It’s hard to imagine what you’ll get when you cross two breeds at the extreme ends of the canine spectrum. One is a tiny lapdog with a look of pure innocence. The other is a large dog with mischief written all over its face.
You may suspect whether the pairing of a Shih Tzu and a Siberian Husky is possible at all. Well, the real question here is how. With two dogs of different sizes, it’s understandable that the natural method can be an awkward—sometimes dangerous—affair.
In this article, we’ll discuss how the Shih Tzu Husky mix came to be and what to expect of this unique breed. So, stick around!
The Origin of the Shih Tzu Husky Mix
There’s little information about the exact origins of the Shih Tzu Husky mix. One thing’s for sure though—they’re bold and out of this world. They’re the Alexander McQueens of designer breeds!
The unusual combination of a Shih Tzu and Siberian Husky is often the product of artificial insemination or AI. It’s the process of depositing fresh or frozen semen into the female’s reproductive tract with the help of a pipette.
When natural mating is risky and unfavorable, vets and breeders now turn to the safety of artificial breeding. Take, for example, the Shih Tzu Husky mix. Whether the large dog is the stud or the bitch, breeding seems impossible either way.
All thanks to AI, we have a quirky hybrid that hopefully captures the best traits of its parent breeds.
The Shih Tzu
This little charmer has both Tibetan and Chinese origins. In Tibet, Shih Tzus descended from the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso.
Its name translates to ‘lion’ in Mandarin, and the breed enjoys a sacred status in Buddhism. In fact, legend has it that the white patch on top of a Shih Tzu’s head is how Buddha blessed it for its courage.
The distinct feature of this pup even has a couple of nicknames: ‘Star of Buddha’ and ‘Buddha’s Kiss’.
Ancient mythos aside, the earliest Shih Tzus served as royal lapdogs for the Ming dynasty. Perhaps it’s why they’re still one of the most spoiled and well-loved toy dogs to this day.
The breed came to the US via Europe after the Second World War. It wasn’t until 1969 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) inducted the Shih Tzu into the toy group.
The Siberian Husky
While Shih Tzus are a pampered lot, the Siberian Husky, on the other hand, is a hardworking Northern breed. The Chukchi natives bred the original Huskies to pull their sleds as they traversed the frozen landscapes of Siberia.
The breed’s claim to fame dates back to 1925 during the Great Race of Mercy. Packs of Huskies whizzed past blustering snowstorms across Alaska to relay a life-saving diphtheria serum to Nome.
In 1930, the AKC recognized the Siberian Husky as a member of the working group.
Physical Traits of the Shih Tzu Husky Mix
A Shih Tzu Husky mix is like a box of chocolate! You never know what kind of pup you’ll get. Truth be told, the hybrid can be any iteration of the distinct physical characteristics of the parents.
First, let’s look at the physical attributes of the majestic Shih Tzu:
- Grows to about 8–11 inches in height
- Weighs around 9–16 pounds
- Has a long, lush double coat in black, white, liver, gold, blue, or a combination of these colors
- Has large brown eyes
- Has a short face and muzzle
- Has floppy ears and curled fluffy tail
Now, here’s a quick summary of the Siberian Husky’s stunning features:
- Stands tall at 20–24 inches
- Tips the scales at 35–60 pounds
- Has an athletic build and phenomenal speed
- Has triangular, erect ears
- Has a medium-length double coat in black, white, gray, tan, or red
- Has piercing eyes in ice-blue, brown, or heterochromatic colors (one brown and one blue)
- Has facial markings over the eyes
All things considered, a Shih Tzu Husky dog’s appearance is wildly unpredictable. The pup can look like a wide-eyed Shih Tzu with a slightly larger body. Or it can be a miniature and puffy version of a Husky.
Sometimes, the breed is a curious mixture of a wolfish face and a tiny frame. Other times, it sports erect ears and blue eyes on a small, flat face.
The dog can have the ‘Star of Buddha’ and the dark cap over its eyes at the same time.
With a Shih Tzu Husky mix, it’s a lottery of both parents’ genes in terms of size, coat, eyes, ears, and markings.
The Temperament of the Shih Tzu Husky Mix
Whether the mix resembles mom or pop is no guarantee it’ll behave more like a Shih Tzu or a Husky. Hopefully, a breakdown of each parent’s temperament will help us benchmark what to expect from the breed.
A Shih Tzu’s personality is anything but that of a ‘little lion’. With its lively demeanor, this breed is a walking ray of sunshine. These are the charming qualities of Shih Tzus:
- Affectionate with children
- Loves attention
- Gets along well with other pets
- Enjoys chill moments on your lap
- Can be yappy and mischievous
- Adaptable to confined living space
Meanwhile, there’s nothing icy about the Siberian Husky’s temperament. Below are proofs that the arctic breed’s personality is like a warm loaf of bread:
- Eager to please
- Treats every stranger like a long-lost friend
- Has tons of energy
- Loves playtime
- Doesn’t do well in solitude
- Can’t resist chasing smaller animals
Considering what the parents have in common, we can expect the Shih Tzu Husky mix to be super friendly to humans and animals alike. The breed will also make for a companionable dog who basks in attention and relishes giving it in return.
The pup can show its naughty side, as both parents have that streak. Now, whether the pup is going to be a firecracker or a couch potato is for you to find out.
How to Care for a Shih Tzu Husky Mix
The care requirements of a Shih Tzu Husky mix will largely depend on the size and appearance of the dog. Here’s everything you should know to ensure your pup’s health and well-being are in the best shape possible:
If your mix falls within the range of a small dog, give it less than 200 grams of dog food daily. Small portions of highly digestible food will minimize stool size and digestive problems.
It’s tempting to give your tiny pup treats and table scraps all the time. Don’t let your dog trick you into extra meals with its beseeching eyes. It’s the perfect formula for nutritional imbalance and obesity in toy breeds, so offer palatable food with high-quality ingredients instead.
For a medium-sized pup, 2–3 cups of protein-rich food daily will deliver the needed calories for healthy growth.
Check the ingredient profiles of your commercial dog food. Fiber, antioxidants, and amino acids are all important for a well-balanced diet.
You can’t go wrong with premium dog food, as it has higher nutritional density. It’s more expensive but you only need to give your dog less as it’s packed with nutrients.
Both Shih Tzus and Huskies exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety when you leave them alone for too long. The mix is likely to carry this behavior as well. One way to combat this is to avoid feeding your fur baby the moment you get home.
Unlike Huskies, Shih Tzus are high-maintenance. However, both benefit from regular brushing, so continue the practice on the mix. Starting at an early age, brush the pup’s coat to avoid tangles and matting. Use a wire brush with flexible bristles to stimulate the natural oils of its skin.
If the mix has a flat face similar to a Shih Tzu’s, get ready to spend a lot of time cleaning its face. Remove any morsels of food around its face with a damp cloth or wet wipes. If the hair around its eyes grows too long, you can tie its hair in a top-knot or give it a ‘teddy bear cut’.
The dog may tear a lot, so don’t forget to pay daily attention to its eyes. Wet a cotton ball and carefully clean off tear stains, mucus, and dried debris around the eyes. Remember to trim the fur around the butt and paws as well.
If your pup inherits a Shih Tzu’s luxurious locks, it’ll need a bath once every three weeks. Additionally, set aside a budget for professional grooming if you can’t manage the upkeep of its fast-growing coat. Otherwise, bathe your pup a few times a year if the coat is more Husky-like.
Both Shih Tzus and Huskies are difficult to potty train, so it’ll take double the patience to crate train your mix. The pup can also test your composure during obedience training.
Keep sessions short and reward good behavior with lots of praise and pets. However, don’t go overboard with treats!
Follow these tips to socialize your Shih Tzu Husky mix:
- Introduce your puppy to people, sounds, and experiences as early as 3 weeks.
- Give it gentle cuddles and get it accustomed to having people around when it’s eating.
- Promote pleasant encounters with well-behaved kids.
- Provide chew toys to redirect biting.
- Give your puppy alone time so it can learn to tolerate separation.
If your mix is on the smaller side and has a flat face, it’s not a good idea to overexert it. Brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzus have short skulls and even shorter muzzles.
They have low energy and are prone to heatstroke. A few minutes of exercise out of the sun should be enough to flex their stout legs.
On the contrary, you’ll know if your mix has the tendencies of a Husky if it destroys stuff when it gets bored. You can take it on hikes and give it plenty of vigorous exercises, but only if it has a long muzzle. In addition, provide mentally stimulating toys to make playtime more interesting.
Common Health Conditions Affecting the Shih Tzu Husky Mix
The Shih Tzu Husky mix dog can inherit health conditions specific to the breed of each parent. A wellness check at least once a year will help monitor your fur baby for these medical issues.
Here’s the lowdown on the complications that may affect your dog:
Shih Tzus have expressive, large eyes bulging out of shallow sockets. This characteristic makes these toy dogs extra adorable, but it also genetically predisposes them to eye problems. Not just that, but the long hair around their faces can irritate their peepers too.
Some common eye conditions that Shih Tzus can pass onto their litter are:
- Retinal Dysplasia
- Corneal ulcers
- Eye infections
- Entropion or inverted eyelids
- Conjunctivitis or pink eye
Huskies are also prone to juvenile cataracts, regardless of eye color. Both parents contribute hereditary eye conditions to the gene pool, so it’s imperative to visit a canine ophthalmologist yearly.
If your Shih Tzu Husky mix is walking funny, chances are it’s suffering from patellar luxation. The teeny-sized parent may be the one to blame for your pup’s wonky kneecaps.
The condition can lead to arthritis and other orthopedic problems if left untreated. Luckily, a routine physical exam can detect this abnormality and kick off intervention.
If your mix has the short face of a Shih Tzu, its mouth may be too small to fit in all its teeth. The result is an underbite and protruding lower jaw.
It’s usually not a concern unless it’s causing pain, difficulty in chewing, or poor appetite. Tooth extraction can help fix severe cases like these.
Large dogs like huskies are susceptible to hip dysplasia. However, this painful condition can affect small dogs, too. It occurs when the ball and socket that join the hip do not grow in sync, resulting in a loose fit.
Over time, it can wear down the cartilage that cushions the surfaces of the bones. Worse, it may develop into arthritis, which involves more pain and inflammation.
Thankfully, glucosamine supplements can help repair thinning cartilage and improve joints. Remember to consult with a vet for the correct dosage to give your pup.
What Is the Life Span of a Shih Tzu Husky Mix?
The life expectancy of a Shih Tzu is between 10 and 16 years. Meanwhile, the Siberian Husky can live from 12 to 14 years. Therefore, you can expect a Shih Tzu Husky mix to live within these ranges.
The Shih Tzu Husky mix undoubtedly makes for a good family dog. If you can fully commit to a dog that thrives in company and attention, then this dog might be the right breed for you.
However, keep in mind the challenges of owning this mix in terms of training and possible health issues.