If you’re looking for a small dog that is loyal, affectionate and good for first-time owners, the Shihpoo is an excellent choice. This hybrid breed is a Shih Tzu crossed with a Miniature or Toy Poodle, they are social, playful and undeniably cute. The Shihpoo can have curly or straight hair and their coats come in a wide variety of colours. This is an intelligent, fun-loving dog that loves being in a family environment.
The Shihpoo is a small crossbreed that can inherit either of the parent breeds physical traits, even puppies in the same litter can have different coats to each other. Shihpoos can have a curly coat similar to a poodle or a straighter coat like that of the Shih Tzu. These dogs can look similar to Cavoodles; they are small in size, well-balanced and have endearing features.
Shihpoos are known for their floppy ears and mischievous expressions. They have broad heads, their muzzle can be shorter or longer depending on the influence of the parent breeds and they have whiskers and beards. Their noses usually match their coat colour and their large eyes are dark in colour.
The Shihpoo is compact and sturdy, they are bouncy little dogs with rounded feet that are covered in hair. This breed always looks alert and ready to play with their plumed tails curled over their back. The coat of the Shihpoo can be short and curly or longer and straight. Whichever coat the Shihpoo has it is soft to touch and can be black, white, apricot, black and tan, brown, cream, red, sable or parti-colour.
How big do Shihpoo dogs get?
Height - Males: 20 - 38cm. Females: 20 - 38cm.
Weight - Males: 3 - 9kg. Females: 3 - 9kg.
A Shihpoo will quickly become your best friend. They are friendly, affectionate and loyal dogs that love to be around people. Of course, being so friendly means the Shihpoo does not make a good watchdog. However, Shihpoos are highly intelligent and are relatively easy to train as long as their training sessions are kept interesting, consistent and fair. Shihpoos are confident, outgoing and playful dogs, they can be clowns and are great at making their owners smile. This is not a breed that needs to go for long hikes or jogs, a short brisk walk and plenty of play in the garden is enough to keep the Shihpoo happy. The Shihpoo is a perfect companion for families and they are popular with older people too.
Are Shihpoo dogs intelligent? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs affectionate? Yes.
Do Shihpoo dogs have high or low energy levels? Medium energy levels (3/5).
Are Shihpoo dogs loyal? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs playful? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs aggressive? No.
Are Shihpoo dogs easy to train? Yes, although they can be stubborn.
Are Shihpoo dogs good guard dogs? No, they are very friendly so will probably greet anyone who comes.
Shihpoos are friendly, social dogs that love to be wherever the action is. The Shihpoo gets on well with dogs and if they have grown up around cats they will behave around them too. It’s best to introduce smaller animals carefully and slowly as the Shihpoo may be tempted to chase them away. When it comes to children, Shihpoos are good around older children but lack the patience and tolerance that is needed around young kids. As young children can be boisterous it is best to only let your Shihpoo around youngsters when supervised.
Do Shihpoo dogs get along with other pets? They will get on with pets they have grown up around but care should be taken around smaller animals.
Do Shihpoo dogs get along with other dogs? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs good with kids? Yes, but they are better suited to families with older children.
Are Shihpoo dogs good with strangers? Yes, they are very friendly.
Shihpoos are great dogs for first-time owners as they are people-orientated and love to be around their families. This breed is also highly adaptable, they can happily live in an apartment as long as they are walked each day and get plenty of playtime and attention. Shihpoos do suffer from separation anxiety so they are better suited to households where someone is always going to be at home with them. The Shihpoo breed has developed a reputation for liking the sound of their own voice but this can be sorted through training.
Are Shihpoo dogs good for first-time owners? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs hypoallergenic? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs prone to drooling? No.
Are Shihpoo dogs a good breed for apartment living? Yes.
Do Shihpoo dogs shed a lot? No.
Do Shihpoo dogs bark a lot? Yes, they are known for being barkers.
Can Shihpoo dogs be left alone at home? No.
Can Shihpoo dogs handle the heat? Yes.
Can Shihpoo dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.
Are Shihpoo dogs sensitive to loud noises? They can be, they often bark at loud noises they hear.
A Shihpoo’s average life expectancy is between 12 - 15 years. Although the health data of the Shihpoo is still quite limited due to the breed being relatively new, they can be affected by the health conditions that impact the parent breeds, this includes:
Hip dysplasia - While this usually impacts larger breeds, Shihpoos can suffer from hip dysplasia. This is when the ball and socket of the hip are misshapen causing pain and discomfort. This condition requires veterinary attention to determine the severity of the condition and the suitable treatments. Weight control, pain relief, rest, controlled exercise and surgery can all help dogs living with hip dysplasia.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - This is a degenerative disease that causes the photoreceptor cells to gradually deteriorate leading to blindness. This is an inherited condition and is not curable but many dogs adapt well to losing their eyesight.
Legg Perthes Disease - This condition causes bone death in the hip joint. The condition causes stiffness and pain in the hip and is common in small breeds. The vet will be able to recommend treatment which often includes an operation to remove the damaged portion of the hip bone.
Patellar Luxation - This is common in small and toy breeds and is when the kneecap dislocates causing a limp. Physiotherapy, exercise control, pain relief and surgery can all be part of a treatment plan for Patellar Luxation.
Von Willebrand’s Disease - This is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot. Symptoms include prolonged bleeding and spontaneous haemorrhaging. There is a test available to diagnose the disease. There is no known cure but dogs that are actively bleeding can be treated with clotting sponges to stop the bleeding and blood transfusion to replace lost blood.
Hypothyroidism - This is when the thyroid glands are underactive so don’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This can cause weight gain, fur loss, lethargy, dandruff, skin infections and more. A blood test can detect low thyroid hormone levels and medication is required to replace the missing hormones. This medication is required for the rest of the dog's life.
Intervertebral Disc Disease - This condition causes intervertebral discs to become hard and fragile causing pain, weak legs, wobbliness, tripping and paralysis. This can be treated medically or with surgery depending on the severity of the condition.
Dental problems - Shih Tzus are more prone to dental diseases due to the shape of their mouth. This is painful and can cause bad breath, plaque, red or bleeding gums, wobbly teeth and excessive drooling. Treatment will depend on the specific dental problem but can include anti-inflammatory pain relief, antibiotics, dental surgery and dog-safe mouthwash.
Eye problems - There are many different eye problems that can affect dogs, symptoms include discharge, redness, cloudiness, pain, loss of vision, blood or bulging in the eye and a change in the size or shape of the pupil. A vet will be able to treat the issue.
How long do Shihpoo dogs live? - 12 - 15 years
The Shihpoo is a playful pup that enjoys spending time off-lead. This breed should get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day and will also need lots of interactive playtime during the day. Shihpoos enjoy having access to a secure garden where they can roam around and play when not out for walks. Short walks around the local park are best for a Shihpoo as it is interesting for them and gives them the chance to be social. This breed is usually fine to be let off lead as long as they have had good recall training.
How much exercise does a Shihpoo dog need? At least 30 minutes per day.
Do Shihpoo dogs like water play? Yes, most enjoy water and swimming.
Shihpoos do best when fed a high-quality dry food diet. Dry food is essential as it helps to prevent dental problems, something Shihpoos are prone to. The amount this small breed needs depends on their age, build, weight and activity level. A Shihpoo puppy needs between 40 - 185g high-quality dry food a day depending on their age and build, this should be split into 3 or 4 portions and offered throughout the day. This is only a rough estimate, every dog is unique so it is important to have a personal dietary plan made.
Are Shihpoo dogs prone to weight gain? No.
How much should I feed a Shihpoo puppy? Between 40 - 185g depending on the puppy’s age and build.
How much should I feed an adult Shihpoo dog? Between 55 - 150g depending on the dog’s weight and activity level.
Grooming: The type of coat the Shihpoo has will dictate how much grooming they require. Regular brushing can prevent a Shihpoos hair from matting but fortunately, this is a low shedding breed so you don’t need to worry about loose hair everywhere. Generally, a Shihpoo benefits from being professionally groomed a few times a year to keep their coats in good condition. Dental checks and teeth cleaning are necessary every month as well as regular ear checks to prevent infection.
Emotional Care: The Shihpoo is a lively little dog that thrives when around their family. Shihpoos are playful, social and enjoy entertaining their owners. This is not a dog you can leave alone as the Shihpoo suffers from separation anxiety. Shihpoos don’t need loads of exercise and are happy with a couple of short walks each day.
History of the Shihpoo
First developed in the United States, the Shihpoo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Toy or Miniature Poodle. The aim was to produce a dog breed that is hypoallergenic, full of character and easy to train. The Shihpoo has been around for the last 15 or so years making them a relatively new dog breed. Despite this, the adorable, good-natured Shihpoo has quickly become incredibly popular as a family pet. So much so, the Shihpoo is becoming one of the most popular cross-breeds around.
Breeding of Shihpoos continues and breeders hope the breed will eventually be standardised and recognised by international breed clubs. Although the Shihpoo was first bred in the USA, the crossbreed can now be found all over the world.
Shihpoo were first bred to be hypoallergenic companions.
Shihpoo puppies in the same litter can have different coat types.
This breed was developed in the United States.
Shihpoos are too friendly to be watchdogs.
If you’re ready to bring a dog into your family, take a look at our buying guide for advice and information on finding and buying a puppy. It’s important to be aware of scams and irresponsible breeders when looking for a new dog. All breeders on Puppies have been vetted to ensure they are responsible, take a look at the Shihpoo Puppy page to find available puppies in your area.
How much does a Shihpoo cost to buy? - £800 - £1600
How much does a Shihpoo cost to feed? - £20 - £30 per month
How much does insurance for a Shihpoo cost? - £30 per month
An alternative option is to rescue a Shihpoo. We’d recommend speaking to your local dog rescue centre or contacting the associations below regarding Shihpoo adoptions: