When thinking Goldendoodle most people conjure up images of a fairly large, energetic dog with a curly, bordering on an unruly, coat. This is about as far removed as possible from the perfectly poised, Shih Tzu with its petite stature and silken coat.
While they might at first seem an odd match, read on to find out just what could be possible if these two happened to cross paths and create a litter. As part of our continuing series on the more unusual hybrid Doodle variations, we have trawled the web so to bring you a summary of just what you could expect from a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu mix
Table of Contents
The Golden Doodle is a hybrid breed, created by crossing a purebred Poodle with a purebred Golden Retriever.
While there were likely accidental crossings of these two popular breeds many years prior, the first documented intentional breeding of a Goldendoodle was recorded in 1969. At this time the breed was developed to offer up a variation on the Golden Retriever, which was commonly used as a guide dog. Breeders discovered that crossing the Golden with a Poodle made for a curlier, lower shedding coat which was less problematic for those who required a guide dog but who also had sensitivity to dog hair and dander.
It wasn’t until the mid to late 1990s when the internet propelled a whole wealth of new and emerging Doodle hybrids into popularity, that the Goldendoodle really began to take off.
Fast forward to the common day and the Goldendoodle remains a favorite of many dog owners and Doodle fans the world over.
Shih Tzu History
This pint-sized breed has historically regal connections. The Shih Tzu was prominent in Chinese history and even revered as sacred. There are accounts of Emperors favoring these dogs as far back as the 1880s.
For a period of time, they were solely allowed to be owned by royalty and anyone found owning one outside the palace walls could be sentenced to death. Thankfully this is no longer the case and this cute, energetic and excitable little dog is a popular domestic pet the world over.
The Shih Tzu has distinctive facial characteristics and fluffy mane-like fur which has seen them referred to as little lion dogs, in fact, their full title “Shih-Tzu Kou” in traditional Chinese translates to the same.
While the breed made the jump to the West in the early 1930’s it was from around the 1970s that breeders became more prolific with the popularity of small dogs at that time as companions for wealthy women who wanted dogs that were easily transportable and retained a small puppy-like appearance for life. The Shih Tzu fit the bill perfectly.
What Names are there for a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu Mix?
So, the Shih Tzu has already entered the Doodle world, with the Shih Tzu Poodle cross, known as the Shih Poo proving popular in its own right. The Shih Tzu has also already brushed tails with the Golden Retriever to create a hybrid affectionately referred to by some, as the Shretriever.
As the Goldendoodle Shih Tzu mix is not being widely bred, we here at Know Your Doodles have used our imaginations to offer up a possible moniker for this mix. For consideration, we suggest the “Golden Tzoodle” or the “Golden Shidoodle”. I’m not too sure that either may fully catch on!
Why is this Cross Being Bred?
A trawl of the internet suggests that the Goldendoodle Shih Tzu is not being bred extensively and not commonly by professional dog breeders.
There could be a few reasons for this. Firstly, as mentioned above that the Shih Tzu crossed with a purebred Poodle creates the already popular Shih Poo. As this hybrid is more prevalent many owners looking for a Shih Tzu with Doodle credentials may prefer this option.
Secondly, Goldendoodles vary in size and weight much more than their diminutive Shih Tzu counterparts, this can throw up complications for cross-breeding including the ability to carry a litter and the potential for large variations in the pups.
Is it an Ethical Cross?
As always there can be widely differing opinions on the ethics of professional or domestic dog breeding. Concerns often increase when the two-parent breeds appear mismatched in attributes such as build and energy levels.
There is no denying that a large Goldendoodle and a Shih Tzu are very different dogs, however as the Goldendoodle can be considerably smaller if the parent Poodle is a Toy or Miniature this suggests some Goldendoodles may be more appropriate to create this cross.
Some critics may say that the continued popularity of Poodle crosses is driving unnecessary breeding however if breeders ensure appropriate health checks and follow good practice it is difficult to see how this is any different from traditional dog breeding practices.
The Benefits of a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu Mix
First and foremost, many prospective Goldendoodle Shih Tzu cross owners will prize the potential for the breed to be incredibly low shedding as a major plus. While the Shih Tzu is already considered relatively low shedding, the addition of Poodle genetics from within the Goldendoodle offers the opportunity to reduce this even more.
Using a Goldendoodle over the purebred Poodle, also allows a breeder to select a Goldendoodle with the best example of the wavy to curled coat desired in Doodle crosses which may improve consistency in the litter.
Secondly, this hybrid offers up the potential to take the best bits of both breeds’ temperaments. As the Goldendoodle has become more popular, frequently owners are reporting the breed to have the potential to be a touch hyper or can be destructive when bored. The Shih Tzu by comparison is generally a more laid-back, less energetic pooch. Mixing the two has the potential to liven up the Shih Tzu for more active families while tempering the extremes of the Goldendoodle’s exuberance.
The Cons of a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu Mix
Finding one first off is going to be tricky. Many of the listings online appear to relate to non-professional breeders which may make confirming the health status of the parents more challenging.
As there are fewer examples of this cross to go on, there may be more uncertainty about predicting things like adult appearance, health, or behaviors. While we can’t definitively predict this for any breed, some people may prefer having more information to go on when planning for their potential pup.
All About the Goldendoodle Shih Tzu Mix
Size and Weight
There just are not enough documented cases of the Goldendoodle Shih Tzu mix to pull averages of adult weight and size. Instead, we will look to the parent breeds’ size and weights to give an indication of what might be expected.
First off, the Shih Tzu only comes in one size, although males are generally on the higher averages compared to females. An adult Shih Tzu can be expected to come in at a petite 8″ to 11″ in height and 9lbs to 16lbs in weight.
The Goldendoodle by comparison comes in three size variations dependent on the size of the Poodle used in the hybrid.
- Toy Goldendoodle: Less than 15″ and 10lbs to 25lbs
- Miniature Goldendoodle: 15″ to 20″ and 25lbs to 50lbs
- Standard Goldendoodle: 20″ to 26″ and 50lbs to 90lbs
As you can see this means even the smallest of Goldendoodles has the potential to be quite a bit heavier than a Shih Tzu. Due to the Goldendoodle being bigger it is most likely they would carry the litter to prevent a Shih Tzu carrying puppies that would be too big to safely whelp.
It can be surmised that a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu mix would likely have a Toy Goldendoodle as a parent and could be expected to be anywhere between 10″ and 15″ in height and weigh up to 25lbs.
Color and Coat Types
Based on the coats of the Goldendoodle and Shih Tzu we can make some predictions as to what a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu cross may look like.
As both the Goldendoodle and Shih Tzu have coats that are more like human hair than coarse fur it is highly likely this will be passed on. It would be expected that they would have a longer wavy to curled coat single coat type that will need daily brushing to prevent matts and tangles.
In terms of color, the possibilities are fairly limitless as while the Golden Retriever is only one color, the Poodle genetics add a whole plethora of color and marking variations as does the Shih Tzu.
As a relatively new hybrid, there is not a lot known about the potential health status of a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu mix. While we know cross-breeding can potentially improve health there are some conditions common in both the Shih Tzu and Goldendoodle which could be passed on.
- Eye problems
- Ear infections
- Some bone disorders associated with smaller sized dogs such as luxating patellas and hip dysplasia
Of course, some dogs may never develop these conditions and there are often treatment and management plans available.
Both the Goldendoodle and Shih Tzu are bred to be companion dogs, meaning a cross between the two will also be very people orientated.
You can expect the Shih Tzu’s laidback nature to temper some of the extremes of excitement sometimes seen in a Goldendoodle. Both breeds are fairly outgoing and confident. You can expect a loving and loyal dog that will enjoy playing just as much as a good snuggle session.
Early socialization with other dogs is recommended to ensure they develop confidence in meeting dogs who will often be bigger than themselves.
A Goldendoodle Shih Tzu cross is likely to have light to moderate exercise needs. This will likely be less than that of a Goldendoodle but slightly more than that of a Shih Tzu. As the breed will likely be a bit more robust than a Shih Tzu it offers the potential for them to engage in more active play such as fetch and some agility tasks.
A Goldendoodle Shih Tzu cross is still likely to fall in the toy to small dog category. Feeding requirements will depend on individual size and activity levels. As this breed may be susceptible to some joint/bone problems it is recommended that a good quality food is selected with appropriate nutritional values to support a growing dog.
It is worth remembering that as a smaller breed, a Goldendoodle Shih Tzu mix may easily gain weight if they indulge in too many treats or table scraps. Just considered yourself warned as these cute little dogs will be professionals at begging with puppy dog eyes!