Shih Poo: Everything You Need To Know About A Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

Shih Poo Feature

Shih Poo Feature

The Shih Poo, as you may have guessed, is a Shih Tzu crossed with a Miniature Poodle.

Small, hypoallergenic and devoted to human company, the Shih-Poo can make an excellent companion for a loving owner who has a lot of free time to spend with their four-legged friend.

The Shih Tzu Poodle Mix has many desirable characteristics for a companion dog including intelligence and affection; making them a great addition to a family.

It can be quite difficult to predict what this puppy will look like, as even litter-mates can look completely different.

So, what do we know about the Shih Poo dog, and what remains a mystery? Keep on reading to find out more…

Shih Poo Dog Breed Overview

What Is A Shih Poo?
This dog is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Miniature Poodle.

The Shih Poo is a small breed with a big heart.

This crossbreed is bred as a companion dog to utilize the desirable characteristics possessed by each of the parent breeds:

  • The intelligence and character of the Miniature Poodle
  • The affection and loving-nature of the Shih Tzu

Mixing two purebred dogs can of course never guarantee the perfect mix of desirable traits. This means that the Shih Poo can have a more stubborn and strong-willed streak in them (from the Poodle parent).

Standing to around 8-15 inches tall, the Shih Poo is classed as a small breed and can come in a variety of colors.

The Shih-Poo is very playful and loves human company so will no doubt benefit from lots of interactive play with older children who are confident around small dogs.

Kennel Club Recognition

The Shih Poo is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, nor the Kennel Club.

This is because they are not a purebred, however some major kennel clubs do recognize the registration of some crossbreeds for agility and obedience events.

Registry organizations which do accept them include:

  • The American Canine Hybrid Club
  • Dog Registry of America, Inc
  • Designer Dogs Kennel Club
  • Designer Breed Registry

There are currently no specific breed clubs or rescue organizations, so this may make finding a Shih Poo rescue more difficult.

However, as they are a recent crossbreed, social media websites often reveal like-minded people who share the same passion for this beautiful hybrid.

Breed Origin

Like most designer dogs, it is difficult to ascertain at which point the breeding of the two breeds became intentional.

Because of this, it is impossible to pinpoint the very first Shih-Poo litter.

However, it is safe to assume that this loveable hybrid stems from the designer dog trend gripping America over the last thirty years which often sees the poodle being bred with a variety of other breeds for a hopeful mix of desirable traits.

To understand a Shih Poo’s potential temperament, we have to take a closer look at both of the parent breeds.

Miniature Poodle

Fluffy Toy Poodle

The Miniature Poodle, stands at around 13-15 inches to the shoulder, and is an intelligent dog.

Originally bred in Germany, as a hunting companion (specifically duck hunting), they are now more suited to the pet lifestyle and in some cases, agility.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Dog

Shih Tzu’s on the other hand are originally from China.

Like many lap dogs, they were favored by the rich and famous. In the case of the Shih Tzu this was Chinese Emperors and later, royalty.

They first arrived in the US shortly after World War II and are commonly bred as a loyal pet.

Shih Poo Dog Info
Size 8 to 15″
Weight 8 to 18 pounds
Lifespan 10 to 15 years
Breed Type Mixes and More
Purpose Companion
Suitable For Novice Owners, Retirees and Families With Older Children
Color Variations Apricot, Black, Black And Tan, Brown, Cream, Red Sable, White And Parti-Color.
Temperament Loyal, Affectionate, Playful, Intelligent, Sweet-Natured
Other Names Pooshih, Shoodle or Shihdoodle
Learn more about the Shih-Poo, download a free copy of our dog breed guide.

Shih Poo Puppies

Shih Poo Puppy
It can be very difficult to predict what a Shih Poo puppy will look – their appearance is a mystery until they are born.

Because both parent breeds mature quickly, usually reaching maturity and full size within a year, the Shih Poo matures very quickly too.

Normally they reach adulthood within just 12 months.

The Shih Poo price can vary depending upon litter sizes and breeders, a typical Shih-Poo puppy can cost anywhere between $600 and $1,000 USD.

Shih Tzu’s usually have an average of around 5 puppies per litter, whereas Miniature Poodles average three per litter. Considering both parent breeds, this hybrid litter size is likely to consist of around 3 to 5 puppies.

Growth Chart
Age Min (Pound) Max (Pound)
3 months 3.5 4.5
6 months 7.5 13
9 months 8 15
12 months 8 18

Shih Poo Temperament

Characteristic Rating
Prey Drive
Social Tendencies

A Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is an intelligent hybrid with a lot of love to give.

Both parent breeds of the Shih Poo have a long history of being two of the most popular choices for a loyal small-breed family pets.

The Shih Poo has a very playful and energetic personality with an infectious fun-loving attitude.

With a very diluted history of hunting in the Poodle parent, you can rest assured that there will be virtually no prey drive in this dog.

Any tendency to chase after something small and fluffy is much more likely to be an attempt to initiate play.

With this in mind, levels of aggression are also quite low in this dog too.

However, if they are not socialized properly as a puppy, some protective issues, usually exhibited by growling or aggression, may arise.

The Shih Poo does not do well on their own for long periods of time, this is usually down to their affectionate, and quite often, needy temperament!

Appropriate socialization at a young age should be sufficient in combatting any separation anxiety and aggression when meeting strangers.

Compatibility with Families

These dogs love their human companions and spending time exploring the outdoors.

Shih Poos are unlikely to be tolerant of younger children, who may not necessarily respect boundaries, so care should be taken when introducing small children to this dog.

They should always be supervised by an adult when they are together.

If they have been exposed to small children as a puppy, and the child is always supervised and taught to respect the dog’s boundaries, there should be no problem with this dog breed being welcomed into the family.

The Shih Poo also shouldn’t have a problem settling in with other family pets either.

Some are more confident in meeting new canine companions than others, though this is usually down to socialization and personality.

In general, the Shih Poo is a social and playful little dog with lots of love to give, but they may be a little shy and wary of strangers.

That being said, plenty of exposure to new people and different dogs at a young age should ensure they grow up to be a confident and well-mannered dog!


As both parent breeds have been bred for decades as companion dogs, any natural behaviors or hunting instincts are now extinct.

This dog has been more accustomed to human company and prefers that over the company of a new canine friend! They still of course enjoy exploring the outside and would appreciate a couple of shorter walks a day (more on this later).

The Shih Tzu Poodle Mix is very affectionate and forms strong bonds with its owner. They are also very playful and benefit from combining both of those things together; interactive play with their favorite human!

Shih Poo Full Grown and Appearance

Shih Tzu Poodle Mix
The Shih Poo dog can grow around 8-15 inches tall and weigh between 8-18 lb.


The Shih Poo is classed as a small dog breed and can weigh between 8-18lb for both males and females.

They also measure between 8-15 inches to the withers.

As this dog is a crossbreed, you cannot be certain that males will always be larger (as is the case for most purebreds) as it will depend more on gene inheritance (take their large cousins, for example, Sheepadoodles).


Crossing the Shih Tzu and Miniature Poodle means puppies from the same litter can look completely different depending on gene inheritance.

Generally speaking, the Shih Poo has a rounded face with floppy ears and a well-proportioned body.

Some Shih Poo dogs have the undershot jaw, while others have a well-balanced jaw.

They have fairly broad bodies, a muscular chest, shorter front legs and a level back.

They often have cute little beards, large, round eyes and a nose which usually matches the color of their coat!

Color and Coat


Their coat can come in a range of colors and combinations which include:

Shih Poo Colors
Apricot Black Black And Tan Brown
Cream Red Sable White Parti-Color

Even puppies from the same litter can have different coats, making it very difficult to predict what a ‘typical’ puppy will look like.

They can either inherit more of the wool coat from the Poodle, or the longer straighter coat of the Shih Tzu; either way they are likely to be very fluffy!

One thing which should be noted is that the Shih Tzu has a very low shedding coat, and when combined with the Poodle’s coat, this means the Shih Poo is hypoallergenic.

They are perfect for any allergy sufferers out there who have previously been unable to get a dog due to their allergies.


This dog’s grooming routine depends entirely on their coat type.

The Shih Poo will benefit from regular professional grooming throughout the year to ensure their coat is kept healthy, tidy and matt-free.

If the coat is longer and straighter (like that of the Shih Tzu), daily brushing at home will also need to occur to prevent matting.

Like with any breed, nail clipping should occur when necessary to prevent them from becoming too long and curling.

Teeth brushing is particularly important with this breed due to the dental disease issues found in the Shih Tzu parent.

Frequent brushing, introduced at an early age, will help prevent tartar build up, gum disease and premature tooth loss. Other alternatives such as abrasive chews/toys and dental chews are available if tooth brushing is not an option.

Shih-Poo Care Guide

Shih-Poo Dog
A dog which loves their humans as well as their food.

This dog’s exercise and feeding requirements are very low maintenance, but you may need to bear in mind the extra money needed for their regular grooming.

If owners are happy with the financial cost of purchasing and grooming this dog, the Shih Poo is suitable for families with older children, people in apartments or small houses and retirees.

Food and Dietary Requirements

Daily Food Consumption
Guide 600 calories
Cups of Kibble One Bowl of Kibble Required per Day

High quality dry kibble twice a day is more suitable for this dog as they are prone to dental problems including premature teeth loss which dry food can help to combat.

It is best to ensure the kibble is suited to their age (i.e. puppy, adult or senior) and if possible, kibble formulated for small dogs breeds (this means a smaller size biscuit making it easier for them to digest).

They also have a tendency to overeat (and to beg for human food too), it is important to monitor their food intake to avoid them putting too much weight on.

Exercise Requirements

Daily Exercise Requirements
Minutes 30 to 40 minutes
Activity Level This is a medium activity dog breed

This dog can be very energetic and playful; however, they do have little legs!

A Shih Poo full grown should be walked for around 40 mins a day in order to burn off their energy and prevents them from becoming bored and destructive at home.

Two brisk walks a day, with one being slightly longer to incorporate some exploration, should be perfect for this hybrid.

Backyard play, with a ball or tug toy, will also be greatly appreciated by the Shih-Poo as they love some quality human/dog time.

Longer walks or hikes, over more challenging terrain, or running are less appropriate for this dog and could even do more harm than good to their health.

Off leash walks, in a secure location, are a healthier alternative and gives your Shih Poo dog plenty of opportunity to explore and make new friends.

Training Needs

This dog is an intelligent cross breed, but may have a more stubborn side to them!

Novice owners should not be put off by this as it just requires some persistent training and consistency in the method.

Positive reinforcement is the favored training method as these guys love their food.

Treat-based rewards are often quite successful in persuading them to behave.

Like any dog, they needs to be socialized to as many different situations as possible between 8 and 16 weeks old, this will help them to be more confident and less frightened in new situations when they are older.

As a result of their intelligence, the Shih Poo can often become quite bored which may lead to destructiveness.

To avoid this, plenty of human contact should be available for the majority of the time, and where another canine companion is not an option, different puzzle feeders and kongs etc. are available to relieve boredom and keep their brains active.

Known Health Problems

Although a recent crossbreed, breeders estimated the Shih Poo lifespan to be between 10-15 years.

There are some health conditions which the Shih-Poo is unfortunately more prone to:

  • Tartar build up on the teeth can lead to an infection of the gums which can progress to premature tooth loss and even risk damaging the kidneys, liver and heart.
  • Thyroid disease (hyper or hypo) with symptoms such as weight gain, inactivity, skin disease and hair loss.
  • Pinched nostrils and the soft pallet of the Shih Tzu can mean the Shih Poo is at risk of some breathing difficulties, however correctional surgery at a young age is an option.


Shih Poo Parents

A bungle of fluff and joy, the Shih Poo is likely to steal anyone’s heart.

Suitable for older people and people with smaller houses, the Shih-Poo doesn’t require endless exercise or tricky diets.

They don’t do so well on their own for long periods of time, as they form very strong attachments to their owners, and can be a little needy for attention.

The Shih Poo can make an excellent addition to a family with older and responsible children and even novice owners who are up for the training challenge with that stubborn side!

This small breed compacts a lot of love and affection into one fluffy bundle of joy. What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

About John Woods 282 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. I am waiting to pick out my shih poo puppy when they are ready for adoption. Would it be a good decision (for the dog) if I picked two shih poos? Would they be happy to have a playmate or are they better off alone?

    • Whether you decide to take two dogs on is entirely personal choice. Do you have the time and resources to raise them separately as well as together? By this I mean, can you train and walk them separately as well as together? They both need the time and attention that they would get if they lived individually in separate homes. Research the idea of littermate syndrome. Some dogs can get super dependent on each other, which becomes an issue if they ever need to be separate (for vet attention for example). Like any owner taking on more than one dog, you also assume that they will get on. They may not. What would be your plan if they didn’t?

  2. My Shihpoo, Sofie, and her “it’s all about me” personality, home at 6 weeks old. She’s very loving, affectionate and eager to please. Sofie is very smart and she had potty pad training “mastered” at 10 weeks. She is working on leash training & basic commands and doing well. When Sofie’s the center of attention, she’s happy and obedient. If there’s something that needs my attention, even momentarily, she’ll make her displeasure known, either by not using the potty pads or chewing on my shoe. Both of which she knows is unacceptable. That would be my only “issue” at this point.

    • I just got a shih poo for my children for Xmas which I will give them on Xmas. He is 8 weeks any tips on training him on the pads ? I have 4 children and hope snoopy ( the shih poo can catch on fast ) maybe potty train him n my 1 year old together lol 😆 .

  3. We recently lost our beloved Shihpoo furry baby at 14. He was the best dog with such an adaptable personality. Loving and easy going and intelligent with a such a huge heart for grandkid visits. Selecting this breed was the most rewarding thing we ever did.

  4. Best dog I have had in my almost 50 years.
    Always find myself downplaying his smarts to others as “must be the poodle in him”. As spoiled as the dog is by a family of four, he might be emotionally devastated if he had another dog around permanently.
    This article was spot on in regards to my Shihpoo and thank you for the heads up about brushing his teeth 😉 😉

  5. We adopted our dog 3 years ago (she was 9 months). I just had her DNA done. Found out she’s a Shihpoo. She’s our first dog and it was love at first sight. We love her so much and she’s a wonderful dog. We couldn’t ask for anything better.

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