Meta: There’s no better gift in the world than a teddy bear to comfort you during the daunting days… No, wait! Scratch that! There actually is! A little Teddy bear dog like the mix of Shih Tzu-Poodle will not only soothe your unquiet moments but can also cheer you up with his flamboyant personality!
Ever since their creation, there’s always an honorable place, somewhere at the top, lovingly reserved for the Teddy bear dogs. And one of the most favored representatives of this “household” is the cross between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle – the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix. Let’s see if one of them is destined for you to further brighten your energetic life.
What Kind of Dog Is This?
Usually, you can get a litter of this mix by mating a Shih Tzu with a Poodle of Toy size. Of course, breeders can have a Shih Tzu coupled with a Miniature-sized Poodle, too – depending on the future owners’ preferences regarding the pup’s size. It’s only uncommon when the Poodle parent is Standard-sized.
The joined names for this mix are Shih Poo (Shihpoo, Shih-Poo), Shoodle, or Pooshih. Never mistake the latter name with Poo-shi, though, for it is a cross born of a Poodle and a Shiba Inu.
The Shih Poo has been around for about two decades now and still the heat emitted from their popularity hasn’t subsided. This is thanks to their highly considered, hypoallergenic fur – a trait issued from their Poodle heritage and is the main reason as to why they were developed in the first place.
So you can say that Shih Poos’ life goal is to bring companionship to dog parents, who are also allergic sufferers.
Though the American Kennel Club (a.k.a. the AKC) doesn’t acknowledge the Shih Poo, other registry organizations (i.e., the DDKC, ACHC, IDCR, DBR, and DRA) still do.
Prominent Traits of Shih Tzu Poodle Mix
Appealing characteristics are expected from this hybrid. And while this makes sense – as the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix has two eminent parents, there’s no way to foretell which parent the pups will take after more.
The Shih Tzu Poodle Mix, like their founding breeds, is small dogs and therefore has a longer lifespan than their big counterparts. So it’s normal to see a Shih Poo around for 13 years. But if your tiny baby is properly cared for, he can be with you up to 16 years.
Predicting the outcome is impossible. But one sure thing is that the offspring of two small-sized dog breeds will be just as small (hence the label Teddy bear dogs). This introduces another life goal of Shih Poos: to be the portable buddies that can comfortably sit in their owners’ lap or be carried around.
And since they are of the Teddy bear kind, Shih Poos’ overall features will resemble those of the famous plushy. That means they’ll have a sturdy body under a round face, floppy ears, button nose, and a set of two expressive eyes. To complete the look, every Shih Poo is covered in soft fur from head to tail to toes.
As for the muzzle, depends on the bloodline, a Shih Poo pup will have a long muzzle like a Poodle, or sometimes an underbite like their Shih Tzu parent. The former scenario happens more often, though. That’s why Shih Poos are saved from the majority of breathing problems.
Being the direct younglings of two humble-sized parents, no wonder the hybrid pups are tiny. When fully grown, the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix can reach 8-15 inches tall and weigh about 7-20 pounds, which is pretty similar to another hybrid of Poodle - the Maltese Poodle Mix.
Again, everything about any crossbreed is a gamble. Let’s make a wild guess basing on these facts about the parent dogs: Poodles have hypoallergenic, curly hair while Shih Tzus have long, straight hair.
So, your future Shih Tzu Poodle Mix pup may either take after one parent more and look strictly like a mini Poodle or Shih Tzu, or he can be somewhere “in between” with both curly hair and an impressive “mane”. But most common coat type reported is soft, long, wavy coat that may also be hypoallergenic.
Because of this special trait, Shih Poos still require regular grooming but not overmuch for they aren’t heavy shedders.
Colors and Patterns
The Shih Poo comes in various colors, ranging from monochrome shades of apricot, cream, brown, sable, white, black, to any mix thereof.
Half, or Double
Both Shih Tzus and Poodles are insanely smart and stubborn. So the Shih Poo is naturally a bright, and a little bolshie, dog.
However, if your Shih Poo pup is anything like his Poodle parent, his stubbornness is alleviated somewhat by his habit to please people. Otherwise, the problem is doubled by the contribution of the Shih Tzu’s unwillingness to learn in general.
This energetic mix has a magnetic personality. They’re sparkling like a tiny firecracker that could cheer everyone up on any day. Shih Poos can make good playmates for children who understand how to handle small dogs with gentle hands and respect.
Shih Poos can be vain sometimes. They love being in the company of their caregiver as much as being fawned on. So, it’s absolutely unbearable and unacceptable if they’re left alone for a long time. The same goes with them being forced to stay in a kennel, outdoor and alone.
It’s normal that a cross of two brave, social breeds would love to hang out and befriend with other beings. This great characteristic is inherited from the Poodle which is always in the list of most affectionate dog breeds. In order to encourage and nurture this friendly trait in any Shih Poo pup, the owner should give the dog behavioral training and let him socialize with the world since puppyhood.
A training session can be a challenge if your Shih Poo inherits this renowned streak from his Shih Tzu parent. Since the Shih Tzu isn’t keen to impress anyone, they’ll do whatever they want. So, if you want to teach him tricks, you’ll have to be patient and creative to think of something to motivate him.
Short Attention Span
This may be the common issue for smartest dogs. So, keep the daily sessions short but repetitive throughout the day.
It’d be fortunate if this Poodle half of your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is thinned down by his Shih Tzu half.
For Poodles, apparently barking is their most favorite method of communication. And Poodles love to hear their voice. So, they will bark when they’re happy, annoyed, overwhelmed, etc. Sometimes, this noisy habit may be their biggest problem.
As for your Shih Poo, the chance is that he’d love to bark, too. However, if his Shih Tzu’s genes kick in, he may just be more vocal than the Shih Tzu, but not as chatty as the Poodle. Anyhow, for the sake of your and your good neighbors’ sanity, let’s curb this habit by properly training him from puppyhood.
Shih Poos aren’t picky about what living condition they’re in. You could live a love-filled life with him in a small, cozy apartment and he’d be just fine with or without a yard to run about in. But remember to give him his daily dose of exercises, for Shih Poos can be quite spunky when he’s bored.
General Care for Shih Tzu Poodle Mix
Grooming and Trimming
To maintain the best look for your Shih Poo’s coat, a professional grooming session every 4-6 weeks is in order. During normal days, you have to groom him at home also to keep the coat mat-free and tangle-free.
Now, this is important to remember that your Shih Poo’s hair may be curly like his Poodle parent. Consequently, it is bound to catch debris and get dirty under the belly and around the genital area. So, for the hygienic purpose, be sure to trim the hair around these areas.
Bathing and Cleansing
Keep in mind that “no dog is 100% hypoallergenic”, and that what causes allergy to people is actually the dog’s dander (a.k.a. dead skin cells). That’s why even if the Poodle side of a Shih Poo kicks in and result in a low shedding offspring, your Shih Poo can still cause negative reactions to people who have an allergy-prone immune system.
Luckily, regular bathing can be of great help in this case. Moreover, if you bath your Shih Poo pup once every month, it may even decrease the chance of skin issues’ development. Afterward, clean the dog’s ears but keep them dry.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to wash your Shih Poo’s “tear stains” with a warm cloth, too. But unlike bathing the pooch, the dried liquid and mucus secreted from the eyes must be cleaned off daily. Otherwise, they can cause irritation and infection in the dog’s eyes.
The dog’s nails should be trimmed once or twice a month as well. And his teeth need daily brushing to ward off any dental problems small dogs are prone to have.
Small as they are, Shih Poos also need daily exercises to burn off excess energy. That said, they don’t require lots of vigorous exercise like big dogs. Rather, your Shih Poo can maintain a fit body with just a brisk walk around the park or some indoor games every day.
Some said that Shih Tzu Poodle Mix could be good companions for the elderly, too. Because they enjoy themselves immensely when they get to play fetch – which the caregiver is only required to throw the object for them to retrieve. Or if even that is impossible, they can entertain themselves just fine with their favorite squeaky toys.
Other than certain inherited diseases, this hybrid is also susceptible to dental issues, lung disorders, hypothyroidism, renal dysplasia, and patellar luxation.
Any dog of short stature has patellar luxation (i.e., dislocated kneecap). So owner must not allow their Shih Poo to jump from one hard surface to another.
Brachycephaly commonly found in dogs with a short muzzle or flat face. Though most Shih Poos take after their Poodle parent, and so avoid breathing problem (thanks to the long nose), some still inherit Shih Tzu’s short nose and is susceptible to this syndrome.
As for the dental issues smallest dogs have, aside from maintaining good dental hygiene for the dog, the Shih Poo’s owner should feed him dry kibble. This is to keep the teeth clean, as well as to prevent gum diseases in dogs. But note that the Shih Poo has a penchant for overeating. So, make sure you monitor his portions closely.
How Much for a Shih Poo?
That depends. But you can expect a price from some-hundred ($600 at the lowest) to over $1,000. Other categories to add to the price tag are the breeder’s reputation, their location, the medical profile of the parents, and a variation of health testing’s results for the pup after it is born.
If you wish to buy a Shih Poo pup, make sure that you choose the trustworthy breeder, who does not hesitate to truthfully answer your questions regarding the parent dogs and the possible genetic problems entailed. Also, ask the breeder for health clearances and certifications of the pup’s parents (and fore-parents, if possible).
Get your money’s worth, for the price for a Shih Poo isn’t cheap at all. Or, you can always consider giving some poor Shih Poos a chance by adopting one from a shelter or rescue organization.
Having a hybrid pup is just like open a well-wrapped present. You don’t know what is inside; the only hint is that it’d be a pleasant surprise (doesn’t sound like a hint at all, does it?)
But don’t worry, that not-hint is true in the case of Shih Tzu Poodle Mix anyway. For whatever the pup is going to be, it’ll be undoubtedly cute and unique. So, try welcoming one to your heart and enjoying the firecracker-like love he offers you in return.