The Shih-Poo breed is irrefutably the cuddliest and most adorable designer dog around, sporting the beautiful froufrou hairstyle of the Poodle alongside the silky-smooth and straight coat of the stubborn Shih Tzu. This dog is absolutely cute, engendering admiration with its alert expression, and a sturdy body. Buoyed by its affectionate, extremely friendly, and highly adaptable nature, the canine tops the list of the most loved designer dog breeds in recent times. Potential pet parents who can’t seem to make a choice between the Shih Tzu and the Poodle can as well settle for the Shih-Poo. Continue reading for further information and breed facts.
History of the Shih-Poo
It is not possible to tell who the creator of the first Shi-Poo was, or when it came into existence and where. From what is obvious, it all started during the early part of 2000 when the rich and the famous often came photographed alongside a designer dog, and all of a sudden, it became like a fever – many started seeking breeds like the Maltipoo, Shih-Poo, and Labradoodle, amongst others. However, it is believed that interest in these dogs sparked-off late in the 1990s, but then, speculations are that these designer pups have already been existing since a decade earlier. The focus was still on the purebreds for the better part of the 20th century without much attention on the crossbreed; but things changed very rapidly.
So, why was the shitzu mix with poodle created? Our guess is that whoever championed the crossbreeding project saw the need to address some issues evident in the Shih Tzu. Another intelligent guess points to the fact that throwing the Poodle into the mix helped develop an intelligent, low-shedding pup as well as an easily trainable one. The Shih Tzu may have been chosen for its friendly, gentle, and adorable nature, yet it displays a stubborn streak that impedes training. What’s more, the health problems of the Shih Tzu must have also come to play as it is susceptible to breathing problems, and has a certain sensitivity to heat which the breeder wanted to address by crossing it with the healthier Poodle. However, this is all speculation and may be disproved with time.
Who Are the Parents of the Shih-Poo?
Having established its history, let’s now examine the parents of the Shih-Poo. Below is further insight on the history and characteristics of the poodle and the Shih Tzu:
The Poodle is intelligent, quite trainable, and sports a frou-frou hairdo. Personality-wise, the Poodle can be a clown one minute and a nerd the next. With its high intelligence level, the pup finds it easy to master exceptionally complex tasks, which is the primary reason they are widely used in circus performances, apart from their clownish looks and showmanship inside the rings.
Additionally, the Poodle is also highly valued for its low-shedding traits. Many people are yet to appreciate the fact that the breed is a dependable and super-efficient hunter. Taking its origin into consideration, the pup is a known vulnerable duck hunter, used extensively in Germany to hunt down waterfowl. It is, no doubt, a veritable retriever sort of pup that came equipped with webbed feet which aids them in swimming fast in addition to a coat with remarkable water-repellent properties.
What’s more, the dog’s high level of intelligence gives it the status of a perfect hunting partner since it doesn’t take much to train them. Furthermore, commanding the Poodle is quite easy, and it displays remarkable stamina comparable to the endurance of the sturdy breed called Nordic sled dogs. However, all these go to describe the Standard Poodle, but the Toy and Miniature Poodles are more valued in hunting for truffles.
The breeders of this dog are the Tibetan monks who graced their temples with the pup’s affection, happiness as well as loyalty. The dogs were gifted to Chinese Emperors and were later made into key consorts of the court. According to the Chinese folklore, the Shih Tzu is called the Lion Dog, but it has long discarded its imperial standing for a worldlier status. Presently, the pup is the admired lap dog, a true companion dog that will find it difficult to leave your side.
This dog is known to display happiness in the company of humans; its friendliness even extends to strangers. However, this only becomes evident when the dog observes its family to be doing the same.
The dog is happiest in the company of its owner, some of the pup’s princely stance becomes evident when it enters the show ring, but it is not known to be arrogant with regal looks and are willing to give love to any interested person. What’s more,it also revels in the knowledge that it is loved back. In fact, it is listed as one of the sweetest breeds worldwide, not too demanding, and can be used for anything imaginable.
Quick Facts About the Shih-Poo
- Potential pet parents who wish to adopt this breed need to understand that the Shih-poo’s size varies depending on the size of the Poodle that was used in the breeding project. For instance, the height is not likely to exceed 15 inches if the parent Poodle is a Miniature – the weight should be around 20 lbs.
- The resulting Shih-Poo is likely to be even shorter with one of its parents as a Toy Poodle. However, the height shouldn’t go below 8 inches, and the weight came to be realized as 7 pounds. Teacup Shih-Poo comes even smaller than these.
- Life expectancy for the Shih-Poo is quite long; there are pet parents who have reported that their Shih-Poos lived for all of 15 years. However, there are still those who believe that the breed’s life span doesn’t exceed ten years.
- Talking about the coat, the Shih-Poo’s has a short curly coat like the Poodle, or it can come with the Shih Tzu’s silky and straight coat. As for color, it can either display the Poodle’s solid color, or can exhibit different colors like the Shih Tzu.
- Always be on the lookout for the Shih-Poo’s ever-present reddish-brown stains that usually accumulate under the eyes.
- The dog’s activity level is quite moderate, and thus, it might not be suitable for lazy people.
Things You Should Know about the Shih-Poo
Having the Poodle as one of its parents makes the Shih-Poo to be highly intelligent, but this does not mean that the breed can be easily trained. As we all know, both the Shih Tzu and the Poodle are known to be intelligent, except that the former has an inherent stubborn streak, which impedes training. The blame cannot be laid at the door of the Shih Tzu since the dog was created to be pampered as if it were royalty. Pet parents need to have lots of patience to be able to get the better of a Shih-Poo with regards to training.
However, you cannot disregard training in general, as it is one of the essential requirements for dogs in general – it does not matter whether they are lap dogs, working dogs, crossbreeds, and purebreds. The reason behind this is that dog parents must exert control over their fur baby’s demeanor, as you wouldn’t want them to be the ones in control. Besides, the breed is known to display that “big dog” mentality, which grows from bad to worse, if not checked on time. The best way to mitigate against this is by putting your pup through proper training, and you can leverage positive reinforcement techniques. Recommendations are to start early as the Shih-Poo puppies would be more amenable.
When compared to other breeds, the Shih-Poo is a small dog; however, its ultimate size is largely dependent on the pup’s Poodle parent, which may be Standard, Toy, Miniature, or any size. The size of the Shih-Poo notwithstanding, is moderately active, meaning that its energy requirement calls for the appropriate amounts of calories. For instance, if your Shih-Poo happens to be a 15-lb unneutered male that is moderately active, its daily requirement for caloric-intake can be estimated between 470 to 480. It is up to you to decide on the ideal frequency for feeding; some divide it into a couple of meals, while others prefer three meals a day.
If you are going by two meals daily, your pooch is supposed to get 235 calories for a single meal. Pet parents who find it convenient to feed their dog three times daily should be targeting 160 calories for each meal. Important to note that once you notice that your furbaby is gaining excess weight, you can go ahead and reduce the quantity of calories that they are currently getting.
Just for the sole reason that the dog is a crossbreed, does not justify your holding back on high-quality canine food. To achieve firm muscles, the Shih-Poo will benefit from high-protein and moderately low-calorie diet. Pet parents should try and include veggies and fruits for the essential antioxidants as well as other beneficial substances. Any Shih-Poo sporting a Shih Tzu’s coat will benefit from healthy fats such as omega-3s.
Grooming for the breed is quite tricky if your Shih-Poo comes with the curly or wavy coat of the Poodle, combing, and brushing can be rather difficult; however, constant grooming is compulsory to prevent your pooch’s curls from tangling. The same can be said for a Shih-Poo born with the Shih Tzu’s straight hair. Brushing and combing should be done on a daily basis to keep the mats and tangles at bay. And if your aim is to have your canine friend in tip-top shape, monthly visits to a professional dog groomer becomes a necessity.
Important to note that there is a constant reddish-brown discoloration evident at the breed’s lower inner eye corner, where the hairs are easily stained by the dog’s tears. Be sure to have this cleaned up daily. As for the teeth, daily brushing is recommended, but where it is not convenient, three times a week can suffice. Additionally, the dog’s ears need regular inspection and should be cleaned when dirty, or at least once a week. The recommended cleaning material for a dog’s ear is cotton bud, but in its absence, a moist cloth can be used. Furthermore, the nails need to be clipped every three to four weeks.
One reason why potential dog parents prefer crossbreeds is because of the general belief that designer dogs come with lesser health issues compared to pure breeds – but this is a huge misconception. Being a cross-breed dog, the Shih Tzu Poodle mix can easily inherit one of the health problems of either parent. Though the life expectancy ranges between 15 to 18 years, the breed is susceptible to clinical conditions such as cataracts, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia, as well as entropion. Nonetheless, a good thing about the Shih-Poo is that they come with hypoallergenic qualities.
Another thing to remember upon adopting a new puppy is that the power to protect your furbaby from one of the most widespread canine health issues – obesity is in your hands. Keeping them at an ideal weight is a very good way of extending their life. However, you have to leverage your preventive abilities in ensuring a healthier canine life.
The breed enjoys attention and exhibits this certain eagerness to entertain as well as please – a character trait they inherited from the Poodle. The Shih-Poo’s temperament is best described as friendly, and it is endowed with remarkable intelligence, though they are known to be rather shy with strangers. Warming up to a new face is quite difficult and takes a long time. However, the devotion to their adopters is unconditional. And while they have never functioned as guard dogs, the dog’s vigilance has been effective in alerting the family to the presence of a strange face. Unfortunately, this gives them the disposition of being yappy – a character that is less than ideal for an apartment setting.
Overall, the Shih-Poo dog breed is the last word in adorable. And it is quite loyal and affectionate, but can be a big challenge to train.
- Shih Poo Breed Overview – US Service Animals