So a natural progression for my current obsession is the “available puppies” pages on breeder websites, petfinder.com and puppyfind.com. It’s quite possible that I have seen photos of every single available puppy of a certain size in the entire country. Possibly more than once. And I’m pretty sure if I didn’t already have carpal tunnel, I do now.
There is a plethora of small dog breeds available: Jack Russels (too hyper), chihuahuas (too yappy) Westies (potentially too big to fly in cabin on Southwest), Yorkies… and then there are the “hypoallergenic” breeds: Maltese (fine boned but glorious personalities) Bichons Frise (too frizzy for me but also fabulous little dogs) poodles (super smart but I’ve never liked their look) and Havanese.
Then there are the hybrids, “designer dogs’ if you will, because who would pay $1,000 and more for a mutt? A Maltese mixed with a Shih Tzu is a Mal-Shi. A beagle and a golden retriever make a Bego (but why would you DO that???) A golden, mixed with a poodle, makes a Golden Doodle and that of course, was the original hybrid, bred as service dogs for people with allergies. The world went crazy after that, apparently.
But in my opinion, they get some mixes right. The wonderful Bichon Frise, entertaining little smarties often used in circuses, crossed with the colorful, long hair Shih Tzu lapdog makes a fluffy little lover called a Shichon or Teddy Bear that can have the best traits of both parents. And holy cow, I want one!
Here’s how they’re described:
Size: The Shichon averages a weight of 10-12 pounds.
Coat: The coat of a Shichon is usually thick and sheds very little. The coat can come in a variety of lengths depending on which breed this dog’s coat takes after.
Character: The Shichon is a happy, friendly dog.
Temperament: The Scichon are easy-going and enjoy the companionship of their owners.
Care: Regular brushing is required.
Training: The Shichon is eager to please their owner. They require consistency in their training and done with a gentle hand.
Activity: The Shichon does not require formal daily exercise. Routine play is sufficient though they do enjoy short walks with their owners.
I am utterly in love with these dogs. The trick is finding an affordable pup that didn’t come from a puppy mill. Ugh, who knew about these places? Well apparently they’re all over the news but I tend to avoid sad animal stories as they give me nightmares. So now I’m doing the research and it’s horrific. Google it, you won’t believe who some of the worst perpetrators are. Hint – The Amish!!!
Well I want a puppy from a breeder who owns both parents, where the puppies are brought up in the home, preferably with kids to play with them. Puppies need to learn from their parents and siblings to become good doggy citizens later, I’ve learned. I want responsible breeders who love and care for their dogs. It’s not too much to ask but it’s a lot of work to weed out the mill breeders who aren’t exactly advertising themselves as such.
It’s a good thing we’re going to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks. The forced wait is giving me time to really figure out what we’re doing, although knowing us (me!) in the end, choosing a puppy will be a purely emotional decision. At least I’ll be armed with knowledge, whether I used it or not…