Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Schweenie
Roberto Martinez /

The charismatic Schweenie is a delightful mix of the loyal and confident Shih Tzu and the bold and independent Dachshund. This hybrid dog will show their family a great deal of love and form incredibly strong attachments with them. A bonus for those of us with busy lifestyles – Schweenies do not need much exercise and can also adapt nicely to apartment living.

On first encountering a Schweenie, one would be forgiven for thinking they were a Heinz 57 mongrel as their short, wiry coat and stocky body is not at first clearly recognisable as either part Shih Tzu or part Dachshund. On closer examination, however, we can begin to see the silhouette of the ‘sausage-shaped’ Dachshund and some facial features of the beloved Shih Tzu.

About & History

The Schweenie is a recently created hybrid that has not been around for very long. Like many other designer dogs, we do not have a clear picture of when or where they were first bred. However, we can still garner a good appreciation of their history by taking a closer look at the past of each parent breed.

The Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is thought to have originated in China roughly 3,000 years ago, making it one of the most ancient lap dogs to still exist. While it is difficult to prove, most historians agree that both the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese contributed to its genetics.

These dogs were utterly revered by the local people who would carve sculptures and paint pictures of them in their honour. Unlike a great deal of pedigree breeds, the Shih Tzu was not bred for a specific working or hunting purpose and has always been kept as a companion animal – a factor which has meant that they have always made faithful pets.

The Dachshund

The Dachshund is a scent hound and, despite its unusual body shape, can be quite athletic when it wishes! Developed within Germany around 300 years ago, they were traditionally used to hunt low to the ground in the pursuit of prey, such as badgers and rabbits. Indeed, Dachshund translates to mean ‘badger dog’.

While these dogs can and are still used to hunt, the majority are kept as companion animals and they enjoy being social with their owners. The Dachshund breed is made up of several variants and individuals can be short-haired, wire-haired or long-haired. Similarly, dogs may either be a standard or miniature size. Any of these combinations can be used in the creation of the Schweenie.


Schweenie Large Photo
Roberto Martinez /

The long-haired, regal looking Shih Tzu and the long-backed, stumpy-legged Dachshund are two small breeds that look quite unalike. Due to this, there is a great deal of physical variation within the Schweenie breed. Most will have a long back with a belly that is close to the ground due to their short and often bowed limbs. Their skull is relatively small and may be domed or flattened at the forehead. Their sweet ears hang close to their face and are widely set apart. They have round, dark brown eyes, which often give them the impression of pleading for something. Their muzzle is medium in length and ends in a neat, black nose. Their tail is not overly long and will taper to a point. It is often carried straight up when the dog is active.

Once fully mature, the Schweenie will weigh anything between 4kg and 9kg and will measure from 28cm to 38cm. Their body is compact and rather dense. Some Schweenies will have longer coats than others but most will have a medium-length, wiry coat that can come in a variety of shades, including brown, white, black, fawn and grey. Bicolor and tricolor dogs are common and are preferred by many owners. Some will have longer fur around their face and may even have a ‘moustache’ and ‘beard’.

Character & Temperament

A dog designed to be a family pet, the Schweenie is the perfect companion for children and adults alike. Friendly and always keen to please their owners, Schweenies are biddable dogs when adequately trained. With proper socialisation, these guys can integrate well with people of all sizes, as well as other dogs. However, assuming that they will be socialised automatically is unrealistic as, just like any breed, this takes time.

It is not uncommon for a Schweenie to develop separation anxiety. This is particularly the case with those that attach themselves strongly to one owner in particular and who spend a large amount of time without human companionship. Where possible, we should aim to prevent this anxiety from developing in the first place by aiming to raise a well-rounded dog that is not overly reliant on one owner in particular. Crate training can also be a useful tool. Where possible, these dogs should be around humans so are not well-suited to homes that are frequently left empty.

Smarter than the average canine, this characteristic works in the Schweenie’s favour when it comes to training but can make them overly sensitive. If under-stimulated, these dogs bore quickly and may become destructive within the home. Similarly, excessive barking can become an issue for some.


Always eager to please and impressively quick when it comes to picking up on new tasks, the Schweenie is a pleasure to train. However, if the training is not something that the Schweenie is particularly keen on, they can become bored quickly and may decide that they have ‘done enough’ for the day! Keeping training sessions short and interesting can help to combat this issue and ensure the dog stays on side.

A sensitive soul, harsh criticism and punishment-based training are ill-advised as they will often result in a demoralized dog who is fearful to take part in training sessions. Rather, encourage the correct behaviour with plenty of treats and encouragement.


There are certain conditions which the Schweenie can inherit from either parent breed, including:

IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease)

AS both the Shih Tzu and the Dachshund are genetically predisposed to this spinal disease, it is little wonder that the Schweenie may develop it too. IVDD can result in severe back pain, difficulty walking and even complete paralysis. When a disc herniates out of place, it will compress the spinal cord and it is essential that dogs are immediately assessed by a vet.

In some cases where the cord compression is not too significant, a dog may recover with medication and cage rest alone. However, more serious injuries often require spinal surgery to be corrected. In these cases, the sooner the surgery is performed, the better the prognosis.

Patellar Luxation

When the knee cap luxates, it no longer sits in its groove as it should and can cause chronic knee pain and local osteoarthritis. For some, their luxation is minor and does not cause them much discomfort. For others though, they can suffer greatly and often benefit from a surgery to correct the abnormality.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Also known as ‘dry eye’, those with Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca do not produce enough tears to coat their eye, leaving their cornea dry and irritated. Over time, this can lead to irregular pigmentation and painful ulcers.

In any dog that is predisposed to KCS, regular checks should be done to check tear production to ensure it is adequate. For those who do no produce enough tears, they will generally need lifelong eye drops.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Though a lively dog that enjoys participating in fun activities and games, the Schweenie does not require a great deal of exercise and can actually have most of its needs met indoors. Of course, a few short walks outdoors to ‘do their business’ and investigate some new smells are always appreciated.

Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent obesity and, as in any dog prone to IVDD or other joint disease, we should aim to maintain the Schweenie at a lean body condition throughout its life.


Grooming requirements will depend on the coat type inherited by the Schweenie but most will benefit from a good brush twice a week. We need to pay particularly close attention to the floppy ears of the Schweenie, as they can be prone to developing infections.

This is due to the dark, warm and moist environment created within the canal due to the lack of natural airflow. Cleaning wax out using a doggy ear cleaner should be done as needed, which for most will be a couple of times a month.

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