Shih-Poo Mixed Dog Breed Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

by Life With Dogs

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

The Shih-Poo is an increasingly popular mixed dog breed, characterized by its small size and lots of soft, cuddly fluff. These friendly, affectionate canines make wonderful companions and lap dogs for families or individuals and are particularly appreciated by seniors due to their personality and size. 

The Shih Poo’s parent dogs are the Shih Tzu and the Toy Poodle. The Shih Tzu boasts qualities of exceptional loyalty and its compact size while the Toy Poodle is characterized by exceptional intelligence and a love of attention. This delightful combination of these pure breeds represents in the Shih Poo, the best of both.

shih poo

Ancient Lineage

The Poodle and the Shih Tzu are dog breeds that have existed for decades if not centuries. The development of the Poodle has been claimed by both Germany and France and is known to have been depicted by German artists as early as the 17th century. The Poodle was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887.

The Shih Tzu originates in China, where again, as early as the 16th and 17th centuries evidence of this breed exists. In the 17th century, they became the favorite canine of China’s Imperial Court. The Shih Tzu was recognized by the AKC in 1969.

Their mixed breed heir has only existed for several decades but is increasingly popular among those looking for a smaller-sized dog for company.

Shih Poo Size

Shih Poos vary in size, color, and fur coat depending on the breeding. They can weigh as little as 8, perhaps 7 lbs. in smaller examples or as much as 20 lbs. making them small to medium-sized dogs. This makes them especially popular for smaller living spaces like apartments, and transportation purposes.

Shih Poo Fur Coat

Coats may resemble the Poodle’s curly fur or might be straight resembling the Shih Tzu half of the family, however, no two will look the same, and as a crossbreed, there are no breed standards to respect. It all will come down to which parent’s genes dominate the offspring. You can easily find puppies that resemble Poodles or Shih Tzu, or even a mix with the silky-like fur of the Shih Tzu but the curls of the Poodle. 

Colors are also a lottery with common colors including gray, red, brown, black, or the ever-popular apricot. They shed very little and are often designated as hypoallergenic. But despite hardly shedding, they do need regular grooming meaning you will have the time to dedicate to their upkeep or the budget for trips to the doggy beauty parlor.

The Shih Poo Personality

Known to be well-tempered, mild-mannered dogs, they are generally described as both friendly and affectionate. Attention lovers, they reciprocate happily making them the ideal companion dog for families, retirees, seniors, and couples in general. Environments with someone present are ideal as they are not solitary canines and decidedly prefer company.

Prized for their above-average intelligence, they are energetic little pets, so if you are looking for a couch potato, it might be better to select another breed. Comical and playful, they gift many a smile to pet parents.

While every pet regardless of species or breed will have an individual personality that distinguishes it within a family nucleus, Shih Poos get along well with other dogs and other pets in general, including cats. They also do well with seniors and with children. As with any dog or cat presented to children, the child must be taught gentleness when interacting with any pet.

Shih Poo Health

Known to enjoy long lifespans of up to 15 years, they are not subject to any particular illnesses when given good care, regular veterinary visits, and lots of attention. They may be subject to hip dysplasia or patellar luxation of the kneecap, and older Shih Poos with large Shih Tzu eyes may develop cataracts as they age, but good vet care is your best instrument for ensuring that your dog thrives.

Shih Poo Needs

While the size of living space is not an issue with this mixed breed, physical activity is. As energetic dogs, they love to play and interact. Not really adapted to long hikes, jogging, or similar, they do still need to move and vent all that energy. Once play has finished, they’ll retire to your lap for a nap and cuddle.

They enjoy a daily walk and playing in a yard if you have one. Daily exercise is a must for their well-being and health. Thanks to their intelligence, the Shih Poos respond well to gentle training and positive reinforcement although don’t be surprised if a stubborn streak appears every so often. 

High-quality dog food for small dogs is ideal to meet nutrition needs, however, do not allow them to eat whenever they want as they can be subject to weight gain. 

Regular brushing will keep the Shih Poo coat in good condition and grooming is a necessity to prevent matting with attention to armpits, under the tail, ears, and bellies. Avoid overbathing to prevent dry skin. Brushing canine teeth several times a week can help prevent periodontal problems in the future.

The most important factor to consider for a Shih Poo’s well-being is not leaving him or her alone for extended periods. This mixed breed is a companion dog and needs a constant presence to thrive whether at home or out and about.

Fun Facts

Thanks to the genetic lottery in mixed breeds, puppies from the same litter may look completely different from one another.

While the parent breeds are recognized by the AKC, the Shih Poo mixed breed is not.

Shih Poos that are bred with both a Shih Poo mother and father will be identified as second-generation Shih Poos.