A Shih Poo is crossbreed of dog and the result of breeding a purebred Shih Tzu and a purebred Poodle. Although it is not always easy to guess the traits of a crossbred dog, the Shih Poo is likely to have characteristics that match both it’s parents and with be playful, eager to please and love to be doted on.
Because of their small size they are the perfect lapdog and are known as a designer breed. A Shih Poo is an adaptable dog that does well in many situations, including family homes — although they love to be pampered, so a quiet life cuddled up next to you wouldn’t be so bad!
If you’re interested in learning more about this little dog, read on below and see whether a Shih Poo might be the dog for you.
History Of The Shih Poo
The Shih Tzu Poodle hybrid is still a relatively new breed of dog. Shih Poos can also go by the names Shoodle or Pooshi, but you shouldn’t confuse them with the Poo-Shi, the Poodle/Shiba Inu mix. Poodle crosses are one of the most popular form of hybrid dog breeds.
The Shih Poo was bred to be a hypoallergenic lapdog, making it perfect for those with allergies. Although they are very popular, they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club as an official breed yet.
A Shih Poo puppy can cost anywhere between $500 to upwards of $1,000 when bought from a breeder. You should always remember to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder, or you can adopt at your local shelter.
The Shih Poo breed originated in North America, whereas the Shih Tzu originated in China and the Poodle originated in Germany.
A Shih Tzu was originally Chinese Royalty and were pampered by Emperors and spent their days as lap warmers. They are known for being very loyal to their owners but are also outgoing and stubborn dogs. Although they are a sociable breed, they love to be at home too.
The Poodle came from Germany and was originally a popular dog among artists. The American Kennel Club recognized the poodle as an official breed in 1887, and now recognize it as the 7th most popular dog breed.
So, when we cross a Shih Tzu with a Poodle, we get a Shih Poo, which combines the characteristics from both parents into this fun, cuddly little dog. While it is not always possible to know the exact characteristics of your Shih Poo because they are a hybrid, there are some general traits that are more common in this small breed. Take a look below to learn more about them.
As we mentioned above, because the Shih Poo is a relatively new breed, it can be difficult to predict exactly what they are going to look like. We can take a look at their parents and guess many of the statistics and traits though.
Because both of their parents are small, it is easy to guess that the Shih Poo is going to be small. On average, a Shih Poo weighs in at 8 to 18 pounds and ranges in height from 8 to 18 inches. However, as Poodle and Shih Tzu sizes can vary between teacup, miniature and standard, the size of the Shih Poo will also vary.
Although small in size, they have a sturdy body. They also have a round face and wide-set eyes, giving them a cute appearance that you’ll be sure to love!
Shih Poo coats can vary and it can be long and silky or short and curly. They can get the curly fur from their Poodle parent, the straight fur from their Shih Tzu parent, or a combination of the two, which is most likely.
Their fur is hypoallergenic, which is what makes them such a popular hybrid. The Shih Poo inherits this hypoallergenic fur from their Poodle parent, as the Shih Tzu has a non-hypoallergenic coat. The hypoallergenic coat means that the Shih Poo does not shed very much and is therefore perfect for those who have allergies — and those who don’t want dog fur all over their house!
The color of a Shih Poo’s coat can also vary. They can come in black, white, brown, brindle and all variations and color combinations. It is not uncommon for puppies of the same litter to be born with different colored coats.
The Shih Poo temperament may lean more towards one parent than the other, but we can make assumptions about your Shih Poo’s temperament based on what is normally seen in this little dog.
A Shih Poo is normally friendly and playful and, with moderate energy levels, would be very happy napping in your lap for a few hours. They love attention and interaction with you and, although they are known to be easy to train, don’t expect them to want to learn tricks!
They can be quite vocal dogs, although not as vocal as their Poodle parent. Shih Poos are most likely to bark if they are frustrated at something, so it is important to train them from an early age to ensure they do not exhibit unwanted behaviors later on in life.
A Shih Poo can make a great family dog when given supportive and positive training (and lots of attention), but they are also adaptable and may be suited to the quiet life too. This means they can be a great pup for single individuals who are retired and want a cuddly companion dog to curl up with! They do well in different living environments, including big houses, small houses and apartments.
The life expectancy of a Shih Poo is relatively long. They can normally live for anywhere between 10 to 18 years, although on average it is 13 years. However, this does not mean that they don’t suffer from some health issues.
Known Health Issues
Again, because the Shih Tzu Poodle mix is a crossbreed, and a new crossbreed, it can be difficult to know exactly what health conditions they may face. However, we can guess based on their parents. Luckily, if they inherit the longer muzzle from their Poodle parent, they may not have any issues with breathing problems that Shih Tzus inherit.
However, your Shih Poo could inherit eye problems, brachycephalic syndrome and hip and kidney issues for their Shih Tzu parent, while also inheriting Cushing’s disease, bladder stones and skin tumors from their Poodle parent. Cushing’s disease is when a dog’s body makes too much of the hormone cortisol.
Shih Poos are also known for having dental issues, which we go into more detail about below.
Of course, these are all possible health problems but not for definite. If you keep your doggie healthy and happy, feeding them the right food and giving them the right amount of exercise, plus regular vet checkups, then they shouldn’t suffer from many issues.
Now you know all about the characteristics and temperament of a Shih Poo dog, it is time to take a look at what everyday life with one is like.
Food And Diet
As with any dog, you should always make sure to feed your Shih Poo a healthy and balanced diet. Shih Poos are known to love food, so you should never allow them to free-feed otherwise you may end up with a very overweight dog!
An ideal Shih-Poo diet should be a dog food formulated for a small-sized breed with medium energy. This food should be high-quality and you shouldn’t give them too many treats.
You should change their diet as they grow from a puppy into an adult and then again as they go into their senior years. If you need help with the type of food you should be feeding your Shih Poo, you can always ask your vet.
Although your Shih Poo will be a small dog and will happily spend hours sitting on your lap, this does not mean that they don’t have exercise needs. They should exercise every day, with it recommended that you should take your Shih Poo on one or two 15 minute walks every day. They will also regularly need to go outside to go to the bathroom, because of their small body and small bladder.
Shih Poos make great family dogs because they love attention. They are friendly and playful, although they need regular grooming and exercise. Because they are an adaptable dog, they can thrive in many different situations, whether you live in a big house or a small apartment. They also love to cuddle up with you and are the perfect lapdog, which may make them perfect for a retired individual who wants a furry companion!
It is worth mentioning that Shih Poos are very delicate dogs and may not do well in environments with small children, unless the children have been taught to be gentle with the dogs. Children have a tendency to be rough with animals, and this could end up harming your Shih Poo, so a family with older children might be a better fit.
Your Shih Poo will get on with other dogs in the home if they are socialized properly. They do not really like to be left alone and can benefit from having a furry playmate in the home, especially in their later years.
Many Shih Poo owners have reported that their pooch is energetic and playful, which means they are not difficult to train. They are intelligent dogs that respond well to consistent and positive reinforcement training methods, with verbal praise and treats as rewards. Punishment based training is never a good idea and will not help your Shih Poo to understand.
Depending on which parent your Shih Poo takes after more, they may be more inclined to learn tricks. If they take after their Poodle parent, they will likely have a very high IQ and will want to learn. However, a Shih Tzu is much less inclined to impress you!
You should start training your Shih Poo as soon as you get them. Housetraining can be a challenge with a Shih Poo puppy, but a little vigilance goes a long way and staying on top of their training will make them much happier. You will need to be patient with them while they are potty training and remember not to express anger at your Shih Poo puppy.
Socializing your Poodle mix puppy is also important from a young age. This is especially important if you have young children in the house or other pets. Shih Poos are generally easy to socialize and you shouldn’t have too much of an issue when introducing them to new people and animals. You should always remember to do this slowly so you do not overwhelm them.
Unfortunately, Shih Poos do require quite a bit of grooming. Neither of their parent breeds have very easy coats to maintain, although a Shih Poo does have a hypoallergenic coat and is very low-shedding.
The Shih Poo may have long and silky or short and curly fur, depending on which parent they take after more, but it is likely to be a mix of somewhere in the middle. They need to be brushed daily and trimmed monthly to keep their fur in the best shape and mat and tangle-free. Regular bathing is not really required because they are a very clean dog, although they may need a bath from time to time. A bath can also help to ward off any skin issues they may have inherited.
Many Shih Poo owners take their dogs to the groomers for a hair cut. The type of cut they get will depend on the type of fur they have, but if they have curly fur then you might choose a puppy clip or lamb clip. You will also need to trim their nails occasionally and check their ears for any sign of infection. It is especially important to make sure their ears are dry after bathing, otherwise they may end up with an infection.
Both the Shih Tzu and the Poodle breeds are prone to tear stains, so you can expect your Shih Poo to also suffer from tear stains. Gently wiping around the eyes once a day can help this problem.
We mentioned above that Shih Poos can have a lot of dental issues. You will need to make sure you are cleaning their teeth daily to ensure this does not become a big problem. You can do this with chewable dental sticks if needed. A dry kibble will also help to keep your dog’s teeth in check. You vet can help you to establish a routine.
Shih Poo FAQ’s
Is a Shih Poo a good family dog?
A Shih Poo is a very adaptable dog that can thrive in many different situations. They like attention and to be doted on, so if you live in a family where many different people can give them lots of attention, they will love living with you! Equally, they are happy living in individual homes with one carer.
Are Shih Poos aggressive?
Shih Poos are not known for being aggressive. They are energetic and playful and love attention, although they also love curling up on your lap for a cuddle. They do sometimes have a tendency to bark, but with the right training and socialization, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Shih Poos are an adorable little mixed breed of dog that is the result of breeding a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. Because they are a hybrid, you cannot always be sure what traits and characteristics this designer dog breed is going to take from each parent, but your Shih Poo will be energetic, playing and loving. While they like to exercise and be outside, they also love to curl up with you on the couch and are a true lapdog. Their adaptability makes them perfect for both families and individual people, and they can thrive in a big house or a small apartment. Is a Shih Poo puppy the right companion for you?