When it comes to creating the best possible hybrid dog for a hypoallergenic coat, the Shih Poo sounds like the perfect solution. Poodles are well-known for their hypoallergenic curly coats and how “doodle” offspring are a much lower risk for those with allergies. Shih Tzus also have safer coats. So, does this mean that the Shih Poo is the ideal option for your household? Or, are there additional issues to consider?
Are Shih-Poos hypoallergenic? As with all dogs, the answer depends on your definition of the word hypoallergenic. If you want a dog with absolutely no risk factors, you will struggle because there are risks with dander. However, the hair types of the Shih Tzu and the Poodle allow offspring with lower allergy risks.
The Coat of the Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is considered a hypoallergenic breed because it has long hair instead of a fur coat. The feel and condition of the hair are much like that of the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Some owners will grow the hair out into a long, straight coat when showing the dog.
Clean hair doesn’t have the same allergy risks as a fur coat and doesn’t hold allergens or dirt in the same way either.
The Coat of the Poodle
Poodles are also considered to be hypoallergenic dogs because of the quality of their hair.
Here you find a series of dense curls, which again don’t carry dirt and allergens in the same way as other coats. Those lush curls are also water-resistant, making them perfect dogs for water-based work and hunting activities.
The Coat of the Shih-Poo
As a result of all this, you are sure to get a hypoallergenic dog by these standards when you cross a Shih Tzu with a Poodle.
There will be some variation between coats, as some dogs will take after their Poodle mother while others lean more towards their Shih Tzu father.
Therefore, some will have a longer, straighter coat, while others will inherit those thicker curls.
But this shouldn’t make any difference to the risks of allergies.
You will also find the dogs have different colorations and patterns.
It is also worth noting that there is no difference in risks if you have a Miniature Poodle or a Toy Poodle.
Some breeders will use Toy Poodles when breeding for Shih Poo puppies because of their smaller size. This means a greater chance of the smaller lap dog that buyers are after.
But, the coat condition and hypoallergenic nature aren’t affected.
Do Shih-Poos Shed?
There is the assumption with some dogs that if they have a poodle coat or are deemed a hypoallergenic breed or cross-breed, there is no risk of shedding.
This isn’t true as all dogs need to shed their fur to some extent. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to replace old dead hair with healthier new ones.
You will find a bit of hair around, and there will also be some dander as skin cells shed. But, this won’t be to the same degree as with other dogs.
What Can You do to Minimize Shedding when You Have a Shih-Poo?
If you are still concerned about the risks of allergies and shed fur and dander, there are steps that you can take to reduce the risks.
The first is to clean up after your pet regularly and to control where they go.
For example, if you have a family member with a strong dog allergy, train your Shih Poo not to jump up on the couch and discourage them from going near that person’s bed.
You can also wash their dog bed regularly to stop hair and dander collecting in the material and use a pet hair vacuum around the house.
The other approach is to make sure that your pet’s coat is in prime condition.
A full and healthy coat and good skin condition mean there is less chance of hairs becoming weak and brittle and falling out. You also won’t get so much dry, dead skin flaking off.
The best way to do this is to use nourishing natural products when bathing your dog and massage the skin.
However, you also don’t want to wash them too often, as this can result in more significant issues with their coat.
This is a Lap Dog, so they are still likely to Shed over you
Minimizing your contact with your pet and their coat only goes so far with a dog like the Shih Poo.
This cross-breed was bred to not only be a hypoallergenic option for those looking for a smaller dog but also as a lap dog. This is a breed that will happily come and curl up in your lap at the end of the day and sleep with you.
Their devotion and conservative nature may also mean that they will want to come and sleep in your bed at night.
So, you have two choices here if you are concerned about dog dander allergy risks in your home. You could increase the cleaning and maintenance to clean up after this pet as much as possible.
Or, you can opt for something that isn’t as cuddly and has the low shedding coat and the larger body of a different Poodle cross-breed.
Do Shih-Poos Have any Risks of Skin Allergies that Could Make the Dander Worse?
As was mentioned above, the skin condition is as critical as hair condition when grooming and bathing your Shih Poo. Dryness and flakiness can worsen in dogs if they have allergic reactions to environmental conditions or foods or deal with parasites like fleas.
Shih Tzus are prone to developing skin allergies and can start itching and scratching at their skin. In some cases, this is down to dietary issues like exposure to dairy or corn.
Therefore, there is the risk that they will pass this on to their offspring.
It might take some time to determine the actual cause of an allergic reaction, so make sure to work with your vet to eliminate problems and deal with dietary changes responsibly and effectively.
It may be that you need different dog food, but it could be down to something else.
Also, make sure to handle any flea or tick problems with the supervision and guidance of a vet.
Grooming Your Shih-Poo’s Coat
Your grooming regime will depend on your pet’s conditions and allergies.
If they haven’t inherited the dry and flaky skin of the Shih Tzu, you probably won’t have to bathe the dog that often.
This coat is very good at staying clean on its own – unless your pet takes after its adventurous water-loving Poodle parent and jumps into a muddy pond.
Typically, you only need to do this every couple of weeks. Be careful to use natural products with soothing formulas for their skin. This means no harmful synthetic fragrances and dyes and no human shampoos.
Brushing is a more frequent task and will depend on the length and quality of the coat.
Shih Poos with a shorter, curler coat won’t need so much brushing to looking at their best. Those with longer Shih Tzu coats will need daily brushing to stop them from getting knotted and tangled.
You can always decide to clip their coat into something shorter and more manageable if you need to.
A professional groomer can do this for you with ease.
Don’t forget the other essential steps in grooming Shih Poos.
Shih Poo grooming also means keeping an eye on their eyes, ears, teeth, and nails for signs of ill health and damage.
Regular tooth cleaning is a must as these dogs can develop dental diseases without proper care. Get a good toothbrush and tasty toothpaste – perhaps a finger brush for better access in those tiny mouths.
It would help if you also cleaned around the eyes and ears, paying attention to any signs of flaking skin or allergic reactions around the ears.
As for their nails, regular clipping is vital as these little companion dogs may not wear down their nails as naturally as some other breeds. You can invest in a good nail clipper and train your dog to be comfortable having their paws handled like this.
Or, you can book a nail clipping session in addition to their haircut.
Final Thoughts – Are Shih-Poos Hypoallergenic?
In short, Shih-Poos are considered to be hypoallergenic hybrid dogs because of the coats of both parent breeds. The coat type will vary between pups, with some getting the long hair and others the curlier poodle coat, but either way, there is a low risk of shedding and dander.
You can make sure to enhance the coat’s hypoallergenic qualities with effective grooming techniques and natural products while also managing any skin allergies the dog may have.
With this and regular cleaning in your home, there should be hardly any risk at all.
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