- Activity Level: moderate
- Grooming Level: high
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: high
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Small
- Average Lifespan: 15+ years
- Prey Drive: low
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: other
Shih-Poo Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Shih-Poo is a designer dog breed that is a cross between a Shih-Tzu and a Miniature Poodle. Because this is a mixed dog breed, it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, it is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, and more. The Shih-Poo has an adorable, alert expression and small, sturdy body. They can take after the Poodle parent, the Shih-Tzu parent, or be any combination of the characteristics of both parent breeds.
Shih-Poos tend to be friendly, playful, and affectionate. They love their families and are avidly devoted to them. They tend to be friendly to other dogs, strangers, other pets, and children. They tend to do better with older children who have been taught how to carefully handle a dog. Due to their small size, a Shih-Poo can be easily hurt by rough play or accidental falls. They can do well in families with younger children as long as any time with them is closely supervised.
The Shih-Poo tends to be a courageous little dog. They make excellent watchdogs because they are very alert. However, they can become territorial and barking can become a nuisance if left unchecked. Early socialization and training can help curb these tendencies and help your Shih-Poo puppy grow into a well-behaved, confident dog.
This designer dog breed is highly adaptable. They do well in apartments as well as in larger homes and tend to do well in most climates. They are sensitive to extreme heat or cold, so they do best in moderate climates. Due to their small size, they may need to layer up for short trips outside when winter rolls in. Because Shih-Poos crave affection and love their humans, they do not like being left alone for long periods of time.
The Shih-Poo is a generally healthy designer dog breed. Although the genetic mix can sometimes result in winning the genetic lottery, a mixed dog breed can still be susceptible to health conditions common in one or both of the parent breeds in the cross.
In the case of Shih-Poos, some potential health conditions to be aware of include hip dysplasia, eye conditions, patellar luxation, von Willebrand’s disease, epilepsy, and Legg-Calve-Perthes. By talking with the breeder about the health and genetic history of the parents and asking to see any health clearances, you can allay several of these potential health concerns.
This designer dog breed is highly intelligent and can be easy to train. However, they can also have a stubborn streak that can cause some difficulty for first-time dog owners. This is often easily remedied with the help of some puppy training classes.
They can also be difficult to housebreak, but it can be done with plenty of training, consistency, and patience. Crate training can also help. Shih-Poos respond best to positive, reward-based training. Whether with praise, treats, or play, you can reward your Shih-Poo for the behavior you like, which will encourage them to do more of it. Show them what’s in it for them and they’ll be more likely to respond.
Coat types and colors can vary greatly in your Shih-Poo. They can have the long, silky, and straight coat of the Shih Tzu, the short, curly, and non-shedding coat of the Poodle, or a combination of both. Most Shih-Poos end up with a curly or wavy, low or non-shedding coat. However, you should be prepared for your Shih-Poo to exhibit either coat type of the parent breeds. This coat looks its best with a combination of brushing a few times a week at home and then professional grooming every four to six weeks. This will help remove tangles and loose hair and prevent matting.
In addition to caring for your dog’s coat, it’s important to regularly trim their nails, brush their teeth, and check their ears. Trimming your dog’s nails every three to four weeks or as needed will help keep the nails short and movement comfortable for your dog. Regular dental care is also important. Small dogs are more prone to dental disease. By brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you help prevent the tartar and plaque buildup that causes dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay. Drop down ears, or floppy ears, are more prone to ear infections because they can trap moisture, dirt, or debris. By regularly checking your dog’s ears and carefully cleaning them as needed, you can help prevent ear infections.
Shih-Poos are moderately active dogs that can adapt their energy level to fit their family’s lifestyle. Daily walks and some indoor playtime will give this dog plenty of exercise. Beyond that, most of them can keep up with you on longer walks and can even compete in dog sports like rally, obedience, and agility. Be sure to check with your vet first and get your dog cleared before taking on any rigorous activities or training for dog sports.
A Shih-Poo will generally stand 8 to 15 inches tall and weigh between 7 and 20 pounds. The size of the mother dog can give you a good idea of what to expect in your dog.
This designer dog breed usually lives for 15 years or more. Some have even been known to live for 21 years!
The Shih-Poo originated in the United States and is also sometimes referred to as a “Shoodle”.