A Shih poo is a cross between a shih tzu and a toy poodle. This mixed breed is also known as a shoodle or a pooshi. Shih poos are charming, intelligent, stubborn, and friendly dogs that inherit their parent breeds’ charm and small size.
This mixed breed is versatile and does well in any home or small apartment. Shih poos need to live indoors and thrive on constant human attention and affection. Adult shih poos grow between 8 and 18 inches tall and weigh between 7 and 20 pounds at full maturity. The dogs have a long lifespan, between 13 and 17 years.
These animated dogs make excellent pets for families with older children or as a companion for seniors. Young children who don’t know how to play with dogs can easily hurt shih poos, so this breed isn’t well suited to families with young children. The dogs need constant human company and easily get separation anxiety, so they can only be left alone for short periods.
Shih Poo Quick Summary
|Breed type:||Small designer breed|
|Parent breeds||Shih tzu and a toy poodle|
|Coat type||Thick coats that may be short and curly, straight and silky, semi-curly, or semi-straight|
|Coat color||White, brown, black, brindle, gray, red, or a combination of any of these colors|
|Coat markings||Various patterns and markings|
|Shedding tendency||Low shedders|
|Temperament||Friendly, playful, outgoing, and moderately active|
|Personality||Stubborn, affectionate, anxious, intelligent, and loving|
|Trainability||Low to medium|
|Suitable for||Low to medium|
|Exercise requirements||20–30 minutes a day of a brisk walk or some playtime|
|Dietary needs||One cup of high-quality dry kibble per day formulated for small-breed dogs|
|Common health problems||Dental problems, obesity, allergies, respiratory issues, and hypothyroidism|
Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Appearance
As a mixed breed, the shih poo doesn’t have a standard appearance and even puppies from the same litter may look different. The adorable mixed breed ranges from miniature to small size with short legs and a short body. The shih tzu poodle mix has brown or black eyes and long hair around the nose and eyes.
Size and Weight
The shih poo’s size and weight vary depending on which of its parents’ genes it inherits. This mixed breed may stay miniature, at around 8 inches tall while weighing as little as 7 pounds. The larger adults can grow up to 18 inches tall and weigh 20 pounds.
On average, male and female shih poos are 12 inches tall and weigh 15 pounds at full maturity. At weaning age, puppies weigh about 1 pound or less.
The coat of a shih tzu poodle mix varies between a short and curly coat from the poodle parent and a long, silky, and straight coat from the shih tzu parent. The mixed breed’s coat could also fall between the parents’ coats and have a semi-curly or semi-straight look.
The coat colors of this crossbreed can be brown, black, white, gray, red, brindle, or apricot. The coat may take on a combination of these colors with various markings. The look of the coat can change drastically as the puppy grows into adulthood.
Shih Poo Origins
Usually, designer dog breeds are claimed by the first breeder to mix two purebred dogs. In the case of the shih poo, no breeders have taken credit for this mixed breed. Since no breeder claimed the mixed breed, the shih poo’s origins are hard to determine. Likely, the mixed breed came about by accident in the United States.
The popularity of the mixed breed increased at some point in the last 30 years, and now breeders are intentionally breeding the shih tzu and toy poodle. To continue the designer breed, breeders are also breeding two shih tzu poodle mixes.
Understanding the two parent breeds helps to understand the mixed breed and how it will look and behave.
The shih tzu is an ancient dog breed that was around more than 1,000 years ago in the monasteries of Tibet. The shih tzu is charming but also has a stubborn nature — especially the females — leading to difficulties when training the breed.
This breed is known for its loyalty and highly affectionate nature and is a happy and outgoing house dog that is energetic for short periods. After exercise, the shih tzu is happy to lounge around on a lap for the rest of the day. Shih tzus get along well with children and other pets as long as they’re socialized early.
Shih tzus have long, straight, and silky coats in black, gray and white, white and black, or white and red.
The poodle is the national dog of France that originates from Germany as far back as the 15th century. The poodle is an elegant short-haired dog with a wavy coat and a squarish body. Poodles, miniature poodles, and toy poodles are all the same breed but differ in size, with the smaller toy poodle growing up to 10 inches tall and weighing about 5 pounds.
Poodles are highly intelligent, gentle, and quick to learn new tricks. This breed also loves attention and commonly develops separation anxiety and is often passive-aggressive when upset.
Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Personality and Temperament
The shih tzu poodle mix inherits its personality from both parent breeds, which means that it’s difficult to predict how each puppy will behave. Generally, the shih poo is a gentle, friendly, and calm dog that has spunky bursts of energy from time to time. Once the mixed breed has exhausted itself with exercise or playtime, the dog will be happy to relax at home with an owner.
The shih tzu poodle mix needs an owner who is always around because this breed is highly affectionate and likely inherits separation anxiety from the poodle parent. Due to the size of this mixed breed, families with young children should be cautious because the children can easily hurt these small dogs by accident.
Because of its calm nature and companionship, this breed is an excellent option for a retired senior who will offer plenty of love and affection.
Taking Care of a Shih Poo
Taking care of the shih poo is easy and doesn’t require an experienced dog owner. The shih tzu poodle mix is relatively healthy and requires minimal grooming. The mixed-breed should live a long, healthy life if food, grooming, and exercise needs are well taken care of. However, there are a few health concerns to look out for which may shorten the dog’s lifespan.
Feed a shih poo a diet of high-quality dry dog food formulated for medium energy dogs. Quality dog food prevents dental issues because this mixed breed is prone to developing problems with its teeth. The amount of food that this dog needs depends on its size, weight, and age and is best determined by a veterinarian. Generally, the mixed breed will need one cup of dry dog food per day, split into two meals.
Regulate the food of shih poos because these dogs are prone to weight gain and obesity if left to free-feed throughout the day.
Brush the coat of the shih tzu poodle mix daily to prevent matting and keep the hair clean. Visit a professional groomer on a monthly basis to keep the dog’s hair healthy and regularly ask for a hair trim for the dog. Shih poos are low shedders because of their poodle parentage and are potentially safe for owners with specific allergies caused by fur.
Bathe the mixed breed once or twice a month and be careful not to get water in the dog’s ears because this could lead to infections. Brush the shih poo’s teeth three or four times a week to prevent bacteria build-up and dental problems.
The shih tzu poodle mix is a medium energy dog and needs about 30 minutes of exercise each day, split into two sessions. A brisk walk or play session in the yard or park is enough to keep the dog happy and healthy. Strenuous exercises such as hikes, runs, and long walks aren’t recommended for this dog.
The shih poo is suitable for small apartments as long as the dog receives some form of exercise during the day. Once the dog has exercised, it will likely curl up on a lap or bed for most of the day.
The shih poo needs constant companionship and doesn’t enjoy being left alone. Staying at the center of its owner’s activities will keep the dog mentally stimulated, making it a suitable companion on errands and other activities.
Engage in about 20 minutes of play with a shih poo each day, which can include exercise time. Shih poos enjoy a good game of fetch or tag, grabbing and fighting for a toy, and playing with balls, even as large as soccer balls.
Common Health Concerns
Shih poos are considered healthy dogs but are prone to the various health conditions of the mix’s parent breeds. Keep an eye out for common conditions that affect the shih tzu and poodle breeds to keep the shih tzu poodle mix healthy.
Common health conditions that affect shih tzus and poodles include the following:
- Dental issues occur from retained baby teeth, gum problems, and not brushing the shih poo’s teeth. To avoid dental issues, brush the dog’s teeth regularly, use dental chews, and contact a veterinarian at any sign of dental problems such as bad breath or missing teeth
- Allergies affect these dogs in three categories of allergies — inhalant, contact, or food allergies. To treat allergies, find the cause with the help of a veterinarian and eliminate the medicine, food, or environmental factor
- Hip dysplasia occurs from a poorly formed hip socket that affects the ligaments and joints. An affected dog will likely limp and experience pain. Hip dysplasia, an inherited condition, is treated with veterinarian care
- Progressive retinal atrophy is a group of eye problems caused by degeneration of the retina. Affected dogs will slowly lose eyesight at night and then during the day. This condition is irreversible, and most dogs adapt to their sight impairments
- Breathing issues are also known as snuffles, and affect shih poos because of the structure of the dogs’ heads and their short snouts. The condition will cause wheezing, snoring, and snorting and can be managed at home or with medical intervention in severe cases
- Luxating patella is a regular occurrence of the knee joint sliding in and out of place, causing pain. In some cases, the condition can be managed at home. In other cases, surgery is necessary
- Obesity is caused by overeating and leads to many other health issues and may shorten the dog’s lifespan. Prevent obesity by feeding the dog the correct amount of food each day and limiting treats as recommended by a veterinarian
- Von Willebrand’s Disease causes excessive bleeding because of a problem with blood clotting. This inherited disease has no cure but is treated with blood transfusions. Most dogs can live a normal life with the condition
- Hypothyroidism is caused by a thyroid gland that isn’t functioning correctly and can lead to various health issues such as obesity, epilepsy, lethargy, and skin conditions. Treat the condition with lifelong oral medication
Training a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix
The shih tzu is moderately easy to train because the parent breeds’ genes balance the dog’s characteristics. The poodle is highly intelligent and trainable, while the shih tzu is stubborn and lacks trainability. The mixed breed’s moderate energy levels and love for food make training these dogs easier when using treats during the process.
Consistent positive training methods early in the dog’s life will make training easier and result in a well-behaved adult shih poo. Training is more straightforward when the mixed breed takes on more of the poodle’s genes, and the dog will likely learn new tricks quickly. The stubborn nature of the shih tzu may slow down this process in certain shih poos.
Don’t use punishment-based training methods because these methods will mask problematic behaviors and cause the mixed breed to become stubborn. Train the shih tzu poodle mix puppy in brief, regular sessions with plenty of rewards — not always treats because of the dog’s eating habits — and continue training into adulthood.
Shih Poo Cost
Shih poos are relatively expensive dogs because of their designer breed status. While it is easier to buy this mixed breed from a reputable breeder, finding them cheaper at credible rescue centers is possible. Caring for a shih poo is relatively inexpensive because of the dog’s small size.
How Much is a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix?
A shih tzu poodle mix costs $150 to $2,800 depending on where the mixed breed is bought. Getting the mixed breed from a rescue center costs between $150 and $500. When purchasing the dog from a rescue center, the dog might already be an adult, reducing the cost.
A shih poo from a reputable breeder costs between $500 and $1,000 or over $2,000 if the puppy is from a show dog lineage. Puppies without pedigree status are well-suited as house pets, as long as they are bought from a trusted breeder to ensure a healthy and well-adjusted dog.
How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix?
Owning a shih tzu poodle mix initially costs around $500 for the first veterinary visit, bedding, food, and toys. After the initial costs of the mixed breed, the dog will cost between $200 and $250 per month for food, healthcare, grooming, and training needs. Keep an extra $50 aside each month for unexpected veterinary expenses.
Should You Get a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix?
The shih tzu poodle mix is an excellent dog for owners looking for a fun and lovable companion. However, like any other pet, the mixed breed has specific characteristics that make it unsuitable for some owners. Knowing whether the dog is suitable for your lifestyle is vital before buying a dog.
Shih Poos are Suitable for:
Shih poos are well suited for families and owners who will always be around their pets because this mixed breed needs constant attention and company. The dog is best suited for retired seniors who are home often, going on short walks and running small errands suitable for the dog to tag along on.
Shih poos are well suited for any living situation, from isolated farms with large open spaces to houses with moderate yards and even small apartments with no outdoor area. The mixed breed is versatile and will get comfortable in any type of home as long as the right food and exercise are provided.
This mixed breed is highly suitable for a moderately active owner who has plenty of time to offer love and affection to the dog. The shih poo is also ideal for first-time dog owners on a budget who are looking for an affordable pet with minimal care needs.
Shih Poos are NOT Suitable for:
Shih poos are not suitable for families with young children who haven’t learned how to correctly treat dogs yet because the small dog will be hurt easily by rough children.
This mixed breed is also not suitable for highly active owners who are looking for a pet to accompany them while running and hiking because these dogs can’t handle strenuous exercise.
Shih poos are not suited for families and owners who are away from home for most of the day because the dogs need regular company with humans and not only a pet companion.
These dogs aren’t suitable for owners who don’t have the time to commit to daily training while the dog is still a puppy because the dog’s stubborn nature will lead to destructive behavior.
Other Shih Tzu and Miniature Poodle Mixes
If you’re interested in learning about other Shih Tzu mixes or Miniature Poodle mixes, check out the hybrid dog breeds below.