The Shih-Poo—A Poodle Hybrid with a Stubborn Streak
If you’ve been reading our content on Poodle mixes you might be able to guess what a “Shih-Poo” is just from the name. Adorable and fluffy but independently-minded and often stubborn, the Shih-Poo isn’t for everyone, but this mixed-breed dog might be for you! The Shih-Poo is a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix, a hybrid of two popular companion breeds known for their human-focused personalities and luxurious coats.
When mixing breeds, breeders should ideally choose dogs with similar temperaments, personalities, and training needs. While mixing breeds is always a bit of a risk, pairing breeds with similar traits can help produce more predictable results in terms of temperament. Both Shih Tzus and Toy Poodles are similarly outgoing, affectionate, and independent, and their mixed-breed offspring typically share these traits.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses owning any dog breed, and it’s especially important to manage your expectations if you own a mixed-breed dog. Owning a Shih-Poo could be the best experience of your life, and you might fall in love with this adorable mix. On the other hand, you may find yourself with a dog you love very much but struggle to potty train, rid of anxiety, and trust around dogs or young children.
In this blog, we’ll go over the many details of what life could be like with a Shih-Poo, and hear from real-world Shih-Poo owners about their experiences with this mix.
Get To Know 6 Shih-Poos from Instagram
Shih Tzus are a toy breed originally developed by and for Chinese royalty. Small, loyal, and strikingly beautiful, the name “Shih Tzu” roughly translates to “lion dog.” Shih-Tzus have long silky fur, impressive beards/mustaches, and curly tails with a waterfall of fur. These pups most commonly come in shades of white, black, and silver.
The Toy Poodle is the smallest variety of Poodle, and every bit as intelligent as its Standard, Moyen, and Miniature cousins. Toy Poodles have tightly curled fur that can be brushed into clouds of fluff, and come in a range of colors and patterns like black, white, chocolate, Phantom, and more.
With this in mind, you might be thinking: What do Shih Tzu Poodle mixes look like?
Let’s meet a few so you can see for yourself!
1. Walt & Lily
You’re getting a two-for-one deal with our first featured Shih-Poos from Instagram! Meet Walt (left) and Lily (right), two sweet Shih-Poos from the UK with very different looks. Walt is a two-year-old cream Shih-Poo with silver-tipped ears who is always looking out for his humans and his little sister. Lily is a one-year-old red Shih-Poo with the sweetest, most loving personality ever.
Wow, look at that smile! This happy little dog knows life is all about stopping to smell the flowers! Sebastian—or Bash—is an eight-year-old Shih-Poo from California who spends his days napping on soft beds, playing with toys, and visiting beautiful places. A well-loved and well-traveled pooch, everyone needs a dash of Bash in their lives!
If playful is what you’re after, most Shih-Poos will happily romp, wrestle, and play fetch with you! Benji is one such Shih-Poo with a super playful personality while still being very attentive to his humans. From Kent in the UK, Benji is just one-year-old and still has some puppy energy, but we bet he’ll still be playful even when he’s a senior!
4. Bentley Bear
Did you know that Shih-Poos can be brindle? It’s not very common, but occasionally Shih-Poos can be brindle, a swirly mix of colors including black, brown, red, and white. Bentley Bear has a brindle coat and a gorgeous underbite—it’s almost not fair how good-looking this handsome boy is!
Some Shih-Poos inherit their Shih Tzu parent’s curly tail, and Evie is one of those lucky Shih-Poos! This beautiful little girl loves an outdoor adventure but would prefer to bring a toy along if allowed. Evie is a three-year-old Shih-Poo who lives in Harrogate, England, and she takes full advantage of the beautiful landscape around her.
Miss Daisy—a three-year-old Shih-Poo—has coloring and a pattern more typical of a Shih Tzu, but curly hair like a Toy Poodle. Daisy is 100% dedicated to her human, and won’t sleep a wink if she isn’t curled up in their bed. Hilarious, energetic, and so loving, Daisy is the perfect package if you’re looking for a little shadow to keep you smiling all day.
Shih-Poo Basic Info
We could spend all day admiring photos of these super cute Shih-Poos, but it’s time for us to start talking about what life with a Shih-Poo looks like. Are Shih-Poos easy to train? How long do Shih-Poos live? Are there any health issues you should worry about?
Strap in—we’re diving deep into the world of Shih-Poo ownership.
Smart, playful, social, and self-assured, Shih-Poos are remarkable little dogs just brimming with personality. Active and energetic, Shih-Poos enjoy both physical and mental stimulation, though don’t do well in heat or with long bouts of exercise. Shih-Poos enjoy being close to their humans and may become a touch clingy or anxious as a result. In some cases, their devotion can turn to possessiveness and reactivity, so it’s important to socialize Shih-Poos regularly and from the very start.
Some Shih-Poos are picky and stubborn, which can make them a little tough to train. Once you find treats and food they love and have found a good way to engage them in your training sessions, you’ll find the Shih-Poo easy to train.
“I’ve had two [Shih-Poos.] I think it depends on how much their temperament favors the Poodle or Shih Tzu. Both my girls were very smart and I think that came from the poodle side. My first one had a very strong poodle side, so she was very easy to train,” says a Shih-Poo owner sharing their experience in a Reddit comment. “My current girl is more stubborn but she is very motivated by treats. She’s also smart, so I learned to use that as a motivational tool. Of course, she sort of turned that back around on me because now she pretends to want to go outside just so she can get a treat!”
How big do Shih-Poos get when fully grown? The answer to this can vary, since Shih-Poos mixed-breed dogs without specific standards for size. Because Shih-Poos are typically a mix of Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle, the best estimates are for a size somewhere between these two breeds.
You can expect your Shih-Poo to fall somewhere between 8–10 inches in height and 6–16 pounds in weight.
A long-lived mix, Shih-Poo dogs often reach ages of 15 or more and maintain relatively good health throughout their lives. Of course, as with all dogs, there are health issues to be aware of if you own a Shih-Poo. Some possible health problems to watch for if you own a Shih-Poo include:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Eye and vision problems (e.g. glaucoma, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, dryness, inflammation, etc.)
- Von Willebrand disease
- Legg-Calve-Perthe disease
Is It Okay To Buy Shih-Poo Puppies From a Breeder?
Unfortunately, many of the Poodle mixes brought into the world today are produced by backyard breeders, puppy mills, and breeding programs with ethically-questionable practices. As Poodle mixes have become ever more popular and gained breeders immense wealth, some unethical individuals have attempted to capitalize on mixed-breed-dog-buying fads.
In many cases, the features dog owners are looking for in a Poodle mix can be found in a Poodle. Thanks to breeding standards and breeder oversight by breed registries, Poodles are more reliable in looks, temperament, and health than Shih-Poos, Labradoodles, or other hybrid breeds.
So, no, we don’t suggest buying a Shih-Poo puppy from a breeder.
There’s a lot more to learn about the Shih-Poo, and we’re covering as much as we can here. Let’s answer some of the most common questions about this mix!
Does the Shih-Poo shed?
Yes, but typically very little. Both Poodles and Shih Tzus are low-shedders, but both require regular maintenance and visits to the groomer. Shih Tzus in particular are known to shed a little throughout the year, though they don’t leave much fur on clothes and furniture. Because Shih Poos are a mix of Poodle and Shih Tzu, it’s not guaranteed which side they’ll inherit their shedding tendencies from.
Are Shih-Poos hypoallergenic?
No. Shih Tzus are not hypoallergenic, and although Poodles are so low-shedding they are often called hypoallergenic, they carry the same amount of allergen as any other dog breed. Low-shedding dogs may be less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people who are specifically allergic to dog dander, but this isn’t guaranteed.
How long do Shih-Poos live?
Shih-Poos are long-lived dogs with an average lifespan of around 10–15 years, with many living to 17 or more.
Do Shih-Poo dogs bark a lot?
Sometimes. Shih Tzus are known to be reactive barkers who will let anyone—or anything—walking by know that they are watching. Poodles on the other hand are less vocal, though Toy Poodles are more prone to barking than Miniature and Standard Poodles.
Shih Poos are not known for being constant barkers, but will typically let you know if there’s someone new in their line of sight. Here’s what a few Shih-Poo owners had to say when asked how much barking to expect from a Shih-Poo.
“[My Shih-Poo] only barks when the doorbell rings and he knows there’s people outside the house,” says one Reddit user’s comment. “Fake guard dog because the moment they’re inside he rolls up to them tail wagging for pets and hugs, even with strangers.”
“My partner’s family dog is a Shih-Poo. He barks when there’s an animal in the yard or when someone unfamiliar comes up to the house but generally he’s pretty quiet,” says another Reddit comment. “In an apartment I don’t think you’ll find a lot of problems since they’re not likely to get that same “who’s there??” kind of barking trigger.”
Are Shih-Poo dogs clingy?
Yes. Shih-Poos are sometimes called velcro dogs or shadows, but can also be prone to separation anxiety.
“We have a Shih-Poo we call a ‘stage 5 clinger’” says a comment on a Reddit thread about Shih-Poos constantly wanting to be held. While this trait can be very sweet and appealing if you love to cuddle your dog, it might also be a sign of something more serious.
“Trust me, it’s all fun and games until the same anxiety that makes him want to be picked up all the time is the anxiety that wakes you up at three in the morning, shivering and peeing in your bed, all because there’s a storm thirty miles away from your house on an otherwise clear summer night,” says a comment from a Shih Poo owner sharing a gentle warning.
How long can a Shih-Poo “hold it” between potty breaks?
An adult Shih Poo full grown should be able to hold their pee for between 6–8 hours. Ideally, adult dogs should be given potty breaks every 6–8 hours, or up to 12 hours overnight. Smaller dogs, puppies, and senior pups may require more frequent opportunities to pee.
Is it easy to potty train a Shih-Poo?
Sometimes. Many Shih-Poos are extremely intelligent and take to training quickly. In some cases, this intelligence can also become stubborn, and some Shih-Poos may choose to ignore their training. Some Shih-Poos can be distractible, and take a little longer to pick up on routine.
You should be able to potty train your Shih-Poo within a few weeks if you follow a consistent schedule and practice positive reinforcement.
Is a Shih-Poo bigger than a Shih Tzu?
Shih-Poos are typically around the same size as Shih Tzus. Because both Shih Tzus and Toy Poodles are toy breeds, their mixed-breed offspring will also be small, under 15-20 pounds.
What is the difference between a Shih-Poo and a Maltipoo?
A Shih-Poo is a Poodle Shih Tzu mix, while a Maltipoo is a Poodle Maltese mix. Both mixes of two toy breeds, these mixes aren’t necessarily similar but may be mistaken for one another.
How do you discipline a Shih-Poo?
Like most dog breeds, Shih-Poos do well when given positive reinforcement and clear, consistent routines. Discipline techniques like raising your voice, being physically threatening, or forcing your dog to do what you want are not effective, and do far more harm than good. If you are struggling with your Shih Poo’s behavior, contact a veterinarian or speak with a trainer/canine behaviorist.
What is a Shih-Poo dog?
A Shih-Poo dog is a crossbreed between a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle. They are not recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club but are recognized by various designer breed registration clubs such as the American Canine Hybrid Club and the International Designer Canine Registry.
What is the size of a Shih-Poo dog?
Shih-Poo dogs weigh between 8-18 pounds and stand at 8-13 inches tall.
Are Shih-Poo dogs friendly?
Yes, Shih-Poo dogs are friendly dogs that love to play. They are fun-loving, energetic, spunky, and playful.
Are Shih-Poo dogs good with children?
Shih-Poo dogs are great with older children who know how to handle small dogs.
What is the lifespan of a Shih-Poo dog?
The lifespan of a Shih-Poo dog is between 10-15 years4.
What is the parent breed of a Shih-Poo dog?
The parent breeds of a Shih-Poo dog are the Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle.
What is the temperament of a Shih-Poo dog?
Shih-Poo dogs are fun-loving, energetic, spunky, playful, and adaptable to a variety of living situations.
What is the International Designer Canine Registry?
The International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) is an organization that registers designer dogs such as the Shih-Poo.
What health conditions are common in Shih-Poo dogs?
Shih-Poo dogs are susceptible to diseases that are common for its parental dog breeds such as hip dysplasia and dental problems.
What is the Teddy Bear look?
The Teddy Bear look is a popular grooming style for Shih-Poo dogs that involves trimming their hair short all over their body except for their head and face which is left fluffy like a teddy bear.
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