Shihpoo – Choosing a Shihpoo

What is a Shihpoo? A Shihpoo is a mixed breed, also called a designer or hybrid breed, parented by the Shih Tzu and the Poodle. Though designer breeds are becoming increasingly popular amongst pet owners, they are not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. There is significant variance in the Shihpoo's characteristics because it is a mixed breed. Shihpoo traits can be any combination of those of the Shi Tzu and Poodle.

The Shi Tzu probably originated in Tibet during the seventh century. The breed was greatly admired by the Chinese, who featured Shih Tzus in their paintings and sculptures and gave the breed its name, which means "lion", for its beautiful coat. In the 1930s the Shi Tzu was exported to England, then it made its way to the US in the arms of World War II veterans returning home. In 1969, the AKC recognized the breed as a member of the toy group. Today the Shih Tzu is a popular house pet everywhere, and is especially loved in Japan.

The Poodle is believed to have originated around the 13th century in Germany as a water retriever. The breed received its name from the German "pudeln" which refers to splashing in the water. Poodles are famous for carrying supplies and messages during World War II and performing in circuses and French dog playhouses. The AKC recognizes three sizes of the poodle, the toy (AKC's toy group), the miniature, and the standard (AKC's non-sporting group).

The Shihpoo has many looks, as both the Poodle and the Shih Tzu come in many colors. The Shihpoo can be nearly any solid color or color combination. The coat it usually wavy to curly and medium to long in length. This adorable breed has floppy ears, and the tail is typically left long. The Toy or Miniature Poodle is usually used in breeding the Shihpoo; therefore, they are generally 5-15 pounds and 10-15 inches in height at the shoulder. Though Shihpoos are small dogs, they are typically sturdy, tough little characters.

Regular brushing and grooming are necessary to prevent matting of the Shihpoo's long hair. Both the Poodle and the Shih Tzu are low shedding breeds; therefore, the Shih Poo may be ideal for a family with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems.

Because of the similarities in the parenting breeds, personality is a bit easier to predict in this mixed breed than their appearance. Shihpoos are good dogs for the elderly and for families with children. They can be playful and loving, lap dogs. They are generally devoted to their families, intelligent, and eager to please. The Shihpoo loves attention and spending time with his family.

Listed below are diseases and health problems that the Shih Tzu and the Poodle commonly acquire. The Shihpoo may also be particularly susceptible to these.

Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.

Urolithiasis is a urinary tract disorder characterized by the development of bladder stones.

Intervertebral disc disease is a disorder that affects the spinal disks resulting in pain, difficulty walking and possibly paralysis.

The Shihpoo's average life span is 12-18 years.

To learn more about the Shipoo's parenting breeds, please read PetPlace's breed profiles on the Poodle and the Shi Tzu.