Patterdale cross Shih Tzu

If you’ve never found out about the Shih Tzu breed, you’re in for a treat here.  We’ll start by looking at each breed and then open a discussion about the outcome of this cross.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu originated in China, where they were bred to live in the emperors’ palaces.  Shih Tzu is a companion breed; they are friendly little dogs who are good with children and other pets.  They make good little watch dogs too.

Appearance

They have large dark wide set, prominent eyes set in a broad head.  They have a good beard and whiskers; a distinguishing feature is how they have hair growing upwards on the muzzle.  Their muzzles are wide and short, giving a square appearance and wide, open nostrils.  The Shih Tzu ears are large, drooping set just below the crown of the head. 

Standing around 20-28cm to the shoulder, they are a toy breed with a solid, sturdy appearance.  The tail is which is carried over the back, is high set and heavily plumed.   They have a lot of presence, are active, intelligent and alert.

Coat

They are double coated with a long, dense straight outer coat.  The hair on the head will cover the eyes if left, so should be tied up or clipped in dogs that are not showed. 

Shih Tzu come in black, white, blue, silver, red, brindle and liver point.  White with another colour is also common. 

Health

Due to their face shape, Shih Tzu is a Brachycephalic breed which means they may be prone to breathing issues due to upper airway obstructions that sometimes need surgery.  They don’t cope with hot weather and cannot swim.  Shih Tzu suffer a few different eye problems such as corneal dryness and inflammation, cataracts, entropion, retinal detachment, proptosis,  and progressive retinal atrophy.

Other health issues include hip dysplasia and patella luxation, which can lead to lameness.  They can be prone to hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid.  They can be prone to Epilepsy, Cushing’s disease,  ear infections, skin allergies, invertaebral back disease and Portosystemic liver shunt.

Patterdale Terriers

The Patterdale Terrier was bred to work – to get the job done.  They were bred with the purpose of running with the hounds and flushing out foxes to hunt rabbits and kill rats and mice.  They are athletic, energetic and frequently unsafe around small furry pets and cats.  Patterdales can be lovely with children when brought up with children; otherwise, care is advised to ensure careful introductions as with other terrier breeds.  Patterdales are also good watch dogs, confident and outgoing.  They are incredibly loyal and intelligent, making them easy to train.

Appearance

The Patterdale head is wedge shaped and well set on a long muscular neck. They have small almond shaped eyes and medium sized ears dropping forward and in proportion with the head.  Their noses should match the coat’s colour and have strong jaws with good teeth and a perfect scissor bite.

Patterdales are usually around 25 – 38cm to the shoulder; the shoulder is long and lean with an athletic body and strong hindquarters.   They have good ground covering gait, as you’d expect from a terrier bred to run all day.

Coat

Patterdale Terriers can have smooth, broken or rough coats.  In all cases, the Patterdales coat is coarse and dense.  Rough coats can be slightly wavy and often have distinctive eyebrows and beards.  Black is the predominate colour with brown, liver and black and tan, and some have a small amount of white.   

Health

Patterdales are probably one of the healthiest breeds of dogs to have.  They can be prone to skin allergies from things like fleas, dust mites, pollen, household cleaning products, and mould spores.

They also occasionally suffer from eye problems such as conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and cataracts.  

So What is a Patterdale cross Shih Tzu going to be like?

Any crossbreed could carry traits, appearance and characteristics from the breed of either parent. First crosses are known as hybrids, and breeding hybrids is a total gamble; you cannot predict the outcome of the resultant puppies.  A litter of puppies from a Patterdale Shih Tzu cross could all have different appearance, coats, temperaments and so on.  There is a common myth that hybrid dogs are somehow healthier. While there is a good chance that the Patterdale Shih Tzu cross would produce dogs that are healthier than many pedigree Shih Tzu, chances are only a very low percentage would be as robust as the Patterdale.

In an ideal situation, you’d like to ascertain that the resultant offspring would be midway in size and look how you imagine a Patterdale cross Shih Tzu would look; however, there are no guarantees.  

There are no certainties in genetics, especially when crossing breeds and types of dogs.  Responsible dog breeders work hard to breed for the traits they want and that are good for the breed.   Crosses of the same type of dog are often done with the aim of improving or developing a good strain, for example, the Parsons Terrier – Patterdale cross for hunting abilities.

The aim of the Patterdale – Shih Tzu cross is probably to increase the stamina and athleticism of the Shih Tze by crossing into the healthy gene pool of the Patterdale.  Shih Tze are more people orientated than Patterdales and reliable around children and other pets.  So that could be another advantage that breeders are aiming for.  Maybe the hope is to breed a Patterdale shaped dog with a long silky coat?  Or, a dog with lower energy levels than the Patterdale!

Moving away from the brachycephalic breeds to cross with is a good idea; breeders would expect most of the litter to have a longer nose than a Shih Tzu and therefore avoid many of the problems associated with the brachycephalic nose.

Resources and Further Reading:

https://www.mydogbreeds.com/shih-tzu-vs-patterdale-terrier

https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/pet-advice/dog/dog-breed-guides/shih-tzu-health-problems/

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/The-Truth-About-Hybrid-Vigor-in-Dogs-Breeders-Dont-Want-You-to-Know

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