Shih-Poo: The Adorable Shih Tzu-Poodle Mix

From the opulent palaces of China and the royal courts of France to the bustling streets of modern life, the Shih Poo has emerged as a captivating canine companion, seamlessly blending the regal elegance of the Shih Tzu with the playful charm of the Toy Poodle.  

While its precise origins remain shrouded in mystery, this hybrid companion dog is believed to have emerged a few decades ago, captivating hearts with its endearing combination of traits. 

Whether sporting the Poodle's signature curls or the Shih Tzu's flowing locks, the Shih Poo consistently exudes an air of cuteness and alertness. Its sturdy body, a testament to its mixed heritage, carries itself with a grace that belies its playful spirit. The Shih Poo's eyes, brimming with curiosity and affection, mirror the essence of this remarkable breed, forever eager to engage and delight its companions. 

Shihpoo Traits, Personality and Behavior 

Shihpoos tend to be friendly, eager to please, and affectionate dogs. They are playful, confident and adaptable. With proper training and socialization using positive reinforcement techniques, Shihpoos seamlessly integrate into family life, offering endless cuddles and playtime.  

At their best, Shihpoos are playful, friendly and affectionate, always happy to sit in a lap and give a little love. They generally weigh 7 to 20 pounds, depending on the size of their parent breeds. For their size, they are courageous and make excellent watchdogs, but they can be on the yappy side. 

Choose a Shihpoo if you have older children who understand how to handle a dog carefully. Toddlers can be clumsy and may hurt a Shihpoo unless you can always be there to supervise their interactions. 

Shihpoos are smart but may be stubborn. To train them effectively, you'll need to figure out how to motivate them. Often, this involves food rewards or somehow inspiring the dog to believe that what you want him to do is his own idea. 

Whether seeking a cuddly lapdog, a playful companion, or a loyal family member, Shihpoos offer a delightful mix of traits that make them cherished companions for individuals and families alike. With their affectionate nature, adaptable personalities, and eagerness to please, Shihpoos seamlessly blend into their owners' lives, bringing endless love and joy. 

Shihpoo Feeding  

To prevent overeating leading to obesity, it is best to feed Shihpoos scheduled meals 2-3 small meals daily. The amount will depend on age and activity level. Nutritionally balanced commercial dog food, both dry and wet varieties, are recommended. Treats should be given in moderation 

Shih-Poo Fur 

Shih Poos, the beloved hybrids of Shih Tzus and Poodles, are often touted for their hypoallergenic coats, promising relief for allergy sufferers. While their low-shedding nature does indeed reduce the amount of dander floating around, it is important to note that no dog is truly 100% hypoallergenic. Individuals with severe sensitivities may still experience reactions to Shih Poos 

Shihpoos can have different types of fur, ranging from curly to straight, depending on which genes they inherit, but most have a curly or wavy coat. A Shihpoo coat looks its best with professional grooming every four to six weeks, and it requires brushing or combing every couple of days to prevent mats or tangles as well as regular bathing in between appointments with the groomer. 

Maintaining your Shih Poo 

Shihpoos are among the breeds that commonly develop reddish-brown tear stains beneath their eyes. Sometimes the stains are related to the dog's diet, and changing foods can help. Your best bet, though, is to wash the face daily, carefully wiping beneath the eyes, to prevent stains from setting. 

Your Shihpoo doesn't need a bikini wax, but you do need to trim the genital area for cleanliness or have the groomer shave the lower belly area. This prevents urine from staining and stinking up the coat and feces from getting caught in the hair around the anus. 

In addition, trim his nails at least monthly --more frequently if necessary --keep his ears clean and dry to prevent ear infections and brush his teeth as often as possible. Small dogs are especially prone to periodontal disease. 

Finding a Shihpoo  

Shihpoo puppies are adorable, and it's one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Shihpoo a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. If you do choose to buy one, select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won't carry the genetic diseases common to both Shih Tzus and Poodles. And while there are no guarantees in life, it's also a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills in the future. 

Puppy or adult, take your Shihpoo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues. Ask specifically about dental care, as most toy breeds suffer from dental problems. 

Shihpoo Breed Club Recogniotion  

The Shihpoo is considered a designer hybrid dog, not officially recognized by major kennel clubs and breed registries. However, there are numerous independent designer breed clubs and registries focused on Shihpoos and other hybrids. 

Health Issues Common to Shihpoos 

While hybrid dogs can inherit genetic health issues, it's crucial to choose a reputable breeder who screens their dogs and provides a health guarantee. Shihpoos, like their parent breeds, can develop luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, and eye problems. Always request evidence of health clearances from both parents to minimize the risk of these conditions. Remember, a vet check is not a substitute for genetic health testing.   

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Entropion Medium $300-$1,500
Patellar Luxation Medium $1,500-$3,000
Hip Dysplasia Medium $1,500-$3,000
Cataracts Medium $1,000-$4,000

Pet Insurance for Shihpoos 

Because of their purebred parentage, Shihpoos are more likely than mixed breed dogs to experience hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat. That makes it critical to make sure you plan for those expenses. 

Embrace dog insurance offers full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Shihpoos are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Shihpoo is when he's a healthy puppy. That way you never have to decide if you can afford the treatment that your Shih-poo needs. 

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Shihpoo Puppy 

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. 

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Shihpoos aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, Shihpoos can live 12 or more years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come. 

Puppy or adult, take your Shihpoo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues. Ask specifically about dental care, as most toy breeds suffer from dental problems, as well as for tips on dealing with tear staining. 

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills. 

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses. 

Why Consider a Shihpoo? 

The Shihpoo, or Shih Tzu-Poodle mix, combines the best traits of its parent breeds into a friendly and playful companion. Their adaptability makes them excellent house pets for urban dwellers and retirees seeking a small, affectionate dog that bonds strongly with owners. 

While promoted as hypoallergenic by some, those with allergies should interact with the breed first before adopting. Health clearances, proper training, socialization, and grooming are important for these popular “designer dogs.” 

When searching for a healthy Shihpoo puppy or adult, do your research to find responsible breeders or consider adoption. If you welcome one of these energetic furry friends into your heart and home, they will reward you with years of unconditional love and devotion.