When I first heard of the Shih Tzu husky mix, I was surprised. Despite all of my knowledge of mixes, this one seemed extreme, perhaps even impossible. It turns out that the breed does exist, although they are rare.
Do these pooches bring the best of both worlds or are they too different to be a good choice for a mixed breed?
What happens when you breed a pampered lap dog like a Shih Tzu with a hardworking husky? Keep reading to find out more.
- Quick Profile
- Grooming Guide
- Exercise Needs
- In Summary
Before we get into the details, let’s take a look at the basics.
Once you have a good idea of what to expect with the Shih Tzusky, keep reading to learn more.
- Other Names: Tzuskies, Shih Tzusky
- Average Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
- Average Height: 12-18 inches
- Average Weight: 15 to 50 pounds
- Coat appearance: double coat, medium to long, black, blue/gray, white, red, brown, liver, tan, Isabella, sable, agouti
- Eye Colour: brown, blue, green, bi color
- Activity Level: Medium
- Grooming Frequency: Every other day, daily when shedding
- Typical Temperament: Happy, playful, intelligent, stubborn, loyal, friendly, affectionate, curious
- Daily Food Consumption: 1 to 1 1/2 cups
- New Owner Friendly: Yes
- Suitable to live with children? Yes
- Suitable to live with other dogs? Yes
- Suitable to live with cats? Yes, if socialized with them
The appearance of a Shih Tzu husky can be difficult to predict, because the parent breeds are very different.
Any mixed breed will inherit some characteristics from each parent, so they will have aspects of each parent in their appearance.
Generally, a Shih Tzusky will look similar to a Shih Tzu (as you can see in the example below), but they can also take after the husky parent.
To get a better idea of what these adorable pooches look like, let’s take a look at their parent breeds.
Huskies are medium to large dogs. They are slightly longer than they are tall.
They have an elongated head and a medium-length muzzle. They sport medium-sized erect ears and a long bushy tail.
They have powerful athletic bodies and graceful lines.
Huskies have a double coat that is medium in length. They can be a variety of colors, including:
- Sable (red with black tipped hairs)
- Agouti (gray or wolf sable)
Their coat is typically bi-color, which means it has two colors, or tri-color, which has three colors. They can also be solid colored, but this is rare.
Their eyes can be brown, blue, or rarely, green. They can also have heterochromia, which means that each eye is a different color.
Shih Tzu Appearance
Shih Tzus are slightly longer than they are tall, like a huksy.
They are a small breed, with a large head in relation to their body. They have a short muzzle, and typically sport an underbite, according to the AKC.
Their tail curls over their back. They have medium ears, which lay down. Their eyes are prominent and can be dark brown, blue, or green.
They have a double coat that is long in length, and has a silky texture.
Like huskies, their coat comes in a variety of colors, including:
They can be solid color, or bi-color.
Shih Tzus and huskies have quite a size difference. In fact, they must be bred using artificial insemination, because they aren’t physically compatible due to their size.
This size difference can make it difficult to predict the size of a Shih Tzu husky. You can expect these pooches to be between 12 to 18 inches tall, and weigh 15 to 50 pounds.
Siberian Huskies can reach 18-22 inches tall, and weigh 30-60 pounds. Shih Tzus reach 8-11 inches tall, and weigh only 9 to 16 pounds.
Both parent breeds have a double coat, so your Shih Tzu husky will as well.
Huskies have a medium-length topcoat, while Shih Tzus have a long topcoat. They also have a silky coat, more similar to human hair than most dog coats.
A Shih Tzu husky will typically inherit a long coat like their Shih Tzu parent, but it can be medium in length as well. The coat can be silky, or coarser, like a husky coat.
Both parent breeds come in a wide variety of coat colors. Both can be solid colored or bi-color.
A Shih Tzu husky coat color and pattern can be:
Again, this can be difficult to predict. They may inherit the head of a husky, with a longer muzzle and an elongated head, or the rounded head and short muzzle of the Shih Tzu.
They may inherit the compact stocky body of the Shih Tzu, or the athletic body of a husky.
Their ears can be erect, or droop. Their tail can be straight, or curl over their back.
Your Shih Tzu husky will require frequent grooming, like their parent breeds. They will shed twice a year, and can shed moderately year-round.
While their coat care will vary slightly depending on the coat they inherit, the basics remain the same.
You’ll need a few tools to groom your pooch properly. These tools include:
- Undercoat rake (all coats)
- Pin brush (Shih Tzu coat)
- Slicker brush (husky coat)
- Nail clippers
- Dog shampoo
Grooming a Shih Tzu Husky Coat
If your pooch has a Shih Tzu-type coat, you can brush them with a pin brush. If they have a husky-type coat, a slicker brush can be more useful. However, a pin brush can be used as well.
Both types of coats require an undercoat rake, which will remove the shed hair from their undercoat.
You’ll need to brush them about every other day, and daily when they are blowing coat. Huskies shed all year round and blow coat twice per year, while Shih Tzus shed lightly year round.
Your pooch may adopt either of these or both. They will typically shed less than a purebred husky, and more than a purebred Shih Tzu.
Most dogs require regular nail trimming. Huskies are the exception, with this being attributed to their high energy level, which wears down their nails.
You can expect your Shih Tzu husky to need their nails trimmed, usually once every 4 to 8 weeks.
You’ll know it’s time for a trim when their nails are nearly touching the ground when they walk. If you hear a click-clack when they walk, it’s definitely time to trim their nails.
You can use a nail grinder or a scissor-type nail clipper.
Shih Tzus require frequent bathing, about once every 3 weeks. Huskies, on the other hand, need a bath about once every 3 months.
Your Shih Tzu husky’s bathing needs will likely be somewhere between these two extremes. If their coat becomes dirty, or they begin to smell, it’s time for a bath.
Be sure to use a shampoo designed for dogs to avoid irritating their skin.
Both parent breeds are friendly and very social. Your Shih Tzu husky will inherit these traits. These pooches aren’t watchdogs. Instead, they will enjoy meeting new people.
They also do well with other animals. Huskies have a high prey drive, so your pooch may need some socialization to get along well with cats.
However, they will do great with other dogs. In fact, they need to spend time with other dogs to meet their need for socialization.
This dog isn’t a great choice if you spend a lot of time away from home. They are known as “velcro dogs” because they seem to be velcroed to their owner’s leg.
They will likely want to follow you everywhere. If you leave them alone, they may have separation anxiety. This can cause them to be destructive, have house accidents, and have other unwanted behaviors.
It’s important not to punish them for these behaviors. Instead, you’ll need to leave them for short periods of time at first, and slowly increase the length of time you are gone.
It’s also a good idea to have someone else stop by if you will be gone for several hours. They can take them for a walk and give them some companionship, which can help them make it through the day.
Shih Tzu huskies are relatively easy to train. Huskies are well known for being independent and stubborn. However, the Shih Tzu’s devotion to their owner helps to balance this out.
As long as you are consistent with training, they will be obedient. Be sure to use positive reinforcement only. Don’t punish them. This will only trigger their rebellious streak.
These pooches are great for families. They love to play and need lots of love and attention from their owners, so it’s helpful to have several people to occupy them.
They may develop a close relationship with their primary caregiver, but they will still be affectionate with everyone in the family.
Shih Tzu huskies are considered relatively healthy, but they are prone to some health conditions.
Mixed-breed dogs have greater genetic diversity, which can make them less likely to develop health issues.
However, these pooches are still at risk of some health issues, particularly those found in both their parents.
Both parent breeds are prone to a few eye conditions, including PRA. PRA, or progressive retinal atrophy, leads to blindness.
Cataracts are another concern. This occurs when a film develops over the lens of the eye. This impairs their vision and can lead to blindness over time. Cataracts can be corrected with surgery.
Proptosis, which occurs when the eyes bulge, can also occur.
Dental issues can be a problem for Shih Tzus, due to their underbite. Misalignment or crowded teeth are common.
Both parent breeds can develop periodontal disease, which can also affect their overall health.
Renal dysplasia occurs in Shih Tzus, and can also occur in the Shih Tzu husky. It’s usually inherited from one of the parents.
Experts recommend genetic testing before breeding to reduce the risk of this disorder.
Renal dysplasia refers to an abnormality of one or both kidneys and is usually diagnosed at a young age.
There is unfortunately no cure, but mild cases can be managed with a specialised diet, supplements and regular monitoring of the kidney’s health.
Brachycephalic syndrome occurs in breeds of dogs that have a flat face and a shortened airway.
English bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and English toy spaniels are examples of brachycephalic breeds, as well as Shih Tzus.
The syndrome can cause noisy breathing, coughing, and snoring. These pooches are typically less active than other breeds because it’s harder for them to breathe. They are also less tolerant of heat.
Brachycephalic syndrome is typically a minor concern. However, it can cause collapse and serious respiratory issues in rare cases.
Both parent breeds are prone to allergies. Food allergies are the most common for huskies and can cause skin issues and gastrointestinal upset.
The most common food allergens are dairy, chicken, eggs, beef, wheat, and corn.
Shih Tzus are at a high risk of skin allergies. The most common allergens for them are airborne, which include mold, pollen, dust, and perfumes. Skin allergies can cause itching, rash, lesions, and hair loss.
Both parent breeds are at risk of hip and elbow dysplasia. This occurs when the joint doesn’t form correctly, which allows the joint to come out of place easily.
Luxating patella is similar. It occurs when the kneecap slips out of place frequently.
These conditions can cause pain, limping, and difficulty moving. You may notice that they can’t jump or run. They may limp for a while, and then begin walking normally.
Your Shih Tzu husky will need plenty of exercises, although they don’t require as much activity as the husky.
You’ll need to provide them with 1 to 1 3/4 hours of exercise each day.
Shih Tzus need 1 hour of exercise each day, while huskies need 2 hours of exercise each day. Exactly how much activity your pooch needs will depend on which traits they inherit from their parents.
They love to run and enjoy playing games like fetch. They also need mental exercise. Without it, they will become bored, and develop behavioral issues.
You can provide them with mental stimulation by training them, teaching them tricks, and playing games like hide and seek.
Shih Tzu huskies are excellent companions for families or individuals. They are very affectionate and loyal.
You’ll need to be prepared to spend lots of time with them and meet their grooming and exercise needs.