Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Shihpoo
Average Cost to keep/care for a Shihpoo
The Shihpoo is a relatively new cross breed developed using the Shih Tzu and either a Miniature Poodle or Toy Poodle. They are cute small dogs that can have the curlier coat of the Poodle or the longer and much straighter coat of the Shih Tzu. Shihpoos tend to inherit many of their parent breed traits which includes the fact that puppies from the same litter can be a variety of colours and colour combinations. Since the Shihpoo first arrived on the scene, these little dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people thanks to their adorable looks and fun-loving, affectionate natures.
The Shihpoo was first developed in the United States by breeders who were hoping to create a dog allergy sufferers would be able to own and live with. Breeders also wanted to develop a breed that boasted masses of character, intelligence and small dog that loved being around people. They decided to use either a Toy or Miniature Poodle which they crossed with the Shih Tzu and since they appeared on the scene, the Shihpoo has become a popular choice both as a companion and family pet thanks to their affectionate, loyal natures and adorable looks.
Over the last fifteen or so years, breeders have continued to produce multigenerational Shihpoos with an end goal being to standardise the breed so these cute small dogs would eventually gain recognition of international breed clubs. Today, the Shihpoo is fast becoming one of the more popular cross-breeds to arrive on the scene and although not yet recognised by the Kennel Club, many local breed clubs have been established to ensure responsible breeding practices are maintained.
Height at the withers: Males 20.32 - 38.10 cm, Females 20.32 - 38.10 cm
Average weight: Males 3.17 - 9.07 kg, Females 3.17 - 9.07 kg
Being one of the newer crossbreeds to arrive on the scene, the Shihpoo may inherit either of their parent breeds physical traits with puppies in the same litter having quite different coats. Some puppies may throw more to the Poodle and have lovely curly coats whereas other puppies could have the coat of a Shih Tzu. However, in general they have quite cobby, well-muscled bodies although some dogs do have longer muzzles than others depending on which of the parent breeds they have thrown to.
Shihpoos can look a little bit like Cavoodles and when it comes to size, it really depends on whether a Toy or Miniature Poodle was used in the breeding programme. With this said, the Shihpoo tends to be a well-balanced dog with nice proportions. One of their endearing traits being their floppy ears and alert, keen albeit mischievous expressions.
Some Shihpoos have an undershot jaw whereas others do not with some Shihpoos having inherited the "chysanthemum face" of their parent breed. Heads tend to be broad and nicely rounded with a good width between a dog's eyes. Other endearing traits include their whiskers which stand well off their faces and their cute beards. As previously mentioned, some Shihpoos have shorter muzzles whereas others have longer ones having inherited more a Poodle look. Their noses tend to match the colour of their coats and stops are well-defined.
Shihpoos tend to have lovely large, round dark eyes and they always have a keen if a little mischievous look in them. Their ears are on the large size and flop nicely to the side of a dog's face which adds to the Shihpoos endearing looks. They have nicely proportioned necks and shoulders are well laid back. Their front legs are on the short side, strong and well-muscled.
They tend to have compact, sturdy bodies with nice broad chests and level backs. Their hindquarters are well muscled and strong with a dog's back legs being short with muscular thighs. Feet are rounded in shape and firm being nicely padded and well covered in hair. They have plumed tails which the Shihpoo tends to carry nicely curled over their backs.
When it comes to their coat, the Shihpoo can either have a lovely, short, curly coat much like the Poodle or they can inherit a longer, straighter coat of the Shih Tzu. Some dogs have a combination of both, but all dogs have coats with a luxurious feel to them. They can be a variety of colours which includes the following:
The Shihpoo is known to be an intelligent, fun-loving and affectionate small dog thanks to the fact they can inherit many of their parent breeds personality traits. The Poodle is known to be a highly intelligent breed and the Shih Tzu is a fun-loving character that's consistently been a popular companion and family pet for decades. With this said, both parent breeds have outgoing, affectionate natures which the Shihpoo tends to inherit. However, because they are such a new cross breed, it is very much luck of the draw as to how a puppy turns out bearing in mind that early socialisation also plays an important role.
Shihpoos can be a little boisterous when young which means their training has to start early, the way they are handled always has to be firm and very fair. It's all too easy to spoil a puppy because they are so cute, but this can lead to a dog growing up to be wilful and unruly with some dogs developing a condition known as "Small Dog Syndrome".
It's really important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation has to include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it has to be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Shihpoo is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
The Shihpoo is a smart little dog having inherited their intelligence from both parent breeds and in particular from the Poodle. As such they are easy to train, but the downside is that they can also be a little wilful and stubborn at times and this can make training them a little more challenging. Bearing in mind they learn new things fast which means they can also pick up bad habits just as quickly.
As such, their training has to begin early and it has to be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what's expected of them. Once a puppy has received all their vaccinations, it's a good idea to enrol them into a kindergarten class which not only helps with their training, but also with their socialisation.
The key to successfully training a Shihpoo is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions short which helps dogs stay focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored, bearing in mind that the Shihpoo is known to be an extremely smart dogs.
They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved. However, it’s important not to give too many food rewards because Shihpoos are prone to putting on weight far too easily which could have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
The Shihpoo is a great choice for families where the children are slightly older and who therefore know how to behave around smaller dogs. Any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous. Younger children need to be taught how to handle small dogs and when to leave them alone.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together too. However, a Shihpoo might decide to chase off any other cats they encounter in their environment. Care has to be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Shihpoo is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Shihpoos may be prone to inherit health disorders that affect their parent breeds and breeders should have stud dogs tested before using them in a breeding programme. This reduces the chance of puppies inheriting any of these disorders. The health conditions that seem to affect the parent breeds the most are as follows:
As with any other breed, Shihpoos need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
A Shihpoo can inherit more of a Poodle type coat or they can have the longer, straighter coat of the Shih Tzu as such it really does depend on their coat type as to how much grooming they need. However, one constant is the fact that their coats benefit from being professionally groomed several times a year to keep them tidy. Shihpoos also tend to suffer from tear staining under their eyes which needs to be gently cleaned on a regular basis.
They shed steadily throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Shihpoo is an energetic, intelligent small dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. They need at least 30 to 40-minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible as long as it's in a safe environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Shihpoo would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they could escape and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Shihpoo puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Shihpoo puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Shihpoo, you would need to pay anything from £500 to £850 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Shihpoo in northern England would be £25.45 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £46.12 a month (quote as of October 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Shihpoo and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £600 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Shihpoo would be between £50 to £70 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred puppy.
Click 'Like' if you love Shihpoos.