The Story of Shih Tzus and Poodles

As breeders continue to create new breeds, some of the most popular designer dogs today are Shih Poos. But where did these lovable pups come from? By tracing the ancestry of both Shih Tzus and Poodles, we can begin to understand the genetic roots of these adorable crossbreeds. Let’s dive into the fascinating history of these two breeds and discover the origins of the beloved Shih Tzu and Poodle, as well as their offspring, the Shih Poo.

The Ancestry of Shih Tzus

The Ancestry Of Shih Tzus
It’s fascinating to dive into the ancestry of Shih Tzus and uncover how this beloved breed came to be. Their origins date all the way back to ancient China, where they were first bred as companions for royalty. How did they make their way to other parts of the world and become such popular pets? Join us on this journey as we explore the remarkable history of the Shih Tzu breed. If you want to read more about the genetics of Shih Tzu ancestry or the history of Shih Poos, check out our internal link to “genetics of Shih Poo ancestry” or “history of Shih Poos.”

Origins in Ancient China

It is believed that the Shih Tzu has its roots in ancient China, although the exact origins are shrouded in mystery. There are several theories about where the breed came from, but most historians agree that it was bred for royalty and nobility in China’s Imperial palaces.

One theory suggests that the Shih Tzu descended from the Tibetan Apso, which was a small dog with a long, flowing coat that was used for both hunting and as a companion dog. This breed was gifted to the Chinese royal family and was eventually bred with other small dogs, resulting in the Shih Tzu that we know today.

Another theory suggests that the Shih Tzu is descended from a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. These dogs were also kept as companions by the Chinese nobility and were often given as gifts to foreign dignitaries.

Despite its mysterious origins, the Shih Tzu quickly became a beloved breed in China and was soon exported to other parts of the world. These small dogs were particularly popular with women, who would carry them around in their sleeves or in small bags.

Today, the Shih Tzu is a popular breed around the world, known for its long, luxurious coat and affectionate personality. Its ancestry can be traced back to ancient China, where it was revered as a symbol of nobility and royalty. To learn more about the Shih Tzu’s journey to its current status as a beloved pet, check out our article on the history of Shih Poos.

Breeding in Imperial Palaces

During the Tang Dynasty in Imperial China, the Shih Tzu breed was developed and bred in imperial palaces. These dogs were considered prized possessions and were selectively bred for their small size and resemblance to lions, which were revered in Chinese culture.

Breeders crossed various small dog breeds, eventually resulting in the Shih Tzu we know today. According to historical records, the breed was even given as a gift to royalty in other countries.

Imperial breeding practices continued with the Ming Dynasty, which also saw the breeding of Pekingese dogs in imperial palaces. Poodles, on the other hand, were developed in Germany and France, and their breeding practices were not linked to imperial families.

Shih Tzus in Imperial PalacesPoodles’ Breeding History
Bred in imperial palaces in ChinaDeveloped in Germany and France
Prized possessions in Chinese cultureBreeding practices not linked to imperial families
Developed through selective breeding for small size and resemblance to lionsDeveloped for hunting and companionship

While both the Shih Tzu and Poodle have unique and fascinating histories, it’s their combination in the form of Shih Poos that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. To learn more about the genetics and ancestry of Shih Poos, check out our article on Genetics and Ancestry of Shih Poos.

Exportation to the West

During the mid-20th century, the Shih Tzu breed made its way to the Western world after their ancestors were exported from China. The breed was first introduced to England in 1930, where it quickly gained popularity among the upper class. The breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1940 and the American Kennel Club in 1969.

Throughout the years, the Shih Tzu has remained a beloved pet and has spread to countries all over the world. Today, these dogs are commonly found in households across the United States, Europe, and Australia, among other places.

The Shih Tzu is known for its friendly, affectionate nature, making it a popular family pet for those who want a loyal and loving companion. Despite their small size, these dogs are known for their bravery and make excellent watchdogs. Their beautiful, plush coats make them a favorite among those who enjoy grooming their pets.

The exportation of Shih Tzus to the West has allowed for the breed to become a part of many different cultures, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Whether you’re looking for a cuddly lap dog or a fierce protector, the Shih Tzu is an excellent option for those who want a loving and loyal companion.

The Ancestry of Poodles

The Ancestry Of Poodles
When we think of poodles, we may picture a fancy pet that is often associated with wealth and glamour. However, there is more to these beloved dogs than just their iconic appearance. Their ancestry is complex and varied, with strong roots in both Germany and France. It’s a story that spans centuries and belongs to a breed that has garnered worldwide fame, from its origins as a hunting dog to its role today as a beloved companion animal. So, let’s dive deeper into the ancestry of these fascinating dogs.

Origins in Germany and France

The origins of Poodles can be traced back to Germany and France. There is some debate about which country is the true originator of the breed, but both have contributed greatly to the development of this beloved dog.

Germany: German breeders developed the Poodle as a water retriever. They used the breed for duck hunting, retrieving waterfowl from lakes and rivers. Poodles are known for their webbed feet which make them strong swimmers. The breed became very popular among German nobles and was often seen in royal courts.

France: The Poodle’s popularity in France began during the 16th century when the breed was brought over from Germany. In France, the breed was developed into a smaller size and was used more commonly as a companion dog. Poodles were highly regarded by the French and were often seen in circuses, performing tricks and entertaining people.

It wasn’t until the breed was exported to England and America that the Poodle’s ornate hairstyles were developed. The famous “pom-poms” on the legs and tail were originally intended to allow the breed to swim more efficiently. But once the breed became more popular as a show dog, these elaborate hairstyles became a sign of status and affluence.

The Poodle’s dual origins in Germany and France have lent the breed a unique history and charm. Today, Poodles continue to be popular pets worldwide and are loved for their intelligence, playfulness, and distinctive personality.

Breeding for Hunting and Companionship

The Poodle breed has a rich history that dates back to the 15th century. Originally bred in Germany and France for hunting purposes, the Poodle’s athletic ability and intelligence made it a favorite among hunters. However, it soon became apparent that the Poodle was also an excellent companion dog.

Characteristics of a Hunting Poodle
– Athletic: Poodles were bred to be strong and agile, able to run, swim, and retrieve with ease.
– Intelligent: Poodles have a high level of intelligence and are easily trained to follow commands and hunt.
– Coat: The Poodle’s coat was originally designed to protect it from cold water during hunting. The curly, dense coat helps to insulate the dog’s body and keep it warm.
– Size: Poodles were bred in different sizes to suit different hunting needs. The standard Poodle was used for larger game, while the smaller Toy and Miniature Poodles were used for smaller game and vermin.

The Transition to Companionship
As the hunting lifestyle became less prominent, Poodles were no longer needed for their hunting skills. However, their reputation as excellent companion dogs remained. The Poodle’s intelligent and loyal nature, combined with its hypoallergenic coat, made it a desirable breed for families and individuals.

Modern-Day Poodles
Today, Poodles continue to be popular companion dogs. Their hypoallergenic coat makes them a favorite among those with pet allergies, and their intelligence and trainability make Poodles suitable for a variety of households. Poodles are often used as therapy dogs due to their gentle nature and ability to provide comfort and support to those in need.

Popularity in the United States and the UK

Poodles became extremely popular in both the United States and the UK during the 20th century. Here are some reasons for their increasing popularity:

  • Intelligence: Poodles are known for their high level of intelligence, which makes them easy to train in a variety of activities and tricks.
  • Low-shedding: Poodles have hypoallergenic fur, meaning they don’t shed much and are often a good choice for people with allergies.
  • Adaptability: They come in a variety of sizes, making them suitable for both small apartments and large homes. Standard Poodles are also known to do well in activities such as agility competitions.
  • Affectionate temperament: Poodles have a reputation for being loyal and loving to their owners, which makes them great family pets.

Poodles have been featured in pop culture for decades, making them a recognizable and beloved breed. From movies like “101 Dalmatians” to appearances in presidential campaigns, Poodles have maintained their appeal to a widespread audience.

The popularity of Poodles in the United States and UK has also led to the creation of many poodle crossbreeds, including the popular Labradoodle and Goldendoodle. These mixes offer desirable traits of both breeds, such as intelligence and low-shedding fur.

The Crossbreeding of Shih Tzus and Poodles

As we dive deeper into the origins of two beloved dog breeds, the Shih Tzu and the Poodle, we discover a fascinating trend in canine breeding – the creation of designer dogs through crossbreeding. The Shih Poo, a crossbreed of these two breeds, is no exception. In this section, we will explore the emergence of designer dogs, the specific characteristics of Shih Poos, and their growing popularity in the modern world. Let’s explore this unique crossbreed with open minds and hearts.

The Emergence of Designer Dogs

The practice of crossbreeding different dog breeds has gained significant popularity in recent years and has given rise to a new category of dogs called “designer dogs”. This practice of breeding two different breeds together has led to a variety of new breeds, including the Shih Poo.

But how did designer dogs come into existence?

To understand the emergence of designer dogs, we need to look back to the 1980s when breeders started breeding two purebred dogs together with the aim of creating a new hybrid breed that combined the best characteristics of both the parent breeds.

Initially, this practice was met with skepticism and criticism from traditional dog breeders and institutions, who believed that breeding two different breeds together could result in unpredictable and undesirable traits. However, the practice gained popularity when certain designer breeds, like the Labradoodle and the Cockapoo, gained widespread attention and became increasingly sought after.

What are the benefits of designer dogs?

One of the primary benefits of designer dogs is that they often combine the best traits of both parent breeds. For example, the Shih Poo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle. Shih Poos are known for their cute, hypoallergenic coats, making them a great choice for individuals with allergies. They are also clever, lively, and affectionate, which are traits inherited from their parent breeds.

Another advantage of designer dogs is that they often have fewer health issues than purebred dogs, as the crossbreeding process can reduce the likelihood of inherited health problems.

Are there any downsides to designer dogs?

While designer dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years, there are some downsides to the practice of crossbreeding. For example, critics argue that breeders may prioritize appearance over health, which could result in genetic health problems down the line.

Designer dog breeds are not recognized by the American Kennel Club or other breed-specific groups, which means that there are no breed standards for these dogs.

The emergence of designer dogs, including the beloved Shih Poo, has provided dog lovers with more options by creating new breeds that combine desirable traits from each parent breed. While there are potential downsides to crossbreeding, overall, designer dogs have become a popular choice for many families seeking a unique and loving companion.

The Characteristics of Shih Poos

Shih Poos, also known as Shih Poohs or Shoodles, are a relatively new breed of dog that combines the characteristics of the Shih Tzu and Poodle. These designer dogs have quickly become popular due to their hypoallergenic coats and charming demeanor.

Below is a table highlighting the characteristics of Shih Poos:

CoatShih Poos have a soft, curly or wavy coat that is typically low-shedding and hypoallergenic.
SizeShih Poos are small dogs that typically weigh between 10-15 pounds and stand about 10-13 inches tall at the shoulder.
TemperamentShih Poos are affectionate, playful, and intelligent. They typically get along well with children and other pets.
Grooming NeedsShih Poos require regular grooming to maintain their curly coat. This includes frequent brushing, bathing, and trimming of the hair around their eyes, ears, and paws.
Exercise NeedsShih Poos have moderate exercise needs and do well with daily walks or playtime in a fenced yard.
TrainingShih Poos are smart and eager to please, making them trainable with positive reinforcement methods.
HealthShih Poos are generally healthy dogs but can be prone to dental issues, eye problems, and obesity.

Shih Poos make excellent companion dogs for those seeking a small, hypoallergenic breed with an affectionate personality and moderate exercise needs.

The Popularity of Shih Poos Today

Today, Shih Poos are quickly gaining popularity among dog lovers. Here are a few possible reasons why:

  • Adaptability: With their mixed ancestry, Shih Poos have a great combination of traits from both Shih Tzus and Poodles. They tend to be adaptable to different living situations and can be suitable for apartment living or larger homes.
  • Low Shedding: Many people who love dogs are often put off by the shedding that comes with them, but with Shih Poos, shedding can be minimal. This is because both Shih Tzus and Poodles are known for being low-shedding breeds.
  • Personality: Shih Poos are often described as affectionate, playful, and loyal. Because of their mixed ancestry, they can have a range of personalities and energy levels, but in general, they tend to love being around their humans and can make great family pets.
  • Trainability: Poodles are renowned for being easy to train, and Shih Tzus can also be trained with consistency and patience. Shih Poos, therefore, tend to be quite trainable and can pick up basic commands relatively quickly.

The popularity of Shih Poos can be attributed to their desirable combination of traits from their parent breeds. They are adaptable, low shedding, have great personalities, and can be relatively easy to train. It’s no wonder why they are becoming a go-to choice for many families looking for a loving and loyal companion.


After tracing the ancestry of Shih Tzus and Poodles, it is clear that these two breeds have rich and diverse histories. While the Shih Tzu can be traced back to ancient China and the imperial palaces of the Tang Dynasty, the Poodle emerged in Germany and France as a skilled hunting dog and later became a popular companion among the European elite.

The crossbreeding of these two breeds has given rise to the Shih Poo, a curious and lovable designer dog that has quickly become a fan favorite among pet enthusiasts. With their hypoallergenic coats, friendly temperaments, and playfulness, Shih Poos have captured the hearts of many dog lovers.

However, it is important to remember that crossbreeding should always be done responsibly and with the health and well-being of the dogs in mind. While Shih Poos may exhibit desirable traits from both parent breeds, they also inherit health risks that can arise from their mixed genetic makeup.

Overall, the history of Shih Tzus and Poodles is a testament to the enduring bond between humans and dogs. These beloved breeds have evolved and adapted over time, bringing joy and companionship to countless people along the way. Whether you prefer a purebred Shih Tzu, Poodle, or an adorable Shih Poo, one thing is certain: these furry friends are sure to bring a lifetime of love and happiness to your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history behind Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus were originally bred in ancient China as a companion dog for Chinese royalty.

What is the history behind Poodles?

Poodles were originally bred in Germany and France as hunting dogs and later as companion dogs.

When did Shih Tzus and Poodles first crossbreed?

The exact date of the first Shih Tzu-Poodle crossbreed is not known, but it is believed to have happened in the late 20th century.

What is a Shih Poo?

A Shih Poo is a crossbreed between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle.

What are the characteristics of a Shih Poo?

Shih Poos are known for their friendly and playful personalities, as well as their hypoallergenic coats and intelligence.

Are Shih Poos good pets?

Yes, Shih Poos make great pets for families and individuals looking for a friendly and affectionate companion.

Do Shih Poos have any health issues?

Like all crossbreeds, Shih Poos may inherit health issues from their parent breeds, but they are generally healthy dogs.

What makes Shih Poos popular?

Shih Poos are popular for their hypoallergenic coats, friendly personalities, and intelligence, making them great pets for families and individuals with allergies.

Are Shih Poos easy to train?

Yes, Shih Poos tend to be intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train.

What should I consider before getting a Shih Poo?

Before getting a Shih Poo, be sure to consider their exercise and grooming needs, as well as their potential health issues and temperament.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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