The Shihpoo is a Mix of Poodle and Shih Tzu
This beginners guide to Shihpoo puppies will introduce you to this mixed breed known for its cuteness, sweet demean, friendliness to family and visitors, and ease of care.
The Shihpoo is a designer dog that has been around for decades. It is a mixed breed of a Shih Tzu and either a toy or a miniature Poodle. The original Shih Tzu was bred in China while the Poodle, contrary to common belief, originated in Germany. Both the Shih Tzu and the toy Poodle were originally bred to be lap dogs, so the Shihpoo is a perfect lap companion.
Some Shihpoos look more like Shih Tzus (stout) while others look more like Poodles (sleek and athletic). Some are more energetic like their Poodle parentage while others are completely content to be cuddled and pampered all day.
Origin of the Breed
The Shihpoo is not a new breed but is considered a mixed breed. Dog breeds have certain standards in height, weight, coloration, demeanor, and even shape that breeders try to breed to. Shihpoos have no such standards, meaning that they can each be as unique as their owners.
The Shihpoo first began appearing in the US in the early 1990s. The mixed breed has become increasingly popular around the world, with many reported beyond the US in Canada, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.
Why the Shihpoo Makes a Great Family Pet
The Shihpoo is an affectionate dog that loves to be around people. They can get along well with children and other pets in the household, and they make excellent lap dogs. The Shihpoo has a calm demeanor, but they can also be playful.
The Shihpoo’s Poodle parent is recognized as one of the more intelligent breeds among dogs. Consequently, most Shihpoos can be easy to train if the trainer is consistent. Otherwise, the Shihpoo may use her or his intelligence to quickly learn how to outwait or otherwise get what they want without having to obey every command. Some Shihpoo families, as a result, may talk about their Shihpoo being stubborn or picky.
Diet Requirements for the Shih Poo
Shihpoos have no specific dietary requirements. Families of Shihpoos, like those of most dogs, should avoid or at least minimize sharing table scraps with their dogs. Human food tends to have more fat and more salt than a Shihpoo should have. Plus, like other dogs, While this is not an exhaustive list of foods that are toxic to your dog, Shihpoos should never eat any of the following in any amounts, to avoid toxic reactions, diarrhea, vomiting, and much worse:
- Chocolate or Cocoa
- Coconut (Flakes, Flesh, Water, etc.)
- Coffee (Beans, Brewed, Grounds, etc.)
- Energy Drinks
- Fat Trimmings from cooked or uncooked meats
- Fish (Uncooked)
- Green Tomatoes
- Human Medicines
- Ice Cream*
- Nuts (Almonds, Brazil, Macadamia, Pecan, Walnut, etc.)
- Onions and Chives
- Peals of Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit, etc.)
- Raw Eggs and Meats (including Egg Shells and Uncooked Bones)
- Tea (Any with Caffeine)
- Xylitol (Artificial Sweetener found in some foods Shihpoos love like peanut butter)
* Small quantities will generally not harm your Shihpoo, but avoid large amounts
Some Shihpoo family members might think it’s fun or cute to feed their dog human food at the table, especially when your Shihpoo gives you those irresistible puppy eyes. Please discourage such behavior among your family members and your Shihpoo.
Other foods may not be poisonous to your Shihpoo, but they may present choking hazards or create problems in their digestive tract. This include:
- Bones (Chicken, Turkey, and Others than May Splinter)
- Bread Dough
- Peach Pits
- Persimmon Seeds
- Plum Pits
If you believe your Shihpoo has eaten anything from the lists above, call your veterinarian immediately.
Shihpoos and Alcohol
Some reckless dog owners with a few too many brain cells of their own will even think it’s funny to give their dog alcohol. You may even be able to find a few on YouTube. A drunk dog is nothing to laugh at. Alcohol can kill your dog. Even somewhat small amounts can lead to seizures, lung failure, and comas.
Just because Hollywood used to show such behavior in old films does not mean it’s okay. Please avoid allowing your dog to drink alcohol, and question whether you should be friends with anyone who thinks it would be fun to see.
What’s it Like Living with a Shih Poo?
Shihpoos can melt your heart, make you laugh, and comfort your soul. Sometimes, when they look at you with their dark amber eyes, it seems like they are looking into the depths of your being… and then they give you a big, wet kiss. And they will keep kissing you until you move your face out of licking range.
It is not unusual for people to have a love affair with designer breeds. Many families see these mixes as more exotic and more beautiful due to their uniqueness. Some Shihpoo families see them as more special than the original breeds they originated from.
Shihpoos will make you laugh. Some Shihpoos will bump you with their nose to get your attention. And they will keep bumping you until you either give in or give them something else to focus on.
They love to play catch and tug-of-war. If you toss a ball to them for 5-10 minutes in the morning and another 5-10 minutes in the evening, they’ll get most of their energy out and will chill with you the rest of the day.
Do Shihpoos Shed A Lot?
Whether Shihpoos inherit their coats from their Poodle parent, their Shih Tzu parent, or both, they are likely to be non-shedding, or at most very low-shedding dogs. Your Shihpoo could lay on a couch all day every day for a week, and you would likely not see more than a couple of strands of hair from their coats.
It will really depend on which parent influences the Shihpoo’s coat the most. Shih Tzus have a double coat, with a short undercoat and a longer coat on top. Poodles, on the other hand, have a single coat. Neither will shed much.
Proper and regular grooming also helps to keep shedding to a minimum, even unnoticeable. If your Shihpoo inherited the curly hair of its Poodle parent, you may need to brush his or her coat daily. If you keep your Shihpoo’s hair cut rather short, you may not need to brush much at all.
However, watch and feel for matting in your Shihpoo’s coat, especially behind the ears, under the mouth, on their bellies, and on their rump. Use a de-matting tool if you notice large patches forming.
Are Shihpoos Hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic does not mean they can’t cause an allergic reaction but that they are much less likely to do so than other dog breeds. Both Poodles and Shih Tzus are considered hypoallergenic compared to other breeds, although the American Kennel Club lists the Poodle as a breed for those worried about allergies to consider.
Because Poodles shed even less and are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than Shih Tzus, when choosing a Shihpoo puppy from a litter, look for the one with the curliest hair. He or she will be the one to have most likely inherited their Poodle parent’s coat characteristics.
Do Shihpoos bark a lot?
Shihpoos are not typically barking or yippy dogs. However, unless properly trained, they will bark like any dog at doorbells or knocks at the front door. Never use a shock collar on a Shihpoo.
Are Shihpoos aggressive with people or other animals?
If properly socialized, Shihpoos do not have aggressive tendencies toward people or other dogs. Take your Shihpoo to a dog park frequently or have play days with other dogs, although you will likely want to keep them away from large and potentially aggressive dogs they do not know.