A Shih-poo is an adorable cross between a Shih Tzu and a toy poodle. Because they are a mixed breed, there is some variation in coat type, but knowing how to groom a Shih-poo is important for keeping your pup's coat healthy.
About the Shih-poo coat
A toy poodle has a long, curly single coat. Shih Tzus also have long hair, but their hair is straight, and they have a double coat. Your Shih-poo puppy may have a coat like one of her parents or a combination of the two, like a curly double coat. The Shih-poo rarely sheds and is considered a hypoallergenic breed. Regardless of the coat type your Shih-poo inherits, she will need daily brushing and regular grooming to keep her coat and skin healthy.
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How to groom a Shih-poo
To get a properly groomed Shih-poo, you need the right tools. The best dog brush for a Shih-poo is a pin brush with soft tips. Use this brush to groom your pup. The soft tips will prevent any scratches to his skin. Once you have brushed him thoroughly with the pin brush, it is time to move on to the comb. Comb out his hair, making sure you comb the hair all the way to the level of the skin where mats start to form.
It is best to get in the habit of brushing your Shih-poo each day. While you may be able to get away with less frequent brushing if you opt for a short haircut, matted fur can be difficult to comb out not to mention painful for your pup.
Brush out tangled hair
If you do encounter a tangle or mat, start by spraying the hair with a detangling spray for dogs. Work out the tangle with your fingers first if possible. Then, use a comb to untangle the hair, starting at the ends and moving toward the skin. Be sure to hold the hair at the base of the mat so that you aren't pulling on the skin. If the matting is severe, it is often best to shave the hair or take your pup to a professional groomer for assistance.
Other grooming maintenance
Shih-poos are prone to getting tear stains under their eyes. Use a damp cotton ball to clean your pup's face and eyes daily. Avoid cleaners that may irritate her eyes. Brush your dog's teeth if she will let you. Do this daily if possible or a couple times each week if not.
Check your dog's nails each week and trim them as needed. Don't forget to check and trim her dewclaws as well. Finally, clean your dog's ears each month with a damp cotton ball.
Haircuts and baths
Bathe your Shih-poo approximately every other week as needed. If you take frequent walks on muddy trails, more frequent baths may be needed. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo designed for dogs. Brush out the fur after you dry your dog.
Both Shih Tzus and poodles have continuously growing hair and need regular haircuts. Your Shih-poo is no different. You can trim your Shih-poo yourself, or if you are uncertain of how to groom your Shih-poo, take her to a groomer every four to six weeks.
You can choose any haircut or style that you like, from a short puppy cut to a longer trim. If you opt for a longer cut, make sure that the hair on your pup's face is cut short or tied back into a top knot. This is important to keep the fur out of your pup's eyes and prevent irritation.
- Preventive Vet: Why Your Dog's Coat Gets Matted — and What You Can Do About It
- PetHelpful: Shih-Poo Puppy Grooming: How to Care for Your Poodle Mix Puppy’s Fur
- Veterinarians.org: The Shih Poo: A Guide to The Teddy Bear Dog
- American Kennel Club: Poodle (Toy)
- American Kennel Club: Shih Tzu
- American Kennel Club: How to Groom a Dog at Home