The Shih Tzu Poodle mix is one of the many mixed breeds that has grown in popularity over the years. While many people prefer a purebred dog, mixed breeds can oftentimes be even cuter, especially if they’re mixed with a Poodle. Poodles are known for their soft, minimal shedding coats, so mixing any breed with a Poodle will give you an extra fluffy dog as a result. So, what do you need to know about the popular Shih Tzu Poodle mix?
What is a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix?
A Shih Tzu Poodle mix is a mixed breed, so it’s not recognized by the AKC. They are a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle, so as you can imagine, they’re extra fluffy. They are most commonly referred to as Shih Poos, but they can also be called a Schoodle or a Poo-shi. However, Poodle Shiba Inu mixes are also called Poo-shis, so it can be confused. Therefore, Shih Poo is the most straightforward name for this mix.
The Shih Poo is a much newer dog compared to the Shih Tzu and Poodle, and it originated in North America. Not much is known about its history, and even the date it was first bred is unclear. However, it was likely bred to be a companion dog due to its adorable looks and its parents’ origins.
The Shih Tzu originated in China as a companion for royalty while the Poodle is thought to have originated in Germany. As cute and fluffy as Poodles are, they were originally used for duck hunting and as circus dogs. Eventually, they became companion dogs, and the Toy Poodles were created simply by breeding two smaller Poodles together.
Shih Poos are one of the “Teddy Bear” dog mixes. People often confuse Teddy Bears for a breed, but it actually just refers to two small fluffy dogs mixed together. Teddy Bears are usually a mix between a Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle, a Toy Poodle and Bichon Frise, or a Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise.
While some dog breeds always look very similar to each other, the Shih Poo’s appearance can vary greatly. Sometimes they get a curly coat like a Poodle, other times they have the straight coat of a Shih Tzu, and then sometimes they even get a mix of the two with a wavy coat. Of those three, the wavy coat is the most common.
Since the coat colors for Shih Tzus and Poodles can vary, there are a lot of possibilities for a Shih Poo’s coat. They can be any mixture of the colors brown, white, black, gray, or brindle. Their size is fairly similar to both breeds, and they can weigh anywhere from 13 to 20 pounds.
In general, Shih Poos typically resemble a Shih Tzu more than a Poodle. They usually have the snort snout and round eyes of a Shih Tzu, but a fluffier coat like a Poodle. Since they are not a purebred used for dog shows, their coats are typically kept a fairly short length. However, you will still see bows in their hair often.
Like most mixed breeds, the Shih Poo typically gains characteristics from both breeds. They can be lazy from time to time just like a Shih Tzu, but they also have a more playful nature like a Poodle. Therefore, they could nap cuddled up beside you for hours and suddenly get the urge to run around and play.
Both Shih Tzus and Poodles are loving dog breeds. They love to spend as much time with their humans as possible, so Shih Poos are the same way. However, a trait that they often get from Poodles instead of Shih Tzus is their barking. They love for their voice to be heard, so they’ll likely bark at every little thing that walks by your home.
Shih Poos are usually very friendly and they love meeting new people. However, they’re much better around older kids than young children. Toddlers often don’t know how to properly interact with dogs, so they could accidentally annoy your Shih Poo or smother them with attention. Shih Poos love to play, but like any dog, they have a point where they need to stop and have some space.
Shih Poo Care Requirements
Shih Poos need basic care requirements just like any other dog. However, they have some specific needs, many of which are related to their parents’ common traits.
Being a small breed, Shih Poos can easily adapt to different housing environments. Even a small apartment is okay for them because their exercise requirements aren’t very high. Like any dog, they enjoy going for walks throughout the day, but they don’t need a large fenced-in yard like a more active dog might.
Most of their energy level has to do with how much they play. They love to run around and play with toys throughout the day, especially if their owner is the one playing with them. Fun interactions like playtime are key for a Shih Poo’s health and wellbeing. So, even though they are great apartment dogs, make sure you still engage with them and keep them entertained in your home.
Grooming Your Shih Poo
Like Shih Tzus and Poodles, a Shih Poo’s coat is made of hair instead of fur. This means that instead of shedding like crazy, they only shed a minimal amount, much like human hair does. Because of this, their hair keeps growing and will need to be cut and maintained often. Since their coat is usually extra fluffy, they need to be groomed a couple times each week to keep it soft and to prevent it from getting tangled.
You should get your Shih Poo’s hair cut about every 6 to 8 weeks. Even if you want to keep their hair longer, you should still get it trimmed a little and brushed out to keep it healthy. Some dog parents like to groom their dogs at home, but if you don’t have experience with this, then it’s much easier to take them to a professional groomer. Most groomers will include bathing, brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and hair trimming all for one set price.
Just because you take your Shih Poo to a groomer doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any grooming. In between grooming appointments, you’ll need to bathe and brush your Shih Poo to help keep their coat healthy. Similar to Shih Tzus and Poodles, it’s recommended that you bathe your Shih Poo every 2 to 3 weeks, and not any less. If you bathe them too often, such as more than once a week, this could irritate their skin.
Brushing between grooming appointments is also extra important because it can prevent your dog’s hair from getting matted. Matts are extremely thick tangles of hair that can actually be very painful for your Shih Poo. It is possible for groomers to brush out small matts, but if your dog is too matted when you bring them in to get groomed, it’s much safer for the groomers to shave your dog’s hair instead.
Feeding Your Shih Poo
All dog breeds should be fed a high-quality diet in order to stay as healthy as possible. The Shih Poo is no different. Since they are about the same size as Poodles and Shih Tzus, they should be fed about the same amount each day. For small dog breeds, 3/4 cups to 1 cup a day is usually ideal for an adult. However, you should adjust their portions based on their age, weight, and activity level.
Before you bring your Shih Poo home, ask the breeder or rescue staff what type of food your dog was eating before. That way, you can start them off with the same brand to avoid upsetting their stomach. If you don’t like the food they were being fed, you should feed it to them for at least a week, and then slowly transition them to something healthier. If you choose dry dog food, small breed formulas are usually the best because they have small kibble pieces that are easy to Shih Poos to chew.
Lately, lots of dog parents have been switching to raw or fresh diets for their dogs instead. This can consist of a pre-made brand or you can even make it from scratch. These diets might seem more difficult and more expensive, but they can provide so many health benefits that your Shih Poo just won’t get with kibble. If you are considering making your dog’s food from home, make sure you consult with a registered canine dietitian first to find the best way to get started.
Training Your Shih Poo
Like Shih Tzus and Poodles, Shih Poos are typically very smart like their Poodle parent, but they don’t always let it show. That’s because they’re also very stubborn, and they only want to learn new tricks and commands on their own terms. With enough patience and consistency, you can teach your Shih Poo new things. However, because of their stubbornness, they are not an ideal choice for new dog owners.
Shih Poos learn best from positive reinforcement, specifically with treats. When training them, make sure you reward them when they do a good job and refrain from punishing them if they don’t listen. Treats, extra playtime, and appraisal are great ways to get your Shih Poo to listen to you, but scolding them can stress them out and make the training process more difficult.
Correcting barking is one of the hardest parts of training a Shih Poo. They might just use barking to alert you of something outside, but they could also start barking to tell you something. For example, if they’re hungry, they might bark to let you know. If this becomes an issue, don’t give them what they want while they’re barking. If you do, they might think they’re training you! Instead, come up with a command such as ‘quiet’ to tell them to stop barking. When they listen, make sure you reward them.
Another important part of training is socialization. If they don’t interact with other dogs and humans early on, they could become aggressive as they age. This could also cause their barking habits to worsen too. So, try to get them out of the house and exploring as much as possible, especially if you get them as a puppy.
Shih Poo Health Problems
Every Shih Poo’s health concerns are slightly different, but they typically have the same health problems as both Poodles and Shih Tzus. If you take your Shih Poo to the vet for regular checkups, you might be able to lessen their risk of some of these health concerns. Also, regular exercise and a healthy diet can help them be in better shape as they age.
As dogs age, they are often more susceptible to joint problems. Shih Poos are one of the many mixed breeds that can suffer from this. Patellar luxation and hip dysplasia are two health risks that your Shih Poo could face.
Patellar luxation is when a dog’s knees slip out of place or become unstable. It is most commonly seen in small breeds, and if it’s very severe, it will need corrective surgery. Hip dysplasia is when the hip socket has an unusual formation that could hurt your dog, especially when they jump and run too often.
For hip dysplasia and any other joint problems, you should try to limit the amount of stress on your dog’s bones. For example, if they jump on and off the bed often, this could cause a lot of pain and damage to their joints, so provide stairs or a ramp for them to get up and down easier. Also, you can give them joint supplements to help with their pain too.
Shih Poos often have the large eyes that Shih Tzus have, so it’s easy for them to have eye problems. Cataracts and entropion are common eye issues that Shih Poos can get. Cataracts can cause dogs to have blurry vision while entropion is when their eyelid rolls inward, irritating their eye. Both of these can be corrected with surgery.
Another common health problem that Shih Tzus get is proptosis, which can also occur for Shih Poos. Proptosis is when your dog’s eye dislodges from their socket, which is extremely painful and will require surgery. Many of these eye problems begin with inflammation, so if you notice your Shih Poo’s eyes looking different than usual, contact your vet right away.
Since Shih Poos are a mix between a Shih Tzu and Poodle, it’s likely that they will have a flat nose like Shih Tzus. Therefore, they are considered a brachycephalic dog, which refers to all dog breeds with short snouts. Brachycephalic dogs have a high risk of breathing problems, even from birth. A common problem for Shih Poo puppies is stenotic nares, which is when a puppy’s nostrils are so small that it’s difficult to breathe. It can easily be corrected with surgery.
Shih Poos can also have breathing problems on a daily basis too. While they are usually very playful and outgoing, you need to be careful about how hard to exercise them. Oftentimes, it’s healthier for them if you take them for a few short walks throughout the day as opposed to one really long walk. Also, hot weather can make breathing harder for them, so don’t keep them out in the sun too long.
Life with a Shih Tzu Poodle Mix
The Shih Tzu Poodle mix is an excellent companion dog. Not only are they an adorable mixed breed, but they also love to play and snuggle with their family members. Like Shih Tzus and Poodles, they can be stubborn, but if you’re willing to be patient and careful with them, they’ll eventually learn to respect and understand you. Before you welcome a Shih Poo into your family, make sure you are truly ready to care for a dog. Gather all the essential supplies ahead of time and make sure your schedule has room for a furry family member.
A new dog can take a while to adjust to your home. Just because Shih Poos are known to be playful doesn’t mean that they’ll feel comfortable right away. It could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months for your Shih Poo to feel fully comfortable in your home. So, if you think this unique mixed breed is the perfect dog for you, make sure you take the time to really get to know them for the amazing dogs that they are.
Images from Instagram @furlockbonesthepup