogs. But, you still need to supervise him, as bigger dogs could cause him serious injuries while playing with him.

All in all, the Shih Tzu is a fancy dog with a heart of gold. He will love you forever and ever and will be the best friend you will ever have.

To learn more about the Shih Tzu, click here.

Now that we learned more about the Shi Chi’s purebred parents, let’s move on to eleven facts that you need to know before welcoming one into your home.

11 surprising facts about the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix

First of all, a small overview of the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix

The Shi Chi was bred back in the 1980’s when designer breeds were all the rage (and we all understand why). They were bred especially to be companion dogs that don’t shed much. Thanks to their purebred parents lovable and loyal nature, Shi Chis became extremely popular very quickly.

The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is famous for being extremely excitable and friendly, though a tiny bit aggressive (due to his Chihuahua genes). They know no fear, extremely when it comes to protecting their owner, which is why they sometimes forget that they are tiny dogs with not much strength. Shi Chis are not dogs for inexperienced owners; they are extremely hard to train, mostly because of their short attention spans and curiosity (sounds like me, honestly). If you welcome one into your house, then make sure to take him to a professional dog trainer (we will learn more about training Shi Chis later on in this article).

Shi Chis are extremely possessive dogs, which means that they are extremely prone to separation anxiety. Never leave your Shi Chi alone for too long, unless you want him to develop destructive behavior. Because of the Chihuahua blood running in their veins, Shi Chis are usually wary of strangers, but with enough socialization, you can take care of that trait.

Shi Chis are active and will never say no to a good playing session, even if it’s just indoors. So, if you adopt one, make sure to be ready to throw some balls around the house.

Let’s learn more about these beautiful, tiny creatures, shall we?

1. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is a tiny tiny dog

Shi Chi sitting and looking at the camera

I need this puppy in my life!

Credit: Shaun DawsonCC BY-NC

Usually, as dogs grow older, their appearance change, but not the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix. The Shi Chi has got looks for days, man! They don’t usually weigh more than 18 pounds (their average weight ranges between 5 and 18 pounds), and they don’t grow taller than 10 to 12 inches. Even in adulthood, this dog is still on the smaller spectrum, which makes him perfect for toy dogs enthusiasts. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix usually has pop-up ears that make him look like a tiny fox (which isn’t a bad look, right, folks?) thanks to his Chihuahua genes. But, if your mixed breed takes most of his looks from his Shih Tzu parent, then he will have floppy ears (which isn’t bad either, nothing is bad about this dog honestly).

Because the Shi Chi is so small, you will not really have to be scared of him hurting you. But, one advice: if you leave him alone for two longs, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix might and will destroy your furniture, shoes, and anything else he can get his teeth on. After all, despite his smaller than a large cat size, he ain’t no pushover.

2. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix’s coat comes in different colors

If you are one of those fancy demanding people, then you probably already know the color you want your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix to be. Well, you are in luck, because these tiny gems come in a variety of colors. Their coat’s colors range from cream to white to black to brown to gold (or blond, if you like that better), or even a combination of all those.

3. Their coat has to be brushed daily

Just like your hair (or mine, though I have a huge curly mane, so let’s not talk about this), the Shi Chi’s coat has to be brushed daily. The Shi Chi’s coat is usually fluffy, soft, and curly, but can mat and develop tangles extremely quickly (thus the daily brushing advice). Some Shi Chis take most of their physical traits from their Shih Tzu purebred parent and might have a longer and silkier coat that needs a bit more care. Brush your Shi Chi’s coat daily to keep him (and yourself) happy. Never skip it: if your dog’s coat becomes tangled, you might hurt him while brushing it and trying to untangle that mess.

If your dog’s coat is too long, it would better to cut it (or get it groomed by a specialist) to prevent tangles and too much shedding.

Here is a helpful video that shows you how to groom a Shih Tzu in less than 13 minutes (since the Shi Chi’s long coat is similar to a Shih Tzu’s one):

4. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix has to be bathed at least once a month

Shi Chi and Chihuahua together

Look at these smalls boiiis!

Credit: Shaun Dawson / CC BY-NC

Because of his luxurious coat, you should bathe your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix at least once a month, and every time you see that his coat is dirty. Never use shampoo for humans on him though, since it will probably dry your dog’s skin. Instead, use a shampoo especially manufactured for dogs. You can find these online or in any specialized shop. If you don’t know where to start, look up our selection of the best dog shampoos on the market, it might give you an idea or two.

Don’t forget to wipe your dog’s ears once a week, to prevent infections, and brush their teeth at least three times a week.

5. And don’t forget to trim your Shi Chi’s nails

Using a special dog trimmer. It might be difficult at first, since Shi Chis is an active dog, and will not stand to wait for you to finish trimming his nails. Cut your dog’s nails whenever you see that they are getting long (usually once every four weeks is perfect).

You should start trimming your Shi Chi’s nails when he’s a puppy. Sure, he might not need it, but this will help him get more comfortable with the process. Also, always use special nail trimmers for dogs, never the ones used for humans, as they might injure your little best friend.

If you are not comfortable trimming your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix’s nails, then I would recommend going to a professional, who will know what to do.

6. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is an adaptable dog

Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix in black and white

What a baby!!

Credit: Ruth Ellison / CC BY

Surprisingly, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is quite the adaptable dog. He is perfectly capable of living indoors and enjoying his time there. Playful and friendly, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix loves nothing more than being surrounded by his family. A Shi Chi will always have time to play a few games of catch with you or take a nice walk around the neighborhood. But, if you are more of a couch potato (and I don’t blame you, friend) then the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix will be happy laying around with you watching some Netflix or funny YouTube videos.

7. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix gets excited fairly easily

Because they are not very open to strangers, Shi Chis tend to yap and bark a lot at people they don’t know. With proper socialization though, you can help your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix be more comfortable about strangers.

Because of his Shih Tzu DNA, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is a lively dog, and his excitement is not always bad. If he loves you and is comfortable with you, know that you have gained a friend for life. A Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix loves attention, so make sure to always be there for your tiny pooch, because he needs you.

8. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix doesn’t fare well with small children

Just like his purebred parents, the Shi Chi is too fragile to be around little kids. So, if your children don’t know how to behave around small dogs, adopting a Shi Chi might be a bad idea, as a dog this small can get easily injured. Instead, go for a bigger, sturdier dog, that can be around kids.

9. Training a Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix can be difficult sometimes

Shi Chis usually present challenges during training. Because they are not as smart as some other dogs (sorry Shi Chis, but this is the truth), they can be hard to train. But, don’t worry, you can still turn your wild tiny beast into an accommodating one. Shi Chis usually don’t respond to negative reinforcement, so the best way to train yours would be by using frequent praise, treats, and toys. Also, make sure to socialize your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix since puppyhood, so he can get accustomed to being surrounded by other pets and strangers. Shi Chis might be a tiny bit slow, but when they get the hang of it, they will never forget it!

Shi Chis are also very active dogs, so exercise should be part of their training too. 20 minutes of exercise daily or two short walks are enough for this mixed breed to be happy.

10. Shi Chis don’t eat a lot

Because of his small size, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix doesn’t need to eat as much as, let’s say, a Blue Nosed Pitbull does. ½ to 1 cup of dry dog food daily is enough for this tiny pooch to be well-fed and happy. Divide the food into two servings, since your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix has to be fed twice a day. Always make sure to feed your dog quality food (such as Orijen), after all, there is nothing more important than his health.

11. Shi Chis also have health issues

Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix outside


Credit: greatdogsite.com​

Sure, mutts usually live longer and have fewer health problems than their purebred parents. But, that doesn’t mean that they are immune from diseases either. Here are some of the health issues they might suffer from:

All in all, if you take care of your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix and never skip his doctor appointments, you will live together happily ever after.


Shi Chis are tiny dogs with big personalities, they need care, attention, and a lot of training to be able to live a happy life. If you have a Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix, don’t hesitate to let us know your tips in the comments, we’re always in for more knowledge!

About the Author Houda Laabadi

A dog lover!

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