9 Steps to Find the Right Shihpoo Breeder


As a relative newcomer to puppy-dom, Shihpoos are still not very well known. Since there is not yet a huge demand for them, even two decades after their earliest appearance, it can be difficult to locate a Shihpoo breeder in your area or even around the country. We feel fortunate to have found breeders in our region of the Pacific Northwest with available puppies at just the right time.

So how do you find a Shihpoo breeder near you?

According to our 2019 survey of Shihpoo breeders nationwide, there are approximately 150 Shihpoo breeders advertising online or with an online presence (e.g. web site), not including breeders only using social media sites and word-of-mouth marketing. Find the right breeder for you by setting your standards and asking around (online and in person) for trusted referrals.

What Makes a Breeder Right for You

Before getting into the details of finding a Shihpoo breeder, make sure you have considered finding a Shihpoo rescue. It will require more patience and persistence, but you can save a life and minimize the development of puppy mills around the country.

There are many factors involved in choosing the right Shihpoo breeder for you. Some are wants, others are, or should be, needs.

Affordability

Although we try to deny it, our household economic situation plays a major role in most of our major decisions, including our choices of pets. Given two equal options, we will chose the one with the smallest price tag. We would count ourselves fools to do otherwise.

Find our survey of Shihpoo puppy prices from around the country at this link. The cost of a young Shihpoo puppy varies greatly from state to state and by characteristic. Do you research to avoid dealing with puppy mills.

Licensed vs. Certified vs. Experienced

Licenses and certificates can offer you as a buyer some confidence that the breeder is following both the law and best practices when it comes to breeding puppies.

Licensed

A license is a legal permission to provide breeder services. Most states do not require small breeders (two litters or less per year) to obtain a commercial breeders license. The Animal Legal and Historical Center at Michigan State University keeps an easy-to-read table of state-specific requirements at this link.

After finding a breeder, make sure that he or she is licensed as required by the state where they live. Ask for a copy of their license (or their license number) and verify it with the state’s issuing body.

Certified

Since Shihpoos are not recognized by the American Kennel Club as a breed of their own, you will not find AKC-certified Shihpoo breeders. There are AKC-certified breeders of recognized purebred dogs, however, that also breed designer puppies like Shihpoos. For example, you can find AKC-certified Shih Tzu breeders who also sell Shihpoo puppies. The AKC offers several different certifications, but in general, such certificates mean the breeder is accepting responsibility for the health and well-being of their puppies and has agreed to raise them according to ethical and healthy standards.

Other organizations offer certifications as well. Some certificates may be as easy to obtain as paying a fee and registering online while others will require many hours of educational courses to complete.

Experienced

While all breeders need to start somewhere, you should be extra vigilant when working with first-time or relatively new breeders. They should be eager to please potential families in order to earn your business.

If a breeder you are working with is unwilling to show you the puppies’ home or where the puppies are bred, it is probably time to cut the cord and look elsewhere. Responsible breeders do not fear openness. Irresponsible breeders only want money and not attention.

Look for online reviews from past customers. Do not accept reviews listed on a brochure or website. Find reviews on Google, Yelp and even social media.

Puppy Health

Most breeders will include some sort of health guarantee or warranty. That is a good start. Ask to get it in writing before ever choosing to work with the breeder. Read through the paperwork to understand what the breeder is actually warranting.

You might be willing to accept and love a puppy with a deformation or a congenital disease, but breeders who sell dogs with such health challenges should not be rewarded. If you purchase a puppy and later find a health problem the breeder is not willing to address, consider reporting the breeder to the US Humane Society.

Breeder Environment

Regardless of how near or far you look for a breeder, the best way to tell a responsible breeder from an irresponsible breeder is to see the conditions in which the puppies are bred. Photos on a webpage or brochure are not good enough. Ask to visit the breeder if you are within driving distance. Otherwise, ask for a current photo of the puppies, with the breeder making a specific sign with his or her hand, so you know the photo is updated. Kind of like Van Halen’s jar of M&Ms without the brown candies as a quick way to confirm the picture’s authenticity.

After seeing the conditions in which puppies are raised, if you question the cleanliness or the care, please consider finding another breeder. Obviously, puppies and breeding parents should never be kept in cages or crates other than for sleeping. Puppy mills keep their dogs in crates for extended periods of time and let them out just to mate. Please do not purchase a puppy from such a breeder or from any pet store (brick and mortar or online) that sources its animals from such breeders.

Do not expect sterile conditions. Potty training your puppy comes after you take him or her home, right? However, puppies should not be covered in feces or wallow in large puddles of urine.

You should also watch for interaction between the mama and the whelps to be confident the puppies are learning important life lessons from her and from each other.

Location

Finding a breeder within driving distance is more than just convenient. It means you won’t have to spend extra money for pickup or shipping, and you can see for yourself the environment where your puppy is being raised.

Titus Rex resembles a Guinea Pig at 5 weeks… a Guinea Pig with a Mick Jagger hairdo

When we purchased our first Shihpoo, we found a breeder located along the four and a half hour drive to our daughter’s college. My daughter stopped in once on her own to see the 5-week old litter. I stopped once with my middle boy, and I stopped again with my older son and daughter. We got to see our Titus Rex three times as a family before we finally adopted him. The breeders were very open about our visits, so long as they were within reasonable visiting hours.

If distance makes such visits impossible, have virtual visits. Facetime and Duo make live video chats simple and free. Ask to see your puppy, his or her litter mates, and the mama. Take note of the order, the physical care, and the relative cleanliness of the area.

Puppy Characteristics

Shihpoo puppies are not like milkshakes. You can’t always order them by the exact size and flavor from any breeder you meet. Most breeders will have one or two breeding parents that produce a limited variety of coat colors and puppy sizes.

If you are unable to afford traveling to pick up your Shihpoo out of your area (or have it shipped to you for an additional $500 to $1,000), you may have to accept whatever coat colors your local breeders offer. That said, be aware that breeder prices vary so much by coat color and gender that purchasing out of state may be just as affordable (if not more so) than buying local.

Additional Services

Research the various services provided by breeders in your area and those around the country. Besides providing a health warranty, will the breeder offer microchipping? Will it cost extra or is it a free value-added service? Please consider microchipping as early as a veterinarian will provide the service.

Other breeders include a kennel when shipping out of state. Ask potential breeders for an exact list of services and products that accompany your puppy’s adoption.

Try the Following 9 Steps to Find the Right Shihpoo Breeder for You

To Shihpoo or not to Shihpoo, that is not the question. The question is where and how to find one. If you can find a rescue Shihpoo, please consider that option first. They are hard to find, given how cute and sweet they are, but the process is worth the effort.

If you choose to bring home an eight month old Shihpoo puppy from a breeder, here are some resources to help you find the Shihpoo of your dreams.

ONE: Online

Unless you are extremely fortunately, chances are you live at least an hour, if not three or four, from the nearest Shihpoo breeder. Consequently, an Internet search of Shihpoo breeders can provide you with locations, availability, cost, and other services related to a new Shihpoo puppy.

Our 2019 Average Shihpoo Cost survey reveales a wide variety of puppy prices, shipping and delivery options, coat colors, available ages, and services like microchipping and health warranties.

Finding a breeder online obviously opens more choices as a new Shihpoo family. You can decided ahead of time if you want a male or female, a white Shihpoo or a black one, a Shihpoo with red coat or brown. In fact, using our survey results, you can also see how gender and coat color affects the price of your new fur baby.

Keep in mind as you perform your Internet search that the majority of breeders do not ship puppies by air. As a consequence, you will either need to drive or fly to pick up a puppy that is more than a few miles from your home.

TWO: Facebook

Facebook’s Commerce Policies has always prohibited the promotion of any selling or purchasing of animals (including pets). Promotion differs from existence, though. Shihpoo breeders can and do have a Facebook presence. Facebook just does not allow them to advertise or promote their business.

That means that you won’t just “happen” upon a Shihpoo breeder. You will need to search for one. Searching for “Shihpoo breeder” or “Shihpoos for sale” will result in a long screen of people, groups and pages dedicated to their love of this adorable Shih Tzu-Poodle mix. Click on “Pages” to bring up a list of breeders with a presence on Facebook.
Be aware that you will find many more Shih Tzu breeders than Shihpoo breeders on Facebook (and elsewhere), regardless of whether you search for Shihpoos, Shih-poos, Shih poos or Shipoos. You will need to filter through them patiently.

THREE: Instagram

The great joy of Instagram is its visual and casual environment. You will not find too many actual breeders on Instagram, although there are a few with #ShihpooBreeder in their profile. You can certainly start there.

However, photos of cute Shihpoos of all colors and sizes abound. Shihpoo families love posting their puppies’ shenanigans and latest outings on Instagram.

Search for #Shihpoo or #Pootzu or “Shoodle” or even #Shidoodle and their families in all shapes, sizes and colors. After you find posts of the types of Shihpoo you are looking for, find the corresponding Instagram profile and ask the owner if he or she wouldn’t mind sharing their breeder’s information with you. Before asking, look for the profile’s location. Shihpoos are popular around the world, from Australia and the Philippines to the US and UK, and across the Channel to the Continent.

FOUR: Pinterest

Like Instagram, Pinterest focuses on visual content. Even a search for “Shihpoo Breeder” can result in so many photos of the cutest puppies in the world that it can be easy to get lost “down the rabbit hole” browsing through them. You will need to stay focused on your purpose.

When you find a Shihpoo photo with the term, “breeder” listed in the description, follow the link. It will usually take you to the breeder’s home page.

You may also consider search for “Shihpoo puppies for sale.” Many of the photos will be of puppies that have already been sold, but the links will take often take you to breeder pages where you can find puppies currently available.

FIVE: Ask a Veterinarian

Veterinarians are not in the business of buying or selling puppies, but they and their staff often know of local breeders. Responsible breeders will work with a veterinarian to examine their puppies between birth and delivery around eight weeks.

Most metropolitan areas will have scores of veterinarian offices for you to contact. Sending an email may seem like the easiest option, but emails are easy to ignore. Make a phone call instead. Besides the information on breeders you may get, make note of the staff’s or doctor’s customer service skills. You will need to choose a veterinarian after you find your Shihpoo, so take note of the offices most willing to help you.

SIX: Ask a Shihpoo Owner

If you ever meet a Shihpoo owner, ask them where they found their puppy and what they thought of the breeder. Most Shihpoo families enjoy sharing their love of the breed that they are more than happy to get you in touch.

Plus, when you do end up with your own furry teddy bear of a Shihpoo, you might consider organizing a Shihpoo play date. There are even groups of Shihpoos and their Mamas and Papas that gather regularly for excursions (I’m thinking of one in the Philippines in particular that I have followed on social media).

SEVEN: Look on Internet For Sale Sites

Online pet sales sites like PuppyFind.com and NextDayPets.com offer easy-to-use filters to help you identify Shihpoos puppies available for sale around the country. While such services offer extraordinary convenience, be aware that some are notorious for working with puppy mills.

If you choose to go this route, insist on in person or virtual visits with the puppy and the breeder. Ask them to show you their entire operation. If meeting virtually, ask them to show you where the puppies are born and raised on a day-to-day basis. Ask them to take you on a virtual tour outside their home or office in order to give you a visual of their front, side and back yards to make sure there are no pens and cages of dogs. If the breeder gives ANY excuse as to why they cannot give you a tour, move on and do not work with them. Period.

EIGHT: Meet the Breeder

When meeting the breeder, whether in person or virtually, insist on seeing where the puppies are bred and raised. Some breeders will open their home to you and others will insist on only meeting at public places.

Visit at 6 weeks

Small breeders may be uncomfortable allowing you as a “stranger” into their home, but that is part of being a responsible breeder. Be careful of accepting photos and videos as replacements for in-person visits. In such cases, ask the breeder to take pictures immediately of the puppies and breeding area and request they add something unique to the photos so that you know they are not stock images. For example, have them add their hand to the corner of each photo with just their pinkie finger extended.

When visiting, you may be struck, as we were, by the smells of urine and feces. Remember that puppies are not potty trained. Pay more attention to the cleanliness of the puppy to ensure they are not covered or left in such filth.

NINE: Know the Services

Some breeders offer the minimum product, meaning just the puppy. Some are the Rolls Royce of breeders and include microchipping and even delivery nannies. Most offer immunization records, veterinarian checkups, and health guarantees.

Ask for a list of included services and get it in writing (or find it on one of their web pages). You should also ask for a list of optional services and their costs. Again, get it in writing. When comparing breeders and their prices, you want to compare apples to apples.

Related Questions

Do Shihpoos shed a lot? Not at all. Shihpoos inherit the ultra-low shedding coats and hair of both their Shih Tzu and their Toy Poodle parents. You are more likely to see your own hair in your own bath tub than you are to find your Shihpoo’s hair on a couch or the floor.

Are Shihpoos smart? Shihpoos can be very smart. As with all dogs, some with demonstrate an ability to learn more quickly than others. Generally, though Shihpoos can be quick studies with training and home rules.

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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