Shih Poo

One of a number of new Shih Tzu hybrids, the Shih-poo is a crossbreed between the Poodle and the Shih Tzu. With its combination of intelligence, friendly nature and suitability for many types of owners, the Shih-poo can represent some of best qualities of each breed and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States and Europe.

The Shih Poo size varies, although the Poodle parent is almost always a Miniature or Toy Poodle (the much larger Standard Poodle is very uncommon). Generally, the Shih-poo weighs between 8-18lbs and can grow to 8-15 inches tall. They tend to be a little bit bigger and sturdier than the average Shih Tzu, making them more suitable for children as they are less likely to be accidentally injured – although small children should of course still be supervised when around small dogs.

Shih-poos come in a wide range of colors, including black, white, cream and sable, as well as any combination of these colors. The texture of the coat can vary; it may have the Poodle curls or the longer and straighter Shih Tzu coat. Either way, the Shih-poo sheds very little, making it a great choice for those with allergies (although they are not technically hypoallergenic).

Exercise

Although the Shih-poo has plenty of energy, he doesn't need a huge amount of outdoor exercise and is very adaptable to apartment living. Long walks are not necessary; as long as he has plenty of toys to play with and owners willing to entertain him, the Shih-poo will be content in almost any living situation.

Diet & Health

While Shih Tzus commonly experience respiratory problems because of their short muzzles, the Shih-poo's muzzle tends to be longer, resulting in fewer health issues of this nature. However, they do have a tendency to other health issues that are also common to Shih Tzus, such as oral problems, retinal issues and, in this particular cross-breed, cleft palate.

Their diet is similar to that of other small dog breeds – they need dry kibble to prevent dental issues, and owners should monitor the amount of food consumed so as to avoid weight gain.

Training

Shih-poo's can be somewhat difficult to train, so this process should ideally should start as early as possible. These fun-loving dogs tend to want to play a lot, but they don't always respond well to commands, can have some behavioral issues and take quite a long time to housetrain – it's safe to say that they can be rather stubborn! However, even at the very early stage of 8-10 weeks, the Shih-poo puppy is bright and alert, so this is the perfect time to continue the socialisation process beyond what he will have experienced with his mother and littermates. When training, positive reinforcement is essential and rewards should be used as appropriate. The Shih-poo puppy needs a lot of praise to encourage him to follow commands, so negative feedback is definitely not recommended.

Shih-poos have delightful, affectionate and outgoing personalities, and make wonderful companions for just about anyone. All they really want to do is have fun, and they'll do their best of ensure that everyone else is enjoying life as much as they are. Expect life to get noisier, but also a lot more entertaining, with one of these little guys around.

Shih-poo Facts:

Still a relatively new cross-breed, Shih-poos are sometimes referred to as Shoodles.

Shih-poos are known to be a little on the yappy side – they don't get tired of hearing themselves bark!

The Shih-poo has a life expectancy of around 15 years, but can live longer than this.

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