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Shiffon (Brussels Griffon & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care & More

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Shiffon_rachnelson, pixabay

Shiffon (Brussels Griffon & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care & More

The Shiffon is a hybrid breed, a cross between the Brussels Griffon and the Shih Tzu. These sweet little dogs are lapdogs through and through and ideal for apartment living. They inherit the best traits from their parent breeds, and while they can certainly be a bit mischievous at times, they are sweet little pooches overall, with large, bubbly personalities.

Breed Overview

Height:

8 – 11 inches

Weight:

8 – 16 pounds

Lifespan:

12 – 15 years

Colors:

Black, white, tan, red, grey

Suitable for:

Families, couples, singles, apartment living

Temperament:

Loyal, affectionate, energetic, friendly, sweet, playful, spirited

These dogs are usually not far from their owners and are best kept in a single-dog household where they are the center of attention. They are happy to live with children and other dogs, though, and can make an ideal family dog. They are known to be somewhat protective of their families at times, but generally speaking, they are sweet pooches that are friendly to all they meet — with proper socialization, of course!

These small pooches with huge personalities are unique dogs indeed, and as such, they are becoming a popular choice among designer breeds. Let’s look closer at this spirited little pooch.

Shiffon Characteristics

Energy
+
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.
Trainability
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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.
Health
+
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.
Lifespan
+
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.
Sociability
+
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.

 

Shiffon Puppies

Shiffons are highly loyal, affectionate, and sensitive pooches that like to be close to their owner as much as possible. If you are looking for a pooch that is happy to do their own thing most of the time or if you’re away from home frequently, the Shiffon is unfortunately not the breed for you. They are known to suffer separation anxiety if they’re left alone for more than a couple of hours.

They are highly adaptable dogs, though, and can happily live in an apartment or a family home with a large backyard. As long as they’re getting enough exercise and are close to their human family, they are happy pooches

Parent_breeds_Shiffon
Image Credit: Left-  Michael Mong, Shutterstock| Right – otsphoto, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Shiffon

Since Shiffons are hybrid dogs, their personality comes from both their parent breeds and can vary slightly depending on the genes that they inherit. That said, the two breeds are similar in temperament, so there are no surprises in terms of personality. Both breeds are outgoing, social dogs that thrive on human interaction and company, and they are happiest when with their human family.

In general, Shiffons are sweet, lovable, and playful dogs that make great family pets and loyal companions for singles or seniors. They are cheerful, happy-go-lucky dogs that are generally friendly to everyone they meet, but they are happiest when close to their owners. This trait can sometimes be problematic because Shiffons that are not properly socialized can be suspicious of strangers and even possessive of their owners, a classic trait among smaller breeds. Of course, with adequate socialization, this shouldn’t be an issue.

These little dogs are always ready to play and always up for a game in the backyard with their owner. They are intelligent dogs that learn quickly and can be taught various tricks and games. As long as they are with their human family, the Shiffon will be happy, but they are known to suffer from separation anxiety and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

Shiffons are great family dogs, although they do best in homes with older children. They do not enjoy being teased or handled roughly and may even react aggressively toward very young children that don’t respect their boundaries. If you have older kids who know how to play with dogs gently, the Shiffon can be a wonderful family dog.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Shiffons generally get along great with other dogs, even though they’d prefer to be the only pooch in the home! They are rarely aggressive toward other dogs but are known for being overprotective and territorial at times if they’re not properly socialized. They are also sensitive pooches that can get overwhelmed easily around large, strange dogs. If you are introducing new dogs to your Shiffon, it’s important to take the process slowly and gently.

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Things to Know When Owning a Shiffon

Food & Diet Requirements

Shiffons are small dogs with small appetites, so they are a breeze to feed. They should be given food tailored for small toy breeds, with plenty of animal-based protein that’s preferably listed as the first ingredient. Dry kibble is great because it’s relatively inexpensive and helps keep your dog’s teeth clean, but it’s a good idea to supplement this with lean meats or canned food occasionally too.

Check the ingredient list of the food that you choose, and make sure there are not too many filler ingredients, like corn, wheat, and soy, because these can quickly cause excessive weight gain, a common issue in small breeds like Shiffons. As with any dog, make sure your Shiffon has constant access to fresh, clean water.

Exercise

Shiffons are moderately active dogs and need around an hour of exercise per day, with another 30 minutes or so of dedicated playtime. They can happily live in apartments provided that they get daily walks, although they’ll love a small backyard to play in too. Shiffons are intelligent dogs, so interactive games that challenge them intellectually are vital. These small dogs are prone to gaining excess weight, and this makes exercise all the more important. Boredom and lack of exercise can also cause behavioral issues, especially in protective and clingy dogs like Shiffons. Daily exercise is non-negotiable.

Training

Both the Shiffon’s parent breeds are known for their intelligence, and Shiffons are smart pooches too. Training is usually a breeze with these dogs because they are eager to please and happy to have any excuse to spend time with their owners. Of course, no matter how clever or amiable your pooch is, consistency is key to proper training, along with early socialization, which is an often overlooked aspect in training.

Shiffons are somewhat sensitive animals, so reward-based methods are best — harsh training methods will only serve to disturb the bond with your pooch. These dogs love treats and praise, so reward-based methods will be the quickest and most effective training tools.

Grooming ✂️

Most Shiffons have hair with varying textures, so they will need regular grooming and trimming. No matter the coat that your Shiffon inherits, they’ll need daily brushing to avoid knots and matting. Most will likely love the process! They do not need to be bathed unless they are particularly filthy or muddy, but even then, a rinse with warm water should do the trick. If you feel the need to use soap, it’s best to use specially-made dog shampoos so your dog’s coat does not get damaged and dry.

Other than that, occasional nail trimming and regular teeth brushing are all that are needed.

Health and Conditions

Both the Shiffon’s parent breeds are known for being healthy pooches, and with their hybrid genetics, Shiffons are sure to be healthy, robust dogs too. Of course, there are still a few issues to look out for, as well as common issues that small dogs in general can inherit.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Cataracts
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Collapsed trachea
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Male vs. Female

In general, male Shiffons are a bit larger than females, but other than that, there are few differences between males and females. They have similar personalities in general, and spaying and neutering will further mitigate any hormonal differences in males and females. It’s important to remember that all dogs are unique individuals, and your dog’s personality is far more affected by their training, environment, and upbringing than their sex.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Shiffon

1. They are a rare breed.

You’ve likely seen few, if any, Brussels Griffons around, as these dogs are a fairly rare breed. They are difficult to breed because the females struggle to give birth naturally, so there is a high mortality rate among puppies. It makes sense that any hybrid breeds involving Griffons are rare too.


2. They are surprisingly energetic.

With their small stature and reputation for being a lapdog, you’d be forgiven for assuming that these dogs are not that active. In reality, Brussels Griffons are known for being expert athletes, and they excel in a multitude of sports and activities. Shih Tzus are also active, playful pooches and are known for staying active well into their old age. With parents like these, your Shiffon is bound to be an energetic little pooch too!


3. They are royal pooches!

The Brussels Griffon was originally bred for ratting but quickly moved through the ranks and achieved royal status. The breed’s luck took a turn in 1870, when the Queen of Belgium, Henrietta Maria, took an interest in the breed. In no time, the breed was a common sight among Belgium royalty and their popularity skyrocketed.

Shih Tzus also have a royal history. These little dogs were highly regarded by Chinese royalty and were often given as gifts to emperors, living a pampered, luxurious life in the laps of royalty.

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Final Thoughts

The Shiffon is a lapdog and loves nothing more than being close to their owner. Still, they are surprisingly active dogs that love playing and exercising and are not content to lounge around all day. They need daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. They are sweet, affectionate dogs that are generally friendly to everyone they meet, although their attachment to their owners can sometimes cause them to become overprotective at times, so proper socialization is vital. Since these dogs become so attached to their owners, they do not enjoy being left at home alone, an important point if you are away from home frequently.

Shiffons make great family dogs and loyal companions for singles and couples, and they can adapt to a variety of living conditions. If you are looking for a small, affectionate pooch to become your new shadow, the Shiffon is a wonderful choice!


Featured Image Credit: rachnelson, pixabay

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