The Jack Tzu is a designer dog. Given the name, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that it is a mix between the Jack Russell Terrier and the Shih Tzu. What Are 10 Things You Didn’t Know about the new designer dog, the Jack Tzu?
1. Expect More Variation
Purebred dogs tend to be very predictable. After all, people have been breeding them for the same set of characteristics for generation after generation. Designer dogs are much less so, which makes sense because they are a relatively new thing. As such, a particular Jack Tzu can have a random set of characteristics from both sides of their heritage.
2. There Can Be Multi-Generation Mixes
On a related note, it is common for people to assume that a Jack Tzu will be a first-generation designer dog, meaning that one of their parents was a Jack Russell Terrier while the other parent was a Shih Tzu. However, it is important to remember that there can be multi-generation Jack Tzus as well, which may or may not be 50 percent descended from one breed and 50 percent descended from the other breed. Naturally, a designer dog that is more descended from one side of their heritage than the other tend to resemble that side of their heritage more than the other.
3. Has Terrier Heritage
For starters, it should be mentioned that Jack Russell Terriers are, well, terriers. The term indicates a dog that has been bred for the purpose of hunting vermin, which encompasses a wide range of small animals. As such, it is no coincidence that terriers tend to be small, tough, and spirited animals. More than one terrier breed has managed to make a smooth transition into other lines of work, but even so, it isn’t uncommon for these dogs to show signs of their ancestral calling. Something that interested individuals should keep in mind for Jack Tzus.
4. Descended from a Dog Used for Fox Hunting
In the case of the Jack Russell Terrier, the breed was developed for the purpose of hunting foxes. After all, the breed’s namesake was John “Jack” Russell, an Englishman who is remembered for being enthusiastic about breeding dogs as well as hunting foxes. It is interesting to note that Jack Russell Terriers were bred to hunt foxes without hurting them because that would have ended the hunt too soon, thus making it unsporting.
5. Their Ancestor Saw Serious Changes Following WW2
Hunting saw a serious decline after World War Two. As a result, the number of Jack Russell Terriers saw a serious decline as well. Fortunately, the breed managed to survive by making the transition to being a household companion. However, it is interesting to note that Jack Russell Terriers didn’t do so right away. Instead, it took time for people to make them better-suited for their new role, which was made possible by crossbreeding with Welsh Corgis, Chihuahuas, and other breeds. Due to this, there are kennel clubs that recognize not one but two different kinds of dogs, with one being the original working dog and the other being the derivative that is better-suited for a different role.
6. Their Ancestor Isn’t Well-Suited for Small Living Spaces
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jack Russell Terriers tend not to be very well-suited for apartments and other homes with smaller living spaces. They are very energetic animals, meaning that they need a lot of stimulation before they are satisfied. Without that, Jack Russell Terriers have been known to create their own forms of entertainment, which can be very destructive for their surroundings. Due to this, interested individuals might want to watch out for such tendencies in their Jack Tzu.
7. Their Other Ancestor Is Named for Lions
It is a matter of contention whether Shih Tzus originated in China or in Tibet. Whichever the case, the name of the breed is the Wade-Giles romanization of the Chinese word for “lion.” Supposedly, Shih Tzus were bred to look like Chinese lion statues, thus explaining the name. Technically, those statues are always of lions rather than dogs or even some kind of lion-dog hybrid. However, people have been confusing them for dogs for a very long time, which hasn’t been helped by the existence of the Shih Tzu as well as other breeds bred to look like them.
8. Their Other Ancestor Is Also Sometimes Named for a Beautiful Woman
In modern times, the Shih Tzu has also managed to pick up the very flattering name of the Xi Shi dog in Chinese. This is a reference to one of the Four Beauties of ancient China, who lived towards the end of the Spring and Autumn period. As the story goes, King Goujian of Yue was captured by King Fuchai of Wu after being defeated in a war. After undergoing much humiliation, he convinced his rival to let him go before embarking on a quest for revenge. To gain the opportunity, Goujian sent Xi Shi as a gift to Fuchai, who was known to have a weakness for beautiful women. Thanks to this, Fuchai began neglecting state affairs in preference for pursuing personal pleasure, which resulted in his ultimate defeat. The happier version of the story says that Xi Shi retired with one of Goujian’s ministers. However, there are less happy versions of the story as well. In those, well, suffice to say that Goujian was a very ruthless man, both to himself and to others.
9. Their Other Ancestor Is Less Energetic
Amusingly, the Shih Tzu isn’t a very energetic dog. This makes sense because while Jack Russell Terriers were bred to be hunting dogs, Shih Tzus were bred to be lapdogs. As such, Jack Tzus can see significant variation in this regard, which is something that interested individuals will want to watch out for.
10. Smart Dogs
Thankfully, Jack Tzus tend to be smart dogs. However, they can be rather stubborn animals, meaning that interested individuals might find it difficult to work with them. Still, positive reinforcement works on them in much the same way that it works on other breeds, so that is something to keep in mind. Negative reinforcement is always a bad idea, but for these dogs, it can be particularly problematic because they are so willful.