Cairn Terrier Shih Tzu Mix: Characteristics and How to Choose the Puppy

A “Designer” Dog

If you’ve never heard about it before – Care-tzu is a crossbreed between a Cairn terrier and a Shih Tzu, a so-called “Designer” dog. And what the heck is a “designer” dog you ask? Basically it’s the result of a cross between two purebred ones. A Purebred dog is that which characteristics are standard and written down, so they can be passed through generations and must be followed by breeders. So in this case you can be more or less certain what size your puppy will grow into, how much it will shed and what basic temperament to expect.

Then let’s say you’d like a dog which is cheerful and a perfect companion as a dog A, but has less inherited stomach problems and doesn’t shed so much, which are the characteristics of a dog B. Now you cross them, and see if the result you hope for will appear. So this way you “design” a dog to be for example more suitable for allergic people, bigger or smaller on size or just extremely cute.

Attention! If your “designer dog” doesn’t have a documented purebred parents, you can consider it a mutt.

One bonus which can come with crossing two different breeds is the more vigor (physical and mental strength) the puppy might get. Inside a purebred family line, the gene pool is logically less diverse than in between species, so crossing two absolutely different dogs lets you put some fresh blood in the mix and possibly release it from the genetic diseases typical to a purebred. Though this quality wears off little by little when breeders start mating the designer dogs of first generation with each other.

Choosing the Puppy

So choosing a “designed” puppy first of all you need to check the qualities of both purebreds involved. If there is a characteristic in one of them which doesn’t suit your purposes – don’t expect that this quality will not appear in the puppy. There’s no guarantee that a crossbred will get only the best from both parents, this goes for dogs as well as for humans.
So what can be important for a dog characteristic?

  • personality, temperament;
  • shedding;
  • size;
  • life expectancy;
  • health problems.

Care Tzu – Parents

So as we said the crossbred puppies are expected to have mixed qualities of their parents. So let’s look at Cairn terrier and Shih Tzu.

Cairn terrier is that Toto dog you remember from the classic Wizard of Oz movie and its temper was portrayed quite accurately in it. Cairn terrier is a curious, independent, intelligent dog. A bit of a troublemaker from time to time. It’s a very good friend for children and people in general.

Cairns are expected to live around 12-15 years and don’t really have any serious health problems. Some small concerns are the allergies, cataracts and general skin problems. To keep fit, this terrier just needs to exercise enough. Cairns don’t shed much, to care for their fur you need just to brush tem from time to time and shave them couple of times a year. The heights vary from 10 to 13 inches and it weights from 13 to 18 pounds.

Shih Tzu is an all-time favorite Chinese breed. It has strong personality and known to be loyal and extrovert dog, perfect friend for kids and companion for adults. It requires high maintenance for its long and thin coat, but it hardly shreds which makes it popular for breeders desiring to create a less allergenic breed.

The life expectancy of Shih tzu is around 11-14 years, its height varies from 8 to 11 inches and its weight might be from 9 to 16 pounds. This dog doesn’t have any great health issues, but it requires eye tests and periodic check-ups for minor concerns. Shih Tzu is often chosen for breeding “designer” dogs, because it makes the puppies:

  • less allergenic;
  • more social and friendly;
  • generally smaller.

The perfect example of Shih-Tzu hybrids is a Maltese Shih-Tzu or Mal-Shi, which is a wonderful lap dog, friendly and hypoallergenic.


So let’s sum it up. The crossbred puppy of Shih Tzu and Cairn terrier, the so-called Care-Tzu is a dog of 9-13-inch-tall, weighing about 10-18 pounds His body is a bit longer than its height. It has a long tail, which it wags all the time and may have one ear standing up and one laying down. Its coat is of medium length and can be straight or slightly wavy. Almost doesn’t shed when brushed regularly.

Expected to live about 12-14 years it does not have any specific health issues except the risk of obesity which can easily be avoided by letting the dog exercise often in the yard or on the leash. It has good temperament, makes a nice pet and companion for the whole family, friendly with children it is raise together with.

So if you’re looking for a healthy, strong puppy who can get along with your kids and doesn’t require too much maintenance – pay attention to Care-Tzu a small “designer” dog with a big heart.

6 Photos of the Cairn Terrier Shih Tzu Mix: Characteristics and How to Choose the Puppy

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Author of Silvia Brown
Written by Silvia Brown
Glad to see you, my friends! I started this blog several years ago as a hobby and continue to write articles about dogs.
I'm a dog lover and the proud owner of two wonderful dogs: French Bulldog Maya and Beagle Tom. It's been more than 10 years since I had a dogs and worked closely with them. I've raised four dogs throughout my life and have experience assisting in the births of two dogs. At least once a week, I volunteer with friends at a dog shelter AMA Animal Rescue and Animal Care Centers of NYC in NY.

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