Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Key Differences Explained

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: May 28, 2022
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Shih Tzus are purebred dogs, while Shih Poos are born when a Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle mate. This makes Shih Tzus a little more predictable than Shih Poo puppies, who may come with some surprises!

Shih Poos usually make good apartment dogs because they don’t usually bark a lot. They make excellent companion pets. Shih Tzus have a very people-oriented, housebound personality. They are stubborn, affectionate, happy and easygoing in temperament

Let’s look more at the differences between this purebred and crossbreed below.

Comparing Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu

Shih Poo is a crossbreed of Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle.
Shih PooShih Tzu
Size4-15 pounds9-16 pounds
Fur TextureLong fur may be curly or straightLong, straight fur
ColorApricot, black, blue, brindle, Café Au Lait, cream, gray, gold, red, silver, silver beige, white, or a combination of these colorsBlack, white, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red, silver, or a combination of these colors
TemperamentMay be stand-offish or friendly with other dogs and peopleFriendly toward other dogs, may be standoffish toward strangers
Energy LevelModerate to highModerate
TrainabilityEasy to very easyEasy

Key Differences Between Shih Poos and Shih Tzus

The main difference between Shih Poos and Shih Tzus is their energy level. Other notable differences include size, fur texture, color, temperament, and trainability.

Join us below as we dive into these differences and explore them in greater detail.

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Size

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - Shih Tzu - running through grassy field near lake

Shih Tzus are typically larger than Shih Poos.


Both dogs stand under 10.5 inches in height, but Shih Poos tend to weigh much less at 4-15 pounds compared to Shih Tzus at 9-16 pounds.

Shih Poos may fall at either end of the spectrum, being larger like a Shih Tzu or tiny like a Toy Poodle.

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Fur Texture

Shih Tzus have straight, human-like hair that scarcely sheds. Poodles also have long fur, but it’s curly instead. Therefore, a Shih Poo may end up with curly or straight fur depending on which parent they take after.

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Color

Shih Poos can inherit colors from both parent breeds and may be born with a wide variety of fur colors and even combinations. These include:

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brindle
  • CafĂ© Au Lait
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Silver beige
  • White

Shih Tzus have more limited color variations, including black, white, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red, and silver.

Shih Poos are also more likely to have markings and combined colors since they aren’t purebred dogs. Shih Tzus only have tan markings, black markings, or a black mask on the face.

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Temperament

white Shih Poo

Shih Poos are more friendly with humans but may be more wary of other dogs.

©Lim Tiaw Leong/

Funnily enough, Shih Tzus are incredibly friendly toward other dogs, while Poodles think all people are their friends. However, Shih Tzus may be standoffish with people, and Poodles may be shy around other dogs. They’re opposites!

No matter what breed of dog you adopt, it’s important to socialize them at a young age. This helps them grow confident and makes them less likely to fear new people, places, and animals.

It’s also crucial to take pet introductions slowly and supervise them until you’re positive they can get along without you around.

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Energy Level

Shih Tzus have low exercise requirements that can often be met by playing fetch in the living room. This is actually best for them on hot days since their brachycephalic snouts give them low exercise and heat tolerance.

Toy Poodles, on the other hand, have very high energy requirements. They’re also intelligent dogs that require lots of mental stimulation in the form of puzzle toys, training, or games that work their minds.

Your Shih Poo’s exercise and heat tolerance will boil down to the snout length they’ve inherited. A shorter snout means less exercise tolerance and, unfortunately, poorer health as well.

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Trainability

Shih Tzus may have a stubborn streak that makes them difficult to train.

©Ltshears – Public Domain

Shih Tzus are little cuties, and they seem to know this if their ability to manipulate their humans is anything to go by! They may stand firm and stubborn, waiting for you to give in to their puppy-dog eyes.

It’s important to establish boundaries with this breed. It’s okay to give into them so long as a rule isn’t vital to their safety (since when did an extra treat hurt anyone?), but you’ll want to stand firm on things that can affect their well-being, such as recall.

Poodles are much more eager to please, so your Shih Poo might be easier to train—or they might gather all of the stubbornness of their Shih Tzu ancestors when given a command!

Shih Poo vs Shih Tzu: Purebred vs Crossbred

Shih Poos are a mixed breed, also sometimes known as a designer breed due to their high price tag. A Shih Poo is born when a Shih Tzu mates with a Poodle.

This can make the puppies’ traits unpredictable in all the ways we discussed above. They can look or act exactly like one breed or have a good mix of each parent’s traits.

Shih Tzus, on the other hand, are purebred dogs recognized by the AKC. This means a few things: they’re more prevalent, easy to find, and more predictable in temperament and appearance.

Their prevalence is a great factor if you’d like one of these dogs but don’t want to support the poor breeding practices that occur in Shih Tzus and Shih Tzu mixes. You’re very likely to find one at a rescue or shelter.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lim Tiaw Leong/

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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