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Shih-Mo (Shih Tzu & American Eskimo Mix): Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More!

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Shih-Mo (Shih Tzu & American Eskimo Mix): Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More!

The Shih Mo is an adorable mix of the laid-back Shih Tzu and the energetic American Eskimo.

Breed Overview


12-18 inches


15-25 pounds


10-13 years


Shades of cream and tan

Suitable for:

Families with children, seniors, singles, couples, large homes or apartments


Affectionate, loyal, intelligent, playful

This crossbreed is normally small to medium in size but oversized when it comes to cuteness. These little dogs can make any environment better. Whether you bring them home as part of a huge family or live life in a one-bedroom apartment, these dogs will be the perfect companions. Read on below to learn more about this adorable dog breed and why you should make a Shih Mo your best friend.

Shih Mo Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

divider-dog pawShih Mo Puppies

Bringing home a Shih Mo puppy is a lifelong commitment. You are dedicating yourself to these little bundles of joy and promising to provide them with safety, love, and proper care during their time as part of your family. This is why it is so important to understand what life with one of these puppies is like before bringing one home.

Shih Mos are adaptable pups, that are a great fit either for large homes or apartments. They will require moderate grooming and playful training sessions so they grow into happy and healthy dogs.

Image Credit: Shih Tzu- Ihar Halavach, Shutterstock | American Eskimo: Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Shih Mo

The Shih Mo is a playful dog that loves to run and play. Luckily for owners, this little dog is just as content after playtime to sit around enjoying its owner’s affection. This intelligent dog breed loves to please it’s owners. The great bond this dog forms with its family makes it territorial at times and protective, especially when its owner is involved. When left alone, the Shih Mo can get bored easily. Keeping their mind occupied is essential if you don’t want them wandering your house shredding paper or finding other things to get into.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, the Shih Mo makes an excellent family pet. Their high levels of energy are ideal for kids that like running and playing. Hours can be spent out in the backyard having fun. The Shih Mo is also very protective of their family. Normally, this dog will use its high-pitched bark to alert when something is amiss. If they feel their owners are in true danger, they have been known to become protective and show aggression.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Yes, the Shih Mo is known for getting along well with other pets in the home. With early socialization, you may see these little dogs making great friends with other dogs or cats without issue.


Things to Know When Owning a Shih Mo:

Owning a Shih Mo can be demanding. Understanding what they need to be happy and healthy may leave you feeling nervous but the love these dogs offer their masters will make it all worthwhile. Let’s take a look at a few of the requirements you should expect when you bring one of these cuties into your home.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

A high-quality kibble is required when bringing a Shih Mo into your home. Normal feedings, twice a day will help keep your doggie looking and feeling its best. If you like adding wet food into your dog’s diet, this breed takes to it well and will thank you for the special treat when you offer it. Make sure you ask your vet how many calories your Shih Mo should be consuming each day so you can provide your pup with the right amount of food.

Exercise 🐕

A Shih Mo is full of energy and requires exercise to burn it off. Daily walks, trips to the park, or time in the backyard playing with the kids are great ways to keep your Shih Mo active and healthy. Always have toys on standby. Shih Mos love playing fetch or frisbee with the family. This also helps them avoid gaining too much weight which can be an issue with this breed.

Training 🎾

Starting a Shih Mo’s training early will help your pet integrate into family life easier. This dog breed is eager to please and highly intelligent. This makes them easy to train with positive reinforcement, praise, and treats. As with most dog breeds, use a firm tone during the training process. This will keep your Shih Mo in line. You’ll soon discover this dog breed doesn’t require tons of repetitiveness during training. They normally catch on quickly to their owner’s expectations.

Grooming ✂️

Shih Mo’s require a moderate amount of grooming to keep their coats looking their best. Considering the length of their coats, daily brushings will help reduce shedding and keep tangles and matted fur at bay. Shih Mo’s also need to visit the groomers for trims at normal intervals.

When it comes to bath time, only bathe your Shih Mo when you feel they need it. Too much bathing can dry out their skin and cause other issues. When your dog’s nails get too long, trim them down and avoid cutting into the quick which can be painful. Once a week, check your Shih Mo’s ears to ensure they aren’t suffering from infections. To avoid issues with tooth pain or other oral problems, brush their teeth at least twice a week with a soft, doggie toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Like all other hybrid or designer breeds, the Shih Mo is susceptible to genetic issues and health problems their parent breeds suffer from. Knowing the health of your pup’s parents is a great way to know what you should expect when bringing a puppy home. Once in your care, make sure your Shih Mo receives all their needed vaccinations at the veterinarian and has routine checkups to maintain their health.

Minor Conditions
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • Allergies
  • Ear Infections
  • Snuffles
  • Dental Issues
Serious Conditions
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Kidney and Bladder Issues
  • Liver Problems
  • Umbilical Hernia
  • Hip Dysplasia

divider-dog paw

Male vs Female

Male Shih Mos are considered more attentive, well-behaved, and playful. This makes them a popular option for families with small children who need active playmates. Female Shih Mos are a bit more moody. You may find them ready to play one minute and annoyed with your presence the next. While both sexes make ideal pets, keep these differences in mind when deciding whether a male or a female Shih Mo is best suited for your situation.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Shih Mo

While little is known about the origin of the Shih Mo, there is quite a bit known about their parent breeds. Let’s take a look at some little-known facts about the Shih Mo and the breeds that made these little dogs possible.

1. The American Eskimo Originated in Germany

One of Shih Mo’s parent breeds, the American Eskimo, originated in Germany. Before becoming known as the American Eskimo it was called the German Spitz.

2. The Shih-Tzu’s Origin is Up for Debate

While now a popular companion dog, the origin of the Shih-Tzu, the other parent breed of the Shih Mo, has been highly debated. It is believed this breed originated in China.

3. The American Eskimo Was a Circus Dog

Due to the trainability and great temperament of the American Eskimo, these dogs were quite popular in the circus. They were beloved for their ability to perform tricks for the onlookers.

divider-dog pawFinal Thoughts

The Shih Mo is a beautiful, playful, and loyal dog for anyone in search of a companion. If you have the energy to take these little dogs for a long walk or play catch, they’ll mingle into your lifestyle with no problem. Good with children and other pets, these pooches are the perfect addition to your life. With the information included above, you’ll be able to bring a Shih Mo into your home and open yourself up to the love and companionship they will bring.

Featured Image Credit: Left – Yarnawee Nipatarangkoon, Shutterstock | Right – KA_Richer5171321, Shutterstock

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