Groomed last night. Groomer terrible. Called store and told her I wouldn’t be back.
When I was researching Shih Poos on the Internet, I found it difficult to find much, if any, information on them. What I did find, I have tried to summarize here. This information was found from a variety of sources including information found in personal pages, Internet forums, breeder websites/pages and even in ads for puppies for sale. I hope you find the following information helpful to you, whether you are searching for a potential puppy or are just looking for more information about the Shih Poo doggie you already have.
A Shih Poo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. They are not a recognized breed of dog. The best way to determine how your puppy will look and what temperment characteristics he/she will have is to look at both the Shih Tzu and the Poodle and recognize that he/she can have any combination of qualities of either dog. This isn’t always the case though, I have never seen a Shih Poo with a snout as short as the Shih Tzu. Shih Poos tend to have their own unique look that lies somewhere in between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. The same goes for their personality.
The Benefits of Having a Shih Poo Dog
- Allergy suffering tends to low or non-existent because of their hypoallergenic qualities (comes from the Poodle). There is very little dander or hair loss when compared to other dogs. However, it is important to note that no dog, not even the Poodle, is completely hypoallergenic. Extremely sensitive people may still experience slight discomfort, but that isn’t very likely.
- The Shih Poo tends to have hybrid vigor (say some experts), meaning less genetic problems due to cross-breeding. This is why it is better to get a puppy that had a Shih Tzu mother and a Poodle father, or vice versa, as opposed to getting a puppy that had two Shih Poo parents. Much controversy exists over this issue and whether or not there is such a thing as hybrid vigor in the first place.
- There is a little bit of ‘weeping eyes’ (apparently the Shih Tzu doesn’t have any tear ducts), which requires constant attention, or snorting, due to their short snouts, which is common in the Shih Tzu.
- The result of the cross between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle is, hands down, the cutest puppy ever born. Perhaps I am biased, but I don’t think so.
The Description of a Shih Poo Dog
- The life expectancy of a Shih Poo is somewhere between 14 and 17 years. I have read a story about a Shih Poo who lived to the age of 21.
- Shih Poos come in a wide variety of colours, from black to white to brown to grey or even with apricot markings. Basically, they can come in any colour. Black and white (with other coloured markings) seems to be the most popular.
- The average weight of a Shih Poo is approximately 10-15 lbs.
- The average height is between 8-11 inches at the shoulders (withers).
- Shih Poos can have either a scissor bite or an undershot jaw. The scissor bite comes from the Poodle and the undershot jaw comes from the Shih Tzu. Either jaw formation is normal. The teeth are small and very sharp, especially as a puppy. Teeth need special care from puppyhood, so be sure to read the ‘Problems and General Care‘ section.
- The fur tends to be more like hair. They don’t shed and it can be straight or slightly wavy. The Shih Poo’s hair can grow very long and become somewhat difficult to manage. This may result in the need for regular grooming, once every 2-3 months, for example. Hair can be left long on top of the head tied in a top knot as with long Shih Tzu coats. (I have yet to see this done! I think this would look adorable though.) Shih Poo’s hair tends to stand up on their head and hang over their eyes making it difficult for them to easily see. To keep their hair out of their eyes, it is necessary to cut it really short when they get groomed, especially if you only plan on getting him/her groomed 3 or 4 times per year.
- The Shih Poo tail curls over the back end. The hair on the tail grows long and straight. (May have some wave to the hair.)
- Ears are long and floppy. This can lead to problems because the temperature in the ear tends to be a little bit higher than that of other dogs whose ears don’t flop over the ear canal. Be sure to read the ‘Problems and General Care‘ section.
- Shih Poos are quick and agile. They are not as delicate as some of the other small breed dogs, such as the Papillon or Yorkshire Terrier. Shih Poos stand solid and strong, yet are sweet and gentle. They have a fruitless amount of energy therefore requiring daily exercise, even if it’s only a vigorous game of fetch. Shih Poos thrive on a little bit of daily activity.
- They are great little urban dwellers. They do just fine in an apartment setting. It is not necessary to have a backyard if you have a Shih Poo. Of course it is always preferred (as with any dog), they love the outdoors.
The Personality of a Shih Poo Dog
- Shih Poos share the great temperment qualities of both the Shih Tzu and the Poodle. Both are very loving and loyal dogs resulting in the same of the Shih Poo.
- Shih Poos are great little watch dogs. They are very alert to what is going on around them. They alert their owners whenever something is wrong (in their opinion, of course) by barking, however they are not yappy. Teaching the ‘quiet’ command is always helpful with any dog, especially small dogs because they tend to bark a little bit more than larger dogs. Although this isn’t always true.
- Shih Poos are extremely intelligent. Afterall, they share the same genes as ‘circus performers’, namely Poodles. They are eager to learn and tend to pick up tricks and commands very quickly. They can be trained in many areas, such as; fly-ball, obedience trials and even retrieving small objects. Shih Poos especially love to play fetch and it is great exercise for them.
- Shih Poos are also very affectionate. They love to give their human family lots of kisses. They enjoy sleeping in bed with their family also. They get along great both with other dogs and cats, if socialized properly. Socialization is very important, as with any dog. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to socialize your dog and remember, it’s a lifelong process.
- Shih Poos are naturally outgoing and should never be shy. If you have a shy Shih Poo, you need to socialize him/her more. They should be socialized from a very young age for the best results.
- They are also very curious. They love exploring new environments, sniffing anything they can get their noses on.
Problems & General Care of a Shih-Poo Dog
- The Shih Tzu can have obesity problems due to their tendency to overeat. So, with your Shih Poo, be careful not to ‘free feed’ (leaving food in their dish at all times instead of feeding them only at mealtimes).
- Shih Poos have a low tolerance to heat and cold. Never leave them alone in the car in the summer! Even with the car window open, they may suffer from heat exhaustion and die. Limit the time they spend outside on cold winter days. If it’s snowing or raining, just put on a little doggie jacket, this will help protect them from the elements. Dog booties are a good idea for any time of year. In the summer, they protect the delicate pads of their feet from hot pavement, sand and rocks. In the winter, the booties protect the paws from salt, sand, ice, snow and dirt. Ice can literally cut the pads on your dogs feet and salt can leave them dry and chapped resulting in discomfort. Booties are a great investment and are useful anytime of the year no matter what climate you live in!
- Ears need to be checked, by you, on a regular basis (at least once every few weeks). Check for strange odours and parasites. This is necessary because, as I said, Shih Poos have long, floppy ears and that results in the temperature of the inner ear being a little higher than that of dogs with upright ears. This can result in a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites.
- The hair needs to be brushed or combed at least every other day. Not only does this keep the coat beautiful, but also keeps it free from matts. Pay special attention to the ears, making sure that there is no hair caught in there. Their hair tends to matt there and under the arms and legs. Hair should be brushed especially before a bath because matts tend to set once your dog has been shampooed making them nearly impossible to get out, the result being that you have to cut them out. This can be very uncomfortable for your Shih Poo, especially if the matt is close to the skin. Be extremely careful not to nick the doggies skin. If you are afraid that you may cut the skin, take him/her to the groomer ASAP. Don’t risk it, it’s not worth it. Cuts may get infected and it will obviously hurt your poor dog.
- The teeth need to be taken care of by brushing them regularly (at least once a week), from puppyhood or else you may require veterinary dental services by the time your dog is 2 or 3 years old. It’s not just the expense, it’s your dog’s health and comfort that’s important. Lack of dental care can result in serious physical ailments, not to mention tooth loss. It is possible to train your Shih Poo to tolerate teeth brushing, although he probably will never ‘like’ it. Just think of brushing your dogs teeth like it’s another trick they has learned.
- Be sure to keep your Shih Poos claws trimmed. You should do this once a month. If the claws get too long, this can result in deformed bones in the toe(s), over time, because the long claws will cause your dogs toes not to sit right and when he/she walks, their feet will not bear their weight properly. This can cause major problems not to mention being extremely painful. You should not hear the nails clicking when he walks across the floor.