Cavapoo vs Cockapoo vs Shihpoo vs Maltipoo


Mixed breed dogs seem to be all the rage over the past two decades, and not just in the US. Some of the most hardcore Shihpoo Mamas and Papas are found in the Philippines, the UK, and the Netherlands. And why not? In the best-case scenario, mixing two purebred dogs may get you the best of each breed, while, in the worst-case scenario, you get a dog very similar to one of the purebred parents with all of his or her good qualities.

What are the similarities and differences between some of the most popular Poodle dog mixes?

Poodle mixes often share the breed’s highly-desirable hypoallergenic coat (or much of it) as well as its sense of loyalty to family and its athletic abilities. Mixing Poodles with other breeds often leads to different looks, traits, and personalities many families want.

DogAverage SizeLife SpanCoatCoat Colors
Cavapoo11-20 lbs13-15 yrsFleece – Curly or wavyBlack, Cream, Apricot, Caramel, White, Red, Sable
Cockapoo12-24 lbs15-17 yrsFur – Straight to CurlyRed, White, Beige, Cream
Maltipoo5-15 lbs11-13 yrsHair – Silky to WiryWhite, Cream, Red, Black, Gray
Shihpoo8-15 lbs13-15 yrsHair – Curly or wavyBlack, White, Gold, Browns, Brindle, Red

Comparison continued

DogApprox PriceHypoallergenicShedderGroomingPersonality
Cavapoo$1,500LowLowLow maintenanceDependable, Gentle, and Loyal
Cockapoo$1,200LowLowHigh maintenanceEnergetic, Vocal, and Playful
Maltipoo$900YesNoModerate maintenanceFriendly, sweet, and loving
Shihpoo$900YesNoLow maintenanceAffectionate and playful

What is a Cavapoo?

Also known as the Cavoodle and Cavadoodles, the Cavapoo is a hybrid dog mix of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. Because Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make most lists of most expensive dog breeds, the Cavapoo carries the highest purchase price of the four dogs featured on this page.

History

The origin of the Cavapoo is disputed, with some claiming the dog was bred in the US back in the 1950s while most believe the Cavapoo traces its beginnings to the 1990s in Australia. With the Cavapoo’s high popularity in Australia and, subsequently in the UK, the latter scenario seems most likely.

Size

The Cavapoo’s size will vary depending upon whether he or she is a mix of a Spaniel with a Miniature Poodle or a Toy Poodle. Some Cavapoos with a Toy Poodle parent may be as small as 9 or 10 lbs while others with a Miniature Poodle parent may be as large as 25 lbs.

Courtesy of PerfectDogBreeds

Of the four dogs featured on this page, the Cavapoo is the second largest on average. As a puppy, the Cavapoo’s size is still likely too small to be left with very young children. However, a 20-lb Cavapoo will likely endure the tuggings of little tyke better than an 8-lb Maltipoo.

Life Expectancy

With an average lifespan in the 13 to 15 year range, the Cavapoo obviously decends from relatively healthy dog breeds. As with any dog, think long-term before deciding on a Cavapoo. In spite of their loving nature, too many still end up shelters and rescues. Check such options first when looking for any dog to bring into your home. And ask yourself, “will I still be in a position in 20 years to care for this dog?” If not, you should either adopt an older dog or make arrangerments with family members to care for your dog as he or she ages.

Coat Characteristics

While the Cavapoo inheritis much of his or her Poodle parent’s curly hair, it is typically not to the extent that makes the Cavapoo hypoallergenic or non-shedding. Because the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sheds annually, you should expect your Cavapoo to do the same. Brush her or his coat regularly to minimize shedding.

Because hybrid offspring vary in personality and coat characteristics more than purebreds (which only enhances their uniqueness and beauty), your Cavapoo may or may not inherit the Poodles hypoallergenic coat. If you or a household member has dog allergies, the Cavapoo may not be the right choice. If you find a local breeder, ask about the hypoallergenic qualities of previous litters.

Personality Traits

A Cavapoo can be a delightful pet. From his or her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent, the Cavapoo can inherit a wonderful playfulness. From the Poodle sign, she or he can inherit athleticism and loyalty to family.

One trait that your Cavapoo will not inherit from either parent is independence. Do not leave your Cavapoo alone for long periods of time. Cavapoos thrive in families and social settings. Being alone for hours at a time can create anxiety and stress for your Cavapoo.

Potential Health Concerns

Because the Poodle is such a generally healthy breed, any potential health concerns with your Cavapoo will most likely come from the Spaniel side. Some of these issues include a highler than normal likelihood of aving an ear infection, experience progressive retinal atrophy (vision problems), and, most concerning of all, heart mitral valve disease. In fact, half of all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a heart murmur by age 5 years and virtually 100% have the murmur by age 10 years.

Top Reasons to Choose a Cavapoo for Your Home

  • It’s hard to argue with the regal poise of these puppies
  • Beloved and loyal companions
  • Less of a shedder than most breeds
  • More hypoallergenic than the standard Cavalier

What is a Cockapoo?

As the mixed offspring of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, the Cockapoo is a gorgeous and loving dog for many families. You certainly know what a poodle looks like, but if you are not sure what a Cocker Spaniel is or what it looks like, think of Lady from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.

History

Considered by many to be the first mixed breed intentionally crossed with a Poodle, the Cockapoo has been around since the mid-twentieth century.

Size

The largest mix of the four dogs featured here, the Cockapoo can be as smalls as 12 lbs or easily as large as 24 lbs. If bred with an English Cocker Spaniel, your Cockapoo will be larger than if bred with an American Cocker Spaniel.

Courtesy of PerfectDogBreeds

Because they can be larger than the typical Shihpoo, you might think the Cockapoo would be more sturdy for playing with a very young child. However, the Cockapoo is still a small dog, even if not considered a toy variety, and care should still be taken to avoid injury from rough handling.

The only mixed dog on this post that might be bred with a standard Poodle rather than just a Toy or Miniature Poodle, such a resulting Cockapoo is much larger than even the 20 lb variety. The term for these larger dogs is Standard or Maxi Cockapoos.

Life Expectancy

Besides being the largest of the four dogs detailed here, the Cockapoo also has the longest life expectancy in general at 15 to 17 years.

Coat Characteristics

Most Cockapoos have the telltale sign of a Poodle coat with curly or wavy hair. Cockapoos can come in light creams and tans to reds to black with white patterns.

Although not completely non-shedding, the Cockapoo will shed very little, perhaps that it is not noticeable to many Cockapoo families.

Similarly, the Cockapoo will produce only low amounts of dander and may be a good choice for families who have someone with allergies.

You should expect to brush your Cockapoo’s coat daily if not twice a week. Do not over bathe your Cockapoo. More than once a month might strip the natural oils and lead to dry, irritated skin.

Personality Traits

Loving and affectionate, the Cockapoo can make a wonderful indoor companion. As with many small dogs, do not leave your Cockapoo alone for long periods of time during the day, whether in the yard or in the garage.

Of the four dogs discussed on this post, Cockapoos require the most exercising. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day on a brisk walk or in very active play time with your Cockapoo to keep him or her from becoming board or acting out with pent up energies.

The Cockapoo will be an intelligent dog and easy to train. That said, like all dogs, Cockapoos will not train themselves. Make sure to spend time daily teaching and reinforcing important obedience and skills. You will end up with a gorgeous dog who will love you and will be admired by all you meet around the neighborhood.

While not known as barkers or howlers like hounds, Cockapoos will bark at approaching strangers and will bark when left alone for long periods of time.

Potential Health Concerns

Cockapoos inherit rather long ears from both parents, but especially from their cocker spaniel parent. The cocker spaniel ear is called a pendulous ear. Rather than “perking up” at noises, the ear just hangs. Consequently, ear infections are rather common, thanks to everything from parasites and mites to microorganisms and fleas that lodge in the warm moist ear canal.

As with others on this page, Cockapoos have a tendency to develop progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative vision problem. They are also prone to hip dysplasia, which can become a debilitating condition in later life.

Courtesy of DogsForGood

Top Reasons to Choose a Cockapoo for Your Home

  • Adoring indoor companion
  • Great with family, visitors other dogs and even cats
  • Good with families who have allergies
  • Adaptable to apartment living (unless a Maxi Cockapoo)

What is a Maltipoo?

The crossbreed offspring of a Toy Poodle and a Maltese, the Maltipoo is an adorable toy dogwho can make a loving and affectionate indoor companion.

Courtesy of PetFirst

Though much less common, other names for this mix include Malt-a-poo, Moodle, and Maltoodle.

History

LIkely bred intentially for the first time in the 1990s, the Maltipoo has grown in popularity throughout the 2010s and 2010s.

Size

The smallest of the four mixed dogs described here. the Maltipoo often may weigh just 5 lbs and rarely grows to weigh more than 15 lbs.

Life Expectancy

Along with their petiteness, Maltipoos will also have the shortest life expectancy of the four dog mixes featured here. At 11 to 13 years, though, their average lifespan is still much longer than most large dogs.

Coat Characteristics

Your Maltipoo may have curly hair though likely wavy. Either way, plan to brush your puppy’s hair twice a week, if not daily. If you keep your Maltipoo’s coat trimmed with a puppy cut, you many not need to brush it more than once ever couple of weeks.

Maltipoos will shed so little that most families will never notice. Additionally, they generally produce so little dander that they are considered very hypoallergenic.

The most common color of Maltipoo coats is white, followed by cream. However, you may also find patterned coats with blacks, grays, and reds.

Personality Traits

Like most mixed dogs with a Poodle parent, Maltipoos are adaptable and charming. Fun-loving and affectionate, Maltipoos also tend to be very good companions for individuals, for families with other dogs, and even for households with cats.

Maltipoos are only moderate barkers, though they should not be left alone during the day for long periods of time. Because they thrive on human companionship, Maltipoos will suffer from separation anxiety when if isolated or left by themselves in the yard or garage.

Your Maltipoo will likely be more energetic than many Poodle mixes, thus requiring daily exercising to keep from becoming bored. Be sure your puppy gets a good walk, runs, or plays hard for 20 to 30 minutes a day. A variety of activities will keep her or his interest.

Potential Health Concerns

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (vision problems) is common with the Maltipoo as it is with other small Poodle mixes. Joint pains may also beome an issue, along with seizures and shakes as your Maltipoo ages.

Top Reasons to Choose a Maltipoo for Your Home

  • Good with other dogs and cats
  • Perfect size for lap companions
  • Affectionate lovebugs

What is a Shihpoo?

Also known as Shihdoodles, Pootzus, Pooshihs (with the final h), and Shoodles, the Shihpoo (often spelled Shih-poo) is a hybrid dog mix of a Toy Poodle and a Shih Tzu. Shihpoos are highly sought after as loving, low-maintenance, and hypoallergenic lap companions and family members.

@BarkleyPants-Featured in Dec ’19

It is uncertain when Shihpoos were first bred intentionally, though likely in the 1980s. However, demand for Shihpoos did not begin to grow until the 2000s.

There are breeders Shihpoos is most every state, with multiple breeders in New York, California, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Utah, Louisiana, North Carolina, and New Jersey. While many Shihpoo breeders have their own website, use a Facebook page, or list their available puppies on Internet puppies-for-sale sites, you may also find breeders by word of mouth referral.

History

Though undocumented, we expect there to have been Poodle and Shih Tzu offspring from as early as the 1930s to the 1950s when Shih Tzus were imported into England and then the US after World War II. However, any such mixes would have been accidents and likely considered undesirable.

Interest in intentionally-mixed dog breeds began in the late 1990s and accelerated in the early 2000s. We find that many people who stop us on the street or in the parks to ask us about our adorable puppies have never heard of the Shihpoo mix. With a name like Shihpoo, you can be sure they would have remembered hearing of it if they had.

Size

Mixed breed dogs have no set standards as purebreds do. The ideal weight of a purebred Shih Tzu, for example, is right around 13 lbs. If the Poodle parent is a Toy Poodle, he or she should weigh between 4 and 6 lbs. As a result, you might expect your Shihpoo to weigh somewhere in between. However, both our Shihpoos had 12 lbs Shih Tzu mamas and 6 lb Toy Poodle papas, and both are 14 to 15 lbs.

If, on the other hand, your Shihpoo has a Miniature Poodle for a parent rather than a Toy Poodle, you should expect your puppy to be even larger. The Miniature Poodle standard weight is 10 to 15 lbs, or more than twice the size of the Toy Poodle. In such cases, you might expect your Shihpoo to weigh as little as 10 lbs to as much as 20 lbs in some cases.

If you would like to know how much your Shihpoo puppy will weigh in adulthood (usually achieved at or just before their first birthday), is to ask the breeder how much Shihpoos from previous litters have weighed. If asking the breeder is not an option, you can try multiplying your puppy’s weight at six weeks by three or four.

Although it provides widely varying estimates, you can try our weight estimation calculator to get an idea of what you might expect as far as your Shihpoo puppy’s adult weight.

Life Expectancy

As a general rule and not a specific guarantee, mixed breeds should outlive their parents. Darwin’s theories basically say that species thrive by inheriting the best characteristics of their parents.

According to the American Kennel Club, Toy Poodles, Miniature Poodles and Shih Tzus ALL have a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years. That is a large range, but it means your Shihpoo should, in theory, have a very similar life expectancy. Realistically, you can expect your Shihpoo to live between 13 to 15 years.

Coat Characteristics

Besides their irresistible charisma and adorableness, Shihpoos tend to be very hypoallergenic, which is one of the tops reasons for choosing a Shihpoo for your home. There is no such thing as “non-allergenic,” since all dogs can produce dander to which some people will have reactions. However, Shihpoos produce very little and will be great family members even for many people with allergies to other dogs.

Additionally, Shihpoos do not have an undercoat of fur that leads to a large amount of shedding in other dogs. Instead, they have the outer coat of what is generally considered hair. Whether inheriting the tight and curly hair f their Poodle parent or the long and flowing hair of their Shih Tzu parent, Shihpoos will rarely shed hair on your furniture.

This also means that grooming can be fairly minimal, especially if you keep your Shihpoo in a puppy cut (short). As her or his hair grows, you should plan to brush it out once a week and have it trimmed every six weeks to eight or so.

Personality Traits

One of the great joys of adding a Shihpoo puppy to your home is the uniqueness of his or her character. Whereas purebreds are bred to standardize not only the good health of breed but also the “desirable” character trains of the dogs. In the American Kennel Club’s perfect, all dogs of the same breed will be alike in physical size and appearance as well as in personality. Talk about designing dogs!

Shihpoos and other mixed breeds, on the other hand, provide opportunities for nature to create new and unique puppies with their own characteristics and personality traits. From their regal and calm (and agile) Shih Tzu parent, your Shihpoo will likely inherit a penchant for cuddling and enjoying time on your lap. The Shih Tzu parent might also pass along an independent nature that some term stubbornness.

We have not noticed any stubbornness in either of our Shihpoos, other than one’s desire to never let go of a ball or toy upon request when a fun tug of war is still a possibility.

Your Shihpoo may also inherit the Shih Tzu trait of barking when friend or foe alike approach your family (i.e. ring the doorbell or knock at the door). That said, you may have very little trouble training your Shihpoo to not bark. In fact, probably the best tool we could recommend of all that we have used is a handheld training device like the one our neighbor gifted us (by Inoosky). It really does work like magic. It gets your dog’s attention off the door and keeps them quiet.

One other personality trait likely to be passed to your Shihpoo from her or his Shih Tzu ancestors is a friendly and outgoing disposition. Like our own Shihpoos, your Shihpoo will likely never meet a stranger he or she doesn’t want to make into a fast and close friend.

From the other side of the family, Shihpoos usually inherit the higher degree of athleticism and agility of the Poodle, although Shih Tzu are agile in their own right. Still, you will likely be surprised how high your Shihpoo will be able to jump, even with short Shih Tzu legs. Beds and couches are no problem for our two Shihpoos.

Your Shihpoo may also love water, since Poodles have been bred for centuries to retrieve downed fowl on hunting trips. Nature may also, on the other hand, give your Shihpoo her or his Shih Tzu parent’s lack of gusto for swimming. It may not be that your puppy has no desire to swim, but if he or she has the short legs of the Shih Tzu, it can be difficult to even do the dog paddle.

Finally, Shihpoos will likely inherit from both parents a strong sense of loyalty to their families. While you can and likely will hurt your Shihpoo’s feelings at some point, you can expect him or her to quickly let bygones be bygones, so long as you will still cuddle on the couch or toss a ball around the room to chase.

Potential Health Concerns

Poodles tend to be among the healthiest of dog breeds, so your Shihpoo will inherit very few problems from the Poodle side. Even though all Shih Tzus descend rather disturbingly from just seven pairs of Shih Tzu dogs saved from the communist revolution in China in the 1930s through 1950s, they too have relatively few health issues.

Once potential issue you can prevent or at least minimize has to do with your Shihpoo’s likely underbite. Related dental problems may arise, so be sure to get your puppy in the routine of brushing teeth every night (okay, so you’re the one that needs to be in the habit, and not so much your puppy).

Finally, watch your Shihpoo through the years for signs of hip dysplasia. Bunny hopping, gingerly walking, or an uneasy gate may indicate potential hip problems that can lead to complete loss of mobility without proper attention or care.

Top Reasons to Choose a Shihpoo for Your Home

There are so many reasons you might choose to add a Shihpoo to your household, but here are just a few:

Our Stark Antonio at 6 week
  • Their coats do not shed, since they have hair and no undercoat of fur.
  • As mentioned, they are hypoallergenic.
  • They are great cuddle-buddies.
  • Easy to train
  • Their eyes can melt the hardest of hearts
  • Shihpoos can be extraordinarily patient with children, though you might consider a larger breed if you have your own children under 5 years old in the home.
  • Shihpoos can make great apartment dogs and require minimal exercising (though still need 15-30 minutes of daily activity).

Related Questions

Why do so many dog mixes end with “poo” or “oodle”? Because they have a long history of health and, more importantly to most homes, a hypoallergenic coat that sheds very little, Poodles are highly desirable as a breed. Using a Poodle parent in a mixed breed will likely result in similar, if not exactly matching, coats and health.

What are the best characteristics to inherit from a Poodle parent? Most families of Poodle mixes appreciate the hybrid dog’s non-shedding and hypoallergenic coat, along with the dog’s patient and loyal personality.

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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