Shih Tzu Poodle Mix: A Guide to the Shih-Poo Dog Breed

Dog Breeds by Hussain
A Guide to the Shih-Poo Dog Breed

The Shih Tzu Poodle mix, more commonly known as a ‘Shih-Poo’, is a designer breed resulting from the success of mixing these two distinct breeds. This results in a dog that has all the best traits of both parent breeds, which include intelligence and an easygoing disposition.

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However, before bringing one of these pooches into your home, it’s important to understand the traits and temperament of both parent breeds. The Shih Tzu is a small but sweet little companion who loves people, while the Poodle brings intelligence to the table alongside its lively spirit.

When these two are mixed, you can get an outgoing, cheerful dog with a pleasant personality that would make a great family pet. With proper socialization, they also do well with children and other animals. These cuddly pups require minimal maintenance; they will need regular brushing but are considered to be low shedders which makes them great for owners with allergies.

A perfect blend of the curly coat of the Poodle and the straight coat of the Shih-Tzu makes the Shih-Poo an attractive puppy. If you’re interested in adopting or buying a Shih-Poo, or already have a Shih-Poo at home, follow our comprehensive breed guide to learn more about your special pooch.

History of the Shih Tzu–Poodle Mix

Every dog has a back story, but not much is known about the Shih Poo’s back story. Now that no breeder has come forward to take credit for introducing the Shih Poo, it is believed that this cross-breed of the Shih Poo happened unintentionally. Then when the popularity of the Shih Poo caught on, breeders in the United States decided to deliberately breed them.

The Shih Tzu Poodle mix is a relatively modern hybrid dog, the result of acclimatizing the two parent breeds – the Toy/Miniature Poodle and the Shih Tzu. When done correctly and with close attention to detail, these two wonderful breeds join together beautifully to create a superbly smart and cuddly companion.

Its origin can be traced back to as recently as the late 20th century in America.

Hybrid dogs like the Shih Poodle have no official standard and are not recognized as an official breed by the current American Kennel Club. However, they are recognized by various designer breed registration clubs, including the American Canine Hybrid Club.

Breed Overview

Shih-Poo Dog Breed Overview
  • Group: Mixed breed dogs
  • Height: 8 to 18 inches
  • Weight: 7 to 20 pounds
  • Coat: Can be wavy, straight, or curly
  • Color: White, black, brown, gray, brindle, and any In combination
  • Origin: North America
  • Estimated Lifespan: 12 to 17+ years

Appearance (What does a Shih Tzu poo look like?)

The appearance of a Shih Tzu poodle mix can vary; each puppy will be unique. However, generally speaking, the Shih-Poo dog tends to have a round head with ears that point sharply towards the face and forward facing eyes. Depending on the combination of their parent breeds genes, some dogs may have a long muzzle like their Poodle side, or a more squishy face like the Shih Tzu. Their double coat is usually curly and quite thick. They often come in colors such as cream, white, gray, black or silver.

When it comes to size, a Shih Tzu Poodle mix will usually measure between 8–18 inches in height and weigh 7–20 pounds. They are considered a small breed of dog, so their average life expectancy is around 12-17 years. These dogs typically inherit the gentle, loving nature of both the Poodle and Shih Tzu parents which make them great family pets. It’s important to note that they do need regular care and exercise to stay healthy in mind and body. Taking your pup on daily walks or playing fetch in the garden with them is great for keeping their energy levels balanced.

Personality of the Shih Tzu–Poodle Mix

  • Playful and Affectionate: The Shih-Poo is intelligent and charming and they are known as special companion dogs because of their very playful and affectionate behavior.
  • Good with small children: The Shih-Poo is a friendly puppy they are good around small children and also good with other pets.
  • Good lap dog: A shih-poo enjoys sleeping on his owner’s lap for hours and they enjoy walking and playing with you which is why they are known as the good lap dog.
  • Training and Socialization: Most Shih-Puss is described as friendly and playful, but if they are not properly trained and socialized, they can become aggressive towards you.

This hybrid is known for its outgoing and affectionate nature, making it an ideal family pet. With proper socialization, the Shih Poo is good around children and other pets. It loves to play and loves cuddles from its owners. Generally suspicious of strangers, this mix can make a great guard dog with proper training.

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Care

Typically, Care includes keeping them groomed regularly, brushing their coats daily to avoid matting, getting regular vet checkups, ensuring they get plenty of exercise, feeding them high-quality food, and maintaining their dental hygiene.

Shih Tzu–Poodle Mix Care
  • Coat Brushing: A Shih poo’s low-shedding coats require maintenance, generally, the less the Shih-Poo’s coat sheds. Brush your Shih-Poo daily or every other day to keep his coat tidy and help form mats.
  • Grooming: The Shih-Poo needs regular grooming from a professional groomer. Grooming frequency varies depending on the Shih-Poo’s coat, but schedule an appointment every 4 to 12 weeks.
  • Nail Trim: Trim the Shih Poo’s nails once every two weeks and check the ears once a week, consult your vet if the ears are excessively dirty or red.
  • Training: Shih-Poo puppies are very intelligent, but it depends on how well they are trained. Because they inherit a bit of stubbornness. However, tasty treats and clicker training make them super strong. In addition to training, Shih-Poos also need some exercise, such as a walk twice a day or a walk and a play session will keep your Shih-Poo super energetic.

Also, your Shih Poo should have regular veterinary checkups for health concerns and a diet routine for optimal health. Besides, they should brush their teeth regularly to prevent dental problems.

Common Health Problems

When it comes to health, the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix can potentially be prone to a variety of issues and conditions.

  • Hip dysplasia: Dysplasia is a disease caused by dogs’ hip joint defects. However, this disease is more common in large dogs. But this painful condition can also happen to your little dog.
  • Patellar luxation: Your puppy may have patellar luxation or kneecap dislocation, but this is a common condition for your puppy, which causes the dog’s knee to move slightly out of its normal position and return to its normal position after a while.
  • Sebaceous adenitis: It is a rare skin disease found in dogs as well as horses, rabbits, and cats. The Shih Poo is one of the dogs most likely to develop sebaceous adenitis.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy: This is a very harmful disease for your dog, which is usually found in certain breeds of dogs. These include poodles, Welsh corgis, Siberian huskies, and mastiffs, among many other dog breeds. Since the Shih Poo Poodle and Shih Tzu are a mixed breed, he inherited the disease.

With regular veterinary care and attention, the potential for risk of developing such issues can be reduced.

Food and Nutrition

You choose foods for your Shih Poo that help your Shih Poo maintain a healthy and lean weight. Or your Shih Poo may suffer from serious health issues like hip dysplasia and luxating patella. Your Shih Poo is a medium-sized dog breed so for them, avoid adult dog food and prepare standard quality food. Shih Poo has dental problems so they should not be allowed free feeding.

Shih Poo diet-related tips
Little cute Shih poo puppy
  • Food that contain High protein: Look for foods that contain high quality proteins from meat sources, such as fish or poultry. You should also include other essential vitamins and minerals like fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics.
  • Food with fatty acids: Look for food that contains wholesome animal proteins like fish and poultry as well as plant-based supplements such as flaxseed and canola oil. A balanced diet of fatty acids from meat, seeds, and vegetable oils will give your pup the nutrition it needs to stay healthy!
  • Water: It is important to ensure that your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix has access to a full bowl of water at all times. Make sure to keep the water fresh and provide enough so they can stay hydrated.
  • Food with carbohydrates: For a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix, providing them with enough carbohydrates is extremely important. To ensure this, you should feed them with a variety of plants and whole grains.
  • Food rich in vitamins and minerals: To make sure your shih poo is getting the nutrition from it needs, look for a food that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Make sure to read the label for important information on the ingredients and nutrient levels so you can make an informed decision when choosing food for your pup.
  • Avoid feeding all types of fat: When it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix, you should ensure that all fat items are excluded from the diet. This is important not only for their overall health but also for weight management.

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix advantages

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  • Sweet and Lovely: Shih Tzu Poodle Mix pups are known for their sweet, lovable personalities and adorable faces. They make wonderful companions due to a combination of their lively, loving personalities and intelligence.
  • Trainability: These hybrid dogs are very intelligent and learn quickly, making them an ideal choice for those looking for a loyal and obedient companion pet. With the right training strategy and patience, Shih Tzu Poodle Mixes can provide years of enjoyment to their owners!
  • Good with other animal: Shih Tzu Poodle Mixes are great companions and doers well when it comes to getting along with other animals. These hybrid dogs typically have an affectionate and social personality, which makes them a great fit in households with other pets. Their gentle nature allows for smoother transitions when introducing them to existing animals in the home.
  • Grate Apartment dog: Shih Tzu Poodle Mixs make great pets for indoors as they are low-maintenance and highly adaptable dogs. They often have a combination of features that make them gentle and affectionate companions that require very little exercise. They make excellent lapdogs and can be groomed to suit any lifestyle, so they fit perfectly into indoor living spaces.
  • Less Exercise: When looking for a low-energy pet, the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is an excellent choice. Despite its small size, this type of dog has a moderate activity level and does not require extensive exercise. In fact, short walks, occasional games and some occasional play are sufficient to keep them healthy and happy!
  • Grate for people difficult moving: The Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is an excellent pet for those who find it difficult to get up and move around. This breed of dog is hypoallergenic and does not require much physical exercise compared to other standard breeds, making it perfect for those with more limited mobility.
  • Environment Friendly: Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is known for having an easy adaptation to changing environments due to their intelligence and low-maintenance nature. This makes them a good choice for those who may be moving homes or traveling frequently, as they are able to get settled into a new home safely and quickly.
  • Less Allergens: One of the benefits of owning a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is that these adorable designer dogs produce significantly less allergens than other dog breeds. This makes them an attractive option for those who are allergic to pet dander, yet still would like to experience the love and companionship of having a furry companion.

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix disadvantages

  • Barking excessively: Shih Tzu Poodle Mixes are known for their intelligence, friendly nature, and fluffy coats. However, one disadvantage of this breed is their tendency to bark excessively. If not properly socialized and trained from a young age, Shih Tzu Poodles may bark at strange noises or to get attention. 
  • Should not trained and socialized quickly: The Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is not suitable for quick training and socialization, as their particular nature may make them too slow to pick up these new skills. For best results, patience and consistency must be employed when training and socializing this breed of dog.
  • Health issues: Both the Shih Tzu and Poodle breeds have a range of possible health concerns, and this includes joint and eye problems. When considering getting a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix, it’s important that research is done into both purebreds to determine if the mixed breed will likely be prone to any particular illnesses.
  • Anxiety: Shih Tzu Poodle Mixs are known to be sensitive and can become anxious when left alone for extended periods of time. As such, for owners of this mix, it’s important to ensure they can get the companionship and attention they require. Otherwise, feelings of anxiety may set in.
  • Can be stubborn: One of the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix’s drawbacks is its potential for stubbornness. Though these pups can be highly intelligent and loyal, some have been known to display a certain degree of wilfulness that owners must be prepared to handle with patience and persistence.


Does Shih-poo shed too much?

The Shih-Poo can adapt very well to small spaces and apartment living. They shed very little, so they are considered hypoallergenic dogs.

Is a Shih Poo a good pet?

Shih Puss makes great pets for adults, singles, couples, and families. And their loving, intelligent personality will attract you

Do Shih-Poos have hair or fur?

Most Shih Poo comes with super curly coats, (like poodles) and some come with silky hair coats. (like the Shih Tzu) and some come in a beautiful wavy combination coat.

Are Shih Poos Easy to Train?

Most Shih-poo are playful, energetic, and love to have fun. So they are easy to train, but some Shih Pus are stubborn, which can make it a challenge for you to tame them.

Loyal to Shih Poos?

A Shih Pooh is a great companion for you, as they are a cute, friendly, adorable, active, intelligent, and playful breed who are very loyal.

Do Shihpoo dogs bark a lot?

On average, Shihpoos are a moderate barking breed. They are known for their intelligence and will bark when they want something or feel threatened. Some owners find that proper training can help control excessive barking, as well as regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Adoption dog instead of new breeding

For those looking to add a new family member, adopt a furry friend from a rescue shelter instead of buying from a breeder. By doing this, you’ll provide an animal with a second chance at life and have the opportunity to enjoy companionship for years to come. Additionally, these dogs are intelligent and loyal creatures that make for great pets. Adopting rather than buying breeds is sure to result in long-term joy and mutual love between you and your dog.

Whether you already own a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix or are considering getting one, it’s clear that there is much to learn about this breed and its unique personality traits. While these canines often show strong loyalty, intelligence and gentleness, they also have specific needs and demands that should be taken into consideration when looking to adopt. So feel free to share your experiences with us, as we here at love hearing stories from our readers!

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