Shih Tzu Poodle Mix 101

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Shih Tzu Poodle MixOften referred to as the shih-poo, the Shih Tzu Poodle mix is a hybrid breed that’s relatively new to the dog world. Combining two small dog breeds, this adorable pup is a walking bundle of joy that can easily win the hearts of their owners using its luxurious coat and expressive eyes. If you’re looking for a dog with a unique combination of affection and personality, read on below to find out more about Poodle Shih Tzu mixes.    

What is the Shih Tzu Poodle Mix? 

The Shih Poo is a wonderful mix between the Poodle and the Shih Tzu, resulting in one of the cutest designer dog breeds available while exhibiting a mild and gentle temperament that makes them delightful family pets. Specifically, these pups are made using toy or miniature poodles since standard poodles are too big to breed with smaller breeds. Shih poo puppies thrive on attention and companionship; they’ll often showcase a loving and playful demeanor that makes them so endearing. 

It’s no surprise that they’re becoming more and more popular since they embody Shih Tzu’s loyal nature while also displaying the Poodle’s keen intelligence. Adaptable to any kind of living situation, these dogs can be the ideal companion for all kinds of lifestyles, from quiet suburban living to bustling city life. Their easygoing nature and versatility help them become the ideal choice for new and experienced dog owners while offering a manageable companion.         

History of Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

The Shih Poo was first developed in North America by combining the two parent breeds, but they haven’t been around very long for them to have much of a history. However, the Shih Tzu has had a long history of being the favorite pet for many Chinese Royalty, where Emperors adored them. They were beloved lap dogs who were known for their loyalty but also for their stubborn and outgoing nature. 

On the other hand, the Poodle hails from Germany and was initially popular with artists. In 1887, the poodle was recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club and is now listed as the 5th most popular dog in the United States. When these two dogs were combined, they produced the Shih Poo, a fun and cuddly dog that comes with the characteristics of their parents.    

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Appearance

Because poodles are so versatile, people have been crossing these dogs since the early 2000s. While purebred dogs have been bred carefully over the years according to the breed standard laid down for them, mixed-breed dogs like the shih poo have no standard of their own. Much like with any mixed breed, you won’t be able to predict the personality and physical traits that your dog will get since each pup will possess its individuality. 

In general, these dogs will have faces that have the characteristics of both parents and will often come with the sweet and soft expression of the Shih Tzu along with the alert and intelligent look of Poodles. They may have droopy ears or ones that are upright, while their nose will usually be as cute as a button. These pups will also come with round faces, almond-shaped and dark eyes, as well as a well-proportioned body. 

Size and Height

Considered to be small or toy breeds, these pups will generally be small, weighing around 7 to 20 pounds — their size will depend heavily on their poodle parent, but will typically stand between 8 to 15 inches in height. The Shih Poo will weigh between 8 to 18 pounds, which makes them the ideal size for lap dogs. Because of their small size, they can thrive in a wide range of environments, whether you live in a small apartment or have a home with a big yard.  

Coat and Color

The Shih Poo will typically come with soft, wavy to curly coats that are reminiscent of their Poodle parents, though some pups can come with straight coats like their Shih Tzu parents. They will usually have a plush and dense coat that comes in a wide range of colors such as gray, brown, white, and black, as well as a combination of these. They’ll also come with distinctive markings around their coat, adding to their individuality and charm which can include spots, patches, and the tuxedo pattern of Poodles. 

Luckily, most Shih Poos shed little or none at all, which means that they have a hypoallergenic coat but it’s still best if you spend time with these dogs first before you decide to take one home. While they’re less likely to trigger allergies, all dogs will come with dander which may result in a reaction even if they’re low-shedders. 

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Temperament

When it comes to their personality, the Shih Poo is generally friendly, sweet, affectionate, and playful, which is perfect because their job is to be loving companion dogs. These small and portable dogs will want to spend as much time as possible with you and will be happy to accompany you on all your adventures and travels. They’re also known to be devoted to their families, forming deep bonds with their humans, and will thrive on attention and human interactions. 

They’re particularly good with young children and will show plenty of patience and a gentle demeanor — as mentioned, they can also adapt to a wide range of living situations. When given early socialization, they can also be friendly with other pets and dogs, which can extend to friendly interactions with strangers. Their playfulness also adds to their charm and will enjoy playing interactive games; they will respond well to activities that engage both their mind and body. 

Despite having a playful nature, these pups won’t usually display hyperactive behavior, which makes them suitable for both active and relaxed homes. Another great trait of the Shih Poo is their emotional intelligence; these dogs are highly receptive to their owner’s emotions and will often respond appropriately. Because of their big hearts, they’re a great option for people looking to get a responsive and empathetic dog.       

Caring for Your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

Caring for your Shih Poo can be a highly rewarding experience that will bring companionship and joy in your life. However, these small breeds will come with specific needs that you’ll need to address to ensure they live happy and healthy lives. 

Feeding Your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

One of the most important things to consider when getting one of these dogs is providing them with a healthy and lean diet that will help support their growth while keeping health issues at bay. These dogs will overeat when given the opportunity, so be sure not to leave their bowl full of food all the time; instead, give them properly portioned meals twice a day. Giving your pooch proper nutrition is vital for your pup’s overall health and well-being, so be sure to follow our guide below.    

Because of their small stature, these dogs will need nutrient-rich foods given in small portions; an adult Shih Poo should only be given two meals per day to stop it from over-eating. However, puppies will need around 3 to 4 meals a day to support their growing bodies. Be mindful of how you transition their food through their life stages but if you’re unsure of how to switch from one dog food to another, look for an option that supports all life stages.

Selecting the right food is important so look for brands that provide specific formulas for smaller dogs, which will be tailored to suit your pup’s energy needs. Their food should come with lots of protein to help them develop muscles and to help prevent obesity which is common in these small dogs. Make sure that you keep an eye on their weight; sudden weight loss or gain can mean that you need to make adjustments to their diet.        

Treats can be used to help train your pooch, but these should be used sparingly to prevent weight gain. Be sure to look for low-calorie and healthy options — supplements can also be given to dogs to support coat and joint health but should only be used under your vet’s guidance.  

Grooming Your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

Grooming your pooch is also an important part of meeting your dog’s needs and won’t just give them a better appearance but will also enhance their overall health. No matter what kind of fur they have, Shih Poos will benefit from regular brushing schedules of at least a few times each week. This will help to prevent tangling and matting, but daily brushing may be necessary for curlier coats — be sure to use a slicker brush or a soft-bristle brush to make this process easier. 

Giving your dog a bath once every 3 to 4 weeks is highly recommended but be sure to use a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for pups and gentle on their coat and skin. Some Shih Poo owners will use a professional groomer once every few months or so; they’ll be able to trim hairs around the face and body, which is essential for your pup’s health. Because they shed minimally, they can be a great option for people who suffer from allergic reactions — regular grooming will help remove loose hair.  

Apart from coat care, these dogs will also need to have their teeth brushed regularly throughout the week using a dog-specific toothpaste to help protect them from dental issues. Trimming their nails is another important part of their grooming routine since overgrown nails won’t just cause discomfort but may also lead to injuries. Finally, be sure to check their ears every week and clean them with a pet-friendly ear cleaner if they’re dirty to avoid ear infections.  

Training and Exercising Your Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

Thankfully, these designer dogs inherit the intelligence of their Poodle parents which makes them easily trainable — when paired with their natural curiosity, these dogs aren’t just fun to train but are also highly engaging. These Shih Tzu-Poodle mixes can learn quickly and will respond well to positive reinforcement; using tasty rewards during clicker training can help to get results. Consistency is the key, so be sure to keep your sessions short and do them on a regular basis and start with simple commands such as stay, come, and sit before moving on to harder tasks. 

Despite being such small dogs, Shih Poos come with moderate energy levels and will need regular physical exercise. You can start by giving them daily walks which will keep them physically and mentally occupied; around 30 to 40 minutes divided into two walks will suffice. Apart from walks, be sure to spend time playing with them; you can go for games like tug-of-war, hide-and-seek, and fetch to keep your dog on its toes. 

Working on your pup’s mental health is also important since these intelligent dogs will thrive when doing engaging activities that complement their exercise needs. Puzzle feeders and other interactive toys can help them problem-solve, while obedience lessons will provide them with mental engagement. Be sure to give them a wide range of activities to choose from or walk around different routes to stop them from getting bored. 

Don’t forget to socialize your pup at an early age; the more exposure they get to different dogs, people, places, and situations, the better. This can help them develop into behaved and well-adjusted adults. 

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Health

While many Shih Poo breeders will say that this hybrid dog breed will be much healthier compared to a purebred Shih Tzu or a purebred Poodle, the science behind genes simply doesn’t work that way. All dogs will inherit certain health conditions from their parents and these can be passed on to puppies within that litter. When you mix the two breeds together, their offspring can potentially inherit any genetic diseases that are common to either parent.    

On average, Shih Poos will come with a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years but this can vary depending on their genetics, health, and how well they’re taken care of. However, the shortest recorded lifespan for these dogs is 10 years while the longest is 18 years — this doesn’t mean that they won’t suffer from a few health problems throughout their life.  

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Health Issues 

While they’re considered to be relatively healthy dogs, they’re still prone to various health issues present in their parents. 

  • Dental Problems: Like many dogs, shihpoo puppies can suffer from tooth decay, plaque buildup, and periodontal disease as a result of poor dental hygiene. Daily brushing, using dental chews, and regular dental check-ups can protect them from these issues. 
  • Patellar Luxation: Commonly found in small breeds, this refers to the dislocation of their kneecap, causing mobility issues and pain in dogs. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: While this is more common in large breeds, hip dysplasia may also occur in a Shih Poo puppy. It happens when their hip joints don’t fit properly into the socket, which can lead to arthritis.
  • Eye Problems: Because of their Shih Tzu genes, these dogs may develop eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, corneal ulcers, and dry eyes. Be sure to take your dog on regular eye examinations to ensure that problems are caught during the early stages.  

A responsible Shihpoo breeder will help you get a healthy, well-bred puppy by starting with healthy adults tested for common genetic diseases before breeding offspring. This will ensure that they don’t carry too many genetic issues inherited from their parents. Such breeders should also be able to provide a health guarantee on their pups that will protect them from health issues as they get older. 

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix Cost

If you’ve set your sights on these dogs, be sure to do research on reputable breeders who will take good care of their puppies and have performed all the necessary tests on their dogs. A good breeder will be honest and transparent with both the good and bad characteristics that their dogs might have. Depending on their genes and heritage, you can expect these dogs to cost anywhere between $1,200 to $4,000.  

If this seems too steep for your budget, consider looking for these puppies at rescue organizations or your local animal shelters. While the chances of finding these dogs are slim, you may be able to find one that wants a new family. You’re also more likely to find adults than puppies this way, but it can be much more rewarding to give pups in need a new home.  


Now that you’ve got everything you need to know about these adorable Shih-Poo puppies, you can confidently look for the right one for your home. These teddy bear puppies are waiting to find a new home with you, and as long as you’re willing to give them the care and attention they deserve, they will love you unconditionally for many years to come.