Read on and learn exactly what a designer dog is, what the term “Shih Tzu designer dog” means and whether this is the right choice for you.
Critics will tell you that a designer dog label literally means that this breed of dog is a mongrel.
A cross between two established breeds is in actual fact a cross breed this is very true, however if you are happy with that and simply want a dog to love and take into your family the crossing of established breeds can actually be a good thing.
Genetic Traits and Designer Dogs
The genuine positive about a cross breed that has Shih Tzu in its genetic make-up is that the dog is likely to inherit at least some of the lovely, friendly and sweet Shih Tzu nature. Common Shih Tzu cross breeds that are labelled as designer dogs include;
- Shih Tzu cross Miniature or Toy Poodle
- Shih Tzu cross Cavalier King Charles spaniel
- Shih Tzu cross Yorkshire terrier
- Shih Tzu cross Jack Russell terrier
Each of these cross breeds will inherit some traits from either side of their genetic history. For instance the Shih Tzu crossed with a Yorkshire terrier may be particularly stubborn and a little more reactive than the pure bred Shih Tzu or the Shih Tzu cross Cavalier may be more laid back.
Designer Dog Health
Health can be improved by taking the dog away from a purebred bloodline and adding the more robust genes of another dog. For instance the Jack Russell terrier is strong and hardy therefore his genes are usually a good addition to any cross breed.
Sadly though the opposite can also be caused by a demand for designer dog breeds. Genetic problems of two badly bred dogs can cause severe health problems in any cross breed that is not carefully created. For instance the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is well known for genetic heart problems which can easily be passed not puppies regardless of whether they are Shih Tzu crosses or not.
Genes are not usually foreseeable therefore we can never really tell what genetic improvements can be made or problems created when we breed dogs, with or without careful testing, beforehand.
Designer Dogs – The Real Danger
The real danger with designer dogs is that unscrupulous breeders see them as money machines. This is exactly where the label “designer dog” comes from.
They are not going to call their cross breeds by their real names if it doesn’t encourage people to hand over hundreds of dollars. So they create the names “Shih Poo” or similar none-existent words to make people believe that they are buying a really special dog. Which of course they are because all dogs are special.
This in itself is not a problem for the dog, for it is only money, the real problem lays with the shoddy breeding techniques that lead to people being able to sell “designer dogs”. Therefore it is vitally important that, if you are looking for a specific cross breed, you do exactly the same breeder checks as you would when looking for a purebred Shih Tzu dog.