The Ultimate Guide to Shih Poos: Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle Cross

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Are you in search of a small and hypoallergenic dog breed to add to your family?

If yes, then that’s our cue to welcome this article’s main event; Shih Poo, the Shih Tzu Poodle mix!

There are some wonderful qualities to this little pup, and also some important information to be aware of.

So let’s drag out the doggie bed, relax, and get ready to learn about this adorable designer breed!

What is a Shih Poo?

A Shih Poo dog is a type of Poodle mixed breed dog. Mixed breed dogs are becoming more and more popular as they often offer low-to-no shedding (when bred with a Poodle) and tend to have fewer health problems than purebred dogs.

In the Shih poo’s case, the Shih Poo is a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle.

We’ll dig deeper into each of the parent breeds and their personalities later in this article.

Although the Shih Poo doesn’t have a clear history of where their story all began, it’s typically thought that the Shih Tzu and Poodle designer mix was bred in the United States within the past few decades or so.

Shih Poo coat, colors, and weight

Small brown dog lookly sweetly into the camera.

Depending on which parent breed this pup takes after more, their physical experience with the expectation of size and weight can vary a little.

If the pup takes after the Shih Tzu more, the length and texture of their coat will be longer, silky-like, and straight. But if they sway the other way towards the miniature or toy Poodle, their coat will be shorter and curlier. Quite opposite sides of the spectrum, right?

It can be likely that a Shih Poo pup will come out with a mix of both, a wavey coat at a medium or short length. Their itty bitty noses are usually either brown or black, and their eyes typically come out in some variant of brown. But in any regard, the Shih Poo will always deliver on cuteness!

Along with the varying in their coat types, there is a mixed bag of possibilities when it comes to the coat colors as well. The coats can come out as solid or mixed from these different colors:

  • White
  • Grey
  • Black
  • Brown
  • Cream

Grooming a Shih Poo

Every dog needs an appropriate level of grooming and care for its unique coat, and when it comes to this designer breed the care is a little on the higher side. That doesn’t mean it is not attainable, but much more detail-oriented and time-consuming.

Daily brushing, or at a minimum every other day, would provide the best quality for their coat. Because it is usually on the curlier side, it can be easier for it to become matted if not brushed through often. The same goes for their silky long coats that could become tangled and or matted if not taken care of properly.

An assortment of dog grooming tools on a white sheet

Grooming is also required for this pup, whether you’re a wizard with the scissors or you have a fabulous groomer, they should have their hair cut to obtain its shape and style a couple of times a year. Some routine grooming you could maybe do on your own at home with your Shih Poo is timing its coat around the private and rear end areas; this will help with keeping its coat clean and making sure there is no irritation for the dog. This designer breed typically does not shed as much and will be an adorable pet to cuddle up with.

Some other essential care for the Shih Poo is consistently checking and cleaning their ears, along with brushing their chompers a few times a week. Their nails should be clipped when they appear to be too long, and they are also among the types of dogs that can have tear stains below their eyes, so cleaning those up every day will keep everyone happy!

Height and weight

As we chitchatted up above about the cute little appearance of the Shih Poo, due to its smaller parent breeds, we can with confidence deduce that these pups aren’t going to range in very tall heights or large masses. But these are still important details to cover:

  • Height: 8-13 inches
  • Weight: 13-20 pounds

Even though they are a little fella, they sure do like to eat and as a pet owner you always want to make your pet super duper happy, but this particular dog will for sure over-eat without even trying.

It’s vital for the sake of their health that they are fed one cup of dry kibble per day; you can always split this cup up into breakfast and dinner portions, but your Shih Poo is counting on you to make sure it maintains a healthy weight and eating habits.

You can spoil your pup in other ways though, like showering them with bunches of love and attention! Keeping your pet’s vet in the loop of what their diet looks like as far as the type of food they are eating and their meal times will help your vet provide the right guidance and care for your special Shih Poo.

Shih Poo personality and temperament

It’s always fun to hear or see a funny video about the different personalities that dogs have; there is such a large range, the possibilities are endless! But to provide a better look at what Shih Poo’s personalities and temperaments are like, we’ll first take a look at the two parent breeds.

Miniature Poodle’s personality and temperament

Small white dog sitting

For a little dog, the miniature/toy Poodle can really pack in a lot of fun! They are incredibly affectionate and playful, always ready to fetch, tug, or learn something new plus they’ll give you lots of cuddles when playtime is over. Their intelligence, just as the famously known standard Poodle, is high and should be utilized with appropriate training and stimulation. Without these implemented, the Poodle can tend to find its own things to do which you may not approve of, and or without knowing that barking isn’t always necessary that can learn a pretty vocal habit. The miniature/toy Poodle is trainable and should be lovingly trained from a young age, with also being socialized with other dogs from a young age so they are used to being around other furry friends.

In short, no pun intended, the miniature/toy Poodle is a friendly, fun-loving, affectionate dog that requires training but is well worth it for the companionship they provide.

Shih Tzu’s personality and temperament

Small white and brown dog with beautiful long, silk, fur.

Just like the miniature/toy Poodle, the Shih Tzu is also a very playful and friendly dog! They love to show their owner’s affection and love, along with being silly and playful. These good boys and girls will be friends with just about anyone, family and furry pals, but they should be watched closely if in the presence of a large animal or small child because of the Shih Tzu’s size and fragile body.

And their friendliness will be turned off for a moment and shift to protective and alert by barking if they detect a stranger nearby; so, training should come into play to let the Shih Tzu know when barking is or isn’t necessary. Speaking of training, with Shih Tzus it typically takes some extra time and energy to teach and housetrain them because there is stubbornness present at times. Every dog has its quirks, right!

To bring it all in, the Shih Tzu is a fun-loving dog who likes to love and be loved by everyone except strangers (at first), they may need some extra patients with training but it can pay off for the furry, goofy, cuddly companion they’re more than capable of being!

Shih Poo’s personality and temperament

Get ready for some cuteness, the Shih Poo is a bundle of playful energy and is always ready to be right by your side showing you lots of love, but can be bit shy when it comes to people they do not know. After some time and trust, they’ll be cuddling up on your lap and waiting for you to throw the ball in no time. More than often, the Shih Poo is outgoing and loves to be showered with positive and fun attention; they need an owner/family that has lots of time for them.

Just like its Shih Tzu parent they should be monitored around larger animals and smaller children to ensure they are being treated and played with in a safe manner. And also like the Shih Tzu parent, they may also show some stubbornness when it comes to training; but with their intelligence and perhaps obedience classes, they will quickly learn how good they are at following commands and tricks!

The Shih Poo is a loyal and loving family dog, they’ve had the nickname “teddy bear dog” tagged on them and Shih Poos has also been known to be fantastic service animals for people in need of an emotional support dog.

Exercise needs

The Shih Poo doesn’t have a lot of crazy requirements when it comes to their exercise, it is quite attainable. On average, they should receive at least 40 minutes of exercise per day. This can consist of a short walk and or playtime at the dog park, a fenced-in backyard, or right in the living room with some of their favorite toys.

These silly fun-loving pups will play play play, but due to their size, you should really make sure that they are not overworked and get plenty of chill-out time on your lap or in their cuddly doggie bed. They are also not super fond of being left alone for a long time, so if you do have a fenced-in yard and let them out to play, stick around or, don’t pop out for too long!

The amount of exercise can vary from Shih Poo to Shih Poo depending on which parent breed they take more after, but on average they simply need a moderate level incorporated in their daily lives for their overall wellbeing.

Cost of a Shih Poo puppy

When you’re looking to adopt a new furry family member there are two paths you can take: adopting from a breeder or a shelter.

Adopting from a breeder should take lots of research to make sure that your potential pet didn’t come from a horrible puppy mill. Using a site such as Infinity Pups that does background checks and visits on the breeders that are represented on their website is the right direction to go.

As far as cost goes, Shih Poo puppies range from $500 to the higher end of $1,000; it really depends on the breeder and the history of the litter’s parents.

If you’d like to look into adopting your future Shih Poo from a shelter, there are several amazing resources you can find online to rescue a little pup who would love to be welcomed into a caring home. You can always call your local shelters and ask if there are Shih Poos in the area, and here are a few online resources you can look into:

  • Check out our list of Doodle-dog rescues in the United States, the UK, and Canada to find an available dog near you! 
  • Located in Wisconsin, the Bichon and Little Buddies Rescue rescues small breed dogs from puppy mills and surrendered from previous owners.
  • Shih Tzu’s and Furbabies is a rescue organization located in New York that works tirelessly to find the perfect match for these mistreated or left behind pups. Fostering is available, and if adopting takes place there are fees involved.
  • Another hardworking small dog rescue that brings in a lot of Shih Poos is the Wee Rescue located in Texas. Adoption fees are also required, but their health and vaccinations are taken care of before they are adopted.

Shih Poo health problems and lifespan

No matter the type, every living creature has the potential to have health issues, here are some of the more major possible health issues you could see in Shih Poo dogs, although of course it is not guaranteed.

  1. Addison’s Disease: this disease indicates that a dog’s adrenal gland is not producing hormones that are vital to them. Their job is to regulate the dog’s organs and without these hormones, there can be bad consequences. Thankfully, this disease can be treated with the help of a Vet.
  2. Mitral Valve Disease: this disease is when the Mitral Valve in the heart begins to be overworked and the valve becomes leaky. In a worse case scenario, surgery can be done, but there are medications a vet can prescribe that will help improve the dog’s heart function.
  3. Brachycephalic Syndrome: this syndrome is caused by the shape of the dog’s head, the “pushed-in face” expression you may have heard before about other breeds of dogs. Because of this, their airways are not as large or open as they should be making it difficult for them to breathe. Only if your dog shows signs of gagging or having major difficulty breathing should a vet be alerted and surgery may be required.
  4. Intervertebral Disc Disease: this disease is when your pup is experiencing an abnormality with a disc in their neck or back; making it difficult for them to walk and play, and in extreme cases causing them to not be able to walk at all. Physical therapy, medications, and daily lifestyle changes can help treat minor cases, but if the disease grows worse emergency surgery will be required.
  5. Sebaceous Adenitis: this is a skin disease that is brought on when the sebaceous glands in the pup are being damaged, and therefore not allowing them to release the lubrication that their coat needs to keep them soft and healthy. Without that vital lubrication, the disease makes the dog’s skin scaley and cause major hair loss. Sebaceous Adenitis can be treated (unfortunately not cured) with oil treatments, several different therapies, and suppliments.

Shih Poos can also develop some eye issues, but keeping your pet on regular vet visits will help you stay on top of their health and wellbeing.

Knowing the status of your pet’s health and any particular special needs they may require through a vet’s expertise will give you peace of mind and a happy pup.

Plus, I’m sure your Shih Poo will get a treat at the end of their visit! When your companion is happy and healthy they can live up to a long 12-15 years, gifting you lots of memories and fun times!

Shih Poos make great pets!

Little they are, but man do they carry so much love and play-time in them! Before this article signs off, let’s go over some key points about the Shih Poo:

  • Needs lots of love and positive attention
  • Training is required, may take some extra time and energy if stubbornness shows
  • Should be in a home with older children and similarly-sized dogs
  • Shouldn’t be left alone for too long
  • Requires at least 40 minutes of exercise per day

If your home is rocking some older kids, or no kids at all, with smaller to no other furry siblings, and you’re looking for a pup that will love you to bits, play and be silly with you but also chill out on your lap then the Shih Poo is the pooch you’ve been searching for!


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