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Care Tzu (Cairn Terrier and Shih Tzu): Guide, Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

Care Tzu - Cairn Terrier and Shih Tzu Mix

Care Tzu (Cairn Terrier and Shih Tzu): Guide, Info, Pictures, Care & More!

The Care Tzu is a mix of the well-known Shih Tzu and the Cairn Terrier. This breed is a happy and outgoing little dog that is high-energy and requires a lot of attention and play. Care Tzus are designer dogs, meaning they are purposefully bred mixed breed dogs. They have floppy ears, although sometimes one will adorably stand straight up by itself if the Care Tzu is surprised or interested in something. To know more about this dog, it’s important to look at its parent breeds.

Breed Overview


9 – 13 inches


15 – 20 pounds


12 – 15 years


Gray, black, tan, and silver

Suitable for:

Active families, new dog owners


Outgoing, intelligent, stubborn, friendly

The Cairn Terrier originates from Scotland and was utilized as a hunting companion. Because of their background as hunting dogs, they are prone to chase small animals such as squirrels or even cats. This dog is very curious and always wants to learn more about its surroundings. They are very active dogs and need lots of interaction. They thrive on one-on-one attention. Intelligence is one of their top characteristics and they can learn an almost unlimited number of tricks!

The name Shih Tzu means “little lion” and aptly describes the gorgeous long coat of this dog, but don’t worry, this affectionate and playful dog does not have a lion’s fierce attitude. This dog is bred solely to be a companion animal and does well in even small apartments. They will sit on your lap for hours and soak up the attention you give them. Shih Tzus are friends with almost all animals and people they meet.

Read on to see how the Care Tzu combines the best of these two breeds in a unique and wonderful way.

Care Tzu Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Care Tzu Puppies

A Care Tzu will cost a fair amount, depending on the breeder. There are many dreadful people who run “puppy mills” where the dogs are mistreated terribly. Be sure to do your research about your breeder before you buy so that you can avoid purchasing a Care Tzu from a puppy mill breeder. You may also want to look into breed-specific rescues to find your Care Tzu puppy. Adopting is a great option as it helps reduce crowded shelters where there are many dogs waiting to be adopted.

Parent_breeds_Care Tzu
Image Credit: Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Care Tzu 🧠

Care Tzus have a very affectionate temperament. Because of this, they are a great dog for first-time pet owners as they will be extremely loving. They are very intelligent dogs. This dog does not enjoy fetching but does love having a variety of toys to play with. Care Tzus never meet a stranger and love to spend time with any and everyone.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The affectionate nature of this dog makes them a great pick for families. They love to play with children and will spend hours being energetic and fun with your kiddos. Be cautious, though, with very small children around a Care Tzu, as they are small animals and could be unintentionally hurt.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Due to the Cairn Terrier’s background in hunting, they do have a prey instinct that drives them to chase small animals. This can pose quite a problem to any cats nearby. This prey instinct can be partially curbed by socializing early, training, and making sure your dog is receiving ample exercise that does not include chasing the cat. They get along well with other dogs as long as they are socialized from an early age.

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Things to Know When Owning a Care Tzu

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Most Care Tzus will not need a specialized diet unless problems are detected. If your Care Tzu has diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy you should take them to the vet to rule out other health issues first. Your vet can then help you choose a hypoallergenic diet for your dog. Otherwise, your Care Tzu can be fed any high-quality wet or dry dog food. You should try to split up their servings into at least two meals. Approximately ¾ to 1½ cups will do great, depending on the brand. Treats are encouraged but in moderation. Table scraps should generally be avoided as human food can cause your Care Tzu upset stomach and other ailments.

Exercise 🐕

Adequate exercise is key in any dog’s health, especially the Care Tzu. They are very energetic dogs and should be walked twice a day plus adding in playtime. Care Tzu’s enjoy running, so a trip to the dog park is recommended regularly if you don’t have a backyard for them.

Training 🎾

This dog’s intelligence makes it a treat to train. Training will be moderately easy, meaning it may take a few tries, but with patience, they can learn almost any trick. Early training and socialization are vital to a smooth training process. Positive reinforcement should always be used, such as offering treats and praise when the correct behavior is demonstrated.

Grooming ✂️

The Care Tzu is luckily considered a low-shedding dog. To help prevent matts they should be brushed two to three times weekly. While regular baths are a good thing, over-washing can lead to dried-out skin. Their toenails will need to be clipped whenever they become too long and his ears should be cleaned once weekly. To keep his teeth healthy and to ward off dental disease, his teeth should be brushed two to three times a week.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Designer dogs are by their nature mixed breed dogs, meaning they will generally be healthier than a purebred dog as there is more variety in their genetics. That does not mean that zero ailments will be passed along from their parents. Here are some common health conditions to be watchful for in your Care Tzu.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections. You can protect your dog from most ear infections by checking their ears regularly and cleaning them on a weekly basis.
  • Dental disease. By brushing your dog’s teeth two to three times weekly, you can help stave off dental disease.
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia – This condition occurs while your dog is still growing. The hip joint becomes loose which results in your dog feeling pain and suffering dysfunction.
  • Cryptorchidism – This disease causes one or both testicles in a dog to fail to descend, which should occur naturally by the time the dog is eight weeks old. Neutering is the only treatment for this condition.
  • Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy – This is a rare, but fatal, disease. The diagnosis is made by a blood test. This condition causes a DNA mutation that results in the myelin (the substance that coats our neurons) to not be produced properly. This leads to tremors, overall weakness, and incoordination.
  • Hypothyroidism – This condition causes the thyroid gland not to produce enough thyroxine, which is necessary for a dog’s metabolism. It usually appears during the middle years of your dog’s life. Once diagnosed with a blood test, it can be treated with oral medication.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Care Tzu

1. One of the most famous Cairn Terriers ever was Terry who played the role of Toto in The Wizard of Oz.

2. Shih Tzus were originally kept as pets by the royal Chinese family members of the Ming Dynasty.

3. The spot on a Shih Tzu’s head is said to be from where Buddha kissed his Shih Tzu on the head after it saved his life.

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In Conclusion

If you are looking for a loving lap dog who is a great fit in any family, the Care Tzu may be the one for you. The affectionate nature of this dog makes it perfect for someone who wants a close canine companion. Their active nature makes them a joy to play with. For best results in their temperament, early training and socialization is a must. These dogs can make great companions for a single person or a family. Their mixed-breed status makes them less likely to inherit genetic diseases. Their intelligence makes for fun interactions and an enjoyable training experience. The Care Tzu brings out the best from both their Shih Tzu and Cairn Terrier parents! Consider adding one to your family!

Looking for more crossbreeds? We have a full suite of Cairn Terrier Mixes and Shih Tzu Mixes!

Featured Image Credit: Parents of Care Tzu. Left: Cairn Terrier, Right: Shih Tzu | Image Credit: Pixabay

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