Critter Culture
The Smart, Social Shih Poo

The Smart, Social Shih Poo

Critter Culture Staff



The shih poo is a more recent designer dog developed from breeding a poodle with a shih tzu, and they are a balanced mix of the traits for which their parents are known. Shih poos are an ideal fit for anyone looking for a loyal, intelligent companion dog who has the time to dote on them. They're a versatile breed and can thrive almost anywhere.


Shih poo sizes vary

A closeup of a cute Shih-Poo dog

Because this is a relatively new breed, it is difficult to give a precise estimate when it comes to size. Both shih tzus and poodles come in sizes ranging from teacup to standard, so the shih poo size range varies a lot. Most shih poos measure between 8 and 18 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 8 and 18 pounds.


They inherit characters from both parents

Brown shih poo sits on the green grass outside and look around.

Shih poos inherit traits from each of their parents, and each puppy has its own personality. Shih tzus tend to be a little stubborn, but they are packed with personality. They're attentive, friendly, and playful. Poodles are active, highly intelligent, and easy to train. Shih poos are usually fun and playful, and they may inherit the shih tzu's stubbornness.



Shih poos are smart, but they may not be interested in learning tricks

training tricks consistency SolStock / Getty Images

Shih poos are an intelligent breed, but how they respond to training depends on whether the poodle or shih tzu side is more dominant in their personality. Positive reinforcement is key when training shih poos as they thrive on attention from their owners. They love the interaction but may see training as playtime, so consistency is important.


They can live for a very long time

long lifespan healthy mariakbell / Getty Images

Designer crossbreeds are usually pretty healthy because the variation in their genetics decreases the likelihood they'll inherit diseases that are common in each parent breed, but they may still develop these conditions. Shih poos are prone to developing renal dysplasia, and those with shorter snouts can have breathing issues, which can lead to heatstroke. Despite the risk of these health conditions, the shih poo's average lifespan is between 13 and 17 years or more.


Shih poos have a tendency to gain weight

Brown shih poo stays on the green grass outside and look around.

Shih poos need food that's specially formulated for a small breed with moderate energy, though their dietary needs change throughout various life stages. This breed tends to gain weight, so don't allow free-feeding. Keep them on a schedule, and be sure not to feed them too many treats. Make sure they get enough exercise, too. Most shih poos need a couple of short walks every day.


Their coats vary in texture and color

Adorable Rusty Red Shih-poo Puppy

Shih poos may have curly hair like a poodle or straight fur like a shih tzu. Usually, they end up with a combination of the two. Shih poos coat colors vary, too, and can be white, brown, black, brindle, or any combination of these. They need daily brushing and grooming every four weeks or so. Bathe them as needed, but not more than once a week as it can dry out their skin.


They're not a good fit for younger kids

A person holding a cute beige Shih-poo Maltipoo dog

Although their sizes may vary, most shih poos are on the small side, and they can be easily injured by younger children who are overly excited by the breed's playful personality. This dog is better suited to a home with older children. If brought into a family with little ones, teach children how to interact with the dog safely, and socialization should start early.


Early socialization with other pets is key

A brown metal trough from which many cute Shih-Poo dog puppies peep Фадеев Олег / Getty

Shih poos do well in homes with other pets, as long as they are socialized early. Introductions should be calm and slow as shih poos tend to get a little excited. This breed does well when left alone for short periods, but they do prefer the company, especially as they get older. Another dog in the home can make a great friend for a shih poo.


Keep a close eye on their dental health

A high angle shot of a fluffy white Shih-Poo dog sitting on a beach and looking up at the camera while licking her nose. SolStock / Getty Images

Most small dogs are at risk of significant dental problems, which can lead to their teeth falling out. Shih poos require proper dental care, including regular brushing and professional cleanings. This may not be as pressing with shih poos that are on the larger side, but good dental hygiene is still an essential part of their care.


This is a great apartment dog

A high angle shot of a fluffy white Shih-Poo dog sitting on a beach and looking up at the camera while licking her nose.

Shih poos make great apartment dogs. In fact, they do well just about anywhere, as long as they get a few short walks every day. They're happy to run around and play in the yard, but they are just as content curling up next to their owner on the couch. Their low prey drive makes them unlikely to run away, and they don't bark a lot so they won't annoy the neighbors.


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