Also known as shoodles, shih poo puppies are the offspring of a shih tzu and a toy poodle. Adult shih poos are loving, intelligent and versatile little dogs who make great pets for singles, couples and families.
Shih poos possess all the charm and personality of both the shih tzu and toy poodle along with the hypoallergenic coat of the poodle.
Thick, low-shed coat may be straight like that of a shih tzu or curly like that of a poodle, or may fall somewhere in between.
Exercise Requirements: 20-30 minutes/day
Energy Level: Moderate
Longevity Range: 13-17 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low to Moderate
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: High
Length: Long to short
Characteristics: Low-shedding, hypoallergenic, may be curly or straight
Colors: Black, white, brown, gray, brindle and any combination thereof
Overall Grooming Needs: High
AKC Classification: Not recognized
UKC Classification: Not recognized
American Canine Hybrid Club: Shih-poo
Designer Breed Registry: Shih-poo
Designer Dogs Kennel Club: Shih-poo
International Designer Canine Registry: Shih-poo
Charming, affectionate and quick-witted, the small and fluffy shih poo adapts well to apartment living and would make an excellent companion for seniors.
Shih poos are a cross between a shih tzu and a toy poodle. While some shih tzu breeders breed a poodle to a shih tzu to create first-generation shih poos, it's also common practice to breed shih poos to one another to create multigenerational dogs. As cross-breeds, shih poos are not an officially recognized breed, and there is no breed standard regarding appearance or temperament. Even shih poo puppies born to the same litter may take after one parent more than the other and appear vastly different in coat texture and coloring, says PetGuide.
Shih poos fall in the small to tiny range, typically standing between eight and 18 inches at the withers and weighing anywhere from eight to 18 pounds. Their coat may be long, straight and silky like that of the shih tzu, shorter and curly like that of a poodle or it may fall somewhere in between. Despite the appearance, the shih poo's coat barely sheds, making these dogs a good fit for someone with mild pet allergies.
Coloring can take after either parent breed. While poodles have solid coats that are typically black, white, gray, brown or apricot, shih tzu coats may be solid or come in various color patterns and combinations. Shoodle coats may mimic the coloring pattern of either parent.
Often, mixed-breed dogs develop a temperament that balances the qualities of their parent breeds. Shih tzus tend to be highly affectionate and extremely charming, but possess a stubborn streak that can make them difficult to train. Poodles, on the other hand, while equally charming with playful and comedic personalities, are highly intelligent dogs who are more eager to please and easier to train. Shih poos, as a result, are often playful, affectionate and quick-witted little charmers, although they may inherit their shih tzu parent's willfulness. Because of this, they often need a firm but patient guide in training, and might not be the best choice for first-time dog parents.
What shih poos may lack in trainability, they more than make up for in love and affection. They love to play with toys and get along wonderfully with older children, although due to their small size and hair that's easy to grab and pull, they should be closely supervised around small children. While friendly and great at getting along well with other pets, especially if introduced as puppies, older shih poos might not love having other dogs around. They often do well as only dogs. Even so, these fluffy pups love being close to their people and don't tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. If work or school takes you away from home for long hours, you may need to consider doggie daycare to keep your shih poo happy.
Shih poos are generally versatile dogs that can do well in small apartments as well as larger homes. They need up to 30 minutes a day of play and exercise, which can be satisfied with two or three short walks each day or 15-minute sessions of vigorous playtime twice daily. The rest of the time, they'll be content to curl up in your lap or to cuddle up next to you on the sofa. Shih poos are highly social and love to be around people, so expect them to stick close as you move around the house.
While shih poos tend to be long-lived, with some living 17 years or more, they can be predisposed to the same health problems as their parent breeds. These include allergies, patellar luxation, vision problems and endocrine disorders such as Addison's disease, hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease. Shih poos that inherit the shorter snout of the shih tzu may also be prone to respiratory issues, reverse sneezing and snoring. Extra care should be taken to prevent overheating and heat stroke, says Dogtime. And like many small breeds, these dogs may be prone to dental problems and will benefit from regular dental cleanings and daily tooth brushing.
Regardless of the length or texture of your shih poo's coat, it will be thick, fast-growing and prone to matting. Daily brushing and monthly visits to the groomer are recommended to keep the coat under control. Limit baths to a few times a month to prevent the skin from drying out. When bathing, be sure to prevent water from getting in the ear canals to prevent ear infections from developing.
Shoodles have healthy appetites and will overeat if given the chance, which will lead to unhealthy weight gain. It's best to keep them on a consistent feeding schedule rather than allowing them to graze on kibble throughout the day. Feed your pup a high-quality food dog formulated for small breeds, and keep treats to a minimum.
Not much is known about the backstory of the shih poo. Unlike other boutique breeds, no breeders have come forward to take credit for introducing the shih poo. Most likely this cross-breed came about unintentionally, with breeders in the U.S. later deciding to deliberately breed them as their popularity caught on. As a cross-breed, shih poos are not recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club, although they are recognized by various designer breed registration clubs, including the American Canine Hybrid Club and the International Designer Canine Registry.