The Zuchon is a hybrid dog breed that was developed by
crossing a Bichon Frise with a Shih Tzu. The dog was first bred in the U.S. in
the 1990s, with the objective of creating a sweet, teddy-bear-looking dog that would make a great companion and in addition, was sweet with kids. The
Bichon Frise is believed to have originated in Italy.
The breed was taken to
France in the 14th century by sailors who found the dogs in
Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. The Bichon descends from the Barbet, and
it’s related to the Bolognese, the Maltese, the Havanese, and the Coton de
Tulear. The breed’s popularity spread rapidly through Europe’s nobility. In the
16th century, during England's King Henry III and France’s King
Francis I, the Bichon Frise was highly acclaimed.
The breed was also admired in
Spain, and was portrayed by great artists, like Goya. The Bichon eventually
became too familiar and ordinary, they were owned by common people such as circus performers and organ
grinders. But thanks to its personality and cute looks, the Bichon regained its
popularity. After World War I, French breeders were determined to preserve the
breed and the official breed standard was established in 1933.
At this time, the
dog had two names: Tenerife and Bichon; the breed was later named Bichon Frise.
The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1971.
On the other
hand, the Shih Tzu is believed to be one of the 14 oldest dog breeds. The belief is that the breed was developed by Tibetan Monks, who gave these dogs to
the Chinese Royalty. Another theory is that the Shih Tzu was created in China,
and descends from the Lhasa Apso or the Pekingnese. Dogs that look like the
Shih Tzu are portrayed in paintings, writings, and art from 618 to 907 A.D. during
China’s Tang Dynasty. There are also references to these dogs in documents and
paintings from 990 to 994 A.D. It is known that during the 13th century, the Mongolian Emperor Kubla Khan kept small dogs that were used to calm
the lions and it is thought that these dogs were Shih Tzus. These “lion” dogs
were also mentioned during the Ming Dynasty in 1368 to 1644. In 1861, the breed
became acclaimed thanks to Empress T’zu Hsi’s love for these dogs. She received
a pair of Shih Tzus from the Dalai Lama, and it is said these dogs had their
own palace. The breed arrived at England in 1928 and was later imported to the
United States. The American Kennel Club recognized the Shih Tzu in 1969.