Cock-A-Tzu

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25-35 lbs
11-14"
Unknown
Cockatzu

The Cock-A-Tzu is a designer dog, an intentional hybrid between the American Cocker Spaniel, a game flushing gun dog turned family companion, and the Shih-Tzu, a small companion dog from China that was favored by royalty. The resulting hybrid is an affectionate and endearing animal with a high intelligence and a drive to please. These crossbreeds can come in several color combinations and they  have soft, double-layered curly or wavy coats. Although their grooming requires daily attention and a little extra work, they are relatively quiet and their exercise needs are fairly low, making them a suitable candidate for apartment living. 

Purpose
Companion
Date of Origin
Unknown
Ancestry
Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu

Cock-A-Tzu Health

Average Size
Height: 11-14 inches Weight: 25-35 lbs
Height: 11-14 inches Weight: 25-35 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Eye Problems
Minor Concerns
  • Heart Problems
  • Cleft Lip or Palate
  • Urinary Crystals and Stones
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Blood Test
  • Spine
  • Skeletal
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Cock-A-Tzu Breed History

The Cock-A-Tzu is a newer variety of designer dog, an intentional cross between the American Cocker Spaniel, a companion animal that was once a hunting dog, and the Shih-Tzu, the companion and watchdog of Asian royalty. The Shih-Tzu is an ancient breed of dogs that hails from China. It is believed to have been developed from the Lhasa Apso, a tiny guard dog from Tibet, that was bred with small Chinese dogs, such as the Pekingese. Designed to be a companion and a watchdog, the Shih-Tzu was favored by Chinese royalty for many centuries because of its flowing, hypoallergenic coat and its friendly nature. Spaniels, in general, are classified as a variety of gun dog, but in truth, they have been assisting hunters since long before the gun was invented. Initially, these dogs were bred to flush prey out of the deep brush for hunters as early as the 1500’s and in some cases, to retrieve birds and game from where they had fallen either on land or water. The earliest Spaniels were first divided into two groups based on where they worked; water Spaniels and land Spaniels. It wasn’t until sometime in the 17th century that a distinction was made between types of land Spaniels, and the distinction was based entirely on size. The taller Spaniels were typically employed to “spring” game animals from the bush and were therefore called Springers, whereas the smaller dogs were particularly adept at flushing out game birds like woodcocks for their owners, earning them the name of Cocker Spaniel. When the Cocker Spaniels began development in America they changed considerably, being bred for suitability as a companion rather than as a game dog. Cocker Spaniels in America had lengthened backs, more dome shaped heads and a greatly reduced prey drive. The change was so great that in 1935 a group was formed for those who preferred the traditional look of the English Cocker Spaniel and were adamant about discouraging interbreeding between the original English Cocker Spaniel and the newer Americanized version. In 1946 the Cocker spaniels that had developed in America were recognized as a separate breed, the American Cocker Spaniel, and this is the breed utilized for the development of the Cock-A-Tzu hybrid. 

Cock-A-Tzu Breed Appearance

The Cock-A-Tzu is a small but sturdy dog that is slightly longer than it is tall with a muzzle that is square, short, and deep and a broad skull that is slightly domed. They typically have the dark, round eyes of the Shih-Tzu although the eye shape may lean toward almond, and their ears are either lobular or petal shaped and they are usually set fairly high on the head and hang, although the ear lengths may vary. They may carry their tail straight out from the body, like the Cocker Spaniel, or it may carry it over the back like the Shih-Tzu. Both parent breeds have double layer coats that are made up of a dense undercoat covered by straight hair with a slight wave, although the Shih-Tzu’s coat is considerably longer than the Cocker Spaniel’s coat. Although this crossbreed may more closely resemble either parent breed, the majority of Cock-A-Tzus have a silky medium length coat that can range from wavy to curly, and comes in many color variations, frequently with white markings.

Cock-A-Tzu Breed Maintenance

The Cock-A-Tzu should be bathed every six to eight weeks to help keep the coat shiny and clean and in some cases, they will need a trim at that time to even up any feathering that is looking sloppy. Brushing and combing, on the other hand, needs to be done on a daily basis. Although their soft curly or wavy coats don’t tend to shed much, they are very prone to tangling and matting, which can become painful for your pet if left untreated too long. In some cases, this type of injury may lead to an infection. They may also be more prone than average to developing cavities and other dental diseases, and regular brushing of the dog’s teeth may prevent new cavities from forming. 

Cock-A-Tzu Temperament

The word most often used to describe this particular crossbreed’s temperament is cheeky. They tend to be on the sweet side and as such they get along with almost anyone. They are very intelligent and are generally quite easy to train with positive training techniques, but they can be emotionally sensitive to harsh scolding. They are fairly quiet canines as well and in most cases, they will only bark to alert you to something. Although they get along quite well with children, interactions with the very young should be supervised to protect both the child and the dog. Most of these dogs will get along fairly well with strangers as well although some can be a bit more reserved, and they are typically friendly and gentle with other animals as well. They do not do well when left on their own for extended periods of time and may be somewhat predisposed to developing separation anxiety. 

Cock-A-Tzu Activity Requirements

The Cock-A-Tzu crossbreed has undemanding activity requirements and they are usually content with just twenty to forty minutes of vigorous activity a day although breaking exercise sessions up into several smaller chunks of time is typically more effective. These little canines are quite happy living in smaller spaces with a few short walks or energetic play sessions indoors each day, and many of them may excel at scent hound activities, agility training designed for small statured dogs, and advanced obedience training. They are quite intelligent and some sort of mental stimulation will be required in order to prevent overly vocal or destructive behaviors caused by boredom. These dogs are naturally fairly quiet and tend to make pleasant and polite roommates, making them a suitable choice for apartment living. 

Cock-A-Tzu Owner Experiences