The Shih Poo mixed breed is one of the newest but most beloved dogs in the world, and from their fluffy outer coat to their playful personality, they are a joy to add to any family. Also known as the Shoodle or the Pooshih, this designer dog originated in the US, and though the exact date is unknown, it is said that they were initially bred as a suitable but small companion for singles and families alike.
The Shih Poo was bred by breeding a Toy Poodle with the furry Shih Tzu, and though both the characteristics of each parent breed may come with your new pup, it is also possible that they may have the dominant gene of one parent when compared to the other. This fluffy and playful mixed breed pup may seem ideal for your lifestyle, and by taking one look you may fall in love, but before you make the decision to adopt the Shih Poo, here are a few common characteristics that you should consider.
Shih Poo Characteristics
Shih Poos were created by breeding both the Shih Tzu and the Toy Poodle, so it is important to understand the characteristics of the parents in order to know what to expect in your new pup. Shih Tzus, also referred to as chrysanthemum dogs, can be traced back to Chinese and Tibetan origins, and were referred to as “Lion Dogs” from as far back as 800 B.C. Most were prized possessions cherished by Asian royalty and were never released to the western world until 1930, when the first batch was imported to Europe in England and Norway. Fast forward to the 21st century and Shih Tzu’s have become one of the most popular and affectionate pups worldwide, and with their playful companionship, we can see why the Chinese kept them all to themselves.
As one of the oldest purebred dogs, the Poodle originated in Germany, along with its name. The word Poodle comes from the German word Pudelhund or Pudel, which means “to splash about.” Though this pup has become known as a high class pet, they were originally working dogs used by the French to retrieve water for their owners, and became formally recognized while in France because of their growing popularity. The working class Poodle of early French history has morphed into the high end pup we now know in a matter of centuries, and went on to become one of the world’s most desired pet dogs.
With both of these well known and highly desired, purebred parents, the Shih Poo should carry the characteristics of both its parents, making it the hypoallergenic designer dog of every dog owner’s dreams.
The Shih Poo varies in physical attributes depending on the dominant parental gene, and can be seen rocking either curly and coily long fur like the Poodle, or a long straight haired coat like the Shih Tzu. Their thick furry coat can get very long if not properly groomed, so ensure you brush once a week to get rid of excess hairs and dirt. Shih Poos also generally come in a variety of many different colours, including but not limited to apricot, black, cream, white and dark brown among others. They may also have one or more colours on their coat such as black and tan.
Because Shih Poos are bred with Toy Poodles, they tend to be a little bit on the smaller side when it comes to size, with its height ranging from 8 – 15 inches, and its weight normally between 7 and 20 pounds. They are normally small to medium size pups that can be carried in a handbag or live in a tiny studio apartment.
Mood & Temperament
Shih Poos are generally the ideal pet to add to any household, whether in a small apartment with just their owner, or in a big family house with many different people and pets. The truth is that wherever you put them, they’ll fit right in. Another pro is that they don’t need a lot of physical exercise, a simple 15 minute walk or play session with their owners will be just enough exercise for the day, and it will make them tired enough to snuggle up to you on the couch.
They are real people pleasers and love to make their owners proud, so be sure to engage them in small playful games throughout the week, which will only boost their appreciation of you in the end. Keep in mind however that you never know what to expect with a hybrid, and though these characteristics are almost always present, it’s possible to adopt a pup who reacts differently in a lot of situations. The key is to pay attention to how they behave and accommodate their characteristics.
Grooming & Care
Shih Poos don’t normally require too much maintenance, but if it gets a bit much for you, feel free to take them to the dog groomer’s monthly for a regular groom session. Most Shih Poos need to be brushed daily to maintain their beautiful curly fur and remove buildup, and once a week if their fur is on the straighter side. Also pay acute attention to their dental hygiene and brush daily to prevent gum diseases. Thirdly, bathe your pup as needed, but a 2 week cycle should be good enough to keep them clean. All other grooming activities such as cutting the fur can be done with a regular visit to the dog groomers.
Health & Lifespan
Most Shih Poos live a long and healthy life, with an average lifespan of around 15 years. Both its parents however, the Poodle and the Shih Tzu seem to be prone to a variety of health issues that can possibly be passed down to their hybrid pup. These include but are not limited to eye problems, respiratory conditions, hip and kidney issues, bladder stones and tumors. While adequate physical activity and proper nutrition should be ideal to maintain your Shih Poo’s health, bi annual trips to the veterinarian may prove more beneficial than not.
Shih Poo’s are a gem to have in any household, and their warm and fun loving personality light up every room. Adding a Shih Poo to your family may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.