Shih Poo: Comparing Physical and Behavioral Characteristics

As a prospective dog owner, finding the perfect pet can be a daunting task. With so many breeds and variations out there, it can be a challenge to determine which one would be the best fit for your lifestyle. One breed that has been gaining in popularity in recent years is the Shih Poo, a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. But what exactly are the physical and behavioral characteristics of this hybrid dog, and how do they compare to their parent breeds? In this article, we will dive deep into the world of Shih Poos and explore what makes them unique.

Physical Characteristics

Physical Characteristics
When it comes to designer dogs, physical characteristics are one of the most important aspects to consider. The appearance and makeup of a dog can greatly impact its health, behavior, and even its overall happiness. As we delve into the physical characteristics of the Shih Poo breed, it’s important to explore what makes this breed unique. From the physical traits of its parent breeds to the evolution and genetics of the Shih Poo, we’ll examine every aspect of what makes this breed a beloved companion. Let’s dive in and take a closer look. To learn more about the evolution of the Shih Poo breed, check out our Shih Poo Breed Evolution article.

Shih Tzu Physical Characteristics

Shih Tzus are small dogs with long, luxurious coats that drape down to the floor. Their heads are round and have a short snout, and their eyes are large and expressive. They have a lively and alert expression that epitomizes their intelligence and curiosity.

Below is a table that highlights the physical characteristics of Shih Tzus:

Physical CharacteristicDescription
SizeSmall, typically weighing between 9-16 pounds
CoatLong, silky, and dense coat that comes in a variety of colors
HeadRound head with a short, wide snout
EyesLarge and round, generally dark with an alert and curious expression
EarLarge and floppy, heavily coated
BodySturdy and compact, with a level topline and broad chest
TailCurls over the back, heavily plumed

Shih Tzus are known for their distinctive lion-like appearance, and their long, flowing coat requires regular grooming. They have a sturdy and compact body, and their tails typically curl up over their back in a plumed swirl. It’s also worth noting that they have a longer lifespan than many other small breeds, with some living up to 18 years.

Click here to learn about the genetic makeup of Shih Poos.

Poodle Physical Characteristics

When it comes to the physical characteristics of the Shih Poo, it is important to consider its parent breeds: the Shih Tzu and the Poodle. Let’s take a closer look at the Poodle’s physical characteristics.

Size: Poodles are a medium-sized breed, with the standard Poodle standing at a height of over 15 inches and weighing between 45 to 70 pounds. The miniature Poodle is usually between 10 to 15 inches tall and weighs between 10 to 15 pounds, while the toy Poodle is under 10 inches tall and weighs around 6 to 9 pounds. Shih Poos usually inherit their size from their Poodle parent, so it’s likely that they will be a small to medium-sized breed.

Coat: Poodles have a uniquely curly, hypoallergenic coat that doesn’t shed much, which makes them a good choice for people with allergies. Poodles come in a variety of colors, including black, white, apricot, and gray. The Shih Poo’s coat can be similar to either parent breed, and can range from a soft and wavy to a tightly curled texture.

Head and Body: The Poodle has a long, narrow head with long, hanging ears that are well-covered in hair. Their body is muscular, with a square-shaped build, and they have long, thin legs. The Shih Poo usually inherits the stockier, more compact body of the Shih Tzu parent, but could have features from the Poodle as well.

Here is a table summarizing the physical characteristics of the Poodle:

CoatCurly, hypoallergenic, doesn’t shed much
Head and BodyLong, narrow head, square-shaped build, long, thin legs

Fun Fact: Did you know that Poodles were originally bred for hunting and retrieving waterfowl? Their curly coats helped protect them in cold water. Today, Poodles are mostly kept as companion animals and can be seen in dog shows for their impressive grooming styles.

Understanding the physical characteristics of the Poodle is important in determining what to expect when it comes to the physical appearance of the Shih Poo. For more information on the Shih Poo, check out our Shih Poo timeline or read about the history of designer dog breeding.

Shih Poo Physical Characteristics

When it comes to the physical characteristics of the Shih Poo, it’s important to remember that this breed is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle, and as such, they can inherit traits from both of their parent breeds. Below are some of the most common physical characteristics of the Shih Poo:

  • Size: Shih Poos are a small to medium sized breed, typically weighing between 8 and 18 pounds and standing between 8 and 18 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Coat: The Shih Poo’s coat can vary widely between individuals, but it’s often soft, curly, and hypoallergenic. Some Shih Poos will have straight hair while others will have more of a curly coat, depending on whether they inherited more traits from the Poodle or the Shih Tzu.
  • Color: These dogs can come in a variety of colors, including black, white, brown, gray, and cream. Some may have markings or spots, while others may be a solid color.
  • Facial Features: Like their parent breeds, Shih Poos have a flat face and short snout. They often have large, expressive eyes and floppy ears that hang down close to their cheeks.
  • Body Type: These dogs have a sturdy, muscular build with a compact and well-proportioned body. They have four short legs and a tail that is slightly curled over their back.

The physical characteristics of the Shih Poo make them an adorable and versatile breed. Whether you prefer a curly or straight coat, a black, white, or brown coloration, or any combination thereof, this breed offers a variety of options to choose from. Additionally, their hypoallergenic coat can make them a great choice for allergy sufferers who have trouble with other breeds.

Behavioral Characteristics

Behavioral Characteristics
As much as a pet’s physical characteristics are important, their behavioral traits are equally crucial in finding the perfect companion. Understanding a dog’s temperament and personality can be a deciding factor in choosing the right breed for you. In this section, we’ll dive into the distinctive behavioral traits of Shih Tzu, Poodle, and Shih Poo to help you better comprehend the personality of this crossbreed.

Shih Tzu Behavioral Characteristics

The Shih Tzu is an adorable breed that is loved for more than just its charming physical appearance. Their strong and dynamic behavioral characteristics play a huge role in how they are viewed as pets. Here are some of the Shih Tzu’s behavioral characteristics:

PlayfulThe Shih Tzu is a playful dog that loves to engage in games and activities with its owner. They are always looking for ways to entertain themselves and those around them.
CleverThis breed is known for its intelligence and cleverness. They are quick to learn and are very responsive to training. They can be taught a wide range of tricks and commands.
StubbornShih Tzus can be quite stubborn at times. They have their own opinion and can be difficult to persuade if they have set their mind on something. This trait needs to be addressed in their training.
IndependentShih Tzus can be independent dogs, and they enjoy having their time alone. They are not always keen on being handled or overly cuddled. However, they can be very loyal to their owners and enjoy spending time with their loved ones.
AffectionateDespite their independent nature, Shih Tzus are affectionate dogs that love to be close to their owners. They thrive on human interaction and seek attention from those around them.
Barks a lotShih Tzus have a tendency to bark quite a bit. They can be vocal and often do not hesitate to alert their owners about something that catches their attention.

As with any breed, it’s important to be aware of the unique behavioral characteristics of the Shih Tzu before making a decision to bring one into your home. This will ensure that you can provide them with the proper training, care and attention they need to thrive as a pet.

Poodle Behavioral Characteristics

When considering the behavioral characteristics of a Shih Poo, it’s important to also look at the parent breeds. The Poodle brings a unique set of traits to the mix, resulting in a Shih Poo that can vary in temperament.

Intelligence: Poodles are known for their intelligence and trainability. This often translates to the Shih Poo, who can be quick learners when it comes to obedience and tricks.

Energy: While Shih Tzus typically have low to moderate energy levels, Poodles are known for their high energy. This means that a Shih Poo may have a higher energy level than a purebred Shih Tzu.

Sociability: Poodles are generally social and friendly dogs, and this can also be seen in the Shih Poo. They can be great with children, other dogs, and strangers alike.

Anxiety: However, both Shih Tzus and Poodles can be prone to anxiety, and this can also be seen in the Shih Poo. Separation anxiety, in particular, can be a common issue for this breed.

Barking: Poodles are also known to be vocal dogs, and this can sometimes carry over to the Shih Poo. Excessive barking can be a problem if not addressed early on through training.

The Poodle’s intelligence and sociability can be great assets to the Shih Poo’s temperament. However, potential owners should be aware of the possibility of increased energy levels and anxiety issues, and should be prepared to address these with proper socialization and training.

Behavioral Characteristics of Poodle
IntelligenceTrainable and quick learner
EnergyHigh energy
SociabilitySocial and friendly with others
AnxietyProne to anxiety, particularly separation anxiety
BarkingCan be vocal, excessive barking may occur without proper training

Shih Poo Behavioral Characteristics

When it comes to behavioral characteristics, the Shih Poo is known for its friendly and outgoing nature, making it an excellent companion dog for families. Here are some of the key behavioral traits of a Shih Poo:

  • Playfulness: Shih Poos are playful dogs that love to play and interact with their owners. They enjoy games like fetch and love to run around outside.
  • Sociability: The Shih Poo is a very social dog that loves to be around people and other pets. They are known for their friendliness and can make great companions for children and other pets.
  • Intelligence: The Shih Poo is an intelligent breed that can learn new tricks and commands quickly. They are eager to please their owners and enjoy learning new things.
  • Stubbornness: Like their parent breeds, the Shih Poo can be stubborn at times, making them a bit difficult to train. However, with patience and consistency, they can be trained to follow commands.
  • Affectionate: Shih Poos are very affectionate dogs that love to cuddle and be close to their owners. They crave attention and often follow their owners around the house.
  • Alertness: The Shih Poo is a very alert dog that will let its owners know if it senses anything unusual. They make great watch dogs and will bark to alert their owners of any potential danger.

The Shih Poo’s friendly and playful nature, coupled with their intelligence and affectionate personality, make them great pets for families. However, their stubbornness may require patience and consistent training from their owners.

Shih Poo vs. Shih Tzu and Poodle

Shih Poo Vs. Shih Tzu And Poodle
As a crossbreed of two beloved lapdog breeds, the Shih Poo has a lot in common with both its parent breeds, the Shih Tzu and the Poodle. However, there are some notable differences between the three that prospective dog owners should be aware of. In this section, we’ll compare the physical and behavioral characteristics of each breed, highlighting their similarities and differences. By the end, you should have a good idea of whether a Shih Poo, Shih Tzu, or Poodle is the right fit for you and your family.


When it comes to comparing Shih Poo with its parent breeds, some similarities can be observed in both physical and behavioral characteristics. Here are some of the most notable similarities:

  • Both Shih Tzu and Poodle are popular breeds: Both Shih Tzu and Poodle are well-loved and sought after breeds, and for good reasons. Shih Tzu has been around for centuries, while Poodle was initially bred as a waterfowl retriever. With their similar popularity, it is no surprise that Shih Poo has also gained popularity over the years.
  • Shih Poo is a small-sized breed: Shih Poo inherits its small size from both Shih Tzu and Poodle. While the exact size can vary depending on the parents, Shih Poo typically weighs between 8 to 18 pounds and stands around 8 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. This small size makes them great apartment dogs, perfect for city living.
  • Both Shih Tzu and Poodle are affectionate breeds: Shih Tzu and Poodle are both known to be affectionate and loving dogs. This trait is passed on to Shih Poo as well. Shih Poo is a dog that loves to be around its owners and craves constant attention and cuddles.
  • Shih Poo and its parent breeds can suffer from similar health issues: As with any crossbreed, Shih Poo can inherit health traits from both its parent breeds. Both Shih Tzu and Poodle can suffer from conditions such as hip dysplasia and allergies, so it is essential to take your Shih Poo for regular vet checkups.

These are just a few examples of the similarities that can be observed when comparing Shih Poo with its parent breeds. By understanding these similarities, you can get a better idea of what to expect when bringing a Shih Poo into your family.


When comparing the Shih Poo to its parent breeds, the Shih Tzu and Poodle, there are some key differences to consider.

Appearance: The Shih Poo can exhibit a range of physical characteristics, making it difficult to predict the exact appearance of the crossbreed. However, in general, Shih Poos tend to have a more curly and hypoallergenic coat than the Shih Tzu, and are typically smaller in size than both parent breeds due to their Poodle heritage.

Temperament: While both the Shih Tzu and Poodle are known for their intelligence, Shih Poos tend to be more laid back and less demanding than their parent breeds. They can be independent and stubborn at times, but are generally very affectionate and social.

Health: When it comes to health, the Shih Poo tends to be more resilient than its parent breeds. Shih Tzus are prone to respiratory issues and Poodles can be prone to hip dysplasia, but the hybrid nature of the Shih Poo means that it has a lower risk for developing these conditions.

Here is a table summarizing the differences between the Shih Poo and its parent breeds:

CharacteristicShih TzuPoodleShih Poo
CoatStraight, long and silkyCurly, dense and hypoallergenicCurly or wavy, usually hypoallergenic, but can vary
Size9-10 inches (at the shoulder)10-15 inches (at the shoulder)8-13 inches (at the shoulder)
TemperamentAloof, stubborn, but loyal and affectionate to familyIntelligent, active, but can be high-strung if not trained properlySocial, affectionate, easy-going, but can be stubborn at times
HealthProne to respiratory issues and eye problemsProne to hip dysplasia, eye and skin issuesGenerally healthy, but may develop health issues common to both parent breeds

The Shih Poo exhibits a unique blend of physical and behavioral characteristics from its parent breeds, and is a suitable companion for those looking for a small, hypoallergenic, and social dog. However, potential owners should carefully research both the Shih Tzu and Poodle to determine if the Shih Poo is the right fit for their lifestyle and personality.

Is a Shih Poo Right for You?

Taking on a furry companion is a big decision that requires careful consideration. Before you decide to bring a Shih Poo into your life, it’s important to ask yourself a few crucial questions to determine whether this breed is the right fit for you.

Firstly, take into account your lifestyle and the amount of time you have available to devote to your pet. Shih Poos are affectionate and loyal, and they require ample attention and companionship from their owners. If you have a busy schedule that won’t allow you to spend a significant amount of time with your pet or if you travel frequently, a Shih Poo might not be the best choice.

Secondly, consider your living situation. Shih Poos are smaller breeds and adapt well to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise. They’re also hypoallergenic and could be a good fit for people with pet allergies. However, if you live in a home with a small yard or no yard at all, you’ll need to make sure you provide your Shih Poo with enough exercise and playtime indoors or at a nearby park.

Thirdly, think about the financial cost of owning a Shih Poo. Shih Poos are generally considered low-maintenance breeds, but they still require regular grooming and medical care. Factor in the cost of food, toys, grooming tools, and veterinary visits, as well as any potential unforeseen costs such as emergency medical care.

Fourthly, consider whether the Shih Poo’s temperament and personality traits align with what you’re looking for in a pet. Shih Poos are affectionate and playful, but they can be prone to separation anxiety if they don’t receive enough attention. They’re also intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train, but they can be stubborn at times.

Finally, ask yourself whether you’re ready for the commitment and responsibility that come with owning a Shih Poo. They’re long-lived breeds that can live up to 15 years, and they require consistent care and attention throughout their lives.

In conclusion, adopting a Shih Poo can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for the right pet owner. They’re intelligent, affectionate, and adaptable, making them a great fit for a variety of lifestyles. However, it’s essential to take into account your lifestyle, living situation, financial standing, and expectations before committing to this breed. With careful consideration and planning, you can determine whether a Shih Poo is the right fit for you and provide a loving home for one of these adorable pups.


After analyzing the physical and behavioral characteristics of not just the Shih Poo, but also its parent breeds – the Shih Tzu and Poodle, we can conclude that the Shih Poo is an excellent choice for a family pet. This small and adorable hybrid breed is a combination of the best qualities of both the Shih Tzu and Poodle breed.

Shih Poos have an attractive and unique appearance, with their wavy, hypoallergenic, and low-shedding coats. They have a friendly and loyal disposition, an adaptability to different living conditions, and are amenable to various lifestyles. Shih Poos inherit a great temperament and intelligence from their parent breeds, making them easy to train, and they love to please their owners. They thrive on human interaction and are a great fit for families with children or seniors.

In the end, the decision of what breed of dog to adopt is personal and depends on individual preferences, living conditions, and lifestyle. It’s crucial to do research before bringing home any pet, including the Shih Poo. Potential owners should consider their lifestyle and the time and resources needed to ensure their new pet gets the attention, exercise, and care they deserve. With proper training, socialization, care, and attention, Shih Poos can make wonderful companions for all kinds of households.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Shih Poo?

A Shih Poo is a hybrid dog breed that is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle.

What size do Shih Poos usually grow to be?

Shih Poos usually grow to be small to medium-sized dogs, weighing between 8 and 18 pounds.

Are Shih Poos hypoallergenic?

Yes, Shih Poos are considered to be hypoallergenic dogs because they do not shed much and produce less dander.

Do Shih Poos have any health issues?

Shih Poos may be susceptible to some health issues that are common in their parent breeds, including ear infections, dental problems, and respiratory issues.

What is the average lifespan of a Shih Poo?

The average lifespan of a Shih Poo is between 10 and 15 years.

Do Shih Poos require a lot of grooming?

Yes, Shih Poos require regular grooming, including brushing, bathing, and regular trimming, to keep their coat healthy and prevent matting.

Are Shih Poos good with children?

Yes, Shih Poos can be great family dogs and are generally good with children. However, as with all dogs, supervision is highly recommended.

Do Shih Poos have a high energy level?

Shih Poos can have a moderate level of energy, but it largely depends on their individual personality and the amount of exercise they receive.

Are Shih Poos easy to train?

Yes, Shih Poos are generally intelligent and can be easy to train with consistent positive reinforcement and patience.

Do Shih Poos bark a lot?

Shih Poos may have a tendency to bark, but this can be minimized with proper training and socialization from a young age.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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