Compare These Four Toy Dogs by Size, Lifespan, Coats, and Personalities
If you are among the tens of thousands of Americans looking to add a beautiful, sweet, hypoallergenic, and small dog to your home this year, you have likely come across the question of the difference between a Shihpoo (sometimes spelled Shih-poo), a Pomchis, a Dachshunds, and a Bichon Frise.
What is the difference between a Shihpoo, a Pomchi, a Dachshund, and a Bishon Frise? Are they all designer dogs or are they breeds?
The Shihpoo and the Pomchi are mixes of two pure breeds, known as designer dogs. The Dachshund and the Bishon Frise are designated as breeds by the American Kennel Club. All four are considered toy dogs, weighing no more than 15 to 20 lbs.
|Dog||Breed or Mix||Average Size||Life Span||Coat||Coat Colors|
|Shihpoo||Mix||8-15 lbs||13-15 yrs||Hair – Curly or wavy||Black, White, Gold, Browns, Brindle, Red|
|Pomchi||Mix||3-7 lbs||8-10 years||Fur – Single to double coats, thick and fluffy||Red, Orange, Sable, Cream, Black|
|Mini Dachshund||Breed||Under 11 lbs||12-14 years||Fur – Short and shiny to long and wavy||Black, Tan, Red, Cream|
|Bichon Frise||Breed||12-18 lbs||16-17 years||Hair – Soft and Dense, Curly||White, Buff|
|Shihpoo||$900||Yes||No||Weekly to Monthly||Affectionate and playful|
|Pomchi||$800||No||Yes||Weekly to Monthly||Loyal and playful|
|Mini Dachshund||$1,000||No||Yes||Weekly to Monthly||Lively, Rash and Protective|
|Bichon Frise||$1,100||Yes||No||Daily to Weekly||Merry|
What is a Shihpoo?
The Shihpoo is a mix of two purebred parents, a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle. That said, there are some second-generation Shihpoos who are the offspring of two Shihpoo parents. Our two Shihpoos had Shih Tzu mothers (11 lbs) and Toy Poodle fathers (6 lbs). Both ended up weighing three to four pounds heavier than their largest parent.
Since the Shihpoo is a relative newcomer to the dog world, there has been no consensus as to either the mix’s name or spelling. Besides Shihpoo and its variations, some use the name Poo Tzu, others Shihdoodle, others Pooshih, and still others just Shoodle. Shihpoo is by far the most common name.
Currently, the most common spelling, however, is Shih-poo, which includes a hyphen. Historical linguistics teaches us that eventually, we will drop the hyphen and stick with Shihpoo, which is why this site always uses Shihpoo without the hyphen.
Designer dog or breed?
Shihpoos have not been recognized by the American Kennel Club as a breed. Rather, the Shihpoo is a mixed breed dog. Calling it a designer dog is commonly accepted though a bit of a misnomer. The term “design” indicates intentional planning, which is exactly what all purebred dogs are. Purebreds are intentionally planned by selecting the standard characteristics while leaving out of the breeding process the least desirable issues.
The Shihpoo is a relative newcomer to the dog world. While no exact years or timeframes have been definitively established with regard to the history of the Shihpoo hybrid dog, they generally began appearing intentionally in the late 1990s to early 2000s. After a couple of decades, most people have still never heard of a Shihpoo dog, either laughing aloud at the name or wondering bemusedly at who might give a dog such a name.
We are proud to present Shihpoo Central as an early website devoted entirely to the joy and the adorableness that is the Shihpoo.
As a hybrid dog rather than a breed, there are no set standards or expectations of the puppy or adult. Consequently, the size of a Shihpoo can vary greatly and may not even correspond to the parents’ weights and sizes.
For example, both of our Shihpoos had 11-lb mothers and 6-lb fathers. Consequently, we expected our puppies to top out in the eight to ten-pound range. Not so! Both weigh around 13 to 15 lbs. While not perfect, you might get an idea of how much your Shihpoo will weigh as an adult using our weight estimation calculator.
Some Shihpoos, on the other hand, may only top out at five or six pounds. Your best bet at estimating your Shihpoo puppy’s adult weight is to learn the adult weights (at 9-12 months) of puppy’s from previous litters. Barring that option, tripling or quadrupling your puppy’s weight at age six weeks (one and a half months).
There are no guarantees in life outside of taxes and death. Your Shihpoo may live over 20 years (very few instances on record) or he or she may develop a terminal health issue and only live to be three or four.
Most Shihpoo, though, reach the age of 13 to 15 years with a large number living into their mid- to later-teens.
One of the most attractive reasons to bring a Shihpoo into your home is his or her coat. Generally considered hair rather than fur, the Shihpoo coat can be wavy or curly, depending upon which parent the puppy inherits his or her hair from most.
Brush your Shihpoo’s hair at least weekly and expect to groom him or her every six to ten weeks.
The Shihpoo coat is considered both non-shedding and hypoallergenic. Poodles have been bred for centuries to have a non-shedding and hypoallergenic coat, which is why they are such a popular part of so many hybrid dogs (anything ending with “doodle”).
Shih Tzus are often considered hypoallergenic, though this is not technically true. Because the Shih Tzu coat is made up of hair rather than fur (like the Poodle), it is easy to assume it is hypoallergenic. Shedding may also occur with Shih Tzus, but it would be no more noticeable than with human hair.
Shihpoos generally inherit two dominant traits from their parents, though the level to which these traits reveal themselves will vary from puppy to puppy. From their Shih Tzu parent, they typically inherit their love of cuddling and relaxing on your comfortable lap. They can also inherit an independent streak, or what some people refer to as the Shihpoos stubbornness. In our two Shihpoos, the closest they come to stubborn is one who refuses to give up a toy after fetching it. The other puppy drops it on command, but the “independent” one prefers to have you try to wrestle it away.
Additionally, the Shih Tzu side of the family, though not happy, will compel your Shihpoo to give you a bark or two (or twelve) when someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the front door. You can train him or her not to bark, or you can use a handheld training device like the one we got from our neighbor (by Inoosky) that worked like a charm almost immediately.
Your Shihpoo will also generally inherit the friendly, outgoing nature of his or her Shih Tzu ancestors. Our Shihpoos have never met a person they didn’t consider their fan.
From their Poodle parent, they often, though not always inherit their athleticism. For such small dogs, Shihpoos have unexpectedly springy legs and can hop up onto most beds. Poodles love water, and your Shihpoo may as well. However, since Shih Tzus are NOT known for their swimming, be careful not to put your Shihpoo into a pool or lake and expect him or her to swim naturally or even easily. Each will be different.
While Shihpoos can bark at noises coming from the front door (bell, knocks, voices, etc.) or the garage (door going up, doors closing, etc.), some have weaker voices than others. Additionally, being the intelligent dogs they are, they can be trained rather quickly to stop barking at such noises. Consider using the Inoosky 3-in-1 anti-barking ultrasonic training device (click here). Within two or three times using it, neither of our Shihpoos had much inclination to continue (or even start) barking at sudden noises.
Finally, Shihpoos can inherit a strong sense of loyalty to their families through their Poodle parentage. It is very possible to hurt your Shihpoo’s feelings, but they can be quite forgiving very quickly.
Potential Health Concerns
Shihpoos can often inherit their Shih Tzu parent’s underbite, which can contribute to dental problems. Be sure to brush your Shihpoo’s teeth daily and provide him or her with dental chews (brushing being the most important). As your Shihpoo ages, he or she may also be susceptible to hip dysplasia. Watch for signs of lameness, bunny hopping or difficulting rising.
Top Reasons to Choose a Shihpoo for Your Home
Some of the most common reasons for bringing a Shihpoo into a human family include:
- Just SO darn cute and adorable
- Hypoallergenic coat (remember, though, that there is no such thing as “no allergy” coats)
- Non-shedding hair (or at least as little as most humans)
- Wonderful lap companions and movie buddies
- Patient with kids (best with children 5 years and older)
- Playful and cheerful indoor dogs
What is a Pomchi?
Like Shihpoos, Pomchis are hybrid dogs, with one Pomeranian parent and one Chihuahua parent. The Pomchi is the smallest of the four dogs included in this comparison.
Other names for this mixed breed dog include the Chi-Pom, the Chiranian, and, my personal favorite, the Pomahuahua.
Designer dog or breed?
The Pomchi is not a breed but a mix of two purebred dogs. You can call the Pomchi a hybrid dog, a mixed breed (the most technically correct term), or even a designer dog.
Like other “designer” dogs, there were probably many Pomeranian-Chihuahua mixes over the past hundred years, though intentional breeding likely started in the late 1990s to mid-2000s. Pomeranian breeders, due to the extraordinarily small gene pool of the officially-registered dogs, have practiced a much-higher-than-expected level of inbreeding. Added to the extra-small size of the teacup Pomeranian, this has led to more health concerns than most dog breeds. The level of inbreeding of both long-hair and smooth-hair Chihuahuas is also high above expectations, though less so among smooth-hair Chihuahua breeders. Fortunately, this trend has been heading down since the late 2000s.
Of the four dogs featured in this post, the Pomchi is typically the smallest, especially when a Chihuahua is mixed with a teacup Pomeranian. Many Pomchis weigh no more than five pounds fully grown.
Besides being the smallest of these for dogs, the Pomchi also has the shortest life expectancy, at just eight to ten years, though twelve years is quite common.
Pomchi will often have the body build and coat of their Pomeranian parent, meaning they can be fluffy and will have a double coat that requires weekly grooming at the very least. This double coat (short fur plus the longer hair) also means anyone with allergies should beware of rushing into such a relationship without understanding the potential complications. Your Pomchi will also require regular grooming to avoid matting. Brush two to three times a week and expect a visit to the groomers monthly.
As with all mixed breeds, your Pomchi might inherit more of its personality from one parent than from another, rather than a perfect blend. From its Chihuahua parent, it might inherit its energy and liveliness, along with a penchant for both anxiety and aggression. From its Pomeranian parent, it might inherit its curiosity, intelligence, friendliness, and an aptitude for obedience.
Pomchis tend to be barkers whenever unexpected noises occur in the house (door knocks or doorbells), but they may also exhibit persistence in barking when left alone, as they usually inherit an inclination to anxiety from their Chihuahua parent.
Potential Health Concerns
A few health concerns to be aware of for Pomchis include hypoglycemia (controllable with proper diet), epilepsy, and eye problems. Make and keep regular visits with your veterinarian to stay on top of potential problems. Finally, because of the possibility of inheriting some of the Chihuahua’s hair-trigger aggression, be sure to socialize your Pomchi with family, strangers, and with other puppies.
Top Reasons to Choose a Pomchi for Your Home
- They’re so FLUFFY!
- They are as cute as a fox (and often the same color).
- Pomchis can make good apartment dogs
What is a Dachshund?
Likely THE most recognizable breed in the world and among the fifteen most popular dogs in the US, Dachshunds were originally bred as underground badger hunters. This explains their powerfully-built, forward-loaded rib cage and their tendency to dig and dig and dig.
Even many Dachshund families disagree over how to pronounce the name of their dog breed. Most people pronounce Dachshund DAAK-snd (kind of like the old Datsun car maker), but others insist on pronouncing the breed like DASH-hound.
Designer dog or breed?
The American Kennel Club recognized Dachshunds as a separate breed all the way back in 1885, more than 30 years before the Labrador Retriever is officially recognized.
Dachshunds have been around for nearly a millennium, being identified as early as the 1200s in what is now Germany. They have been so closely identified with Germany that during the anti-German times of World War I, some Americans insisted on calling these dogs Liberty Hounds.
While the standard Dachshund weighs between 16 and 32 lbs, but mini Dachshunds are defined as dogs of this breed under 11 lbs.
For Dachshunds who avoid the major back problems common to this breed, you can expect your mini Dachshund to live between twelve and sixteen years. Complications from back injuries can significantly shortly your Dachshund’s quality of life and, consequently, his or her lifespan.
Dachshunds come in three coat types: smooth, wirehaired, and longhaired. All varieties will shed, including the smooth shorthairs.
Many new smooth Dachshund families mistakenly expect their puppy not to shed. This was our experience years ago when we had a red, shorthair mini Dachshund named, Dash (the Incredibles was still a relatively newly-released movie). To our surprise, we found short dog hair everywhere our puppy went.
The primary colors of Dachshunds include blacks, browns, and reds. Some Dachshunds will be solid colors while others will have these colors as their base and exhibit tans, creams, and even whites on their paws or their chests.
Dachshunds can be very loyal to their families. However, this loyalty also means they are among the most likely breeds to be aggressive to other humans. A neighbor’s Dachshund chased our young five-year-old boy all the way down the block (in the middle of the street, of course) when the dog slipped through the legs of his mama at the door.
Mini Dachshunds, as a traditional hound, will likely be barkers as well. This is natural since they were bred to alert hunters when they found a small animal. However, the Dachshund we rescued/fostered was absolutely not a barker for the most part, although night time found him in his crate in an interior laundry room a few times.
Being small-animal bush flushers also explains why they have a tendency to drag their humans from bush to bush during their “investigations.”
Mini Dachshunds may be left alone for short periods of time but should not be subjected to extreme temperatures. They are not outdoor dogs in wintertime, as they do not tolerate cold weather for long. They should not be left outside during summer heat for extended periods, even in shade.
Potential Health Concerns
The most common serious health concerns for dachshunds, whether mini or standard, involve their long backs. Mini dachshunds have a much higher incidence of such problems. Care must be taken when lifting dachshunds of all ages.
Additionally, you should provide your dachshund, regardless of his or her age, stepping blocks or ramps for getting onto and off of couches and beds to avoid injury.
One of the most surprising health concerns for Dachshund families involves the dog’s propensity to gain excessive weight. As Mini Dachshunds gain additional weight, it puts even more strain on their backs, which is by far the subject of most of this dog’s health issues.
Top Reasons to Choose a Dachshund for Your Home
- With those tiny legs and that long body, they are certainly adorable.
- You enjoy a couple of brief outdoor walks each day to exercise your puppy.
- You don’t mind minimal shedding or regular barking
- You are looking for an indoor dog for your urban apartment
What is a Bichon Frise?
If you have seen walking cotton-ball-on-a-leash around your neighborhood, it just may have been a Bichon Frise sighting. A happy companion of the European noble classes from the high Middle Ages through the French Revolution, the Bichon Frise most likely descended from an earlier water spaniel.
How do you even pronounce the name? From the French term referring to a small or baby doe, Bichon is pronounced bee-SHOWN. Frise is french for “curly” and technically be spelled with an acute accent on the -e as frisé. Either way, the pronunciation is free-ZAY. Together, you say bee-SHOWN free-ZAY.
Designer dog or breed?
The American Kennel Club recognized the Bichon Frise as a full breed quite recently, in 1971. Classified, not surprisingly, as a non-sporting breed, the Bichon Frise is often confused with the Coton de Tulear. Both are generally white and considered hypoallergenic, but the Coton has a longer coat and the Bichon, as its French name says, has very curly hair.
Originally bred from the early water-spaniel on the island of Tenerife (among the Canary Islands belonging to Spain), the Bichon Frise quickly became associated with medieval and renaissance European nobility. Other breeds related to the Bichon Frise include the Bolognese, the Maltese, and the Havanese, all of which have playful, fun and cheerful dispositions.
The largest of the four dogs featured here, the Bichon Frise will typically grow to weigh as much as nearly 20 lbs (18) or as little as 12 lbs full grown.
A Bichon Frise has the longest life expectancy of the four dogs featured here, at between 14 and 20 years.
Few if any dogs have a coat as hypoallergenic as that of a Bishon Frise. Its tightly-curled hair (no under-fur) offers little possibility for pet dander.
Additionally, a Bichon Frise comes in any color you could possibly want, as long as it’s white or buff (off-white).
Known for their happy demeanor, the Bichons have never met another dog or human they did not consider their best friend. This dog makes a loving, affectionate, and cheerful lap companion.
Because they are such a friendly breed, Bichon Frises crave company and do not like being left alone. If you need a dog that you can leave at home all day (or even half a day), the Bichon Frise is not a dog for you.
Additionally, if not checked quickly, your Bichon could become a loud and persistent barker. Train your Bichon early by teaching him or her the Speak and the Quiet commands.
Potential Health Concerns
Like most toy dogs, individual Bichon Frises can be relatively healthy throughout their lifetime. That said, like most toy dog breeds and mixes, they have certain health problems to watch out for. You will want to watch for signs of cataracts in his or her eyes as well as the more common issue of a knee cap dislocation (patellar luxation).
Top Reasons to Choose a Bichon Frise for Your Home
- Intensely adorable
- Very hypoallergenic coat
- A good breed for a city apartment, but do NOT leave him or her alone for extended periods.
- You enjoy daily walks with your dog
- You don’t mind the required daily grooming to keep the curly hair from matting
What is the difference between a Shihpoo and a Cockapoo? A Shihpoo is a mix of two purebred dogs, one a Shih Tzu and the other a Toy or a Mini Poodle. The Cockapoo is a mix of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.
What is the difference between a Shihpoo and a Cavapoo? A Shihpoo is a mix of two purebred dogs, one a Shih Tzu and the other a Toy or a Mini Poodle. The Cavapoo is a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle.