Shih-Poo Breed Guide: Facts, Traits and Requirements

Shih-Poo Breed Guide

The Shih-Poo is a popular and adorable hybrid breed that has captured the hearts of many dog lovers. This hybrid breed is a mix between the Shih Tzu and Poodle breeds, and it is known for its charming personality, hypoallergenic coat, and cute teddy bear-like appearance. This hybrid pooch has been gaining popularity among dog enthusiasts over the past few years. With its cute appearance, playful personality, and intelligent nature, the Shih Poo perfectly fits families, single individuals, and seniors.

Parent BreedsShih Tzu & Poodle
First Cross Date1990s
Average Height8-18 inches  
Average Weight3-8 kg (8-18 lbs)  
Life Span13-17 Years
ColorsBlack, White, Brown, Cream, Apricot, or Multi-Colored
Popular NamesShih Poo, ShihPoo, Shoodles, Shih Tzu Poodle Mix
TemperamentPlayful, Friendly, Caring, Intelligent
Coat TextureCurly or Wavy
Temperature ToleranceSensitive to extreme temperatures
Sheading NatureYear-round (Moderate)
Energy LevelModerate
Social/Attention NeedsHigh
Grooming FrequencyMonthly

This blog post will explore everything you need to know about the Shih Poo, including its history, temperament, training, and care requirements. So whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or just considering adding a new four-legged friend to your family, this blog post is a must-read!

Shih-Poo Breed Overview

  • Breed Name: Shih Poo
  • Parent Breeds: Shih Tzu and Poodle
  • Coat: Wavy or curly
  • Coat colors: Black, white, brown, cream, apricot, or multi-colored
  • Hypoallergenic: Often, but not guaranteed
  • Shedding: Low to minimal
  • Grooming Needs: Moderate to high
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Temperament: Affectionate, playful, social
  • Intelligence: High
  • Trainability: Easy to moderately easy
  • Good With Children: Yes, with early socialization
  • Good With Other Pets: Yes, with early socialization
  • Apartment-Friendly: Yes
  • Barking Tendency: Low to moderate
  • Common Health Issues: Patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, eye problems, dental issues, allergies
  • Ideal For: Families, singles, seniors, first-time dog owners, and those living in apartments or small homes

Parent Breeds

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu, also known as the “Lion Dog” or “Chrysanthemum Dog,” is an ancient toy breed that originated in China. The Shih Tzu is a small, sturdy dog with a long, flowing double coat, and it is known for its friendly and outgoing personality.

Shih Tzu

Though the exact time of their origin remains unclear, it is believed that the breed has existed for more than 1,000 years and is traced back to the Tibetan Plateau, where Tibetan monks bred them.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Shih Tzus were highly prized by Chinese royalty and were often kept as companion dogs.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the breed started to gain popularity outside of China, particularly in England. The first Shih Tzus were imported to England in 1930, and The UK Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1940. After World War II, American soldiers stationed in Europe brought Shih Tzus back to the United States, where the breed gained even more popularity.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Shih Tzu as a breed in 1969.


The Poodle has captivated hearts for ages with its remarkable physical prowess and sharp intellect. Originally bred as a water retriever, this elegant breed has become a beloved companion.

In the 1400s, the enchanting spirit of the Poodle was eternalized by renowned German painter Albrecht Dürer. As the breed’s fame spread throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, its beguiling traits continued to captivate admirers.

As the Poodle gained popularity as a treasured family pet, it showcased its incredible versatility in diverse settings, such as dog shows and therapeutic environments. The breed’s hypoallergenic coat and endearing disposition endeared it to pet enthusiasts across the globe.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Poodle’s association with European nobility cemented its status as a symbol of refinement. The breed’s allure thrived in the United States from the 19th to the early 20th century.

In 1887, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially acknowledged the Poodle, and ever since, the breed has held a prominent place in the realm of canine companionship.

Shih-Poo History & Origin

The Shih Poo is a relatively new designer breed originating in the 1990s in North America. Breeders aimed to create a small, hypoallergenic companion dog that combined the best qualities of the Shih Tzu and the Poodle.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the Shih-Poo as it is a Poodle mixed breed, resulting from crossing a Shih Tzu and a Poodle.

However, the Shih Poo is recognized by some other organizations, such as the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), the Designer Breed Registry (DBR), the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), the Dog Registry of America (DRA), and the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).

Vital Stats

Shih-Poo vital stats
  • Average Weight: 3-8 kg (8-18 lbs)  
  • Average Height: 8-18 inches
  • Average Lifespan: 13-17 Years
  • Breed Group: Mixed breed dogs

Physical Traits

Size: Shih Poos typically weigh 3-8 kg (8-18 lbs) and stand 8 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder. Their small size makes them well-suited for apartments or homes with limited space.

Coat: Their coat is usually soft and wavy, reflecting the Poodle’s curly coat and the Shih Tzu’s long, flowing locks. Colors can vary widely, including black, white, brown, red, sable, and a combination of these shades.

Eyes and Nose: The breed often inherits the large, round, dark eyes and the short, flat nose of the Shih Tzu, giving them an endearing, expressive appearance.

Tail: The Shih-Poo’s tail can be either curled like the Shih Tzu’s or straight like the Poodle’s, depending on which parent the puppy takes after.

Personality & Temperament

Shih Poos are known for their friendly, affectionate, and playful nature. They’re highly adaptable and can easily fit into various living situations. As intelligent and eager-to-please dogs respond well to positive reinforcement and can be trained relatively quickly.

However, they may exhibit a stubborn streak inherited from the Shih Tzu parent. Early socialization and consistent training ensure that your pet develops into a well-mannered adult.

Pros & Cons of Owning Shih Poo


  • Shih Poo puppies are known for their loving, friendly nature, and they enjoy spending time with their families, making them excellent companion dogs.
  • Due to their Poodle heritage, they often have a low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat, making them a suitable choice for people with allergies.
  • These small dogs can adapt well to different living environments, including apartments and tiny homes, as long as they receive adequate exercise and stimulation.
  • Shoodless are intelligent dogs that respond well to training, which can make teaching them new commands and tricks an enjoyable experience.
  • When properly socialized, they can be good with children and other pets, making them suitable for families.
  • Their small size makes them easy to handle and transport and suitable for homes with limited space.


  • Shih Poos have a coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. This can be time-consuming and may necessitate regular professional grooming appointments.
  • As a mixed breed, Shihpoos can inherit health issues from either parent breed, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, or eye problems.
  • Shih Poo puppy can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods, leading to destructive behaviors or excessive barking.
  • They can sometimes be challenging to house train, requiring patience and consistency from their owners.
  • While not overly energetic, they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. This may be a challenge for owners with limited time or mobility.
  • As a mixed breed, Shih-Poos can have varied appearances and temperaments, depending on the influence of their parent breeds. This inconsistency can make it difficult to predict the exact traits of a specific pet.

Health Requirements

Shih-poo Health Requirements

1) Balanced Diet and Nutrition

Shih Poos mixed breed require a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight and to prevent health issues like obesity, diabetes, or food allergies.

High-quality dog food containing essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals should be provided. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on the best diet for your furry friend, considering their age, weight, and activity level.

2) Core Vaccinations

Core vaccinations are essential for dogs to protect them from potentially life-threatening diseases and maintain their overall health. These vaccines are considered “core” because they protect against common and highly contagious diseases that can have severe consequences if left unvaccinated.

3) Proper Grooming

Shih Poos have a hypoallergenic coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting, tangling, and skin infections. To maintain a clean and healthy coat, brushing should be done several times a week, with professional grooming every 4-6 weeks.

Also, please pay attention to their ears, nails, and teeth. Clean their ears regularly to prevent infections, trim their nails every few weeks, brush their teeth daily, or use dental chews to maintain oral health.

4) Exercise & Mental Stimulation

Shoodls are energetic and intelligent dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Daily walks, play sessions, and puzzle toys can help keep them physically and mentally healthy.

Providing various activities will help prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors.

5) Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for your pet’s overall health. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help prevent obesity-related issues such as diabetes, heart problems, and joint issues. Monitor your canine’s weight and adjust its diet and exercise routine.

6) Preventive Care

Shihpoos may be prone to certain health conditions, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye problems, and allergies. Regular checkups and screenings help identify potential issues early, allowing for more effective treatment or management.

Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate preventive care measures for your dog.

7) Regular Veterinary Checkups

Family pets should have routine veterinary visits to ensure they receive appropriate vaccinations, preventive care, and early detection of potential health issues. Annual checkups include dental examinations, heartworm testing, and parasite control measures.

Diet Requirements

Shih-poo diet Requirements

1) High-Quality Dog Food

Feed your Shih-Poo, a high-quality commercial dog food formulated for small breeds. The food should contain high-quality protein sources, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support their energy, growth, and overall health.

Look for brands that have undergone feeding trials and meet the guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

2) Age-Appropriate Diet

Shih Poos have different nutritional requirements at different life stages. Puppies require food with higher protein and fat content for growth and development, while adult dogs need a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight.

Senior dogs may need a diet with lower calorie content and specific nutrients to support their aging bodies. Choose a dog food specifically formulated for your dog’s life stage.

3) Portion Control & Feeding Frequency

Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues in canines. Divide their daily food intake into smaller meals to aid digestion and prevent overeating. Puppies typically require 3-4 meals daily, while adult dogs can be fed 2 meals daily.

Consult your veterinarian to determine your dog’s appropriate portion size based on age, weight, and activity level.

4) Treats & Snacks

Treats can be a great way to reward your furry friend during training, but they should be in moderation. Treats should not exceed 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Choose healthy treats such as small fruits or vegetables or low-calorie commercial dog treats.

5) Monitor Weight and Adjust the Diet Accordingly

Regularly monitor your Shih Poo’s weight and body condition to ensure they maintain a healthy weight. If your pup is underweight or overweight, consult your veterinarian to adjust their diet and exercise routine.

6) Hydration

Always provide your pet with fresh water to ensure proper hydration. Clean the water bowl daily and refill it with fresh water as needed.

7) Food Allergies & Sensitivities

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix can be prone to allergies or sensitivities. Common allergens include beef, dairy, chicken, wheat, and soy. If your dog exhibits symptoms such as itching, skin irritations, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues, consult your veterinarian to determine if a food allergy or sensitivity is the cause.

They may recommend a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet to identify and eliminate the problematic ingredient.

8) Supplements

Most Shih-Poos will get all the necessary nutrients from a portion of balanced commercial dog food. However, in some cases, your veterinarian may recommend specific supplements, such as glucosamine for joint health or fish oil for skin and coat health.

Grooming Requirements

Shih-poo grooming Requirements

1) Brushing

Shih-Poos require regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling and to remove loose hair. Brush their coat at least 3-4 times a week using a slicker or pin brush.

Gently work through tangles, starting from the ends and working toward the skin. Regular brushing helps distribute the natural oils in their coat, promoting a healthy and shiny appearance.

2) Bathing

Bathing your hybrid pooch is essential to maintain hygiene and keeping your coat clean. Bathe them every 3-4 weeks or as needed, depending on their activity level and coat condition.

Use a gentle dog shampoo that is specifically formulated for their coat type. Rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo residue, as the leftover product can cause skin irritation.

3) Haircuts & Trimming

Depending on the coat length and style you prefer, your puppy will require regular haircuts to maintain their appearance and prevent matting. A professional groomer should trim their coat every 4-6 weeks.

Popular haircut styles for Shih Poos include the “puppy cut,” and “teddy bear cut“. Consult your groomer about the best style for your Shih-poo’s coat type and maintenance preferences.

4) Ears Care

Mixed breed dogs can be prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears, which can trap moisture and debris. Check their ears weekly for redness, inflammation, or unpleasant odor.

Gently clean the outer ear with a cotton ball or soft cloth moistened with a veterinarian-recommended ear-cleaning solution. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause damage.

5) Nail Trimming

Regular nail trimming is essential for your pup’s comfort and overall health. Trim their nails every 3-4 weeks, or as needed, to prevent them from growing too long and causing discomfort or injury.

Use a pet nail trimmer or grinder specifically designed for dogs, and be careful not to cut them quickly, which can cause bleeding and pain.

6) Dental Care

Like many small breeds, Shihpoos are prone to dental problems such as plaque buildup and periodontal disease. Brush their teeth daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste.

You can use dental chews or water additives to help maintain your dog’s oral health. Regular dental checkups and cleanings at your veterinarian’s office are also recommended.

7) Eyes Care

Shoodles may be susceptible to eye issues such as tear staining, dry eye, or infections. Regularly check your dog’s eyes for redness, discharge, or irritation.

Gently clean the area around their eyes with a damp cloth or pet-safe eye wipes to remove any debris or tear stains. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any persistent eye issues.

Training Requirements

Shih-poo training Requirements

1) Early Socialization

Socializing your puppy from a young age is crucial to help them develop confidence and adapt to different environments, people, and other animals. Expose them to various situations, sounds, and experiences in a controlled and positive manner.

Puppy socialization classes can be an excellent way to provide guided socialization experiences.

2) Basic Obedience Training

Teaching your furry friend basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “down,” and “leave it” is essential for their safety and overall behavior.

Start training as early as possible, ideally during the puppy stage, and use positive reinforcement methods such as treats, praise, and play to encourage desired behaviors.

3) Crate Training

Crate training can benefit house training, travel, and providing a safe space for your Shih-Poo to retreat when needed. Introduce the crate gradually and positively, making it a comfortable and inviting space. Never use the crate as punishment, which can create a negative association.

4) House Training

House training is essential for any canine. Establish a consistent schedule for taking your puppy outside to eliminate and reward them with praise and treats when they do so successfully. Be patient, as accidents may happen during the house-training process.

Consistency and positive reinforcement are essential to successful house training.

5) Leash Training

Leash training ensures that your pet walks calmly and safely beside you during outings. Start by introducing the collar and leash in a controlled environment and gradually build up to walking outside.

Teach your pooch to walk without pulling by rewarding them for maintaining a loose leash and walking at your side.

6) Addressing Unwanted Behaviors

Shih-Poos can develop unwanted behaviors such as excessive barking, jumping, or chewing if not addressed early on. Identify the root cause of the behavior and use positive reinforcement techniques to redirect and teach alternative, more desirable behaviors.

7) Advanced Training and Mental Stimulation

Shoodles are intelligent dogs that enjoy learning new skills and being mentally challenged. You can engage them in advanced training activities such as agility, trick training, or scent work to keep their minds sharp and provide mental stimulation.

8) Consistency and Patience

Consistent training and patience are essential for your pet to learn and retain new commands and behaviors. Be persistent and maintain a positive attitude, and your Shih-Poo will be more likely to respond to your training efforts.

Shih-Poo Health Problems You Should Watch Out For

While generally healthy, Shih Poos can inherit health issues from their parent breeds. Some common concerns include the following:

Shih-Poo Mixed Dog Breed Pictures


Is a Shih Poo a good pet?

Shih Poo can be a great pet due to its affectionate, friendly nature and adaptability to various living environments.

What makes the Shih Poo such an awesome support animal?

Shih Poos make excellent support animals because of their loving, gentle temperament, intelligence, and ability to form strong bonds with their owners.

Can Shih-Poos be left alone?

Shih Poos can experience separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. However, they can tolerate short periods of alone time with proper training and gradual acclimation.

Do Shih Poo dogs bark a lot?

Shih Poos may bark more than some breeds, but excessive barking can be managed with consistent training and addressing their needs for attention, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Can Shih Poo drink milk?

Giving milk to Shih Poos is not recommended, as many dogs are lactose intolerant and may experience digestive issues. Stick to water as their primary source of hydration.

Do Shih Poo dogs smell?

Shih Poos, like any dog, can have a natural odor. Regular grooming, bathing, and dental care can minimize any unpleasant smells.

Is a Shih Poo easy to train?

Shih Poos are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train with positive reinforcement and consistency.

Can Shih Poos walk far?

Shih Poos has moderate exercise needs and can enjoy longer walks, but their small size may limit their endurance. It’s essential to monitor your Shih Poo’s energy level and adjust the walk’s distance accordingly.

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