Designer Breed Icon
  • Activity Level: low
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  • Shedding Level: low
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  • Grooming Level: high
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  • Trainability: moderate
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  • Good for Novice Owners: moderate
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  • Adaptability: high
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  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
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  • Prey Drive: low
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  • Watchdog: aware
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  • Average Size: Small
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Registered?: other

Shih Apso Dog Breed Information





Owner Experience


Activity Level


Life Span

Did You Know?

A Shih Apso is a cross between a Shih-Tzu and a Lhasa Apso. These little dogs are playful, energetic, loving, and affectionate. They make great companions for single owners and for families.

They are not currently recognized by the AKC, but they are recognized by other canine registries. The American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, International Designer Canine Registry, and more all recognize the Shih Apso.

Shih Apso are affectionate and loving little dogs. They love nothing more than being the center of attention and receiving affection from their favorite humans. They tend to get along with children and other pets, but they can become jealous if others are receiving more attention.

They tend to be aloof with strangers at first, but tend to warm up once introduced. After all, that just means more people to shower them with attention and affection. They will bark to alert you at times, but do not tend to “yappy” dogs unless you have trained them into it. You can work on training your dog to stop barking to help ensure it does not become a nuisance behavior.

A Shih Apso is a highly adaptable dog that will thrive in apartments as well as larger homes as long as they get the attention and exercise they need. As with any dog, they are sensitive to heat. They may also need to bundle up with some winter dog products to stay warm while out on walks when temperatures drop.

Because they bond so closely with their families and thrive on being near them, a Shih Apso does not like to be left alone for long periods of time. This can also lead to them developing separation anxiety if you don’t work with them on it early on.

Potential health concerns to be aware of in a Shih Apso can include patellar luxation, kidney problems, bladder stones, and hip dysplasia. Good breeding practices make a huge difference.

A reputable breeder will screen their dogs to avoid passing preventable issues to puppies. So, make sure you are asking about the health of both of the parents and about any health tests that have been done.

Although a Shih Apso is intelligent and thrives on attention, they are also notoriously stubborn. This can be an obstacle for first-time dog owners. As a small dog, they are also difficult to house train. With a lot of patience, consistent training focused on positive rewards, puppy training classes, and house training tips, you and your Shih Apso can get through it with a close bond.

Shih Apso tend to have a long coat that can be silky or rough. They tend to have a low-shedding coat that needs daily brushing to remove tangles and prevent mats, even if their coat is kept in a short clip. They will also require professional grooming every 4-6 weeks.

In addition to coat care, you will also need to take care of your Shih Apso’s nails, ears, and teeth. Cutting your dog’s nails once or twice monthly keeps them from growing too long. Ear checks weekly with careful cleaning as needed can help prevent ear infections.

As a small dog breed, the Shih Apso will be more prone to developing gum disease and other dental diseases. Because of this, it’s even more important to start dental care early and keep it up throughout your dog’s life. In addition to cleanings at the vet when needed, daily brushing or use of an enzyme toothpaste is ideal.

Although these little dogs will be energetic when they are feeling playful and may have bursts of energy, they don’t require a lot of daily exercise. Daily walks plus some playtime throughout the day are usually enough to keep this little dog happy and healthy.

A fully-grown Shih Apso usually stands 9-11 inches tall and weighs 15-20 pounds.

A Shih Apso generally lives for 12-15 years.

This designer breed is commonly called a Shih Apso, but they are also sometimes called a Lhasa Tzu.