Shihpoo Breed Information

By: Matt
Picture of Shihpoo puppy lying in bed


The Shih Poo is a hybrid breed resulting from the crossbreeding of a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. Reflecting the traits of its progenitor breeds, it is sharp-witted, amiable, and lively.

This endearing dog has rapidly climbed the charts of favored poodle mixes, transitioning from a sought-after low-shedding option to an increasingly beloved companion.

Given its relative newness in the canine world (when juxtaposed with time-honored pure breeds) and the absence of strict breed standards, it’s paramount for prospective owners to ensure their puppy’s parents have undergone comprehensive health tests. Always prioritize purchasing from a distinguished breeder.

A Pure Bred Shih Tzu Dog

With the rising trend of crossbreeding Shih Poos, multi-generational Shih Poos are emerging, providing a more predictable outcome regarding size and coat attributes. It’s worth noting that some Shih Poos may not be direct offsprings of Shih Tzus and Poodles alone, as other breeds might occasionally factor into their lineage.

As part of any due diligence it is very important you ensure your puppy’s parents have been thoroughly tested and are clear of any hereditary conditions.   

Shihpoo Breed Overview

Small >> Very Large. The physical size alongside character traits will help determine the breed best suited to your lifestyle and environment

Less intelligent >> Very Intelligent. Many of the breeds we call pets today were originally breed to perform tasks such as herding or retrieving. These activities require advanced intelligence and the ability to focus on the job in hand. These breeds still have that innate intelligence and it can’t be ignored. These dogs will require exercise and mental stimulation, without it their energies may be channeled on more undesirable activities such as digging or barking.

Less Active >> Very Active. There isn’t a dog that doesn’t require some physical exercise but the necessary levels vary across breeds. Simplistically larger breeds require more exercise but some smaller breeds would have been breed for stamina and these would require more exercise than those that are historically lap dogs for example. This is a major consideration when choosing a dog, physical exercise is imperative and there is lots of truth in the saying ‘a tired dog is a good dog’. Without suitable exercise your dog will find other less desirable outlets for its energy.

Difficult >> Very Easy. Some breeds are more naturally disposed to receiving and acting on instructions given to them by their owners. Obviously these commands will have to be developed with effective training. The most effective training rewards the dog when they conduct a requested action on command or display desirable behavior.

Poor >> Very Good. Breeds vary in how well they get along with other dogs. If a breed is dog friendly it doesn’t mean they are automatically friendly to humans and vice versa.

Poor >> Very Good. Some breeds are pre-disposed to certain health problems. Poodle mixes as with other breeds suffer from unscrupulous breeding practices and it is important you check that any breeder is reputable and has taken action to check for well know potential issues.

Very Sensitive >> Tolerates Being Left Alone. Some dogs have a very strong affinity to their owners where it can lead to problems if not managed correctly. This can lead to them becoming upset if parted from their owners for any period of time. If this exacerbates it can lead to separation anxiety which is a much more difficult ‘condition’ to rectify. If the dog is not trained/acclimatized to being left alone for short periods they can take out their nervousness in destructive behaviors.

Difficult >> Very Easy. Being a new owner, especially if you have not had any experience whatsoever beforehand can be a daunting task. Whether a breed is a good choice for new owners is a combination of a number of factors but basically comes down to how easily they are likely to adapt to life away from their dog family and immerse themselves into life cohabiting with their human family, with all the mistakes that will ensue along the line. Owning a dog is always a voyage of rewarding discovery for both parties.

Not Suitable >> Can Adapt Well. The size of the dog does not necessarily correlate to its suitability for living in an apartment or flat (in UK) in a high rise. Some smaller dogs are too highly strung. You ideally want a dog that is has the ability to be calm with good manners.

Not Good >> Very Good. Dogs need to be caring, respectful but also to be able to take the rough and tumble inevitably associated with their interactions with children. Some breeds are sensitive and physically less disposed to interactions with children.

Timid >> Very Accepting. Some dogs will greet anyone they meet with enthusiasm whilst others will be more timid and wary of people they don’t know. Reaction to strangers may also depend on the environment they encounter them. Early socialization of puppies is essential to combat any future problems.

Sheds a Little >> Sheds Profusely. All dogs shed hair and dander (dead skin) to some extent. Poodle mixes do shed less than most pure breeds but are not ‘shed free’. Some shed more than others.

Shihpoo Key Breed Facts

Lifespan – 10 to 15 years

Weight – 8 lbs to 20 lbs (3.6 kg to 9 kg)

Height – 8″ to 18″ (20 cm to 45 cm) at the withers

Shihpoo Appearance

Shihpoo Size Variations

The Shih Poo can manifest in diverse sizes, contingent on the poodle size that is crossbred with the Shih Tzu. Ongoing crossbreeding might spawn even more size discrepancies. The measurements below provide a general outline:

  • Teacup ~ 8″ (20 cm), 8 lbs (3.6 kg)
  • Small ~ 11″ (28 cm), 12 lbs (5.4 kg)
  • Regular ~ 15″ (38 cm), 18 lbs (8.2 kg)

Shihpoo Color Variations

The hues of its parent breeds primarily shape the color of a Shih Poo’s fur. Some frequently observed colors are:

  • Sable
  • Gold
  • Brindle
  • Red
  • Black and White
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Chocolate

Shihpoo Coats – Do Shihpoo’s Shed?

Shih Poos may exhibit distinct coat textures even among siblings. As a result, shedding rates can fluctuate. The Shih Poo coat categories include:

  • Silky – This coat closely resembles the elegant, straight hair of the Shih Tzu. Fine to the touch, it flows gracefully down the body, giving the Shih Poo an air of nobility. 
    A remarkable trait of the silky coat is its low-shedding nature. With consistent grooming, this type can be maintained in pristine condition, making it a delight for homeowners who prefer minimal fur around their living spaces.

  • Curly – If you’re greeted by a Shih Poo that looks like it’s adorned in a cloud of tight curls, you’re likely meeting one with a coat leaning towards its Poodle heritage. The dense, curly coat fits snugly, almost giving the impression of a cozy, furry jacket. A hallmark of this coat is its minimal shedding, which is especially sought by those with allergies.
  • Wavy – Wavy coats are a mix of curly and straight hair. They can be loose and range from almost straight to nearly curly. Shih Poo’s that fit the description shed more than curly coats but usually less than silky coats. The wavy coat can also trap some shed hair, but not as efficiently as the curly coat. They need regular grooming to avoid mats and tangles, but with a few brushes a couple of times a week and professional grooming every couple of months, they’ll resemble the charming beasts they are.
This Young Shihpoo Has a Silky Coat

History of the Shihpoo

The Shih Poo’s origins trace back to the late 20th century, when breeders, fueled by a vision to fuse the best traits of the Shih Tzu and the Poodle, embarked on this experimental venture.

The aim was two-fold: to capture the Shih Tzu’s affectionate nature and the Poodle’s renowned hypoallergenic coat, thereby creating an ideal companion for city dwellers and those with sensitivities.

The fruition of this endeavor was nothing short of magical. The Shih Poo, with its heartwarming disposition, compact size, and often low-shedding coat, rapidly carved a niche for itself in the hearts of dog enthusiasts.

As word spread and testimonials poured in, the Shih Poo’s reputation as an amiable, manageable, and allergy-friendly dog gained traction.

Over the years, the Shih Poo’s presence has expanded beyond its country of origin. Today, from urban apartments to suburban homes, this delightful hybrid enjoys a status of endearment.

Their versatility, combined with their charm, ensures the Shih Poo’s position as a preferred choice for many seeking a furry family member. The admiration and popularity surrounding the breed continue to grow, solidifying the Shih Poo’s legacy as a beloved companion for generations to come.

Shihpoo Personality

In essence, Shih Poos exudes warmth, friendliness, and an engaging temperament. With genes drawn from both the Poodle and Shih Tzu, they’re credited with being astute learners. So, what further pros and potential cons do they have? 

Great Shihpoo Traits

Originating from the Shih Tzu and Poodle lineage, Shih Poos inherit their loving, playful, and generous personalities.

  • Innate Affection and Playfulness: The Shih Poo’s heart is brimming with love. Deriving their boundless affection from their Shih Tzu ancestors, their vitality and zest for life can be attributed to their Poodle lineage. This combination makes every day with a Shih Poo a joyous affair.
  • Sociable to the Core: One of the defining attributes of a Shih Poo is its innate sociability. They approach both familiar faces and newcomers with an amiable demeanor. Their non-confrontational nature makes them less likely to showcase aggression, even in unfamiliar situations.
  • A Fountain of Affection: Not only are they welcoming to affection, but Shih Poos are also generous in reciprocating it. Their deep desire for human connection often sees them nestled in the laps of their loved ones or playing gently with family members.
  • Bonds That Transcend Age: A Shih Poo doesn’t discriminate when it comes to love. Whether it’s a giggling toddler, a bustling teenager, or a serene elder, these dogs form profound attachments with humans of all ages. However, supervision with extremely young children is always advised to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog. Early socialization is key to ensure your dog is comfortable with all comers.
  • Indoor Poise: Despite their lively disposition, Shih Poos have a commendable ability to adapt to indoor life. When their energy is channeled through appropriate exercise and play, they transform into calm and content companions within the home’s confines.
  • Allergy-Friendly Companions: Owing to their Poodle genetics, many Shih Poos possess coats that shed minimally. This trait is a boon for household members prone to allergies, offering a chance to experience canine companionship without the constant sneezing.
  • A Novice’s Delight: The Shih Poo’s gentle demeanor, coupled with their sharp intelligence, makes them a desirable choice for individuals embarking on their first dog ownership journey. Their forgiving nature and eagerness to please can make the learning curve smoother for inexperienced owners.

Look Out For

As delightful as the Shih Poo breed is, specific considerations are crucial to foster a harmonious bond.

  • Overzealous Moments: Their spirited nature, a testament to their intelligence and playfulness, can sometimes veer into overexcitement. Without guidance, this can translate into boisterous behaviors such as uncontrolled jumping, which might be concerning when larger Shih Poos interact with vulnerable family members. Clicker training is an ideal way to teach your dog how to behave appropriately in many situations.
  • Signs of Boredom: An idle mind can be a Shih Poo’s playground. Devoid of adequate mental and physical stimulation, they might resort to undesirable habits. These can range from the mildly annoying, like incessant barking, to the more destructive, such as chewing beloved possessions.
  • Investment Considerations: Bringing a Shih Poo into one’s life can sometimes be a significant financial undertaking, especially if procured from a breeder of repute. 
    While a higher price may often indicate superior breeding practices or guaranteed health checks, potential owners should assess their budgets and the long-term costs of dog ownership before committing.

This Shihpoo Puppy is Taking it Easy

Shihpoo Health

Hailing from the lineages of the Shih Tzu and the Poodle, Shih Poos inherit not only the endearing traits of both breeds but also their potential susceptibilities to specific health conditions. An understanding of these concerns is essential for every Shih Poo owner to ensure their furry companion’s longevity and quality of life.

Shihpoo Hereditary Health Concerns

The genetic pool of Shih Poos combines the medical history of both their parent breeds. This makes them vulnerable to specific health conditions common to Shih Tzus and Poodles.

  • Hip Dysplasia: A malformation of the hip joint. This condition can lead to painful arthritis and lameness. While it’s more commonly found in larger breeds, small dogs like the Shih Poo are not exempt.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This genetic condition affects the retina, gradually causing vision loss and leading to blindness. Early detection can help manage the progression.
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: Affecting the hip joint, it involves a decrease in blood supply to the femur, causing it to weaken. Over time, this can lead to joint collapse.

Additional Shihpoo Health Risks

While the conditions above can be traced back to their parentage, Shih Poos can also exhibit health risks of their own:

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Stemming from the Shih Tzu lineage, this syndrome relates to their shortened snout, which can lead to breathing difficulties. Symptoms may include snoring, wheezing, or labored breathing, especially in hot or humid conditions.
  • Patellar Luxation: A common ailment in smaller breeds, this condition involves the dislocation of the kneecap, leading to intermittent lameness.
  • Dental Issues: Due to their smaller jaw size, Shih Poos can be prone to overcrowding of teeth. This can result in dental diseases if regular dental hygiene practices are not maintained.
  • Cushing’s Disease: This endocrine disorder results from the overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal glands. It manifests in symptoms like increased thirst, increased urination, hair loss, and a pot-bellied appearance.

Proactive Shihpoo Health Measures

It’s a widely held belief that mixed breeds like the Shih Poo often showcase better overall health than their purebred counterparts. Nonetheless, a proactive approach to their health remains paramount. Potential owners should:

  • Seek reputable breeders who practice responsible breeding and can provide verifiable health checks of both parent breeds.
  • Ensure that the breeding parents have undergone screenings for common genetic disorders.
  • Regularly schedule vet check-ups and watch for early signs of any health issues.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise routine for their Shih Poo to promote overall health.

In the end, while genetics play a role, the ongoing health and vitality of a Shih Poo predominantly hinge on the care and attention they receive throughout their lives. The following section will delve deeper into the best care practices to keep your Shih Poo healthy and happy.

Shihpoo Care

When you first bring home your Shih Poo puppy, it should already have been introduced to basic healthcare routines, including its first round of vaccinations. As their primary caregiver, it’s your responsibility to ensure their health and well-being from now on.

  • Vaccination Regimen: Ascertain that your Shih Poo’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Collaborate with your veterinarian to craft a comprehensive vaccination schedule tailored to your region’s needs. This will ensure that your furry companion remains protected against prevalent local diseases.
  • Parasitic Preventatives: Apart from standard vaccinations, inquire about preventative treatments for common parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms. These treatments are instrumental in warding off these nuisances and the diseases they carry.
  • Routine Vet Check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups, typically annually, help in the early detection of potential health issues. These visits also allow you to discuss concerns or observations about your dog’s behavior or well-being.
  • Health Records: Maintain a systematic health log for your Shih Poo. Documenting their medical history, including vaccinations, routine check-ups, and medication, ensures continuity of care, especially if you change vets or locations.

Shihpoo Grooming

A well-groomed Shih Poo is not just a sight to behold but also a testament to its health and well-being. Given their distinctive coat, grooming is a pivotal aspect of their care.

  • Professional Grooming: Periodic appointments with a professional groomer, preferably every 6-10 weeks, can be immensely beneficial. Professionals can assess the overall condition of your pet’s coat, trim it suitably, and provide insights into its hair health.
  • Home Grooming Essentials: Between these professional sessions, it’s imperative to maintain their coat’s health and appearance.
    • Brushing: Using a slicker or bristle brush, gently comb through their fur every few days. This routine prevents tangles and matting and removes loose hairs. Remember always to be gentle to avoid skin irritation.
    • Acclimatization: Introduce your Shih Poo to grooming routines while they’re still a puppy. Early exposure makes them more receptive to grooming sessions in the future, ensuring stress-free experiences for both the dog and the owner.
    • Trimming: Strategic trimming around the eyes, feet, and rear end not only enhances their appearance but also ensures their comfort. In colder climates, trimming can prevent snow and ice buildup on their fur. Employ round-tipped scissors, particularly around delicate areas, to ensure safety.
    • Bathing: Bathe your Shih Poo using a dog-specific shampoo. Overbathing can strip the natural oils from their skin, so it’s advisable to limit baths to once a month or when they’re filthy. For younger pups, opt for gentler, puppy-specific shampoos.
    • Drying: After bathing, use absorbent towels to remove excess moisture. Ensure they’re fully dry, especially in colder conditions, to prevent chill.
    • Ear Care: Regularly inspect and clean their ears with a damp cloth. If excessive hair growth is seen within the ear canal, gently tweeze them out to prevent wax buildup.
    • Dental Care: Dental hygiene is paramount. Brush their teeth using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Regular dental check-ups can also be beneficial.
    • Nail Maintenance: Monitor the length of their nails. While walking on hard surfaces naturally files them down, occasional trimming might be required. Using a quality nail clipper ensures a clean cut without causing any distress to your pet.

Shihpoo Feeding

Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of a dog’s well-being, and Shih Poos are no exception. When feeding your furry friend, it’s imperative to make informed choices to ensure their holistic health and longevity.

When it comes to commercially available dog food, a discerning approach is crucial. The food market is inundated with many brands and varieties, each claiming to be the best for your pet. However, it’s essential to delve deeper and study the ingredient list.

Opt for dog foods that boast genuine, high-quality components such as real meat, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid those that rely heavily on synthetic fillers, by-products, or artificial additives. These not only lack the necessary nutrients but can also lead to potential health issues over time.

While packaged kibble might be a convenient choice for many pet owners, there is growing interest in natural feeding options. The Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diet stands out. As the name suggests, this diet emphasizes the importance of feeding dogs raw meat bones, which typically constitute around 60% of their daily intake.

The remaining 40% is an amalgamation of wholesome grains and fresh vegetables. This approach is closer to a dog’s natural diet, potentially improving digestion, shinier coats, and overall health.

However, if you’re considering switching to a BARF diet, it’s paramount to do so under guidance. Consulting with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist can provide insights into tailoring this diet to meet your Shih Poo’s specific nutritional needs.

Their expertise ensures that the meals you prepare are not only balanced but also beneficial for your dog’s unique requirements. Moreover, with the rise in popularity of the BARF diet, numerous specialized services have emerged that supply raw components tailored to your dog’s needs, simplifying the transition.

Regardless of the chosen diet, it’s vital to remember that Shih Poos, like many small breeds, have a propensity for overeating. Left unchecked, this could lead to obesity, which is linked to a plethora of health complications. Establish a feeding schedule, measure out their portions, and be consistent in your approach. This not only instills discipline but also keeps their weight in check.

Furthermore, when it comes to treats, exercise discretion. While these tasty morsels can be a great way to reward your pet or reinforce positive behavior, they should be dispensed judiciously.

Overindulgence can upset their dietary balance and contribute to weight issues. A practical approach could be to allocate a portion of their daily food intake as treats. Alternatively, integrate treats with their training sessions, turning them into positive reinforcement tools while keeping the calorie intake in check.

Shihpoo Exercise

The Shih Poo, a blend of Shih Tzu and Poodle, is a vibrant dog, though not as energetic as some larger breeds. It’s essential to provide adequate exercise and mental stimulation to ensure it remains content, well-behaved, and physically healthy.

Generally, Shih Poos are most vivacious during early mornings and evenings. Thus, it’s recommended to adjust their exercise schedule to align with these periods, offering an optimal experience for the dog.

A typical adult Shih Poo requires about 30-45 minutes of exercise daily, divided into two or three shorter sessions.

For puppies, exercise caution is paramount. They can quickly become overexerted. A good rule for puppy exercise is 5 minutes per month of their age. This guidance particularly pertains to walks on harder terrains. Puppies will naturally engage in playful activities, which also count towards daily exercise.

Given their petite size and delicate nature, it’s crucial to monitor young Shih Poos for overt signs of fatigue and ensure they don’t engage in excessive jumping or harsh play. Their developing joints can be sensitive, and over-activity could hinder their growth or lead to potential injuries.

Cost Of A Shihpoo

The Shih Poo price can vary widely based on factors like lineage, breeder reputation, location, and the puppy’s characteristics. Typically, prices can range from USD 500 to USD 1500.

However, as with all breeds, a higher price tag doesn’t automatically guarantee a healthier or better-quality puppy. It’s fundamental to conduct thorough research on potential breeders, verify health clearances, and inspect vaccination records before finalizing a purchase.

Prospective Shih Poo owners should approach the purchasing process with caution and pragmatism. Despite the allure of a cuddly pup, one must critically evaluate all available information.

Regrettably, not all breeders prioritize ethical practices. If an offer appears too good to be true, or if there are any discrepancies in the provided documents, it’s always safer to reassess and explore alternative options. The Shih Poo for you is undoubtedly out there, waiting for a loving home.

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Enthusiastic Poochon/Bichpoo/Bichonpoo (how many names) Owner. Husband, Father and Dog walker extraordinaire.

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