Shichons have wavy, long-haired coats--and while they can resemble adorable little plush toys, their fur needs regular maintenance. The good news is that the care, while frequent, isn't too difficult. Below are details on maintaining a Shichon's coat and on various grooming styles.
Shichons are small-sized and basically non-shedding, but they have wavy, long-haired coats that can easily become matted or tangled. Shichon grooming, therefore, should be an easy but frequent task. Your Bichon-Shih Tzu mix will need brushing 4-5 times per week, monthly baths, and, depending on your preferred hairstyle, clipping or scissoring (either by you or a professional groomer) every 2-3 months.
To brush a Shichon: first wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle. You'll need both a slicker brush and a medium-toothed comb; starting with the head, use the slicker brush to work through the coat using the well-known line-brushing method. Use the comb to de-tangle stubborn mats. If you follow the brushing with a bath, use canine shampoo and conditioner (available at pet stores), then towel- or blow-dry the coat. Finish with another quick brush-through to neaten the coat.
Whether you cut the Shichon's hair yourself or have a groomer do it, these dogs need touchups every couple of months or so. Many owners learn to give their Shichons "mini-grooms," which simply consist of using clippers and/or scissors to trim the hair around the eyes (which, if too long, can obstruct and irritate the eyeballs), around the anus (to minimize that hair from getting dirty when the dog relieves itself), and on the paw pads (to give the dog better traction and decrease dirt/mud from collecting there). It's a good idea to visit a professional groomer at least once, as he or she can give you tips on how to groom a Bichon-Shih Tzu mix in general.
Numerous Shichon grooming styles exist--and these cute little dogs look precious wearing them all. Most Shih Tzu-Bichon haircuts can be done at home, but you'll definitely want to learn from a professional groomer. Three of the most popular:
- Teddy Bear Cut: Since they already resemble stuffed animals, many owners love these Shichon dog haircuts. The body hair is cut fairly short (2-3 inches), while the head, legs, and tail are a bit longer, and carefully rounded and sculpted; the overall appearance make the Shichon look like a teddy bear.
- Puppy Cut: A Shichon, in this cut, has its hair shaved fairly close (1.5-2 inches) all over; some choose to leave the hair on the head, face, legs, and tail a bit longer. This style is good for those who don't want to spend as much time grooming their dogs.
- Show Cut: A bit of a misnomer since as a crossbreed, a Shichon isn't shown often. And it's not necessarily a "haircut" at all, but just a trim, more or less: most of the length is left in all over, only trimmed and evened out. Thinning shears are often used in this cut, to decrease the frequency of tangles and mats. Probably best done by a groomer, and will require frequent brushing.