Easily one of the sweetest hybrid or designer dogs, the adorable Shihpoo is a mix of the ancient Shih Tzu and the intelligent, low-shedding, and hypoallergenic Poodle.
Whether you’re looking to buy a ShihPoo or already own one, this brief guide will give you an insight into this friendly, loyal, and affectionate designer dog breed.
In this guide we will cover:
- The history and origins of the Shihpoo
- Physical attributes
- Temperament and personality
- How much does a ShihPoo cost?
- Best Food for Shihpoos
- Specific health issues in the breed.
What is a Shihpoo? Origins and History of the ShihPoo
The 1990s saw an explosion in the intentional cross-breeding of dogs. Some owners wanted to replicate the physical traits of a breed while others wanted to retain the breed’s intelligence and loving nature. Most breeders wanted dogs with hypoallergenic coats for people with pet allergies.
One of the first crossbreeds, the Labradoodle (a cross between the Poodle and Labrador Retriever) became immensely popular due to its high trainability, intelligence, and its hypoallergenic coat.
Because the Poodle was known for its low-shedding hypoallergenic coat, more and more breeders started crossing the Standard Poodle and its variations – the Toy and Miniature Poodles – with other dogs. Often, the miniature Poodle was used for breeding with other small dogs. One such mixture was with a Shih Tzu, a popular and ancient dog breed that has a small size and cute looks.
Little is known about the exact origins of the Shih-Poo but it is estimated that the hybrid dog might have been around since the late 1990s.
Today, the ShihPoo has become one of the most popular designer dogs in the world. It is known to inherit significant intelligence from the Poodle breed which enhances its trainability. In the subsequent sections, we will cover various traits that make the Shihpoo so popular.
Physical Attributes – Shih Poo the Teddy Bear Dog!
The Shih Poo is a teddy bear dog and its cute looks make it one of the most in-demand hybrid dogs today. Having a Shih Poo is like having a living breathing stuffed toy! The best part is that this teddy bear dog wants to play with you as much as you want to play with it. The reason this hybrid dog is so adorable is that the parent breeds are so adorable in their own right.
The small Shih Tzu was deemed the royal, noble dog breed in Imperial China. It was given a royal status and people seen with Shih Tzus outside of the palace were actually imprisoned! The Toy or Miniature Poodle is not only a sweet-looking dog, it is incredibly smart too. It is no wonder that the Shih Poo has inherited these qualities as well.
The height of a Shih Poo is between 8 and 18 inches (or 20.32 to 45.72 cm) and it weighs between 8 and 18 lb. (3.62 kg to 8.16 kg).
The Shih Poo’s coat is one of the biggest variables about your pet’s appearance; it depends on complicated canine genetics. Your puppy could inherit the tight, curly, non-shedding coat of the Poodle parent or the soft, silky, long hair of the Shih Tzu. Accordingly, you will need to vary your grooming methods for your pet. In both cases, you’d need to take your puppy for regular haircuts to the professional groomer every few months.
The coat colors in Shih Poos could be white, black, brown, apricot, blue, brindle, and combinations thereof.
ShihPoo Personality and Temperament
Shih Poos are highly intelligent and energetic dogs. They are also versatile; there are Shih Poos that are known to fit right into hospice situations as therapy or comfort dogs and also as family pets or companion pets for children. They can fit in with a small family with older kids or with an elderly 80-year-old sedentary individual. They simply love people!
Shih Poos are affable, athletic dogs. They need plenty of exercise to prevent them from getting into trouble. Being active is a part of their nature since both parent-breeds are fairly active.
Just like Shih Tzus and Poodles dislike being left alone at home, the Shih Poo is also known to have separation anxiety. But your pet will be an entirely different dog when everyone is at home: cheerful, well-behaved, and obedient.
Like the parent breeds, Shih Poo puppies need plenty of positive reinforcement-based training and handling from the start. Don’t let your cute dog get away with bad behaviour just because of its small size and adorable face. Bad habits can quickly set in and they can be difficult to break.
Shih Poos are known for barking. Ignore your dog and it will try and get your attention in different ways – even if that attention is negative. So you must train your dog, not to bark (or bark on cue) else it could become an annoying habit that irritates your neighbours.
Is Shih Poo a Good Pet? Who is the Right Owner for This Breed?
Shih Poos make excellent pets. They are also great for novice dog owners. However, one must invest time and effort in training else they could develop bad habits. A well-trained Shih Poo is an excellent family pet that gets along with kids and other pets as well.
You must desensitize your Shih Poo to other dogs, cats, and house pets from a young age. This will help you maintain peace in the house otherwise there could be chasing and bickering between your fur babies – something you don’t want.
Shih Poos are great with kids and love having company. They also make great pets for people with limited mobility as long as they get to walk/play at least 2 times a day.
How Much Does a Shih Poo Cost?
The cost of a Shih Poo can vary from breeder to breeder. Most responsible breeders charge $1500 to $3000 for Shih Poo puppies. Their price also depends on the parent bloodlines, the coat colour, etc.
In addition to your Shih Poo puppy’s price, you must think about other costs of raising a dog. These include cost of food and treats, vaccinations, deworming, flea and tick prevention, grooming, dog training, costs of travel and pet boarding, etc. Most dog owners spend between $15000 to $20000 on raising a small dog over its lifetime of 10-12 years.
What To Feed a Shih Poo?
Different stages of a dog’s life have different nutritional needs.
Feed your puppy the same meal that the breeder was feeding it. This is important to avoid digestive issues in your vulnerable puppy. However, once your puppy has settled in you can transition them over to a raw food diet or quality freeze-dried food of your choosing. Puppies need at least 4 meals a day as they expend more energy through running and playing.
The size of your Shih Poo will play a key role in how much to feed it. In general, a 10 lb. dog needs 420 calories per day in warm weather and 650 calories per day in Winter. A 20 lb. dog needs 700 calories in hot weather and 1000 calories in cold weather.
You may feed your adult Shih Poo 2-3 times a day. Choose a nutritionally dense dog food with real meat as the first ingredient. Avoid foods with by-products, fillers, and other empty calories. Some Shihpoos are sensitive to grains, gluten, and even certain proteins. In such cases, you might want to feed special grain-free diets or even prescription food to your buddy.
Shih Poos are prone to dental health issues. To prevent plaque and tartar, look for kibble that is endorsed with the seal of approval from the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council). Avoid foods with added sugars as these can contribute to canine cavities. Make sure to brush your tiny dog’s teeth every day. Similarly, to keep teeth clean, include raw meaty bones in your shih-poo’s weekly diet.
Are Shih Poo Healthy Dogs? What is a Shihpoo’s Lifespan?
When you purchase your Shih Poo from a good breeder, it is likely that your puppy will be healthier than one purchased from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder. Good breeders strive for the breed’s welfare. They also conduct health checks on their dogs and only breed ones without genetic health problems.
Since the Shih Poo breed is relatively new, not many health issues have been documented so far. However, from time to time, we tend to see some problems like:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Renal issues
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- Dental issues
- Brachycephalic airway syndrome.
Most Shih Poos live up to 15 years.
FAQs – ShihPoo
What is the difference between Shih Tzu and Shih Poo?
Shih Tzu is an AKC-recognized purebred dog that has been around for over 2000 years. Shih Poo is a designer or hybrid dog created by crossing a Toy Poodle with a Shih Tzu. Shih Poo has only been around for 2 decades and isn’t recognized by the AKC.
Are Shih Poos easy to train?
Shih Poos’ intelligence combined with playful nature could pose a challenge while training. With consistent effort and positive reinforcement or reward-based training, you will see good results.
Are Shih Poos clingy?
Shih Poos are small-sized lapdogs – so their clinginess depends on how the owners have trained their pets. Inherently, the breed is not at all clingy – rather it is confident, sassy, and always willing to explore by itself.
Subscribe for free poodle mix breed information and exclusive offers on the best products for your pup!