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Shih Tzu Mixes

For the record: We do not condone the purposefully breeding of a purebred Shih Tzu with another breed, as this goes against the breeding oath to do so for the betterment of the breed. However, since this sort of pairing does happen across the country and the world and many of these dogs end up in shelters, we support anyone who has adopted a Shih Tzu mixed breed. 
What is a Shih Tzu Mix

If you do not know which breeds make up the bloodline of a dog, this is referred to as a mixed breed, mongrel or mutt. 

However, if a dog is the product of two certain purebred breeds, while this is referred to as a mix, it is a specific mix; the name of either the dam or the sire is listed first, follow by 'mix. In addition, if one parent is a Shih Tzu and the other is unknown, this as well is called a Shih Tzu mix. 

When names for mixed dogs are created, there is no rule regarding which breed is used first. For example, with a Shih-Poo (a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix), the Shih Tzu may be the sire (male) or the dam (female).

Additionally, the term itself of Shih-Poo was not created by following any sort of rule; the lesser-used term is Pooshih and this sort of blending of breeds just as well could have been labeled a Poo-Tzu, Shihoodle or some other term. 

Often, if a mix of certain dogs is rare or has just started to catch on, several different terms are used. Then, one starts to become more popular than the others and as more people begin to use it, the other lesser-known names fade out and just one remains. 

For the purposes of this page, we discuss known Shih Tzu mixes, which is the pairing of a Shih Tzu and another known breed. This is also referred to as hybrid dogs or designer dogs.
We will discuss why Shih Tzu mixes exist, as well as list out all of the known Shih Tzu mixes, along with a few photos and then answer some reader questions regarding this sort of pairing.
This is Elsie, a Mal-Shi, which is a Shih Tzu and Maltese mix. She is 1/4 Shih Tzu and 3/4 Maltese. Photo courtesy of Steve Carter, Gosport UK 
Maltese are smaller than Shih Tzu, with an average weight of 6.6–8.8 lbs (3–4 kg), and are known for their beautiful solid white coats. When a Maltese is paired with a Shih Tzu, most often some color from the Shih Tzu will appear in the coat. Both breeds have hair, not fur, which is silky and can grow long. 
Why Are There Shih Tzu Mixed Breeds

There are a couple of reasons why a Shih Tzu would be bred with another dog breed. The most common reason is that it was an accidental breeding. And this itself can occur for a number of reasons:
  • There is a Shih Tzu and another dog living in the same house, they may tie due to not being supervised or an owner not realizing that the female was in heat.
  • One dog may escape and mate with another; this is not that uncommon with males that have not been neutered as they can smell a female in heat from up to 3 miles away and strong hormonal urges can send them chasing after her. For un-spayed females, hormonal urges may also be strong and she may dart off to find a mate. 
To avoid both of the above circumstances, when there is a male and female in multi-dog homes, each should be spayed or neutered. 

There is also purposeful breeding. There are some pairings that are very popular such as the Maltipoo (a Maltese and toy Poodle mix; sometimes mini Poodle) in which purposeful breeding is done. 
In fact, this hybrid mix is becoming so popular that many believe it will one day be accepted as a recognized breed. 

When two different breeds are paired intentionally, this is often done to meet public demand for designer dogs. And some breeds are used much more than others. The Poodle is used more than any other breed due to its hypoallergenic nature (though technically, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, since they all have dander and it is the protein in the saliva that some people are allergic to). 

While the Shih Tzu does have hair and not fur,  this breed does often cause fewer allergies than some other breeds and is chosen to be used for mixed breeding, though not as often as the Poodle. For this reason, the Shih-Poo is the most well-known and popular Shih Tzu mixes. 
2 shih tzu mixes
From right to left: Arty, a Shih Poo (Poodle + Shih Tzu, Miracle a Shih Tzu and Xavier a Shorkie Tzu (Yorkshire Terrier + Shih Tzu)
Photo courtesy of Drea
List of Shih Tzu Mixes

It must be noted that technically, any dog breed can be paired with a Shih Tzu, from a German Shepherd to a Boxer dog (though highly discouraged) if the Shih Tzu is the sire and the other larger dog has not yet reached her full size. This list will include the most common pairings in which terms have been created. Those with an asterisk have not yet been recognized as hybrids by the Designer Breed Registry (DBR):

Affen Tzu: Affenpinscher + Shih Tzu
Auss Tzu: Miniature Australian Shepherd + Shih Tzu
Bea Tzu: Beagle + Shih Tzu 
Bolo Tzu: Bolognese + Shih Tzu
Bo Shih: Boston Terrier + Shih Tzu
Care-Tzu: Cairn Terrier + Shih Tzu
Cava Tzu: Cavalier King Charles + Shih Tzu
Cock A Tzu: Cocker Spaniel x Shih Tzu
Havashu: Havanese + Shih Tzu
Jatzu: Japanese Chin + Shih Tzu 
Mal-shi (Malt-tzu, Maltzu, Malti-zu): Maltese + Shih Tzu
Papastzu: Papillon + Shih Tzu
Pug Zu: Pug + Shih Tzu
Schnau-Tzu: Miniature Schnauzer + Shih Tzu  
Schweenie: Dachshund + Shih Tzu 
Sco-Shi: Scottish Terrier + Shih Tzu *
Shar Tzu: Shar-Pei + Shih Tzu *
Sheltie Tzu: Shetland Sheepdog + Shih Tzu * 
ShiChi: Chihuahua + Shih Tzu 
Shiffon: Brussels Griffon + Shih Tzu 
Shih Apso (Lhasa Tzu): Lhasa Apso + Shih Tzu 
Shih-Mo: American Eskimo + Shih Tzu *
Shih-Poo (Pooshih): Shih-Tzu + Poodle 
Shinese: Pekingese + Shih Tzu  
Shiranian: Pomeranian + Shih Tzu 
Shorgi: Pembroke Welsh Corgi + Shih-Tzu 
Shorkie Tzu: Yorkshire Terrier + Shih Tzu
Silky Tzu: Silky Terrier + Shih-Tzu 
Skip-Tzu: Schipperke + Shih Tzu mix 
Tzu Basset: Basset Hound + Shih Tzu
Zuchon (Shichon, Tzu Frise): Bichon Frisé + Shih Tzu
Care-Tzu (Cairn Terrier and Shih Tzu mix)

Both breeds are similar in size; the Cairn Terrier ranges from 13 to 18 lbs. and the Shih Tzu ranges from 9 to 16 lbs. This mix will generally fall between 11 to 17 lbs. This is an interesting crossing because the Shih Tzu has a long, silky coat and the Cairn Terrier has a rough, weather-resistant outer coat . Generally, the rough textured coat is the more prevalent one when these two breeds are paired. Most Care-Tzu will have color combination of tans, black, whites and gray. The Shih Tzu can bring liver in (the nose will be brown) and both can bring in brindle (a striping effect).
Shih Poo, Poodle and Shih Tzu mix
Shih-Poo (Poodle and Shih Tzu mix)

With this cross, either a toy or a miniature Poodle is paired with a Shih Tzu. Toy Poodles generally range in size from 5 to 9 lbs. If a Shih Tzu is mixed with a toy Poodle, the result is often a dog with a final adult weight of 8 to 15 lbs. Miniature Poodle typically weigh 15 to 18 lbs, which is very close to the Shih Tzu's range of 13 to 18 lbs. This produces a mixed dog that ranges between 14 to 18 lbs. These dogs almost always have a curl to the coat and if Poodle genes are strong, there will be curls. 
Do Shih Tzu Mixes Have Hybrid Vigor?

Though there are several definitions of hybrid vigor, this question refers to the theory that the pairing of two purebreds produces puppies in which certain health issues that used to be common to each breed are canceled out or seen with less frequency. Many believe this is a myth. However, some studies have been done relating to this. 

While it has been interpreted in wildly different ways, the University of Davis - California did a study on hybrid vigor. They looked at over 90,000 dogs, both purebred and mixed. Of those dogs, 27,254 had an inherited health issue. Their study was to see if any health issues appeared less often in mixed breeds than in purebreds and the results are interesting.

There were 13 health conditions that appeared at the same rate. This included: Hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mitral valve dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, hypoadrenocorticism, hyperadrenocorticism and lens luxation.

There were 10 that were more prevalent in purebreds: Aortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, IVDD, atopy or allergic dermatitis, bloat, cataracts, total epilepsy and portosystemic shunt.

There were some conditions that were not official, as there were simply reported by owners. It was theorized that these were reported to the researchers because the owners of the purebreds dogs brought their pet to the veterinarian more often than those who owned mixed breeds. However, seen less often with mixed breed dogs were epilepsy and allergies. 

So, while this study did involve a large number of dogs, this does need to be looked into more. And, it is important to note that a Shih Tzu mix is in no way protected from developing any disorder.
Shih Apso-cross-of-lhasa-apso-and-shih-tzu
This is a Shih Apso (Lhasa Tzu) and is a Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu mix.
Photo courtesy of Simon
Reader Question & Answer

Q:Where can I get a Shih Tzu mix? I'm looking for either a Shih Poo or a Mal Shi. 

A: We strongly encourage people to first look to their local shelters. In the United States, each year 3.9 million dogs enter into a shelter. Of those, 1.2 million are euthanized. So, adopting a Shih Tzu mix from a shelter saves a life and can get you a wonderful canine companion. Though many mixes have no documents showing that they are any particular mix, experienced staff can easily spot a dog that has Shih Tzu in him and many will be able to identify a Shih Poo or Mal Shi. You may need to be placed on a waiting list, yet it may be well worth it.

There are some breeders online, both with websites and in pets-for-sale listings, however proceed with caution. It is not uncommon for sites to be set up simply to grab deposit money when no puppies even existed. And with quick private sales, this is often a result of a pregnancy surprise and in those cases, there is a good chance that neither sire or dam received proper health checks before mating to rule out hereditary diseases. 
Though shelter dogs also do not have proof of parent testing, most facilities do have the dogs examined by a veterinarian to ensure that they are healthy when going to new homes. 

Q: At what age is a Shih Poo full grown?

A: To answer this question, we must look to both purebred dogs that were used to produce this hybrid. The Shih Tzu slows down around 9 months and for most, is at final adult size by 1 year. 

If a miniature Poodle were one of the Shih Poo's parents, growth slows around 9 to 10 months (often height stops here) but the dog can fill out up to 15 months. With toys, full size is often by the 9 month mark. So, while this will vary, it is safe to say that your Shih Poo will stop growing fully and be his adult size by 15 months tops and most likely by the 1 year mark. 
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Browse though the Shih Tzu Supplies page; see top recommendations for all items needed for optimal care. 
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