Sweet and warm, the Shihpoo is often described as a soft, cuddly teddy bear with a personality to match! This adorable animal is just as intelligent as it is loving! Their affectionate nature and trainability make them ideal for first-time pet owners compassionate allergy sufferers. Their coat is known to be "allergy-friendly" or hypoallergenic." According to the U.S. Service Animals' websites, a typical Shihpoo is white or white with tawny patches. They can also come in the brown, black, cream, gray, liver, and tawny. The appearance of a Shihpoo can vary because it can inherit any combination of characteristics from its parents: short, long, wavy, or curly. Adult Shihpoo stands between 10 and 12 inches tall and weighs between 10 and 15 pounds. Size and weight can vary according to their parents' size. These toy breeds are expected to live longer than larger breeds. A healthy Shihpoo will live 14-16 years.
The Shihpoo is considered to be a designer/mixed breed. Therefore, it is not recognized as purebred by the American Kennel Association. When two purebred dogs breed, the result is often called a designer dog. Most Shihpoos are the first generation of two purebred parents: The Shih Tzu and Miniature/Toy Poodle. This crossbreed has no breed standard for its' appearance-which means the Shihpoo can display traits of both the Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle. Some may have the curly, hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle, while others have the Shih Tzu's long, straight coat. Others could have a wavy coat somewhere in between. Like humans, pups can take after one parent more than the other, or they can be an equal blend of both.
The Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle are exceedingly popular dog breeds with ancient and regal history. Both breeds are some of the oldest in existence. Shihpoo, however, has only been around for a few decades; they are a relatively new breed. The history of this breed is scarce, although the two breeds that make the hybrid have exciting and well-documented records.
The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest existing breeds, developed in Tibetan lamaseries by lama monks. Traces of the Shih Tzu lineage can be found in China, as early as 1,000 B.C. Tibet sent Tibetan "Lion Dogs" to Chinese emperors, likely as royal gifts, during the Qing (Ch'ing) Dynasty (1644-62). These dogs were Shih Tzu's ancestors and lived in the Chinese Imperial Palace. The breed has appeared on tapestries dating back to 2,000 years old. It is recorded that they were beloved favorites of the Manchu Empire. The Chinese bred them with short-faced breeds, such as the Chinese Pug or the Pekingese. The characteristics mixed and eventually created the modern-day Shih Tzu.
The breed became so revered that the Chinese refused to sell, or even give away, any of the sacred toy dogs for many years. They were rarely seen outdoors or outside of the palace. It is rumored that even owning one of these dogs could earn one the death sentence. It is not an exaggeration to say that these dogs were considered royalty. Emperors and empresses would use their beloved palace pets as robes and foot warmers in their beds. The Chinese imperial court named the breed. When the imperial rule ended, the Shih Tzu nearly went extinct also. Fortunately, 14 dogs were transported to England. The dogs were saved and created the Shih Tzu breed standard we know and love today!
The Poodle is the national dog of France. However, it originated in Germany as a retriever water dog more than 400 years ago! The Poodle we know today evolved in France from a combination of dogs: the German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, French water dogs, and the North African Barbet. It is also theorized that the Poodle descended from Asian herding dogs and is an ancestor from the Asian steppes who came with the Moors in the 8th century, settling in Portugal after conquering the North African Berbers. Poodles were used primarily for duck hunting and sometimes as performers in the circus. Their crisp, curly coat served as a vital protection against the elements while retrieving ducks in freezing waters. Their flamboyant yet practical coat served as important protection. Hunters needed the dogs to have a free range of movement in the water and wanted to protect vital areas of the anatomy from the bitter cold. They shaved the legs, neck, and tail and left the chest, hips, and leg joints coated, creating the flamboyant yet practical look people fawn over today. These rounded puffs are called pompons! The American Kennel Club registered the first Poodle in 1888! The Toy Poodle was first bred in the U.S. as a city-dwelling companion dog in the early 20th century. It was created by breeding miniature Poodles together. It is classified as a non-sporting dog. The toy was later used to produce the first Shihpoo!
Today, the Shihpoo make wonderful emotional support animals, just like their parent, the Shih Tzu. Their doting, loving personalities provide a safe, natural, yet effective remedy for all types of emotional and mental disorders, like depression, phobias, anxiety, PTSD, and more.
The U.S. Service Dog website claims that a pup's personality and temperament largely stem from their genes, environment, and mother's character. Early socialization and learned behaviors (from mother and sibling pups) can make a huge difference in a dog's temperament. To become well-adjusted adults, puppies need plenty of socialization both before and after moving into their new homes. A safe, loving home encourages an even keel temperament.
The Shihpoo share a temperament that can range between the full extents of both the Poodle and Shih-Tzu breeds or somewhere in between. The breed is typically described as active, friendly, intelligent, and affectionate. They tend to be more affable and outgoing than shy or aggressive. This breed has enough energy to keep the family entertained for hours. Shihpoo craves frequent attention. If they figure out a trick that seems to please you, they will do it repeatedly to earn your praise. Many people find the breed to be silly and hilarious. Sometimes, the breed can be a tiny bit stubborn, but early training and socialization should prevent them from becoming too headstrong.
The offsprings' parent breed, the Toy Poodle, is ranked in the top ten most intelligent (purebred) dog breeds. For the Shihpoo, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Their intelligence typically makes them more trainable than other breeds.
The breeds' other parent, the Shih Tzu, was bred specifically for companionship. The Shihpoo inherits their sweet, warm, loving personality. These loyal pets wish to devote all of their time, day and night, cuddling with their owner. Their inner Shih Tzu wants to please people and dislikes being alone for long periods. Like the Shih Tzu, the Shihpoo is quick, a sensitive dog that will alert you when strangers are around. For this reason, they make good watchdogs. However, a hallmark of the Shihpoo' is their relaxed disposition, which often makes these dogs excellent emotional support animals, just like their Shih Tzu parents.
Due to their petite size, this toy breed is a great companion for small living spaces or even apartments. Keep in mind that small/toy breed dogs, like the Shihpoo, do not tolerate extreme weather conditions and other breeds. Owners must not leave any dogs unattended in a very hot or cold area, such as a vehicle. Always try your best to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Frequent coat trims can help keep them cool in the summer. A dog sweater can help them keep warm in winter.
Shihpoo puppies will need a safe space to run, tumble, and do puppy things. They require access to freshwater, a dog bed/rest area, and plenty of fun toys. Puppies benefit from having some bone or chew toys, not just for entertainment, but because teething can be particularly painful for puppies. Bones, treats, and chew toys, can help alleviate the pain and keep them entertained for hours! For young dogs, puppy gates can be a good idea to help set boundaries inside.
Teaching your puppy to be alone is an important step in growing up. Crate training your puppy can help. Make sure to make the crate as warm, safe, and relaxing as possible. To make it feel like home, feed them meals and give them special treats and toys they only get while in their crate. You want them to associate the crate with all positive things and not see it as a punishment. An incredibly anxious puppy may benefit from a white noise machine or other anxiety-easing products. Put the puppy in the crate or exercise pen and leave the room to see how he reacts. If the puppy whines, wait to see if he will self-soothe. Once the puppy responds positively and self soothes, leave the room for a little bit longer each time.
The Shihpoo is recognized as an "allergy-friendly" or "hypoallergenic" breed, just as its parent breeds are. As a result, there is little to no shedding. A daily brush is essential for your Shihpoo. This helps keep the Shihpoo hair free of mats, dry skin, and tangles. The Designer Dog Breed Registry says that Shihpoo owners can bath their pup at home but recommends a professional groomer after reaching six months of age. Be sure always to keep their ears dry and clean. All that is needed to clean the eyes is a soft cloth dampened with water. To keep your Shihpoo spiffy, gently swab the outside corner of the eyes with the cloth. To avoid irritation/infection, always ensure to keep their ears and eyes both dry and clean. They also recommend weekly dental care to help prevent dental disease and tooth loss.
Inside and outside playtime is highly encouraged for dogs' overall mental and physical health, regardless of their breed type. Compared to other breeds, the Shihpoo is active but requires relatively lower exercise than other breeds. The Shih Tzu was bred to be inside palaces all day, while the Toy Poodle within them requires more exercise and consistency. Meet in the middle and provide around an hour's worth of exercise per day, maybe more. Break activity time up with plenty of rest. This breed is intelligent; they love to learn tricks to impress their owner. Enroll your puppy in training classes to ensure they get enough exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation. Pups can begin training classes as soon as they come home with you, as early as eight weeks.
The AKC website states that Shih Tzu will do well on any high-quality dog food. Commercial dog food or home-prepared food is recommended with your veterinarian's approval. According to the PetMD website, some studies have shown that dry food is more beneficial to dogs' health overall than a canned food diet, larger kibbles. One study found that increasing the kibble size by 50% resulted in a 42% decrease in the accumulation of dental tartar. Supplementing their food with a daily dental chew can further help oral hygiene. However, if the veterinarian says the dog is lean and needs to put on some weight, incorporating canned meals with their dry food diet works well. However, a diet that consists of purely wet food can make stools loose, not always!
It is essential to select a age-appropriate food for your dog (puppy, adult, or senior). Dogs' nutritional needs vary slightly with age. Typically, a pups' food contains more calories, while a senior dog's food usually contains fewer calories and more fiber. As dog's age, they need to consume fewer calories (than a puppy). Treats should be given in moderation and according to instructions. If your dog is obese, speak to your veterinarian about weight and diet options. To keep your dog at optimal health, learn about which human foods are safe or unsafe for canine consumption. Make sure your dog gets plenty of freshwaters every day! Multiple water sources are encouraged.
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