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What to Expect From a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

What’s a Shih-poo? That’s what happens when you crossbreed a Shih Tzu and a Poodle! They are considered a designer dog breed, known for their small and cuddly size with the best quality from their parent breeds.

If you’re wondering if the Shih-Poo will make an ideal family dog for the household, check out what to know about the Poodle mixed breed.

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix History

The Shih-Poo is a crossbreed between Shih Tzus and Toy Poodles, with the latter being the smallest among all Poodle sizes registered under the American Kennel Club. Both parent breeds are tiny and adorable, but they are popular dog breeds with a fascinating ancient history.

Poodles originated from Germany, while the Shih Tzu is from Chinese royalty. This breed is called the ‘Lion Dog’ and is considered one of the oldest dog breeds. The first Shih Tzus came to Europe in the 1930s, then heading to America within the decade. Today, the American Kennel Club regards the Shih Tzu as the 20th most popular breed!

However, their history is unclear when discussing the Shih-Poo hybrid breed, so we can’t pinpoint precisely when the first Shih-Poo litter of puppies came to be. But we can safely assume that this hybrid breed comes from the designer dog trend in the US, which began in the 1980s. During this time, people produced more Poodle mixed breeds to combine the desirable traits of parent breeds.

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Appearance

It’s hard to know what a Shih-poo will look like since the parent breeds look very different.

But one thing’s for sure: The Shih-Poo is a small, fluffy, and very adorable designer breed that takes on the similar physical characteristics of his parents!

Even when they come from the same litter of Shih-Poo puppies, they can look entirely different. Hybrid breeds like the teddy bear Shih-poos will all boil down to their parent breeds’ genes.

For instance, the Shih-poo might look more like a Poodle with a short curly coat, while another may have silky and straight fur. Or, they can be a mix of both parents!

Besides different coat types, they also come in a variety of colors! Typical coat colors are black, brown, white, apricot, gray, brindle, or red.

Depending on the Poodle parent breed, their size isn’t precise, but you can expect them to be relatively small. Poodles come in three sizes:

  • Standard Poodle
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Toy Poodle

Generally, the Shih-Poo can stand between 8-18 inches tall and weigh 8-18 lbs.

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Temperament

The Shih-Poo has similar desirable characteristics as their parents. It is pretty versatile and makes an excellent family pet, as they are a companion dog who is friendly and mild-mannered. A Shih-Poo is also very sweet and intelligent!

While the Shih-Poo is very affectionate and loves his owners, he’s not the type to stay on your lap all day long, especially while he’s a puppy. A Shih-Poo has a high energy level and loves to play around.

Because of this, you have to ensure your Shih-poo gets enough exercise and daily training sessions. Furthermore, he will want to feel included in all family activities, making them wonderful family pets. That said, the Shih-Poo is prone to separation anxiety, so make sure you don’t leave him alone for long periods.

Fortunately, Shih-poos are diplomatic and social dogs. Generally, they get along with other people and animals. Shih-poos also get along with children well, making them great for families as long as your children know how to be gentle with cute puppies.

The Shih-Poo will be happy living in small or big spaces if they have adequate exercise, training, and affection from their family. While the Shih-Poo’s size and short legs aren’t the best for hiking mountains, he will appreciate many walks and games. Once you tire them out from exercise and training, they’ll gladly curl up next to you throughout the night.

That said, the Shih-Poo is a little less athletic than its Poodle parent breed. He won’t make the best running partners, though daily walks and training sessions are a must with their moderate activity level. Make sure that during training, you use positive reinforcement with lots of verbal praise and treats.

You’ll be surprised as to how much Shih-poos love training! After all, Poodles are one of the most intelligent breeds with lots of energy and eagerness to please. They feel great when their minds and bodies are busy and engaged, which leads to less boredom or frustration.

Conduct positive training sessions with food rewards and lots of verbal praise. You can do indoor playtime and training, which teaches basic commands and how to behave well. Around 30-60 minutes per day is more than enough to keep your Shih-Poo happy! If you’re a new dog owner, you can search for online tutorials for the proper training methods or take them to dog obedience school to learn the basics. 

When left alone, Shih-poos aren’t only prone to separation anxiety but destructive behaviors, especially when they have no toys for mental stimulation! If you must leave your home, do leave your Shih-Poo with the appropriate toys and give him time to bond with you every day.

As for their barking level, you don’t need to worry. Shih-poos lead a quiet life but may bark now and then if they come across suspicious strangers or animals. However, their friendly disposition increases their openness to strangers if you socialize them early on.

Caring for a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

Just like other Poodle mixed breeds, regular grooming is crucial to maintaining the beautiful coat and looks. If you take them to a professional groomer, do so every six weeks for a full bath and trim. Trimming is essential to maintain your dog’s coat better and have them feel cooler, especially during the hot weather.

Besides taking your Shih-Poo dog for professional grooming, make sure that you brush his coat daily using a high-quality pet brush. Regular brushing will prevent matting and tangles. While they have a minimal shedding level, it still happens, so coat grooming is essential. 

There’s more to the Shih-poo’s coat grooming routine! You need to maintain his ears and dental health. Brush his teeth 2-3 times a week to prevent bad breath and detail issues, and you must check their ears and trim their nails once a week or so.

The Shih-Poo is a small dog with an average life expectancy of 15 years or more in terms of health issues. That doesn’t mean Shih-poos aren’t susceptible to certain genetic diseases their parent breeds are prone to, though. Shih-poos are prone to the following common health conditions and congenital defects:

  • Dental issues like periodontal disease or gum disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Eye conditions like cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy

The list sounds scary, but don’t worry. As long as your Shih-Poo is well-fed, has regular exercise, and has lots of love at home, they can live a long and healthy life. And of course, you must take them to the veterinarian for routine check-ups to diagnose or prevent any health conditions. You can also have your dog undergo genetic health testing to know what he may have for early treatment and prevention.

How Much are Shih Tzu Poodle Mixes?

You can find Shih Tzu Poodle Mix for sale from reputable breeders, costing between $500 to $1,000. Alternatively, you can discover Shih-poos from a Shih-poo or Poodle Mix animal rescue organization. Your local animal shelter may have rescue Shih-poos up for adoption as well.

When purchasing from a reputable breeder, make sure you ask him about the parent breeds’ overall health and temperament. The breeder should provide health certifications, registrations, and other necessary documents of the Shih-Poo and parents. Never go to irresponsible breeders that sell a Shih Tzu-Poodle pup at a low price. Such breeders most likely do not sell healthy puppies and would treat all their animals poorly. 

Rescue groups or animal shelters can provide health clearances of the rescue Shih-Poo dog, but there are no guarantees about the parent breeds.