Shih Poo Breed Overview | Personality, Temperament & More

By Alberto Roy

Updated on:

Shih Poos are sometimes called “teddy bear dogs” because of their resemblance to the stuffed toy. A Shih Poo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle, and is not recognized as a breed in its own right by the American Kennel Club. Shih Poos tend to be affectionate and playful dogs.

Like both their origin breeds, they usually don’t shed much and are often considered hypoallergenic, though this varies from dog to dog, and some longer hair varieties may not be hypoallergenic.

Shih Poos usually make good apartment dogs because they don’t usually bark a lot. They make excellent companion pets.

Also sometimes known as the Shoodle or the Pooshi, Shih Poos have been popular with owners and breeders for over a decade, but no one is quite sure of when these toy dogs were first bred.

What is a Shih Poo in the first place?

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Like the name suggests, like the title suggests, the Shih Poo dog is a mixed breedthat is it is a cross between an Shih Tzu and a miniature or toy Poodle. Their adorable, alert expressions and sturdy bodies make them easy to recognize.

Its Shih Poo is an actual teddy bear, with a cute personality to match.

Shih Poos do not belong in the category of purebred dog, or even a breed by themselves. They’re not purebred dogs. Shih Poo isn’t recognized by breed associations like that of American Kennel Club but that doesn’t mean that they’re not mutts.

Being a cross-dresser Shih Poos may be expensive to purchase. however it’s worth it once you are completely in love with their adorable designs and fun personalities.

Shih-poo Dog Breed

Friendly, doting, and intelligent, shih-poos inherit their parents’ best personality traits. These small dogs are versatile and can do well in any home where they’re the center of attention.

Shih-poos are small and fluffy dogs with extra-friendly personalities. One parent breed, the shih tzu, is a loyal and attentive lap dog. The other, a toy poodle, is highly intelligent and loves to be the center of attention.

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The result is a shih-poo (or “shih poo”), a versatile and spunky pup packed with superb personality traits. Whether he’s a family dog or a companion for seniors, he excels at his role.

While shih tzus and toy poodles are both popular dog breeds with ancient and regal history, shih-poos are a relatively new breed. They’ve only been around for a few decades but are beginning to make a name for themselves.

Full-grown shih-poos can be teeny-tiny (as small as 7 pounds), or weigh up to 20 pounds. They can come with curly coats like their poodle parent or a more straight coat inherited from their shih tzu side of the family.

“Shih-poos are lively, active, and animated dogs with a sense of humor,” says Liz Randall, CPDT-KA, owner and CEO of Dogs Abound. “They are intelligent and playful and are great companions for an active home that will include their dog at the center of much of their activities.”

The 10 Fluffiest Dog Breeds

The 10 Fluffiest Dog Breeds

Shih Poo Puppies

Shih-poos are adaptable to small living spaces (they’re A-OK with apartment living) and, because they shed so little, they tend to be allergy-friendly dogs and are generally considered hypoallergenic. Shih-poo dogs do require a good deal of grooming, so make sure you have the time (and budget) for their beauty routines.


Because shih-poos are a cross breed, there’s no breed standard that spells out what shih-poos should look like. But, in a word, they’re adorable.

Shih-poo puppies, even from the same litter, may look completely different. With hybrid dogs such as these teddy bear shih-poos, it all comes down to which parent’s traits dominate.

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For instance, some shih-poos may appear more poodle-like with a short and curly coat, while others might sport the silky, straight, and luxurious fur that’s synonymous with shih tzus. Still, other shih-poos may don a coat that’s quasi-curly and semi-silky.

The color of their coats can be a bit of a wild card, too. Some common colors are white, black, brown, brindle, gray, red, or apricot—and that’s not even including all the possible color combinations.


Niccole Bruno, DVM, chief of staff with Companion Animal Hospital in Spring, Texas, has a shih-poo named Jimmy, a rescue who comes to work with her every day. (Shih-poos absolutely love to be your shadow!) While dogs can have their own personalities, generally speaking, shih-poos tend to be friendly, well-tempered dogs.

“Jimmy would probably greet a robber,” Bruno says. His motto is: “If you give me some attention, I’m going to love you.”

Shih-poos, in general, are versatile dogs and tend to be ideal for families, seniors, couples, or retirees, says Jen Jones, a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist who runs Your Dog Advisor.

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“They are bred companion dogs that are mild-mannered, friendly, and sweet-natured,” Jones says. She says these dogs will be happiest in homes with owners who are home often and spend a good deal of time with them.

Shih-poos are moderate- to high-energy pets, and they are above average in the intelligence department. Though they’re affectionate, they’re not exactly couch potatoes, Randall says. In short: These pups love to play.

“They will keep you laughing and want to be involved in all the daily goings on,” Randall says.

Living Needs

Shih-poos tend to be diplomatic dogs. While every dog has an individual personality, these pups generally get along well with other household pets, including cats and other dogs.

And while these family-friendly pets tend to be great with kids, you’ll want to teach your children to be gentle around these pint-sized puppers. Shih-poos are also excellent companions for seniors.

These dogs are among those that can live happily in an apartment or a smaller home, as long as they get enough activity and interaction from their family.

Though their little legs might not be conducive for hiking up a mountain, they’re still spunky and playful. After they tire out, shih-poos will enjoy cuddling up on your lap for the rest of the evening.

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This hybrid breed loves to be a constant companion and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. He’ll do best with an owner who’s a homebody or who will take him along on errands and adventures.

Taking Care

Shih-poos are more adorable than athletic. While they aren’t exactly running partners, they do enjoy daily walkies and playfully romping around in the yard or park.

Randall says shih-poo owners should plan on regular training sessions and daily exercise with their dogs. Like all breeds, shih-poos respond best to positive reinforcement training and receiving treats as rewards.

“They love human interaction and training, so keeping their brains busy and engaged is important,” Randall says. As with any poodle or poodle mix, Randall says, regular grooming is a necessity.

“Plan on being on a regular, consistent 6–8 week schedule with your groomer to avoid uncomfortable matting of their soft coat,” Randall says. Regular brushing, preferably on a daily basis, is a must in-between grooming appointments.

As a part of their grooming, Bruno recommends shih-poos get regular “sanitary trims” underneath their tails, on their bellies, and in their armpits. Shih-poo haircuts can also be as diverse as your pup, with some owners preferring to keep their coats long and others opting for a shorter trim.

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In addition to regular brushing his coat, Bruno recommends brushing your shih-poo’s teeth regularly. Start at an early age to get your pup accustomed to his dental care routine, and brush his teeth at least a couple of times a week (bonus points if you can do it daily).

What Does a Shih Poo Look Like?

The Shih Poo’s appearance is determined by his genetics. As you can imagine, the Shih Poo can have traits of both the miniature Poodle and the Shih Tzu. Some Shih Poos have the curly, hypoallergenic coat of a Poodle while others have the Shih Tzu’s long, straight coat.

Some Shih Poo puppies look more like one parent than the other. Some are the perfect blend of both. Shih Poos are usually white or white with tawny patches but they can also be all black, tawny, or some other combination.

No matter which parent your pup favors, you can bet your Shih Poo will be cuddly, small, and soft.

Just keep in mind that the Shih Poo is a crossbreed with no breed standard. Most Shih Poos today are a first generation cross between two purebred parents.

The Shih Poo’s Personality and Temperament

Shih Poos have very unique personalities that match their fluffy appearance. These small dogs are typically very friendly and affectionate with lots of energy. They tend to be outgoing and fairly easy to train.

Shih Poos also come with quite a stubborn attitude at times, however, their intelligence should not be underestimated. Remember that your pup’s personality and temperament comes from both their environment and the temperament of their mother.

Both the Shih Tzu and Poodles are more often than not on the outgoing, friendly end of the spectrum, but how your Shih Poo puppy turns out will really depend on how lucky their genes are, what they learn from their mother and siblings, and the amount of socialization they receive before and after moving into their new home.

Shih Poo Puppies

Shih Poo pups should not be overly aggressive or shy, so if their parents run away or won’t let you near, or even go as far as to growl at you, it’s probably best to move on and find another litter.

Tips for Training Your Shih Poo

Use positive reinforcement techniques to train your Shih Poo; reward them with play, praise, and treats. So long as you can show what’s in it for them, they’ll have a fun and enjoyable time learning.

You’ll want to get started as soon as you bring your puppy home. If you put it off for too long, your Shih Poo will be growing ever more headstrong and will be much, much harder to deal with.

If you can, try taking the puppy to a regular training class, ideally before they reach the age of 10 to 12 weeks old. This is a great way to teach them the most important skill of all: socializing. If this not be possible, then make sure your training at home involves lots of socializing among family and friends.

Tips for Finding Shih Poo Puppies

Maybe you want to get your pup from a rescue or shelter, or perhaps you want to find a reputable breeder. Either way, here are some tips to bear in mind when looking.

Shih Poo puppies are obviously adorable. That’s why you’re here. But just like everything else in the world, the rules of supply and demand come into play in the doggy world, too.

Cute puppies are definitely some of the highest sellers, making the Shih Poo a high favorite of irresponsible greedy breeders and puppy mills. Don’t expect to have to fork out millions though; local shelters or nearby adoption organizations often have fantastic examples of Shih Poos waiting to find a new home.

If you wish to adopt your Shih Poo from an animal rescue or shelter, there are many great options and opportunists available. Sites like make searching for a Shih Poo in your area a quick and simple task.

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These sites even allow you to make very specific requests and they can be a great tool to help you find animal rescue groups that are local to your area. Also, advertising in the local newspaper has not completely gone out of fashion yet, and social media sites can be a great place to start your search.

Choose a Breeder Carefully!

If you want to purchase from a breeder, make sure to find one who has completed all relevant health testing to ensure your puppies won’t carry any of the potential genetic diseases common to Shih Tzus and Poodles.

You can expect to pay somewhere from a few hundred to even a thousand dollars or more for a Shih Poo, so make sure you’re spending wisely.

It should go without saying that you should avoid any breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can offload their puppies and take your money.

It’s also worth noting the risks involved when buying a puppy online. A top tip is to put no less effort into buying a new puppy than you would when buying a new car.

Your breeder should be able to assist you with finding exactly what you want from a dog. The breeders will see the puppies daily, and can often make alarmingly precise recommendations once they know more about you, your personality, and your lifestyle.

Regardless of what you’re after in your Shih Poo, make sure to find a puppy that’s been well socialized since early puppyhood, and whose parents have great, agreeable personalities.

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Shih Poo Health Problems You Should Watch Out For

All dogs, just as all humans, have the potential to develop health problems, genetic or otherwise.

If you come across a breeder who does not offer a guarantee on the health of their puppies, or who tells you that the mixed breed has no known health issues and is 100% healthy, or has told you that his or her puppies have been isolated from any main parts of the house for health reasons, stay well away.

It’s imperative that you find yourself a breeder who will be, above all else, open and honest with regards to any health issues in the mixed breed and the frequency with which they occur in their lines.

As you would possibly expect, the Shih Poo is still susceptible to any and all health issues that may befall the Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle.

However, there is a small chance that the genetic diversity brought on by mixing these two breeds may decrease any chances of developing certain inherited diseases.

Genetic variation by its very nature makes this quite difficult to predict though, so you’ll want to do some research.

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Not all conditions your Shih Poo puppy could potentially inherit will be detectable, and it can be quite difficult to predict if an animal will be free of these issues. Therefore, it’s vital that you find a reputable breeder who is fully committed to breeding the healthiest possible dogs.

It should be expected that they can produce upon request independent certification that the puppy’s parents and grandparents have been screened for genetic defects and have been deemed healthy for breeding.

Accept no less than the breeder being able to show evidence that both of the parents have the appropriate health certifications from the likes of the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

If you’ve found a breeder that cannot provide you with written documentation to prove the parents were cleared of breed-related health issues, walk away.

Having the dogs simply checked by the vet is not an acceptable substitute for genetic health testing.

In spite of all this, don’t forget the most common health problem that can affect all dogs: obesity. You and you alone have the power to prevent your Shih Poo becoming obese, and keeping your pup at an appropriate weight and providing them with a healthy diet and good exercise is one of the simplest and easiest ways to prolong their life.

What Makes the Shih Poo Such an Awesome Support Animal?

Simply put, Shih Poos are incredibly cute and incredibly loving, affectionate creatures. For these reasons and more, Shih Poos can make more than just a great pet; they’re also great as emotional support animals. Ahead, we’ll go through just some of the reasons that can make them so perfect for the job.

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Shih Poos Are Awesome Companions

Shih Tzus were originally bred for companionship, and this trait definitely passes down to the Shih Poo.

Emotional support animals have an important task in offering their distressed owners some extent of emotional stability, and this can come in the forms of constant companionship and unconditional love: two traits the Shih Poo can offer in abundance.

Shih Poos Offer Great Loyalty and Devotion

Anyone who is suffering with depression, self-esteem issues, or another form of emotional disorder can benefit greatly from a companion who can devote all their love and attention, and it doesn’t get much more warm and loving than the Shih Poo.

These small, lovable bundles of fluff could cuddle all day, and they’re extremely devoted and loyal. These characteristics can go some way to alleviating symptoms you may experience.

Shih Poos are Small and Portable – Great for ESAs!

The Fair Housing Amendments Act has certain protections in place for emotional support animals. This means they can live in a residence that may have anti-pet policies. There are still policies in place that can supersede this, but only for certain larger, noisier, and more aggressive breeds.

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Obviously, these are three things the Shih Poo is not, so as an owner you shouldn’t have trouble with a Shih Poo as an ESA. Weighing in at an average weight of between 7 and 20 pounds, the Shih Poo is extremely portable and travel-friendly.

Though the Air Carrier Access Act no longer allows ESAs to ride in the cabin of an airplane, the Shih Poo is small enough that it can likely be taken onto the plane as a carry-on if allowed by the airline. There will be a fee, but you’ll feel relieved knowing your ESA is just under your seat instead of in cargo.

Food and Diet

The dogs must be fed in accordance with their size and their age by feeding small dog kibble to adults, and puppy kibble for puppies.

They can eat the amount you allow, and therefore, the amount they consume, including sweets must be watched, especially when they no longer are puppies.

Grooming and Maintenance

If your dog has the more slender breed, it’ll require frequent brushing as the hair can be susceptible to tangles, dirt and matting.

People usually place at the very top Shih Poo’s hair into ponytails to keep it from their eyes. Their nails require regular trimming.


Tehse dogs are intelligent however, they can be stubborn, which is why they might be able to train quickly in certain zones, but not so much in other areas. Training in the house can be successful however other commands could take longer and require more discipline.

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Shih Poos aren’t a requirement for much effort they are perfect for smaller living spaces and smaller gardens. In the average, they require about 30 minutes of physical activity to maintain weight.

Shih Poos Have a Calm and Relaxed Nature

Having a relaxed nature is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when looking for an emotional support animal. The last thing you’d want if you’re already feeling worked up, exhausted, and stressed is to have to calm down an overly excited, aggressive, or loud dog.

If what you’re looking for in an emotional support animal is a calm, contained companion that wants to cuddle on the couch all day and night then the Shih Poo is the one for you.

On top of this, the breed doesn’t require a huge amount of exercise, so if you are unable to take your dog for frequent walks every day then there’s a bonus.

Shih Poos Crave Attention

Your Shih Poo will be frequently craving your attention, so they’ll do anything to make you happy, and the littlest praise can go a long way. If they can latch onto something that seems to please you, they’ll try to win your attention and praise by doing it over and over and over again.

Shih Poos Can be Hilarious

You can always count on your Shih Poo to make you smile again after a rough day. Laughter is always the best medicine, as they say, and these dogs are well known for putting smiles on their owners’ faces.

Shih Poos Are Extremely Affectionate

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Most importantly, Shih Poos are just simply incredibly affectionate and loving. What more would you want from an emotional support animal?

Like the Shih Tzu before it, these dogs were bred to be loved, and they’ve certainly come to learn how to show it back. Compared with all other breeds, this is undoubtedly their greatest attribute.

Over the centuries, dogs and the companionship that they bring have proven time and time again to provide a natural, safe, and effective remedy for all sorts of emotional and mental disorders such as anxiety, phobias, PTSD, depression, and more.

If you’ve decided that a Shih Poo is the right breed for your emotional support or service animal, take the extra step of having them registered for your protection and convenience. US Service Animals offers a fast, easy registration process that includes an animal ID, certificate, and inclusion in our national database.


A shih-poo lifespan is lengthy—these small dogs can live 15 years or more. In general, shih-poos are an easy dog to care for when you take them to the veterinarian regularly, brush their teeth, and stay on top of their grooming appointments, Bruno says.

They aren’t particularly subject to major illnesses or health conditions, but, like all small dogs, shih-poos can be prone to dental disease.

So, regular teeth brushing can help keep your dog’s oral hygiene in good standing, warding off inflamed gums and tartar, Bruno explains. Dental chews can help, too.

Shih-poos may also be prone to some orthopedic diseases that affect their bones, joints, or muscles.

Some examples could be hip dysplasia, which occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop like it should. When this happens, dogs may limp after exercise or have difficulty jumping or climbing. Patellar luxation, or dislocated kneecap, can be another problem.

If your shih-poo inherited prominent eyes from a shih tzu parent, he could have some trouble with cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and corneal dryness—issues that should be addressed with your vet.

Shih Poo Puppies

Clever ~ Affectionate ~ Gentle ~ Loyal ~ Loving

Shih Poos are gentle, sweet, family-oriented dogs who thrive on attention and love deeply. Cute and cuddly, clever and attentive, Shih Poo dogs are wonderful family companion pets. Shih Poo puppies are adorable, joyful little teddy bears who love to play and cuddle in equal measure.

A highly sought-after designer Doodle breed, the Shih Poo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Mini or Toy Poodle. Precious, fluffy and small, Shih Poos has an average weight between 8 to 18 pounds and an average height between 8 to 17 inches.

Your Shih Poo wants to be with you. They won’t do well when left alone for extended periods of more than a few hours.

Shih Poo Size and Weight

Shih Poos are teacup small to medium size dogs. Their hair is often long and wavy, though it can also be short and curly.

They have an average height of about 13 inches, though it can be much smaller for teacup varieties. full-grown adult Shih Poos typically can weigh up to 25 pounds, though most are closer to 10 pounds. Puppies near weaning age weigh about a pound.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Shih Poo


Highly intelligent: They are smart little dogs, who pick up routines easily.

Small: Because of their diminutive size, they can easily go with you in the car and anywhere dogs are allowed. They don’t eat (or poop!) as much as larger breeds, which makes them more cost-effective.

Don’t need much exercise: They won’t need a big yard and can easily stay in a small apartment. Their exercise needs are low, so they won’t need to be taken on long walks every day.


High Strung: They can be a bit high maintenance. They may get anxious easily and dislike changes in routine.

Separation Anxiety: Your dog wants to be with you. They won’t do well when left alone for extended periods of more than a few hours.

Stubborn: Even though they are smart dogs, or perhaps because of it, these dogs can be stubborn, so they aren’t as easy to train as other breeds. They can be trained, but it may take extra effort and patience on your part.


This hybrid breed probably emerged within the last 30 years when shih tzus were bred with toy poodles. While shih-poos are a relatively new breed, both of his cosmopolitan parents have well-established histories.

The shih tzu breed dates back at least 1,000 years, when they were kept in monasteries throughout Tibet.

Some legends say these companion dogs were trained to turn the prayer wheels, according to the Shih Tzu Club, and fantastical illustrations depicted these dogs as little lions. Folklore says Buddha traveled with a little dog believed to be a shih tzu. The American Kennel Club recognized the shih tzu in 1969.

The “poo” in shih-poo comes from the poodle, the national dog of France. Despite the affinity for poodles in France, these dogs were developed and bred as duck hunters in Germany.

In French, the poodle is known as the Caniche, which translates to “duck dog.” Here in the U.S., the AKC gave recognition to the poodle in 1887.

Fun Facts

In the spirit of playfulness, shih-poos have some silly nicknames. You may also hear them referred to as “shoodles” or “pooshies.”

Because shih-poos are a mixed breed dog, puppies—even from the same litter—can look different from one another and come with different coat colors and textures.

Despite this hybrid’s popular parent breeds, shih-poos aren’t recognized by the AKC.

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”What is an Shih Poo?” answer-0=”A Shih-Poo is a mix breed dog. They are an interbreeding with Toy Poodle and the Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”How big Are Shih poo?” answer-1=”Shih Poos are between 8 and 18 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 8 to 18 pounds.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”What colors of coats do you have available?” answer-2=”Color of the coat on a Shih-Poos coat will be different. They are available in brown, black white, cream, gold, apricot and brindle or a mixture of all or a few of these shades.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h3″ question-3=”Do I have to groom regularly the Shih Poo?” answer-3=”Yes. From daily to once every week, brushings and regular scheduled appointments for professional grooming every 4 to six weeks will keep your child’s coat clean and soft.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h3″ question-4=”Do you think an Shih Poo make an excellent pet for the family?” answer-4=”Shih Poos are gentle and affectionate in their nature. They are a great companion for all however, they are better suited to older individuals who are old or are not as active. Due to the Shih Poos tiny size they are prone to being injured by kids who are too excited. They also enjoy the company and security of people who are older.” image-4=”” headline-5=”h3″ question-5=”Do Shih Poos easy to train?” answer-5=”Shih Poos are extremely intelligent and willing to please, but they also have an inclination to be stubborn streak. With perseverance and persistence they’ll be trained quickly.” image-5=”” headline-6=”h3″ question-6=”How do I exercise my Shih Poo require?” answer-6=”Because they are smaller dogs, they will need less exercise. Every day walks of 20 to 30 minutes should suffice to keep them healthy and active. They also enjoy indoor playtime, so make sure to have plenty of toys that are safe for them.” image-6=”” headline-7=”h3″ question-7=”What do you think is the average life expectancy of an Shih Poo?” answer-7=”The typical life expectancy of the Shih Poo can be found between 14-17 years.” image-7=”” headline-8=”h3″ question-8=”Do Shih Poos barking a lot?” answer-8=”Like all small breeds Shih Poos bark more often than larger breeds. However, they’re not as loud like some toy breeds. Learning to control their barking is most effective when they are corrected from a young age.” image-8=”” headline-9=”h3″ question-9=”Is the Shih poo shed quite a bit?” answer-9=”There is no doubt that they shed little shed. They are excellent pets for people with allergies.” image-9=”” headline-10=”h3″ question-10=”Which kind of coat is the Shih Poo wearing?” answer-10=”The coat may vary based on the breed they are adopted by after more. The coat of a dog can be curly and wavy like a poodle, or smooth and straight similar to those of the Shih Tzu. It could include a balanced mixture of both.” image-10=”” headline-11=”h3″ question-11=”Do they adapt well to their surroundings?” answer-11=”They adapt very well. They are as content at ease and satisfied in a smaller apartment as they would be in a large house.” image-11=”” headline-12=”h3″ question-12=”Is this the case with Shih Poos Dogs anxious?” answer-12=”Shih Poos are known to become stressed when left in a room by themselves. They are dependent on people, and it’s recommended not to let them alone for extended durations of time. If they are too upset or anxious, they may become destructive.” image-12=”” headline-13=”h3″ question-13=”Do I have to sign up for my Shih Poo to the American Kennel Club AKC ?” answer-13=”No. Unfortunately the AKC does not register cross breeds.” image-13=”” count=”14″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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