“Shih Tzu Toy Poodle Mix”
If you love a fun, energetic, and playful designer dog, you’ll love the Shih Poo. A mix of your fluffy Shih Tzu and highly energetic Toy Poodle, this one bundle of joy will leave you smiling during and after playing with him.
Considered as one of the most popular designer dogs, Shih Poos are bred in America, as an attempt to produce a “hypoallergenic dog”. But one can never be sure if it indeed has hypoallergenic fur because that would depend on the genes the puppy inherited from his parents. Same is true with their traits, no matter how perfect the traits of the parents can be as individuals, but when mixed together, you can either get the best traits they have or their recessive genes.
Shih Tzus are known as Chrysanthemum Dogs or Lion Dogs that originated from China. Classified under the toy dog category, the Shih Tzus are bred to be our companion dogs as they are affectionate and would be happy to always follow you from one place to another. These dogs have short muzzle and large eyes. Their fur is usually long and soft double coat. Noticeably, they have a feature of an underbite, which is said to be a requirement in the breed standard. It is also said that this breed is an outstanding watch dog since they are always alert and active.
Toy Poodle is the second of the brightest breeds of the dog, next to the Border Collies, making it easy to train them. Toy Poodle is one of the varieties of the Poodles, alongside with the Standard Poodle and Miniature Poodle. When trained, they would easily remember good and bad habits.
Origin cannot be certain if they came from France or Germany. In the late 18th century, this breed was depicted as a pet dog in Spain through their paintings. Toy Poodle is the smallest variety of the poodles, which was developed also in 18th century in England. Toy Poodles have curly, dense fur. Despite being friendly and very affectionate, they are very protective of their home by barking at the approach of a stranger. Keep them entertained or at least preoccupied because they easily get bored.
Appearance and Grooming
A Shih-Poo would usually get his appearance from his mother, but there are some exceptions where they could get the father’s appearance, or sometimes, mix of the two. Their faces are round, and eyes are like those of the Shih Tzus that are round and big. They usually inherit the long muzzle of the Poodle parent. Some of the Shih Poos could still inherit the underbite feature of the Shih Tzu parent. Their tail is curly.
Their fur, having the genes of mixed parents, may be a combination of any of the following: soft, curly, straight, short, long, or wavy. Colors may differ also such as apricot, white, cream, red, sable, chocolate brown, gold, black, or dark brown. They weigh between 8-18 pounds, and stand at least 8-13 inches tall at withers.
Their fur undergoes minimal shedding and must be regularly brushed to keep them from tangling and matting. Special attention for grooming must be given on their paws and behind the ears, the areas where tangling can occur easily.
A trip to your professional groomer must be made every four to six weeks to keep the fur of Shih Poos neatly clipped. If your pup inherits the Poodle fur of his parents, typical haircut could be lamb clip or teddy bear clip. On the other hand, if he has the Shih Tzu kind of fur, a puppy cut, summer cut, and sporting clip would look good on him.
Since both the Shih Tzus and Poodles are prone to tear stains, more than never would your Shih Poo get it too. A simple remedy for this would be to wet a towel and wipe your pooch’s face with it, removing stains that accumulate just below their eyes.
Regular nail clipping, and teeth brushing is also good for your Shih Poo as their nails always get long too fast, and their breeds are common in having dental diseases. Ears should also be regularly cleaned to prevent ear problems such as ear mite infection.
Naturally, just like their parents, Shih-Poos love to play. When they don’t have any playmates, squeaky toys or stuffed toys will keep them occupied.
Socializing with children will be easy for them since they are affectionate, playful, and lively. Should you want to let toddlers play with your Shih Poo, supervise them in handling the dog so they will not be clumsy or play with the pooch a little too rough.
They are loyal to their fur parents as well. They love attention and cuddles. However, there are some Shih Poos who are reserved and shy around strangers, taking time for them to warm up. They get along well around other dogs, as well as with cats. But due to their playful nature, Shih Poos would try to play and chase off the cats, so you should keep an eye on them if you try to keep the two species interact with each other.
Like their Shih Tzu parent, Shih Poos are also alert and brave thus making them good watchdogs. But on idle moments, they would love to jump on your lap for some well-deserved belly rub or ear scratch.
Being a toy breed dog, their life expectancy can be up to 15 years.
Shih Poos can easily adjust to their environment, be it a simple condominium, or a small apartment, or if you are living in a house with large backyard where he can freely run. They are indoor dogs, so you must keep them safe at night inside your home and never leave them outdoors at night.
Just like any puppies, they should first start with high protein diet. As they turn a year old, start feeding them a low protein diet but high quality dry dog food. It is best to feed adult Shih Poos twice a day to meet their required nutrition. But if you feel like you need an attempt to change his feeding habit or his diet itself, you may consult your veterinarian about it.
Dry dog food is an essential part of their diet, to prevent the dental diseases and premature dental loss. Giving dry dog food also prevents them from having any bad breath or gum infections.
Shih Poos should be given measured food, or at least monitor them while eating, because they are prone to overeating, which may cause obesity.
Exercise and Training
No strenuous exercise is needed for this pooch. A simple morning and/or evening stroll at the park or neighborhood is enough for them as they get to run around the house most of their time. A couple of minutes of simple ball fetching can also be part of his exercise regimen. These simple exercises not only keep them fit but also help burn off the excess calories they have in their system. Too much physical exercise may lead to health problems. Mental exercise is good for your pooch, too, by exposing and letting him interact with other dogs.
Training can be both easy and hard, depending on which trait he has predominantly inherited. But with Toy Poodle’s genes in them, they will be normally intelligent. They love to bark, so training them to be quiet may be difficult sometimes. Since Shih-Poos have short attention spans, you need to have patience when training them. The earlier you train them the better. But remember – never ever enforce punishment training because they will not respond well to such approach.
Aside from the dental problems mentioned before, other health problems that a Shih-Poo can encounter are the following but not limited to: patellar luxation, cataract, entropion, Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome, renal dysplasia, and Von Willebrand’s Disease. Keeping your dog healthy is very important.
- Patellar luxation, or floating patella, is a condition where the kneecap gets dislocated and moves away from its normal location. This condition can be apparent at the age of 4 to 6 months old.
- Cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eyes and this may lead to loss of eyesight. This can develop in either one or both eyes. On the other hand, entropion is a condition where the eyelid folds inward and this is caused by genetic factors.
- Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome is a pathological condition that affects flat-faced breeds that can lead to some respiratory problems, causing them to experience some breathing difficulties. This may also be caused by too much exercise, stress, or heat.
- Renal dysplasia results from the abnormality of the kidney during fetal development, which would eventually lead to renal failure. This condition can either be inherited or congenital.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease is a blood clotting disorder that is inherited from the puppy’s parents. This disease is due to the lack of the protein needed for the sticking together of the platelets. When a dog has this disease, he can easily have bleeding tendencies such as nose bleeding or gum bleeding. In extreme cases, the dog can experience internal bleeding.
Where to Find Shih Poo?
Shih Poos can be obtained from a breeder or a rescue shelter. But wherever you can find one, understand first how to be a responsible pet owner. Know the advantages and disadvantages of owning a dog. Being a dog parent isn’t just about having one and bragging around the social media about your dog, and when he gets sick or older, you just push him aside like something you won’t need anymore. It is taking care of your dog and providing for his needs.
If you will get your Shih Poo from a breeder, perform a background check on the breeder first. Is he a legitimate breeder? Does he bring the puppies to a veterinarian for vaccination shots and not just administering them himself? Is his pricing equal to the value of the puppy he is selling?
Check out the puppies, how is the breeder raising them? Is the puppy you want sociable or not? Does the breeder answer your inquiries with ease and confidence? If you have a checklist and all are checked off, then you are good to go.
On the other hand, if you want to rescue one from a shelter, it might take time to find one. But the waiting will be worth it.
Perform a background check on the shelter that you chose. Do they keep all the surrendered dogs safe and well taken care of? Ask the caretakers of the shelter important questions such as the estimated age of the dog, if there are any known conditions, and/or a simple background of the previous owner. Taking care of an adopted Shih Poo might be a challenge, particularly if one has been maltreated by his previous owner, but the rewards are very satisfying.
Shih Poos are intelligent dogs that are very affectionate and active. These companion dogs love to be the center of attraction, but could be noisy with their barking if not trained properly. Shih Poos do not need a lot of exercise; just a simple walk around the neighborhood is fine with them as they could run around the house all throughout the day.
Shih Poos require the following: regular brushing of their fur to prevent matting, nail clipping to keep their nails short, teeth brushing to prevent dental issues, and ear cleaning to keep from having infections. A trip to the groomer every four to six weeks is ideal to have their furs trimmed.
It is important to keep an eye on the Shih Poos when they eat as they tend to overeat. Keep in mind also the known health problems connected to the Shih-Poo such as cataract, entropion, Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome, patellar luxation, Von Willebrand’s disease, and renal dysplasia.
Shih Poos can easily adapt to their environment. It would not matter to them if you are living in an apartment or in a house with a big backyard. They are to be kept indoors specially at night as they are indoor dogs.
Final thought: They are one of the best small dogs you’ll ever have as a member of your family!!