Shih-Poo – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Shih-Poo is a mixed breed dog — a cross between the Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle dog breeds. They are small, affectionate, and active, but is this breed for you? Check this complete guide on Shih-Poo and discover if this breed could be your next dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Mixed Breed Dogs
8 to 18 inches
8 to 18 pounds
Life Span:
13 to 17+ years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Shih-Poo is a cross between the Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle dog breeds. This breed is known for being small, very friendly, and hypoallergenic.

Shih-Poo is a breed that is not only tolerated by people, but they really enjoy being around people.

As huge people lovers, Shih-Poo is a breed that enjoys training, family activities, and cuddling time.

With the best qualities from both of the parent breeds, Shih-Poo is a great dog for families of any size. They are great companions which makes them also more than suitable for senior citizens.

Like any smaller breed, they tend to live long, between 13 to 17 years, and very often they can live even longer.

Unless you are ready to have a dog for a decade or two, you might want to reconsider your decision to get this breed.

Shih-Poos love to be pampered, and to receive a lot of love and attention. This is an ultimate indoor dog, and they could not survive spending time outside, as any harsh handling. Yet, do not expect them to be only indoor dogs.

Not only that they enjoy brisk and regular walks, but they also need frequent pee walks.

This is something that should be addressed especially during the training phase, because they may inherit Shih Tzu’s parents’ tendency for stubbornness and territorial marking.

Check below Shih-Poo’s quick facts and much more.

Quick Facts

Real name: Shih-Poo
Other names: Shoodle or Pooshi
Origin: United States
Breed type: Mixed Breed Dogs
Weight: 8 to 18 pounds
Height: 8 to 18 inches
Lifespan: 13 to 17+ years
Litter Size: Around 3 puppies
Color: All variations and color combinations
Coat: May vary, from straight to curly

Shih-Poo History

Shih-Poo is a new breed, developed somewhere in the States. Like with many other cross breeds, little is known about the breed’s history. However, a lot is known about breed parents, Shih Tzu and Poodle.

When you want to understand a cross breed as much as possible, you need to focus on understanding dog parent breeds first.

When you know the parent breeds well you can somehow predict how your Shih-Poo might look.

Before we make a short introduction on breeds parents, let’s address one important issue which is getting the small-sized Shih-Poo.

To get a healthy Shih-Poo you will have to invest some serious time and finances to get a Shih-Poo from a responsible breeder.

Like with any other breed, especially small-sized breeds, it’s possible to come across puppy mills.

Unfortunately, these places are often operated under very inhumane conditions, which means that not only that dogs suffer, but you often may end up with an unhealthy puppy.

Responsible breeders will always screen puppies for the most common health conditions and present you with medical documentation on the puppy.

Next to that, they will show you the facilities, let you meet the bitch, and provide further tips on how to care about your puppy in the best way possible.

Bear in mind that these small dogs, due to various circumstances, often end up in shelters.

If you decide to adopt a dog make sure that you check local rescue shelters first.

At the moment, Shih-Poo is not recognized as an official breed which is why you should be extra careful when it comes to getting this dog from a breeder.

Shih-Poo Physical Appearance

When it comes to the appearance of mixed breeds, it’s important to understand that they are – mixed. As such, they will often turn out to be a bit different from any litter. Mixed breeds may differ from litter to litter.

Since Shih-Poo is a relatively new breed, it’s hard to know the precise look.

There are no strict standards that breeders must follow, but thanks to breeders’ consciousness there are some unofficial standards that responsible breeders choose to follow. That being said, you can expect your Shih-Poo to have somewhere between 8 to 18 inches and between 8 to 18 pounds.

It is important to note that Poodle and Shih Tzu sizes can vary between teacup, miniature, and standard, which is why the size of the Shih-Poo will also vary. The same applies to their coats.

Shih-Poo may have a coat that is straight or wavy, or a combination of the two, which is most likely.

In terms of color, your Shih-Poo may come in different colors, including white, black, brown, brindle, or any combination in between, if not a mix of two colors.

Now that you can somehow predict how your Shih-Poo may look, let’s see briefly how breeds parents look.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu (this name stands for ‘lion’) is a small size dog originally from Tibet.

These little lion were carefully bred to be companions dogs, and they are great at that role even today.

Shih Tzu will usually have a double coat that requires regular grooming and weekly brushing to avoid tangles.

As for the color they come in all color combinations and variations. They may be small in size, but they will choose to be vocal if the situation requires it.


Poodle is probably one of the most famous dog breeds alive.

Originally from Germany, these highly intelligent dogs gain their popularity when they arrived in France. Even today they are mostly associated with France.

Did you know that there are seven basic poodle types including Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodle? This breed is highly appreciated for its intelligence, working habits, and love toward humans, which is why there are over 50 Poodle mixes out there.

Poodles have a dense coat and curled hair, which is their trademark. They do not shed as most dogs do. When their hair falls out it falls back into the coat, which is why it’s important to know how to properly brush this breed.

If you want to learn more about Shih Tzu and Poodle similarities and differences, use this dog breeds compare tool that will help you eventually understand Shih-Poo better.

Now, let’s see what you can expect from your Shih-Poo in terms of personality.

Shih-Poo Personality

Shih-Poo will inherit characteristics from both parent breeds.

In other words, you can expect your Shih-Poo to be a huge people lover. This breed should be a great companion dog who will thrive on proper training, human interaction, and overall great care.

Since Shih Tzus can be stubborn, you can expect your Shih Poo to have stubborn traits as well. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that you should address this during the training phase.

In other words, arm yourself with enough patience, because small size dogs tend to develop small dog syndrome which is something that you do not want to deal with.

Shih-Poo will be a loyal, sweet, and devoted dog, who is also trainable and active.

Do not expect them to be couch potatoes all day long.

Most Shih-Poos are described as gentle and sweet dogs who are very playful. They come with moderate energy levels which means that after a nice walk they will love to cuddle next to you and spend hours.

Expect them to thrive mentally when there is a space for training and fun.

Shih-Poo is a small dog, which makes them extra sensitive, especially when they are around children.

Children should know how to behave around dogs and not to treat them like toys, no matter how small in size they might be.

Educate your children to understand that dogs are territorial begins and how they might be further if disturb them while they are eating, sleeping, resting, to just drinking after from their bowl. Otherwise, Shih-Poo will be a great children’s companion who will enjoy spending time with children of different ages.

When it comes to other pets, Shih-Poos tend to be cooperative.

If you introduce them to other animals at a young age, everything should go smoothly.

Know that Shih-Poos can be left alone for a short period and onto too frequently. Others, might experience separation anxiety or become bored.

When bored, no matter how small or big they might be, dogs will eventually become destructive. This condition is treatable but demands extra devotion, care, and time.

Once they reach their senior years, a second dog could be the ideal companion for your older Shih-Poo.

Living With Shih-Poo

Shih-Poos are considered to be gentle and versatile dogs who are fast to adapt easily to the small and larger living surrounding. They will easily adapt to small size houses and larger homes.

When they are not outside making sure that you are safe, they will follow you around indoors. The rest of the time they will curl up in your lap or cuddle up next to you.

Overall, this breed is social and loves people, so expect them to be whenever people are.

Shoodles really love to eat, so the kitchen can be their favorite place. No matter how adorable those puppy eyes might be, make sure that you stick to a recommended feeding schedule.

Treats should be served to them only occasionally and always in moderation.

Feed your Shih-Poo a high-quality food that is specially formulated for small breeds, and do your best to keep treats to a minimum.

Shih-Poo Grooming

If you see dog grooming as daunting and time-consuming work then Shih-Poo isn’t for you.

Shihpoos can have different coat types that will demand proper care. You can always think about professional grooming services. This is a bit pricey option, but it will save you time and energy.

Grooming services should be conducted every four to six weeks – if even this sounds like too much you might think about getting another breed. Otherwise, at home you should provide the following:

  • Weekly brushing
  • Monthly nail trimming or grinding
  • Ear cleaning when needed
  • Weekly gums check
  • Daily eye check for any sign of eye discharge

Shih-Poo is a Poodle mix which means that regular grooming is mandatory thing.

To avoid coat matting have regular grooming sessions, every 6 to 8 weeks. They have soft coats so matting should not be a regular occurrence.

Professional groomers would also recommend implementing ‘sanitary trims’ underneath their tails, on their bellies, and in their armpits.

To make grooming a straightforward process, start grooming while a puppy. This way your dog will become comfortable with being handled. This is something that many dogs find discomfortable so training him to be ‘handled’ is always a good thing.

Dogs are extremely sensitive when it comes to their paws, so handle them with extra care.

Paws should be cleaned after every walk, and a wet cloth near the door should do the job. Also, do not walk your dog on hot asphalt and snowy roads that are heavily treated with industrial salt. This may cause extreme pain to your dog and lead to paw injuries.

If your veterinarian recommends it, brush his teeth and bathe only when needed. Always use products that are specially designed for dogs.

Shih-Poo Training

Training should start as soon as you bring your Shih-Poo home.

Did you know that dogs are more than capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age?

If you miss starting training them at this period, you will miss having a well-trained and well-behaved dog.

Make training sessions fun, short, engaging, and consistent. Make sure that you serve the right treats and serve them after every good move.

Dogs should only experience positive handling and no dog should ever experience any harsh handling.

If you feel like you could use training support think about hiring a professional dog trainer or enrolling your dog in puppy classes.

Both options are great ways to speed up the training process and get some further training inputs.

Shih-Poo Exercise

Do not fall into the trap of believing that small size dogs don’t need frequent exercise.

No matter how small or big dogs might be, they all need some exercise time to keep them active, healthy, and strong. Plus, exercise is a great way to keep a dog’s joints strong.

It is crucial to provide enough pee walks because small size dogs need to use the toilet more often.

Next to this, you should provide a minimum exercise time to keep your Shih-Poo’s mind stimulated and body and joints strong.

Shih-Poo doesn’t require a lot of vigorous exercises, but still needs up to 30 minutes a day of play and exercise per day. This is a minimum that you should provide if you want your Shih-Poo to thrive.

Shih-Poo Health

Shih-Poo is a breed with a healthy appetite. Although this makes feeding them easy, they may also be prone to weight gain.

Overall, Shih-Poos are considered to be healthy dogs who tend to live up to 17 years, if not higher.

On average, these small dogs live around 16 years, which makes them a long-living breed.

Getting a dog is a big responsibility, but getting a long-living breed is something that you should always think about thoroughly.

If they get Shih-Tzus’ short snouts they might have breathing issues.

All in all, if your Shih-Poo has a shorter snout you should monitor him closely for any sign of heatstroke, especially during summer days.

Bear in mind that no matter how responsible a dog owner you are, dogs still get sick. You may be the best owner ever, and your Fido still may experience some health disturbances.

If you are buying a puppy, make sure that you choose a breeder who can only provide you with written documentation that the puppy is healthy.

Even if you get a puppy from the best breeder ever, make sure that you take your puppy to your veterinarian.

Once you get a dog you should take him to your vet for a full check-up. Do not forget to give your Fido a nice treat for being a good boy at the vet’s office.

Owning a dog is much easier when you have a great veterinarian next to you, which is why knowing how to find the right veterinarian is something that you should be mindful of.

Remember that once you get a dog you’re directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise and you don’t want your dog to be part of this unhealthy trend.

Just like in humans extra weight eventually leads to many health problems, including blood pressure and heart issues.

Keeping your Shih-Poo at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to prolong his life.

Last but not least make sure that you provide regular veterinarian check-ups as it’s the most effective way to keep your dog healthy.

Is Shih-Poo For You?

Shih-Poo is a small size dog who is more than a great fit for both novice owners and more experienced ones.

If you really want a breed that is a long living then this small dog might be for you. This breed isn’t for you if you have long working hours, because they do not do well on their own.

Make sure that you can dedicate enough time to this dog, and that your family members (if you have a larger family) are on the same track with you on having a dog.

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