Shih-Poo

13-20 lbs
8-13"
Unknown
Shih-Tzu
Poodle
Shipoo, Shi-Poo, Shi Poo, Shihpooh, Shipooh, Shitzpoo

Quirky, cute and completely adorable, the Shih Poo is a mixed breed; a combination of a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. It’s a fun and intelligent little dog that doesn’t need a huge amount of exercise or a vast amount of space to thrive, so it’s a good choice for the first-time pet parent or an older owner.

Still, don’t assume that means a Shih Poo dog doesn’t need any attention; like all dogs and all breeds, it requires plenty of care, nurturing and love. In our breed profile on the Shih Poo, we’ll share more detail on its history, maintenance and exercise needs, and temperament.

Read on to discover more about the Shih Poo, including:

  • This Shih Tzu Poodle mix can look quite different, depending on which parent breed it most strongly takes after
  • Because it sheds so little, it’s considered a hypoallergenic breed
  • Shih Poos are one of a few breeds that can suffer from Brachycephalic Syndrome
  • They crave attention from their humans so can be a bit needy


Shih Poo breed overview

The Shih Poo is another example of a hybrid dog, created by cross-breeding two different breeds. In this case, those two are both from the toy group of dogs — the Shih Tzu and the Poodle. Two different varieties of the Poodle might be used top breed with the Shih Tzu; the Toy Poodle or the Miniature Poodle. Both are small Poodle breeds — the Standard Poodle isn’t used as it is, by comparison, a much larger dog.

Like other mixed breeds, the Shih Poo doesn’t have a breed standard as defined by the American Kennel Club (AKC), so you should expect some variations in each dog, particularly when it comes to coat style, color and markings. Generally though, a Shih Poo is a clever dog with what many describe as a sense of humor, though they can be stubborn at times.

The Shih Poo is listed as a breed by the American Canine Hybrid Club

This is a popular dog, so Shih Poo puppies can be hard to find — and potentially quite expensive, too. As with buying any breed of dog as a puppy, you should always source a reputable breeder. Alternatively, do consider adopting and rehoming a Shih Poo from a rescue center.

Are you the pet parent of a Shih Poo? If so, you can’t be without pet insurance — it’s so important to have cover in case your dog falls ill or has a health issue. Use the super-fast Wag! Compare service to check out the best pet insurance deals available.

purpose Purpose
Companion
history Date of Origin
Unknown
ancestry Ancestry
Shih Tzu and Poodle

Shih-Poo Health

Average Size
Male Shih-Poo size stats
Height: 8-13 inches Weight: 13-20 lbs
Female Shih-Poo size stats
Height: 8-13 inches Weight: 13-20 lbs

Shih-Poo Breed History

We know a fair bit about the history of its two parent breeds but, as is often the case with a mixed breed, not so much about the Shih Poo itself. It’s a reasonably recent hybrid, believed to have been developed in the US around the start of the 2000s. 

There’s not much more information publicly available than that; unlike other breeds, it’s proven difficult to find any single individual responsible for starting the Shih Poo. So, in the absence of that, it’s worth a recap on the backgrounds of the Poodle and the Shih Tzu (both of which you can read about in more detail in our respective breed profiles, with the Toy Poodle here and Shih Tzu here). 

The Poodle has its origins in Germany, though it was mainly developed in France (and is actually France’s national dog). While the larger Standard Poodle was used to retrieve ducks and waterfowl, the Toy and the Miniature Poodle (which are the types of Poodle in the Shih Poo) were bred mainly for showing purposes. The Toy Poodle was initially bred in the US.

The Shih Tzu has consistently been one of the most popular breeds in the US in recent years. It’s believed that this toy dog originated from breeding the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso in China, and was highly prized by royal families and emperors. It was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1969.

Shih-Poo Breed Appearance

Have we mentioned the Shih Poo is a cute-looking dog? That’s no exaggeration — it’s a breed that’s often described as the ‘teddy bear’ of pups. We can see why; it has a little button-style nose, small yet expressive eyes, and short but floppy ears that fall about halfway down its face. It usually sports a friendly and fun expression.

If you’re asking, ‘how big do Shih Poos get?’, the answer is not very big at all. They’re a small breed of dog, with a maximum height of 18 inches only; many might not be as tall as that, and as little as 8 inches. They don’t weigh much either. Some Shih Poos, full grown, are only 8 lbs.

There will be some breed variance in terms of coat, depending largely on which of its parent breeds is more dominant in its genes. A Shih-Poo can have a short and curly coat (Poodle) or the silky and smooth coat that’s more typical of the Shih Tzu. Colors vary from black, white, gray and brindle (or a combination of these). 

So, don’t be surprised if one Shih Poo looks quite different to another; often the way with mixed breeds.

Similar breeds to the Shih Poo

If you’re just starting the process of looking to bring a dog into your home, you might be considering a few different breeds. The Shih Poo has many great qualities and makes a great family pet, but there are also several other breeds that share similar traits in terms of size and character.

Of course, there are the two parent breeds:


You may also wish to consider these breeds:


Whichever dog you welcome into your family, make sure you’re doing your job as a pet parent. That means looking after your pup properly and taking care of him or her. Find pet insurance plans in seconds using Wag! Compare and cover routine vet appointments the easy way with a wellness plan.

Shih-Poo Breed Maintenance

Firstly, some good news if you want a breed of dog that doesn’t shed much — the Shih Poo is a relatively low shedder. This is especially true if the dog has a coat that’s more in line with the Poodle’s short covering. While no breed can ever be considered 100% hypoallergenic, the Poodle is about as close as you can get to being allergy-friendly.

That doesn’t mean you forever ignore grooming tasks, though. The Shih Poo will still need a good brush every few days to keep its coat in its best condition — free of matting and clumping. A visit to a professional groomer for a trim three or four times a year is recommended.

Teeth should be brushed at least once a week (more frequently if possible) especially considering the Shih Poo’s risk of dental issues. Don’t bathe your pup too often; only really when dirty and muddy, which will probably be very rare as Shih Poos aren’t a particularly outdoors type. Do check ears regularly for any signs of debris, to reduce the risk of infection. Trim or clip nails when necessary.

Shih Poo health

Sadly, it’s inevitable that dogs suffer health issues from time to time — which is why pet insurance is so important. The Shih Poo is no different, and there are particular health problems that the breed is susceptible to. These include:



Brachycephalic Syndrome

Brachycephalic Syndrome affects only certain breeds of dog — those with shortened heads and ‘squashed’ or ‘flattened’ faces. One of the Shih Poo’s parent breeds, the Shih Tzu, is among those. This condition makes it difficult for a dog to breathe and can lead to respiratory issues. Symptoms include loud breathing and labored breathing (known as dyspnea), but also difficulty eating or exercising. These can be eased by making lifestyle changes — managing weight is one — or by some surgery, in some cases.


Periodontal disease

Dental problems are a health risk with Shih Poos — which is typical of many small breeds. Those problems include gum disease and tooth decay, and also something called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the mouth. It develops in four stages, starting with plaque and moving to a severe condition with gingivitis, bone and tooth loss.

Symptoms aren’t always obvious, but can include bad breath, bleeding gums and pus around any affected teeth. Treatment options vary, depending often on the stage of the disease.


Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease is a bleeding disorder that can have serious consequences — and is possibly fatal. It affects a number of different breeds, among them the Standard Poodle. This condition causes excessive bleeding, sometimes after surgery but also even after a relatively minor abrasion. Pet parents should be observant for typical warning signs, such as bleeding from the nose, mouth or bladder.

It’s a genetic disorder for which there’s no cure, but it can be managed.


Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease affects toy and other breeds, putting the Shih Poo at risk. Known as LCP, it’s a disorder of the hip joint and typically shows symptoms in Shih Poo puppies and younger dogs — aged between four months and one years old. It usually affects one hip, rather than both.

Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe, in the most advanced of cases. You might notice your dog is reluctant to put any weight on its affected hind leg, being unable to walk, or limping. Your Shih Poo may experience stiffness and pain when walking, with movement limited. Rest may ease the condition, but surgery is sometimes needed.


What to feed a Shih Poo

While there’s a huge range of dog food on the market, it’s important to choose a type that’s right for your Shih Poo. Not all dogs like the same food, and not all dogs need the same type of food. You should always aim to select a food that suits your pup’s dietary needs, which usually means size and weight, and sometimes breed type.

Because of its smaller size, a Shih Poo isn’t going to need a lot of food — it certainly shouldn’t be overfed, as this runs the risk of it becoming overweight. If choosing dry dog food, smaller dogs may benefit from recipes that have smaller kibble, so it’s easier to digest. Some food also offers a form of dental protection, which is an added bonus as small breeds can suffer from poor dental health.

Read our recommendations for best dog food for small dogs here.

We have general advice on how to choose the best food for your dog here.


Shih-Poo Temperament


A Shih Poo does like attention. It’s very affectionate and loves being doted on, so you should be prepared to be on hand with lots of fuss. In that regard, Shih Poos can be quite needy dogs.

They’re very friendly with their family though and are usually trusting of strangers. A Shih Poo is generally happy to be around children, but younger kids should be educated to be gentle around them. This is a little dog that won’t like being roughly handled. Shih Poos might not be so accepting of other dogs, either; early socialization can help with that.

As with all breeds, training is important (our full series of dog training advice guides is here). You’ll get the best response from Shih Poo puppies though this breed can be stubborn at times. It’s also considered a moderate barker, so expect some answering back!

Shih-Poo Activity Requirements

A Shih Poo isn’t going to demand much from you when it comes to exercise; it needs a moderate amount with two short to medium walks a day usually fine. It doesn’t require a load of open space to roam around in either, so it’s a perfect pup for someone living in an apartment or a home without a yard.

Provided it’s been able to stretch its legs outside, a Shih Poo’s temperament means it’s typically content to spend much of its day cuddling up to you on the sofa. It’s very much a lapdog. This makes it not only a good choice of dog for a first-time pet parent, it’s especially suitable for an owner or owners of a more senior age who aren’t inclined to have long hikes.

Shih-Poo Owner Experiences

Nutella nut nut
4 Months
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Love to bite sometimem becoming very stubborn
1 month ago
nugget
11 Weeks
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Cuddles and kisses
Hide & Seek
Playtime
Napping together
My experience has been all over the place. She has learnt sit, lay down, shake, crawl, and up on her back legs. Only bad experience is she doesn’t understand no, enough, or leave it. She’s a slight bit aggressive when she’s excited and likes to bite a lot, which is driving me insane. She starts walking this week so i’m hoping that will calm her down a lot. But all in all, she’s the cutest, most loving fluffy little thing.
1 month, 3 weeks ago
Max
2 Months
9+ People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I'm still learning and so far i love him and ill take care of him!ill tell you more about it when he grew up already 😊
6 years, 3 months ago
Coco
3 Months
6 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We love our shihpoo so much. She's so cuddly and very affectionate. But there are times that she tends to bark a lot, I don't know if she's just asking for food or she just wants to play. There would be an instance where in all of us needed to go somewhere and we don't have a choice, but to leave her at home. It really breaks my heart to hear her cry. We are so trully grateful and very happy to have a shihpoo in our family.
6 years, 3 months ago
Fluffy
11 Years
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fluffy is on of my best friends very loyal
6 years ago
Luke
1 Year
2 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
My Lukie poo is my baby. He loves me, we play alot .etc
6 years ago
Cap
10 Years
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Love my lil fluffy baby! He is a very energetic dog and loves the outdoors, and playing with toys! When I first adopted him as a puppy he loved to bark all the time, but as he got older the only time he barks is when he’s excited to walk, play, or whenever it’s urgent (hungry, wants to go out, unknown people or cars close by, etc.) He was easy to train but can be really stubborn, he’ll only listen when there’s treats involved or if he wants to. If he doesn’t want to do a trick but I keep asking him, he’ll do it half-assed. Super funny guy ❤️
5 years, 11 months ago
Chewy
3 Years
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Chewy is amazingly smart and somewhat easy to train. She is food motivated so I have to be careful to maintain her good diet and not give into her rediculously cute begging face. She is a great companion and loves to go on bike rides with me. She is also very sociable with other animals (dogs and cats) although her instinct is still to chase lizards and squirrels. She is friendly with children and other people in general, but experiences some anxiety if I am not in sight. However, she is not a clinger and often spends time by herself with her toys and napping in various nooks around the house.
5 years, 11 months ago
Sparky
12 Years
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We love how affectionate and smart Sparky is. He does NOT shed. Very low maintenance. LOVES being held cradle style by his momma. Always sleeps with owners and wants to be close, touching them. Extremely friendly.
5 years, 7 months ago
Ollie
3 Months
4 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Right from the start, Ollie has been very sweet, clingy and affectionate not only to me, but to the whole family as well. He’s so cute, he looks like a fluffy stuffed toy. Ollie likes being petted on my lap and getting carried like a baby. He plays too on his own as long as I or anyone in the family is in his sight. He loves playing with leaves, his plushie and dental chew. The first time I left him for work, I got teary-eyed. Everyday I miss him the moment I leave home. Then he welcomes me excitedly as soon as I come home. I also think he’s very bright for a 3-month old pup. I’m so happy we have Ollie now.
5 years, 6 months ago
Macaroni
6 Months
2 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
He is friendly, loves to play and is just awesome!
5 years, 2 months ago
sloan
5 Months
1 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
cute and devilish. she acts Eddie Haskel
4 years, 11 months ago
Oatmeal
5 Years
5 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Shes very calm and never barks, very well behaved, doesnt like to brush teeth though
4 years, 10 months ago
Cosmo
12 Months
5 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I had a grandma who had one and I own one
4 years, 2 months ago
Marley
6 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Bath time
Run
Very loveable and very energetic. Great when surrounded by other people and dogs.
4 years, 1 month ago
Keiko
5 Years
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Laying in the sun
My dog is my best friend. We walk long distances which she loves, we cuddle constantly as she is always on my knee, she knows when I am upset and always pays me more attention, she is the best dog in the world!
4 years, 1 month ago
Csonka
6 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I have had many dogs large and small. After one of our Shih Tzu's passed we were asked to give him a home as he was homeless. He was about 1 1/2 years old. When I picked him up he melted into my arms and I knew we were meant for each other. He is 6 now and our bond is stronger than ever. He brings a smile to almost everyone he sees.
4 years, 1 month ago
Chara
4 Years
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Tug a war
Has to have human contact. Definitely a lap dog in the day & needs to feel your touch in the bed at night. Will sleep curled up next to you or often times sleep in top of you. Very easy to house train & very smart learning human words: treat, eat, hungry, want to go bye, bye, go for bath, go for ride, sit, lay down, etc My ship too on the coloring of the Shih Tzu, has the ears & tail of ShihTzu but has more wavy to curly body fur of the toy poodle. She has the underbite of the shih-tzu but has the narrow snout of the poodle. Does not like to be alone. Weighs 12 lbs. Very cute dog!! Hypoallergenic, never sheds. Eats around 10-12 ounces of canned dog food a day but eats that spread out in 2-3 meals a day.
4 years, 1 month ago
noah
5 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
wonderful loving family member. Just Noah and myself. We get along so well. So glad to share my home. Well behaved. Picky eater. Only 10lbs. Only wants Chicken stick for dogs from Trader Joe's. He will go on strike for 2 days to get them. I must break this habit I started it. Maybe just one stick a day. How can I put weight on Noah? Thanks
3 years, 11 months ago
Beau
10 Years
2 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I got Beau as a rescue when he was about one year old. At first he chewed up lots of shoes, a harness he was wearing, blankets and an occasional book! With love and reassurance he stopped this habit and now. He is so good with cats, loves other dogs and people, likes to romp in fields and snow and is very smart. He is also a good watchdog. I’m so happy that he lives with us and Darcy the cat.
3 years, 10 months ago
Hazel
5 Years
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Hikes
Running
Hazel is extremely sweet. She is quite nervous around young children and other dogs, but is not at all aggressive. She gets matted very easily if not brushed. Lots of energy and always wants to cuddle or play.
3 years, 10 months ago
Myles
5 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Go to Beach
Go to Park
Playdate
Walk
Frisbee
Explore the woods
Road trip
Groom
Look out the window
Swim
Play
Nap
Learn a new trick
Catch treats
Chase
Fetch
Tug-of-war
Agility training
Nose work
Dog-friendly events
Heel
Speak
Off-leash
Bath time
Brushing
Dog Parks
Eating Snacks
Laying in the sun
The most loving dog I’ve ever seen in my life! He is my best friend and has made our new home complete in the short 5 months that we have had him. We enjoy every moment with him as he is so energetic, playful and affectionate. I couldn’t imagine life without him now
3 years, 7 months ago
Khloe
7 Months
4 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Biting
Hide & Seek
barking
Running
Khloe is a little puppy that likes to run and be very energetic. She is quite dumb but very loud.
3 years, 6 months ago
Ollie
6 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
My baby is so sweet! He loves people! He is the sweetest lil dog and has brought so much joy into our family! He is very picky only eats one brand of dog food and he loves cheese! And that’s about it! He’s about 85% house trained and knows some tricks! He can be stubborn tho potty training is something one day he will do absolutely perfect! And then the next he just will feel like making a few mistakes lol. But he’s a funny dog and gives our house plenty of laughs and smiles! We just love him!
3 years, 5 months ago
Pipper
1 Year
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
playing with ball
She is cuddly. And loves all people. Loves attention. Loves to play with her toys. She barks very seldom. She is very loved.
3 years, 4 months ago
Oreo
5 Years
2 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
My son Oreo has always been gentle and friendly. He loves to play and is very smart. He inherited the longer poodle snout which virtually eliminated any breathing problems and his coat is wavy and soft like sheep's wool. He is friendly with other dogs but his personality really shines with people- it always seems like he's ready to invite them in and serve them a cup of tea. Only thing is he is very food motivated, countered with his very sensitive stomach, but luckily this has been greatly alleviated once we switched him to grain-free foods and limited his snack intake. He's a great companion and he's in top shape! I like keeping his coat short since he is a very active dog, and I make sure the groomers pay close attention to his dental hygiene.
3 years, 2 months ago
Benji
1 Year
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We got our was eight months old. He is a rescue and we were told he did have social issues. He was with three children under age of four at six weeks old. We love him, but he is no lap dog. He likes rough that's all he knew so we try to keep him calm but still play. He bites licks bites. He is very smart and so cute. We think we are making progress. He is our dog and we love him.
3 years, 2 months ago
KC
5 Years
8 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Playing
KC is very sweet and obedient to us (her family members) but she is feisty and aggressive around other people and other animals, she had bitten around 3 people already 2 years ago after she had given birth to her litters.
3 years, 1 month ago
Blue
13 Weeks
4 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Like to bite all the time
3 years ago
Finn
3 Years
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
training
cuddle
Swim
Walk
Finn has been amazing I got him for 900. He is the sweetest thing, he will cuddle right next to me and we will snuggle all day. I recommend a shih-poo. He is not a big fan of the water but it’s not hard to get him in. He is great with kids. So friendly to everyone he meets. Not the best on walks. He was super easy to train and there breed is super smart. He is scared of me older dog but overall they are best friends. I would say he dose good with other dogs.
2 years, 11 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet
Question

How much should I feed my 8 week old Shih Poo?

Answer
Hello. This well depend on which food you are giving. The puppy food should be a complete diet and you shouldn't need to give anything else. There will be a chart on the back which will advise how much to give depending on what your little one weighs. Exoevtwd adult weight would be roughly 6kg assuming it was a toy poodle.
3 years, 3 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Nutrition
Question

My dog is 1-2 pound over weight. She is just as active and able to run around like normal. She only eats her kibble and rarely extra treats. Should I be worried and what can I do to decrease her weight

Answer
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd