The Shih-Poo is a designer dog breed that’s a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Toy or Miniature Poodle.
This popular small-sized breed is well-known for its cute teddy bear looks, lively personality, and affectionate nature. But what size and weight are Shih-Poos? Do these dogs suffer from separation anxiety? And can a Shih-Poo be left alone?
Read this guide to learn everything you need to know about the Shih-Poo and see pictures of the adorable boutique breed!
Shih-Poo Dog Breed: Information and Personality Traits
As you probably guessed, the Shih-Poo or Shoodle is a hybrid breed created by crossing a purebred Shih Tzu and a Miniature or Toy Poodle. These gorgeous little dogs are easily recognizable thanks to their cute teddy bear looks and sturdy bodies.
Even though both an F1 Shih-Poo’s parents are purebred, the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize the Shoodle as an official breed. That said, as a desirable crossbreed, one of these gorgeous cuddly companion animals can sometimes cost as much as or more than a pedigree pup!
Unfortunately, the Shih-Poo’s popularity has made this beautiful pup a favorite of puppy mills. So, if you see one of these pups advertised for a very cheap price, beware!
Poodles and Shih Tzus have been around for centuries.
Despite being claimed by France as their national dog, Poodles originally come from Germany. The Shih Tzu comes from China, where they lived as companion dogs in the Chinese Imperial Court.
Poodles were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, whereas the Shih Tzu was recognized relatively recently in 1969.
This hybrid breed has only been around for a few decades but has rapidly gained traction as a companion pet, especially for those who want a small, non-shedding dog that doesn’t need much exercise.
What Do Shih-Poos Look Like?
As with all designer dog breeds, a Shih-Poo puppy takes some of his DNA from each parent. So, you can expect your puppy to inherit some Poodle and some Shih Tzu traits.
For example, your pup might grow up with a curly or long, straight coat like a Shih Tzu. Shih-Poo coat colors are typically tawny, black, white, apricot, or white with apricot patches. Again, that depends on which parent your puppy takes after.
My puppy is black, but his Miniature Poodle father is silver gray, so it’s possible that my puppy’s coat will “clear” to be more like that of his dad. That’s one of the great things about owning a crossbreed puppy; you never quite know how he’ll turn out!
How Big Will A Shih-Poo Get?
Shih-Poos are a small-sized breed that’s just the right size for small living spaces. Full-grown adult Shih-Poos typically grow between 8 and 18 inches tall at the withers and weigh between 8 and 18 pounds.
Remember that a Toy Poodle parent will usually produce a slightly larger puppy than a Miniature Poodle Parent.
What Is The Personality Of A Shih-Poo?
Shih-Poos are usually friendly, affectionate dogs with bags of energy!
These loving little dogs make wonderful companions for seniors and get along fine with other pets, including cats.
Poodles are intelligent dogs originally bred to work alongside duck hunters, retrieving shot birds from water and marshy areas. So, if your puppy takes plenty of Poodle DNA from that parent, he’ll be bright and relatively trainable.
For example, my 9-week-old puppy Raffles already knows his name, comes when I call him and understands what “No!” means. However, this breed can be somewhat stubborn sometimes, which I think could make potty training a challenge!
These dogs are typically affectionate, loving, and outgoing. However, your dog’s adult personality will be shaped by his experiences as a puppy. So, the more socialization you do with your youngster, the better equipped he will be to cope with the experiences he’ll have as an adult.
Of course, your puppy will inherit some personality from each of his parents. So, always ask to see both mom and dad when you go to look at Shih-Poo puppies. The parents should be friendly and relaxed and happy for you to pet them and the pups.
If mom or dad is shy or aggressive, walk away.
Like most Poodle crossbreeds, Shih Poos have a soft, silky hypoallergenic coat that can be curly, wavy, or straight, depending on which parent breed the puppy takes after the most.
If you take on one of these gorgeously cute puppies, you must be prepared to spend time brushing your dog every day to prevent the coat from matting. Some Shih-Poo owners prefer to have their furry friends professionally groomed and clipped every four to six weeks. Clipping keeps the dog’s coat tidy and can prevent tangling, as well as reduce daily brushing time.
Shih Tzus and Poodles shed minimally, so your puppy will be a light shedder. That’s good news for pet parents who hate vacuuming and those who suffer from pet allergies.
That said, allergies are triggered by pet dander, not pet hair. So, if you have a severe pet allergy, it doesn’t matter what dog breed you choose; you’ll suffer an allergic reaction.
Thanks to their small size, Shih-Poos don’t need massive amounts of exercise. However, these dogs do have a high energy level, so your pet must have half an hour of daily exercise to keep him healthy and fit, physically and mentally stimulated.
Like all intelligent dogs, Shih-Poos can become frustrated and bored if you don’t provide plenty of mental and physical exercise, leading to destructive behavior.
A brief game in your backyard and some basic obedience training can be all your Shih-Poo needs every day to keep him happy, and remember to provide lots of puzzle toys to keep your pup interested and occupied if you leave him home alone.
Shih-Poos can be fed a diet of regular dog food formulated for a small dog’s needs. Puppies have tiny mouths, so they need special mini-puppy food that contains lots of protein to fuel healthy growth.
I recommend sticking to kibble (biscuits) for your canine companion. Shih-Poos have tiny teeth that tend to be closely packed, which can lead to gingivitis and canine periodontal disease in later life if plaque is allowed to accumulate.
Hard biscuits and dental chews help to remove bacteria-causing plaque, and daily dental cleaning is also recommended.
Although mixed-breed dogs tend to be pretty healthy thanks to something called hybrid vigor, Shih-Poos can sometimes develop health concerns.
Always ask your breeder if both the puppy’s parents have undergone genetic health testing for the common breed-related health issues that can affect the Shih-Poo and have the relevant health certifications. A simple puppy health check is not sufficient!
Even if both parents are certified as healthy, there’s still a chance your puppy could inherit a genetic defect. Some health concerns common in small breeds include the following:
- Hip dysplasia
- Luxating patellas
- Eye problems, including cataracts, entropion, and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
Like many small breeds, Shih-Poos can be prone to dental health issues, so you must have your vet check your pup’s oral health regularly.
Probably the most commonly seen health problem for Shih-Poos is obesity, which is typically caused by overfeeding and lack of exercise.
Overweight dogs can suffer from joint problems, diabetes, breathing difficulties, and heart problems. So, be sure to give your pup plenty of exercise and take care not to overfeed him!
Many toy and mini breeds develop a condition called luxating patellas, in which the dog’s knee joints are unstable and sometimes slide out of place.
The problem can be graded according to how severe it is, with 1 being mild and 4 being severe. Luxating patellas can be serious enough to demand surgical correction or a minor defect that doesn’t both the dog in terms of pain or disability.
How Long Do Shih-Poos Live?
Good health permitting, like most small dog breeds, Shih-Poos have a long life expectancy of between ten and 16 years.
Here are the answers to a few questions commonly asked about the adorably cute Shih-Poo!
Q: Is a Shih-Poo a good pet?
A: Yes! Shih-Poos make excellent pets for singles, families, and seniors. These adorable little dogs are widely used as support animals thanks to their friendly, loving temperament, convenient small size, and calm nature.
Q: Can Shih-Poos be left alone?
A: One downside to the Shih-Poo is that they are somewhat clingy and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. However, you can overcome that by using positive reinforcement techniques and sympathetic, reward-based training.
Q: What are the negatives of Shih Poo?
A: As well as being a tad clingy, Shih-Poos have a few downsides. These dogs can be prone to a few health conditions that affect their parents, although hybrid vigor does go a long way to keeping genetic diseases at bay.
Shih-Poos have thick, silky single coats that require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles from forming, and they need a monthly visit to a professional groomer to keep their coat’s tidy.
Depending on which parent the dog takes after most, these little pups can be very lively, needing a fair amount of exercise to keep them grounded.
Q: Is a Shih-Poo a teddy bear dog?
A: When Shih-Poos are puppies, they look exactly like little fluffy teddy bears! So, it’s safe to say that the Shih-Poo is a teddy bear dog.
Q: Do Shih-Poos have breathing problems?
A: Shih-Poos can suffer from breathing problems if they have more of the Shih Tzu parent’s genetic material than that of their Poodle parent. Sometimes, Shih Tzus have tiny nostrils and a narrowed trachea, leading to an obstructed airway.
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The Shih-Poo is a designer breed created by crossing a purebred toy or miniature Poodle with a purebred Shih Tzu. These bright, lively little dogs make great companions for couples, seniors, and families. Their small size makes them perfect for apartment life, and their affectionate, intelligent nature makes the Shih-Poo an ideal companion pet.
Do you have a Shih-Poo? Tell us about your perfect pet in the comments box below!