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The Shih-poo is a small-size designer dog breed developed in North America. He’s a cross between a Shi Tzu and a poodle. Also called Shoodle or pooshi, the hypoallergenic Shih-poo is friendly, loyal, intelligent, and sophisticated like his parent breeds.
The Shih-poo prefers to be in the company of seniors, adults, and older children. The Shih-poo also gets along well with other pets when introduced early and gradually. He’s loving, sweet, and likes to be pampered and doted on. The Shih-poo has a stubborn streak, hence training would be challenging.
This poodle mix can inherit the curly coat from his poodle parent, the straight coat from his Shih Tzu parent, or a combination of the two, which is most likely. His coat needs to be brushed daily and needs to be groomed. Dental issue is common in small breeds, so regular tooth brushing is needed in a Shih-poo’s grooming routine.
The Shih-poo may have existed long ago, similar to other mixed breeds. However, it was believed to be caused by accidental mating. It is not until around twenty years ago that the intentional breeding of Shih-poos started in North America. This fairly new breed is created by cross-breeding Shih Tzus and poodles.
What do Shih-poos look like?
There may be differences in each Shih-Poo puppy’s appearance depending on what parent breeds genes are more predominant. Generally, the Shih-poo has a well-balanced physique. He has a broad body with a muscular chest. He has a levelled back and short front legs.
His face and eyes are big and round. His nose usually has the same colour as his coat. When it comes to the jaw, some Shih-poos possess stable jaws whilst others have undershot jaws.
Shih-poo’s coats may vary. Some may inherit the poodle's short, hypoallergenic coat. Others may obtain the long, flowy yet less hypoallergenic coat of the Shih Tzu. The Shih-poo’s coat comes in multitudes of solid colours or a particular pattern.
Do Shih-Poos shed?
All dogs shed including the Shih-poo. However, a Shih-Poo that inherited the poodle’s coat sheds minimally than other breeds. His hypoallergenic coat makes him a good canine companion for dog lovers who have allergies.
What are the grooming requirements of a Shih-poo?
The frequency of brushing a Shih-poo’s coat depends on the type of coat he has. If he possesses the poodle’s coat, brush him at least two to three times a week.
If he inherited the coat of his Shih Tzu parent, daily brushing is needed to keep it mat- and tangle-free. Bring him to a professional groomer at least every six to eight weeks to get his coat trimmed to keep it healthy and clean.
Bathing should be done only when he starts smelling awful or looking very dirty. Be sure to use mild dog shampoo as his skin is sensitive and prone to allergies. If possible, apply a dog conditioner on his coat too to make it shiny and healthy.
Shih-poo's parents breed Shih Tzus and poodles, both are prone to tear stains. Thus, it is no surprise that Shih-poo inherited it as well. Gently wipe away the stains using a clean, damp cloth.
The Shih-poo’s ears are floppy and thick with fur. This can cause dirt and wax build-up inside his ears. Check and clean his ears at least once every other week to avoid ear infections.
Trim his nails at least every one to two months. If you hear clicking of nails every time he walks, this is also a good sign that it's time for nail trimming. The Shih-poo is prone to dental problems, thus daily tooth brushing is a must. It is the most effective way to keep periodontal diseases at bay.
The Shih-poo is known for his energetic and playful nature. He will be more than ecstatic to be included in fun family activities or doggy games. His love and loyalty for his owner are boundless. Whilst these traits make him a great family companion, they also have drawbacks.
Separation anxiety may develop in a Shih-poo if he is often left all alone at home. He is also a barker, although not at the same level as the poodle. If his lack of companionship at home is not addressed, he can bark incessantly and pick up other unwanted behaviours. To prevent this, have someone to be with him when you are away.
His devotion to his owners can make him a protective dog too. He may have an air of indifference and aloofness when meeting new faces. Early training and socialisation will mould him to become a more friendly dog as he matures. This will teach him how to identify who poses as a threat from those who aren’t.
The Shih-poo is a good fit for families with older children since he loves fun and games. Just make sure to supervise him as he interacts with children during playtime. If handled too roughly, he may get hurt because he is a small dog.
He is a good buddy for fellow pets too, especially if they grew up together or introduced during puppyhood. Again, early socialisation greatly helps in swiftly making him accustomed to new furry friends, so don’t skip on it.
How to train a Shih-poo
The Shih-poo dog is smart and a quick learner. However, his stubbornness paired with short attention span doesn’t make him quite easy to train. To keep him from losing his interest in training, each session should be short but done repetitively throughout the day.
Firmness and consistency paired with gentleness and patience from you are needed too. Never incorporate harsh punishment methods in training. This will only lead the Shih-poo to be afraid and resentful of you.
Opt for positive reinforcement training such as giving him praises and treats. Not only does it encourage him but it is also a great way to build a stronger bond with you.
Premium-quality dog food is one of the best options you can give to your Shih-poo. Choose one that is specifically made for his age and small breeds. Its nutritional contents are designed to meet his nutritional needs and replenish his energy.
There may be cheaper alternatives to high-quality dog food. However, they often lack in nutrients and minerals and contain unhealthy ingredients such as flavouring and additives. Freshwater should always be accessible to your dog to keep him well hydrated.
A Shih-poo puppy that is one to three months old needs ½ to 1 ¼ cups of food a day. When he turns four to five months of age, feed him around 1 1/8 to 2 cups daily. Six- to eight-month-old puppy should have about ¾ to 1 1/3 cups of food each day.
When he reaches nine to eleven months, 1 to 1 ½ cups of food per day will suffice. Be sure to divide his meals into three small portions since it makes digestion easier.
A fully matured Shih-poo weighing approximately 3 kgs should have at least 1/3 cup of food every day. A Shih-poo that weighs about 6 pounds requires ½ cup of food per day. A 9 kg adult Shih-poo needs about ¾ cup daily. Split the meals into two smaller serving to avoid overeating, which can cause bloat.
The spirited Shih-poo needs sufficient amounts of exercise or else he will develop destructive behaviour. He needs at least thirty minutes to an hour for walks and other fun doggy activities. It is a good option to take him for a short walk in the morning and then a longer one during the afternoon.
If you have a spacious home or a big backyard, play games with him to encourage bonding. Try playing fetch, obstacle course, hide-and-seek, puzzle games, and find the treats. If the game’s setting is in the backyard, be sure to check your fences ahead of time to prevent him from accidentally escaping.
How long do Shih-poos live?
The average lifespan of a healthy Shih-poo is 10 to fifteen years. Properly attending his needs and taking care of him will prolong his life. He may even surpass the average life expectancy for his breed.
What are the common diseases in Shih-poos?
Many designer breeds like the Shih-poo are hardy and in good shape. However, there are some illnesses that the Shih-poo is predisposed to. Below are the common health problems found in the breed that you should know:
Take precautionary measures to keep your Shih-poo in optimal health. Make sure that he completes all necessary vaccinations, annual boosters, and health tests. Most importantly, regularly go to the vet for check-ups. Doing so will make it easier for the vet to keep tabs on your Shih-poo’s health.
Purchasing a well-bred Shihpoo pedigree puppy will cost you at least £500 depending on the breed’s quality. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age, be ready to spend £15-£20 a month on high-quality dog food. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be about £200 depending on the brand.
When it comes to healthcare, you should be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. Depending on where you live and your dog’s health and age, a time-limited cover can cost £27 a month while a lifetime one can cost up to £48 a month. Generally, insurance companies do not cover routine veterinary consultations, initial vaccinations, boosters, and neutering or spaying, so you may also have to spend an additional £600 annually for these services.
Roughly, you will be setting aside £50-£70 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose. This estimate is also exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.
Are you sure the Shih-poo is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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