The Zuchon is one of the smaller designer crossbreeds, but despite their diminutive stature they are full of energy and personality. While more common in the US, it is slowly growing in popularity around the world due to their affectionate nature that makes them a great companion for both young and old. The breeds that make up the Zuchon are the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise.

The Zuchon can be a first cross (with one Shih Tzu and one Bichon parent), they can be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Zuchons bred together. This means that there are varieties in size, shape, colours and coat types, but in all cases this is a small companion dog.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Height: The usual height of a Zuchon is between 24-29cms.
Shih Tzu - not exceeding 27cms
Bichon Frise - 23-28cms
Colours: The colours of a Zuchon can be any mixtures of their parents’ colours with white markings.
Shih Tzu: All colours permissible apart from merle. White blaze on forehead and white tip highly desirable in particolours.
Bichon Frise: White
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy and Utility


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 1/5


Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Zuchon depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared.

The Shih Tzu is an extraverted, confident, affectionate dog who can be quite independent and aloof with strangers. They are, but will often think of training as a chore they would rather not participate in.

The Bichon Frise is an extroverted, lively, playful, friendly little dog. They bond very closely to their owners and will want to accompany them everywhere.

The Zuchon is a small companion dog who will enjoy games and being part of everything their owner does.

The personality of a Zuchon seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Shih Tzu or the Bichon personalities) or else be bred to another Zuchon - in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder. A well-bred Zuchon should be outgoing and confident and not nervous, shy or fearful.

History and Origins

Like many of the designer crossbreeds, the Zuchon originated in the United States in a quest to find a small companion dog that didn’t shed and that would fit into any family’s lifestyle no matter how small their home and garden.

To understand more about the origin of the breed requires an understanding of the two breeds that go into the formation of the Zuchon

Shih Tzu

Country of Origin: China

The Shih Tzu we know and love today is itself an ancient crossbreed having been created within the walls of the Forbidden City in the 17th century from crossing the Lhasa Apso from the monasteries of Tibet with an early form of the Pekinese.

The resulting dogs, called Lhasa Lion Dogs, remained hidden away from the eyes of the West until the 20th century when the Peking Kennel Club was formed and the Lhasa Lion Dogs were shown for the first time alongside the Lhasa Apso.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that these dogs found their way to England and once again they were shown alongside the Lhasa Apso but it was clear they were quite different, and so the types that had the rounder skull and short muzzle became known as the Shih Tzu and a breed in their own right.

Bichon Frise

Country of Origin: Spain

This is a fairly old breed who by the 16th century had found popularity in the Spanish courts. They originated on the island of Tenerife, where they were known originally as the Barbichon which means Little Barbet. The Barbet was a local water spaniel and it is thought that the Bichon Frise was a cross between these working dogs and smaller Spanish lapdogs of the time.

The Bichon Frise (then called the Bichon Tenerife) remained popular in the Spanish courts right through to the 19th century and even captivated the hearts of the French nobility as well. For some reason however they fell out of favour and they went from being dogs of nobility to being largely circus performers. Thankfully their appealing looks and their trainability meant that they excelled, finding a performing niche for themselves until French and Belgian breeders took an interest in them and worked to re-establish the breed and renamed them Bichon à Poil Frisé which means the bichon with the curly coat.

The Zuchon can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Zuchon Dogs

Training the Zuchon

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