11 Tips to Find and Rescue a Shihpoo Puppy


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While most potential dog owners agree that it is better for the dogs and society to rescue a puppy (young, adult or senior) from a shelter than to purchase from a breeder, the challenge is that we get in our mind the type or even breed of dog we want, and shelters tend to have few options.

So, how do you go about rescuing a Shihpoo puppy when they are hard to find? Here are 11 tips to help you out:

  1. Exercise patience
  2. Start early
  3. Don’t fall for rescue scams
  4. Online rescue sites
  5. Facebook pages
  6. Humane societies and rescue sanctuaries
  7. Dog of the Week
  8. Local veterinarians
  9. Use your networks
  10. Stay Alert
  11. Enlist help

How to Rescue a Shihpoo

If you are hoping to adopt or rescue a Shihpoo puppy, chances are you want a dog breed that is hypoallergenic, extremely low shedding, likes to cuddle but also have fun, and is loyal and sweet with his or her family. If you have visited your local shelter looking for a rescue, you know that chances are high you will find recently popular breeds (like the Chihuahua) and lots of pit bull mixes that young people and families came to realize they could not deal with.

The first difficulty in rescuinga Shihpoo is the fact that they are still not well known. When searching for your Shihpoo rescue puppy, you will find the breed listed as Shihpoo, Shih-poo, Shih poo, Poo Tzu, Pootzu, Pooshih, Poo-Shih, Shoodle, Shihdoodle, a Shih Tzu-Poodle Mix, or one of any number of other creative names out there. When searching for your Shihpoo rescue puppy, use all of these names, as Google will show different results for each. You should also search for just “Shih Tzu Mix” and “Toy Poodle Mix.”

The second difficulty involves the natural consequence of being relatively new and unknown. Shihpoos still make up only a very small percentage of all dogs bred each year in the US and around the world.

As a consequence, their presence in a shelter is quite a rare occurrence, making it difficult to find a Shihpoo puppy locally or even regionally.

Third, since Shihpoos are indoor dogs, they are much less likely to run away, get lost, and end up in the local animal shelter. Added to the previous reason (lower percentage of all dogs), this means you are highly unlikely to find a Shihpoo puppy in your local shelter.

Fourth, and related to reason number one, many shelters may not know how to classify the Shihpoo. As a mixed breed, standards are not completely set, making it a bit more difficult to identify any Shihpoo puppy without breeder papers.

Finally, a small dog like a Shihpoo is not likely to last long at a shelter. This fun and fascinating study on the average time it took for different dogs to be adopted sheds much needed light on the topic. In spite of the fact that it was performed by a 5th grader, it provides, nevertheless, insightful data. Generally, the smaller the dog breed, the shorter the adoption process.

The exercising of patience is much more than simply waiting. Patience is an principle of effort.

Todd Christensen – ShihpooCentral.com

Exercise patience

By far, the biggest challenge to rescuing a Shihpoo is exercising patience. We live in a world where we think of something we want and we expect to have the opportunity to buy it or acquire it within minutes, hours or at least days.

The exercising of patience is much more than simply waiting. Patience is an principle of effort. It involves commitment, consistency and regular action.

Patience is number one on this list because of how necessary it will be. In all the following steps, persistent and concerted patience will increase the likelihood of your success.

Start and Remain Flexible

If you are set on a Shihpoo puppy of a certain gender and color, your chances of finding a rescue puppy will drop precipitously. Finding any color and gender Shihpoo rescue puppy will be difficult enough, so being flexible will be critical.

The same fifth-grader study cited above found that black dogs took more than twice as long to rescue as gray dogs, meaning you are more likely to find a black Shihpoo puppy in a rescue than a gray Shihpoo. Tri-color puppies where second fastest in terms of being adopted, making them more difficult than tan, white, brown, or red (the next longest rescue time in terms of coat colors).

Other studies, however, including this one from the ASPCA, have tended to bust this myth about “black dog syndrome.” Essentially, because there are more black dogs than other dogs of other colors, you are more likely to find black dogs in a rescue shelter.

The studies all lead to the same takeaways: appearance and behavior are the most common decisioning factors for families adopting a dog. You will want to find a dog that you find appealing both visually and in your interactions.

Start early

Since Shihpoos are so rare in shelters and at dog rescues, you should expect the process of finding a your Shihpoo rescue puppy to take more than a few days or even a few months.

Although you might feel discouraged at having to wait three, six or even 12 months to find and rescue a Shihpoo, keep in mind that buying from a breeder can also take months. Many breeders sell out their litters within weeks of the puppies being born. For both our puppies, we waited almost the full two months from birth to delivery.

Don’t “pay” for a rescue

Calling a puppy a “rescue” and then selling it for a profit seems counter-intuitive. Be aware, though, that you will come across some “puppies for sale” sites that list dogs as rescues and then charge an adoption fee similar to adoption fees for non-rescue puppies.

Rescuing a Shihpoo puppy usually means you are finding a dog that has had a family in the past but that has since been lost or returned for any number of reasons. A rescue puppy is not a puppy from a breeder that did not sell by the time they turned eight weeks.

Some breeders might call a five-month old puppy they could not sell a “rescue.” Purchasing such a puppy, even at a 50% discount, would continue to incentivize the breeder to over-produce the number of Shihpoo puppies demanded by the market. I am not saying you should not purchases such a dog, but you should feel empowered to negotiate a much lower price for the puppy.

The first place most families and households look for a rescue is their local humane society or dog rescue. This “local first” approach to rescuing a Shihpoo is still a great idea. If you can find a puppy there, it will save you both time and money over having to shop around and even drive or fly somewhere to pick up your rescue puppy.

So, how much should you expect to pay for a rescue?

When you rescue a dog from a Humane Society shelter, you might expect to pay anywhere from less than $100 to as much as $500 or $600. Other nonprofit, less-well funded dog rescues may charge more. This cost includes the fees for caring for the dog while in the shelter, but it also typically includes spaying and neutering fees, vaccinations, and often even microchipping expenses. Typically, your patience and hard work can save you money over going with a breeder. Saving money is a wonderful potential side benefit of saving a dog.

Compared to what you will pay for a non-rescue dog, this fee will still be as much as half or even three-quarters less than if you were to pay for these services individually on your own.

Local Humane Society and Dog Rescues

After searching, and usually failing, to find a Shihpoo puppy to rescue at your local Humane Society or dog rescue, you may want to look next at other humane societies and dog rescues in your region, around your state, or across the country. Dog Lovers Digest keeps a list of shelters and rescue organizations by state.

Once you choose a shelter, most will have a search feature. Many, in fact, use online programs like PetFinder.com, which even comes with an email alert option and a “Shelter or Rescue” field option.

Be prepared to spend some time perusing the hundreds of photos that will come up when you search for Mixed, Poodle and Shih Tzu puppies. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions about mixed breed dogs (Poodles or Shih Tzus) that do not come with photos. Ask if there is a chance the dog might be a Shihpoo?

Online sites

You might think that looking on sites that list puppies for sale would be pointless if you are hoping to adopt a rescue dog. Not so.

Six years ago, Instagram user p_grapthor had success finding her rescue Shihpoo by monitoring dogs for sale on sites like PetFinder.com. She spent months looking at this site and others before she came across a Shihpoo puppy available as a rescue.

P_grapthor had two recommendations for those looking online for a Shihpoo to rescue: 1) be very clear in your search criteria. This would include using each of the alternative forms for a Shihpoo as listed above, as well as using the word “rescue” in your search fields. 2) Be consistent in checking the sites. Whether you check them daily or weekly, keep at it until you come across the Shihpoo puppy you want to add to your family.

Besides the puppy sales sites, you should also search for and bookmark rescue pages, like those listed above. Additionally, look for rescue pages on social media. Look for terms such as “rescue,” “little dog” shelters or rescues, and Shihpoo shelters.

Here are a few examples of social media rescue sites to look at:

Warning: When searching on Facebook for puppy rescues, do not access any site that requires 18+ acknowledgement. Even many requesting acceptance of their cookie/tracking policies will turn out instead to be disgusting adult sites.

Pet of the Week Listings

Many local news television, newspapers and even municipalities list a Pet of the Week feature. If you do not watch TV news, you can always access the the current and archived listings on their website.

Even the city of Beverly Hills has a Pet of the Week page. We laud the city for such efforts. The city was not responsible for the glut of Chihuahuas purchased and then abandoned in the wake of the Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua franchise movies starting back in 2008, but it is doing something positive to help rescue dogs and cats in their area.

As CharityPaw.com notes, movies and celebrity pet owners have directly or indirectly promoted certain dog breeds to the point that, as an example, Chihuahuas now make up 30% to 50% of all dogs in many shelters around the country.

This has not been the case for Shihpoos, as mentioned previously. Consequently, you will have to endure endless photos of cats plus dogs of mixed Pit Bull or Chihuahua breeds, but from time to time, you can get lucky and find just the Shihpoo puppy you have been hoping for.

Local veterinarians

Similar to your local shelter and rescue organizations, local veterinarians are unlikely to know of Shihpoos available for adoption. However, in the very low chance that some Shihpoo mom or dad mentions to the vet that they no longer feel able to car for their puppy, you will want to be the one coming to the vet’s mind. Leave your name, phone, email and type of puppy you are interested in.

There are over 73,000 veterinarians in private practice in the US alone, which equates to more than one vet per every 4,000 inhabitants in your town. If you live in a town of 100,000, you will have up to 25 veterinarians in your area to contact.

Stay Alert

As mentioned above, setting up email alerts on sites like PetFinder.com can greatly reduce the amount of time you need to search for a Shihpoo puppy to rescue.

Outside of such sites, you can also set up Google Alerts to notify you of any Shihpoo rescue Google’s crawlers find as they scour the Internet for news and information. To set up a Google Alert, first make sure you are signed into a Google account. Then, go to Google.com/alerts, then type in the search terms such as “Shihpoo Rescue,” “Poo Tzu Rescue” or other similar terms. Finally, click on “Create Alert.”

You can always return to Google.com/alerts to modify or delete your alters. Additionally, you can choose whether to be notified immediately, the same day or once a week when Google finds new information related to your search. You can even identify the geographic region and language you want to include in your search.

If you would like to try additional monitoring programs, you might consider some of those mentioned by Business2Community here. You will likely want to avoid any paid services.

Enlist help

Maximizing the power of your personal network can often be the most effective method for finding the information (or, in this case, the puppy) you are looking for.

Mentioned to your family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors your intent to find a Shihpoo puppy to rescue. While most will likely stare at you with a deer-in-the-headlines gaze before asking what a Shihpoo is, you may be pleasantly surprised to find a few of them both aware of Shihpoos and even of rescue resources. Ask your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other friends to keep an eye, ear or electronic nose out for possible connections for you.

Take advantages of neighborhood-based programs like Nextdoor. Ask neighbors if they know of canine rescue organizations in the area that you may have missed.

Be Wary

Finally, be careful when searching for a Shihpoo puppy to rescue. Scammers know that buying a dog is a very emotional-based decision, much like buying a car or going on a vacation. As a result, there are many unscrupulous people claiming to offer rescue puppies on places like Craigslist.

Never give any personally-identifying information (accounts, social security, credit cards, etc.) to someone you have never met or someone you have never spoken to on the phone.

Taking appropriate precautions, you should still come across opportunities to rescue a Shihpoo puppy and welcome him or her into your loving home. Going back to the first step, exercise patience throughout the process, and you will eventually find success.

Related Questions

How much does a Shihpoo cost? According to our 2019 National Shihpoo Survey, the average cost of a Shihpoo puppy is $952, with females costing nearly $70 more than males, and brown coated Shihpoos costing over $400 more than white coated Shihpoos.

Are Shihpoos Smart? Shihpoos are generally considered to be a very intelligent dog breed. Both of their parents – the Shih Tzu and the Toy Poodle – are well regarded as intelligent, quick learning, and rather easy-to-train dogs.

Todd Christensen

Founder and lead blogger at ShihpooCentral.com, Todd loves his family's two Shih-poo puppies, Titus Rex and Stark Antonio (aka Sir Titus Whitus and Baron von Wigglebutt). He and his wife have four wonderful human children as well, and he doubles by day as a financial educator facilitating budgeting, credit building and debt elimination workshops.

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