All About the Shih-Poo, a Great Dog for City Dwellers

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The Shih-Poo is a popular designer/intentional mixed breed cross between a Toy Poodle or Miniature Poodle and a Shih Tzu. The Shih-Poo is a playful and attentive little dog who makes a great companion. With fairly minimal exercise needs, the Shih-Poo can thrive living in apartments or large cities, however they do require significant amounts of regular grooming.

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Shih-Poo Characteristics

Developed by crossing a Shih Tzu and a Poodle, Shih-Poos range in size between 7 and 20 pounds and are 8 to 15 inches high at the shoulders when fully grown. Generally small but sturdy, the exact size and weight of Shih-Poos will be based on the size of the parents. Because Shih-Poos can be a Shih Tzu crossed with either a Toy Poodle or a Miniature Poodle, sizes of Shih-Poos will vary. Those Shih-Poos with Miniature Poodles in their lineage will be slightly larger than those whose parents are Toy Poodles. Shih-Poos are generally alert, friendly, and affectionate dogs that thrive on spending time with their families. Shih-Poos are a high needs breed when it comes to grooming requirements. Their coat will vary from curly or wavy like a poodle to straight and long like a Shih Tzu.

Shih-Poo Temperament & Training

Known to be very affectionate, Shih-Poos are loyal and playful lapdogs deeply devoted to their people and thrive on attention and spending time with their family. With only a moderate energy level the Shih-Poo is known for doing well living in apartments. The Shih-Poo is playful and intelligent and does well with positive and consistent training methodologies. Like other small dogs the Shih-Poo can easily be injured. As such, these dogs are generally best with children who are old enough to have learned safe and appropriate ways to interact with dogs.

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While some Shih-Poo are very vocal and alert dogs barking warnings about noises they hear outside others are very quiet. Like with any breed If you have close neighbors you'll want to work with your Shih-Poo to desensitize them to outside noises by encouraging and rewarding quiet behavior. Although Shih-Poos are generally easygoing and outgoing dogs, socialization to novel environments, different people, other dogs and animals when Shih-Poos are young is still essential. As with all dogs, it's important to work with a positive reinforcement trainer to find the right way to motivate your dog while they are learning. Consistency and finding the best way to motivate and reward your dog is essential.

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Shih-Poo Grooming

No breed of dog is 100% hypoallergenic, however the Shih-Poo has hypoallergenic qualities because their coat is non-shedding and produces less dander which is what allergy sufferers generally react to. The Shih-Poo coat can be long and silky like a Shih Tzu, curly like a poodle or somewhere in between. It's impossible to know before puppies are born how their coats will develop. Like the two breeds crossed to develop Shih-Poos they come in many colors like white, black, red, apricot, gold, brindle, as well as parti-color meaning any of these colors combined with white.

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Shih-Poos are a breed that require a thorough daily brushing at home or at minimum a brushing multiple times per week. Shih-Poos should be bathed every three weeks, and will need regular professional grooming to keep their coat clipped and trimmed. Shih-Poos, like any other breed of dog, need their ears cleaned regularly and their teeth brushed at least weekly. Additionally, Shih-Poos should have their nails trimmed as part of a regular grooming routine. Maintaining short nails on your Shih-Poo is important to prevent them from getting stuck in blankets, or from slipping on floors. It also helps prevent pain while walking and running.

Shih-Poo Exercise & Health

Like all dogs Shih-Poos benefit from positive reinforcement training and although they are generally happy to be lap dogs and companions around the house like all dogs, they need regular physical and mental exercise. Poodles are very athletic dogs originally bred to work with hunters to retrieve downed waterfowl and excel in a variety of performance sports like dog agility. Some Shih-Poos maintain that athletic potential and can excel in sports like agility, and rally. Shih-Poo's benefit from regular daily exercise and playtime. However, Shih Poos are adaptable dogs with a moderate level of energy that can adapt to a less active family's lifestyle. Shih-Poos as a mix of both the Shih Tzu and Poodle are susceptible to health conditions that are common in both breeds. These health conditions Shih-Poos may be at an increased risk of include: luxating patellas as well as eye conditions, and ear infections.

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Shih-Poo Puppies

The size of Shih-Poo puppies will differ depending on the type of poodle they are bred from. In general, most Shih-Poo puppies are under five pounds. These puppies are playful but like other small breed puppies their small size as puppies can make them susceptible to injury from being stepped on, jumping off of furniture, or getting injured in small areas in the home. This makes supervision and puppy proofing extremely important for keeping Shih-Poo puppies safe. Shih-Poos generally reach their full size and maturity between 7 and 12 months of age.

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