Hybrid dogs, or “designer dogs,” result from the mix of two or more pure breeds. Though the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize cross breeds or allow mixed breeds to participate in competition, The American Canine Hybrid Club has been formed in support of hybrids. There are now over a one hundred recognized hybrid dogs.
The most popular breeds to mix with others are poodles and pugs, possibly because of the resulting cute-sounding names. The Shi-Poo (Shih Tzu/Poodle), Puggle (Beagle/Pug), and Pug-A-Poo (Pug/Poodle) are just a few examples. Dog lovers choose to mix breeds for health as well as aesthetic reasons. Breeds like the Bichon Frise are hypoallergenic and shed very little. Thus, this breed is often utilized in the hopes of retaining its non-allergy causing genetics. The Bichon Shih Tzu, or Zuchon, is one example of a Bichon hybrid.
It is important to note that hybrids are not pure breeds. They are a mix of one of more breeds. Mixed breeds are usually referred to as “mutts,” but hybrids are different than mutts because both parents have documented ancestry.
Hybrid dogs are the result of mixing two or more pure breeds. Though most mixed breeds are known as “mutts,” hybrids have parents with documented ancestry. Many dog lovers want a pet with the traits of more than one breed. In hybrids, any mixture of hereditary traits of both purebred parents is possible but resulting dogs will have recognizable characteristics of both breeds. These dogs, called “designer dogs” by the media, are highly sought after possibly due to their cute-sounding names as well as their appearance.
Bichon Shih Tzu, often called Zuchon or Shichon, are a mixture of the Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu. These hybrids may any of the qualities- good or bad- of both breeds. Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise are two of the oldest dog breeds in the world. While they are both known for having many attractive traits, these two breeds are most likely bred to retain to intelligence of the Shih Tzu and the hypoallergenic coat of the Bichon Frise. Hybrids are also thought to have fewer health problems and other defects than pure breeds due to the fact that hybrids are not the result of inbreeding.
The hybrid of the Bichon and Shih Tzu has the benefit of both breeds. Bichon Shih Tzu dogs have a long and documented history on both sides of their family tree. The Shih Tzu originated as far back as 1 A.D. The breed is thought to have descended from cross breeding of the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. The Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu breeds were revered by Tibetan monks and honored and presented as gifts by Chinese emperors.
The Bichon Frise can be traced back to 600 B.C. Descended from dogs called Barbichon in the Mediterranean. Spanish sailors took the ‘Bichon’ out to sea because of the breed’s happy temperament. The breed made its way to Europe and the French added “Frise” to the name to reference the breed’s curly fur. The Bichon was recognized by the French Kennel Club in 1934 and the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1973.
It is no surprise that there are fans of both breeds that may wish to have the lineage and other qualities of both in one dog. It may be possible that the hybrid of these two remarkable breeds one day gains recognition as a pure breed by the American Kennel Association.