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Shih-Poo (Shih Tzu & Poodle Mix): Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Written by: Chelsie Fraser

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Shih Poo sitting in grass

Shih-Poo (Shih Tzu & Poodle Mix): Info, Pictures, Care & More!

The Shih-Poo is a hybrid dog breed that results from crossing a Shih Tzu with a Poodle. As a relatively new hybrid, the breed is not recognized by kennel clubs and associations as an official breed. Shih Poos exhibit the best qualities of their parent breeds. They are loyal and affectionate like the Shih Tzu and maintain the low-shedding, hypoallergenic qualities of the Poodle.

Breed Overview

Height:

8 – 18 inches

Weight:

9 – 16 pounds

Lifespan:

10 – 16 years

Colors:

Black, brown, brindle, white

Suitable for:

Urban living, apartment dwellers, seniors, families, first-time owners

Temperament:

Loyal, affectionate, easy to train, playful, friendly

Since they are small breed dogs, Shih Poos can adapt to almost any living situation and don’t require much space. They are family-friendly and usually affectionate with strangers. They make fantastic companion dogs for seniors and require little maintenance other than regular grooming. As a hypoallergenic breed, the Shih Poo is a good choice for individuals with dander allergies. These dogs love to play but are equally as happy to curl up on your lap for a snuggle.

Since the Shih Poo is a hybrid breed, puppies can be a variety of different colors and coat lengths, depending on which genes they inherit from their parents. Their coats can be curly or straight and any combination of black, brown, brindle, or white.

Energy
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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.
Trainability
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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.
Health
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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.
Lifespan
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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.
Sociability
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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.

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Shih Poo Puppies

Black female shih tzu poodle sunbathing
Image Credit: Bri2598_Shutterstock

Your level of interest in your puppy’s pedigree will depend on your reason for buying a Shih Poo. Their lineage isn’t important if you are looking for a family pet or a companion animal. That said, it is still important to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder who can provide you with information about their parents, including temperament, personality, and health history. While there is no guarantee that your puppy will inherit all these traits, it gives you a good idea of what to expect.

Shih Poos can inherit some common health problems, but with regular grooming and dental cleaning, you can prevent some of these issues. These playful pups are easily trainable and will enjoy the company of their owners to play.

Parent Breeds of the Shih-Poo
Image Credit: Left – tookapic, Pixabay; Right – Petra Solajova, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Shih Poo

With hybrid dog breeds, there can be many personality differences. Just like there is no guarantee of what type of coat a puppy will have, there is also no guarantee on which breed they will resemble in terms of temperament. That said, both the Poodle and the Shih Tzu are breeds with a long, well-established history, so we can get a fairly good idea of what Shih Poo puppies are like.

Both Poodles and Shih Tzus are outgoing, friendly dogs, so it’s a sure bet that their puppies will be too. They don’t tend to get shy or nervous, and they aren’t prone to aggressiveness.

Shih Poos gets along well with people of all ages, particularly if they show their attention. They love to be petted and cuddled, and this is enhanced by plenty of handling and socialization at a young age. They often don’t like other dogs outside of the family but get along well as companion dogs for pets within the house.

While small dogs, in general, are known for being noisy, Shih Poos don’t follow this reputation. Most of them have a quiet nature, reminiscent of their Poodle parent. While they may bark to alert you that they are hungry or need to be let out outside or to tell you of a visitor, it’s not likely to be ongoing or continuous. This feature makes Shih Poos fantastic apartment dwellers because they are unlikely to annoy your neighbors with excessive barking.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

Shih Poos are famous for their friendliness and loyalty toward family members. They are good dogs for families with older children because they love to play. They are not good dogs for babies and toddlers because they can get nippy when young children are rough and pull at them. Since they are small-statured dogs, they can be hurt easily if people are too rough with them, so they need to have playmates who understand this.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The Shih Poo is a friendly dog breed that gets along well with almost anything or anybody. If you have other pets in the home, your Shih Poo should be introduced to them at a young age, so they associate other pets with being part of the family.

Since Shih Poos doesn’t cope well with being alone for long periods, it can be helpful to have a companion dog to alleviate boredom and loneliness.

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Things to Know When Owning a Shih Poo

While the Shih Poo is an adaptable dog breed that fits into various living situations, it doesn’t mean they are a good fit for everyone. There are certain things that prospective owners should be aware of before bringing one of these adorable creatures into their home.

Food & Diet Requirements

The Shih Poo is considered a medium-energy dog, which means their diet needs to reflect this. They should be fed a high-quality dog kibble that meets their nutritional needs. Like many other dog breeds, the Shih Poo shouldn’t be free-feed, as they tend to overeat and gain weight. Excessive weight gain will lead to health problems and joint issues.

Exercise

While this dog breed can be energetic, they require a relatively low amount of exercise. This is, in part, due to their small size. Two short walks each day are ideal, but this can be supplemented with play at varying intervals. Playtime doesn’t have to be reserved for the outdoors. Since the Shih Poo is small, they are more than capable of burning off their energy by playing with toys indoors.

This is not a dog breed for owners who want to take their dogs on long hikes or walks unless they want to carry them. They do, however, perform well in dog sports, like agility, which can be a great way to work their mind and body simultaneously.

Training

Shih Poos are intelligent dogs that can learn easily, but don’t let this fool you into thinking that they’re always easy to train. Their high intelligence means they can learn the wrong things just as easily as the right things. If left to their own devices, these dogs can train themselves into all sorts of problem behaviors and bad habits.

As is the case with most smart dogs, they can also be stubborn during training. They require sufficient motivation to perform, so it’s important to find the right reward when training your Shih Poo. The short attention spans of puppies mean that brief, frequent training sessions are best. Patience and positive reinforcement, combined with consistency, will be required to get the desired result.

House training can be especially hard, sometimes taking months, as Shih Poos simply don’t do things that they don’t want to. Since they are small, though, these dogs can be paper-trained, which may help with house training in the short term.

Grooming ✂️

Regardless of what type of coat your Shih Poo has, it will need to be brushed at least twice per week to avoid tangling and mats. Their coats should be trimmed once or twice a year, including around their eyes, as hair can block their field of vision and make it difficult for them to see.

Small dog breeds are particularly prone to dental problems, so it’s recommended that you brush their teeth several times a week.

Shih Poos should be bathed every month to prevent skin problems, as is recommended for Shih Tzus and Poodle mix dogs.

Health and Conditions

Small dogs are prone to having dental problems. Brushing your Shih Poo’s teeth, providing dental chews, and making sure they regularly receive dental checkups will help prevent these issues.

Rashes and skin sensitivities are also common in this breed. This can be prevented by ensuring that they receive thorough and regular grooming.

Minor Conditions
  • Teary eyes
  • Lung disorders
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Intervertebral disc disease
Serious Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism

Male vs. Female

Both male and female Shih Poos grow to be a similar size. Without proper socialization as puppies, males tend to be more nervous and therefore, more aggressive toward strangers than females. That said, males are more food motivated than females, which makes training them easier.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Shih Poo

1. The Shih Poo is a designer dog breed.

Designer dog breeds are breeds that are bred from purebred parents. Shih Poos are bred from two purebred parents, a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. Most often, a toy Poodle is bred to create Shih Poo puppies.


2. Shih Poos have multiple names.

Shih Poos are sometimes referred to as Pooshis or Shoogles. They should not be confused with Poo-Shi dogs, which is a name referring to a cross between the Shiba Inu and the Poodle.


3. The Shih Poo breed was originally developed in North America.

While Poodles originated in Germany and Shih Tzus came from China, the Shih Poo was first bred in North America to create a lovable, friendly, hypoallergenic dog breed.

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Final Thoughts

Shih Poos are affectionate, loyal dogs that are crosses between Shih Tzus and Poodles. They are a small, medium-energy breed that is quite adaptable. They can make great family pets or companions for seniors or people living alone. While they are intelligent dogs, they can be hard to train due to their occasionally stubborn nature. House training is especially difficult with this breed. As mentioned, the Shih Poo price can range from $500-$2000.

Although the Shih Poo can be prone to a few health issues, they have a long life expectancy. Time and effort put into training will result in a lovable dog that will be part of your family for many years to come.

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Featured Image Credit: Bonita R. Cheshier, Shutterstock

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