Average Height: 8 in – 12 in
Average Weight: 10 – 15 lbs
Average Life Span: 12 – 15 yrs
Coloring: Single, bi-and tri-colored; white with black, brown, apricot, grey, red
Area of Origin: United States
Similar Breeds: Shih Tzu, Poodle, Shichon (Shih Tzu/Bichon Frise), Lhasapoo (Lhasa Apso/Poodle), Bichpoo (Bichon/Poodle); any mix with a Shih Tzu or a Poodle
History and Origin:
The Shih Poo is a “designer dog” breed; bred to be an ultimate companion dog, it is a mix between the Shih Tzu and the Poodle (Toy, Miniature, or even Standard). As a mix breed, the Shih Poo is not accepted into major kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, or United Kennel Club, but can be registered with a growing number of hybrid dog breed clubs. The American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, Inc., International Designer Canine Registry, and the Designer Breed Registry all accept the Shih Poo. Like other designer dog breeds, the Shih Poo was bred with the hopes of creating a hypoallergenic companion animal small enough to be carried if necessary, and agreeable enough to adapt to apartment or urban living. While not common, a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Standard Poodle is possible. The Standard Shih Poo will be larger than a mix with the Toy or Miniature Poodle, and may require more exercise and more diligent training than its smaller counterpart.
Personality and Temperament:
Like its parent breeds, the Shih Poo is an intelligent, friendly, and playful dog, good with anyone from children to the elderly. While it will happily play for hours, the Shih Poo is equally content to curl up on its owner’s lap all afternoon. It makes a good watch dog, as the Shih Poo can be wary of strangers; it is important to provide it with adequate socialization so that it does not become aggressive toward other people or dogs. Due to its Poodle blood, the Shih Poo can be timid, and gentle and consistent leadership from its owner will help to eliminate any reserved tendencies the dog may have. Bred to be a companion dog, the Shih Poo becomes very attached to its owner, and can suffer from separation anxiety and Small Dog Syndrome if proper care is not given to its upbringing. Overall, the Shih Poo is a delightful little dog, and is suitable for a nervous or first-time dog owner.
Exercise & Training:
While the Shih Poo requires little exercise, it does enjoy a daily walk and some play time to keep it happy and healthy. From the Poodle blood, the Shih Poo can get excited easily, and exercise will help quiet the dog down. Due to its size and generally calm nature, the Shih Poo is an ideal breed for apartment or small home living. Typically, it inherits the keen intelligence of the Poodle, and as such can be highly trainable. A companion dog to the core, the Shih Poo tends to be extremely motivated by food, and can be fairly easily trained using treats as positive reinforcement.
The Shih Poo can inherit either the dense curls of the Poodle, the long, straight coat of the Shih Tzu, or a combination coat. Regardless of the coat type, daily brushing will help keep the skin healthy and remove hair that may not fall out itself; the Shih Poo sheds little. Frequently, owners like to keep the coat clipped short for easy maintenance, and a trip to the groomers three or four times a year will help keep the coat neat and tidy. Bathe only when necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
As a mix breed, the Shih Poo inherits qualities from both the Shih Tzu and the Poodle, however no two Shih Poos will inherit the exact same traits. In general, the Shih Poo is similar to other small Shih Tzu or Poodle mixes, such as the Shichon, Bichpoo, or Lhasapoo.