No one can deny the cute appeal of a little Shih Tzu and it may have made even a die-hard “Doodle fan” consider looking beyond Poodle crosses. Of course, though, in a world where it feels like just about every breed has had the Poodle treatment, there is always the option of a Shih Tzu Poodle cross.
But what if you equally love the Labradoodle? What if rather than mixing Poodle only, you fancy knowing what a Labradoodle Shih Tzu offering could provide? Don’t worry we’ve had that thought too. Read on to discover what this match might result in and whether it could be the crossbreed for you.
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The Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and one of the three sizes of Poodle (Standard, Miniature, or Toy). While this mix was noted to have occurred as early as the 1950s it was around 1989 that the term Labradoodle became commonplace, and the popularity really increased.
The publicity surrounding the Labradoodle increased in the early 1990s when many guide, assistance, and/or therapy dogs associations realized the Labradoodle would be an option for individuals who experienced dog allergies. Often the addition of Poodle genetics greatly reduced the amount of shedding that would be associated with Labrador Retrievers.
The Labradoodles smarts and low shedding coat attracted the attention of normal domestic pet owners and there was a meteoric rise in the number of breeders over the course of the ’90s and 2000s. Generally, Labradoodle owners favor the breed’s natural friendliness while their energetic and affectionate nature makes them popular for active singles, couples, or families with children.
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 1930s 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 Do You Call a Labradoodle Shih Tzu Mix?
There is a precedent of crossing a Toy Poodle with a Shih Tzu to create the adorably titled Shih-Poo. Less commonly a Shih Tzu has been bred with a Labrador however given the significant size difference this is nearly always the result of an accidental pairing.
While there are few available articles on the Labradoodle Shih Tzu mix specifically, it does theoretically present a means of mixing in Labrador characteristics while reducing the size difference if the Labradoodle is already smaller if they have had a Toy Poodle parent.
Just what this mix would be called is up for debate, perhaps the LabraShih-Poo or the more complicated Labra-Tzu-oodle?
Why is the Labradoodle Shih Tzu Cross Being Bred?
Those enquiring after this cross are generally looking for the small, puppy-like features of the Shih Tzu with a hint of Poodle curls or waves to hopefully reduce shedding.
The thoughts behind introducing a Labradoodle rather than just a Toy Poodle is that second or later generation Labradoodles have generally been honed genetically to pass on a curlier coat pattern whereas in a first-generation Shih Tzu Poodle cross it can be very varied even amongst one litter.
Is a Shih Tzu Labradoodle Cross Ethical?
The biggest point of concern in creating a Labradoodle Shih Tzu cross would be ensuring ethical selection of the size of a Labradoodle utilized.
The Shih Tzu is a Toy breed therefore to avoid complications a Toy Labradoodle is best picked. Even within Toy Labradoodles, overall size can range, as if a Labradoodle takes more after its Labrador parent it could be heavier and taller.
If you are viewing the parents of a potential Labradoodle Shih Tzu litter they should be fairly close in size and robust, normally a Shih Tzu on the larger end of average and a Toy Labradoodle on the lower end to ensure the welfare of the mother carrying the litter.
There can be a worrying trend of breeders purposely picking the smallest variations of both parents in the hope of the tiniest offspring, it is important to remember though that often the tiniest examples of a breed can have health problems and weakness associated with their minuscule stature.
The Benefits of a Labradoodle Shih Tzu Cross
First and foremost, adding a bit of Poodle has a great chance of decreasing shedding. Adding a Labradoodle over a Toy Poodle has the added benefit of adding in some more laid-back Labrador temperament traits.
The Shih Tzu and the Toy Poodle both have a propensity to be a little highly strung whereas the Labrador genetics brings with it a bit more chill.
All three breeds included in this mix share similar traits of intelligence and loyalty which are valued by many domestic pet owners.
The Cons of a Labradoodle Shih Tzu Cross
Trying to find one will be one of your first main hurdles. As mentioned above, there is little evidence that this cross is being proactively bred. This could be for a few reasons.
Many will be happy enough with the Shih Tzu Poodle cross for example and the Labradoodle remains extremely popular as is which means breeders may be less inclined to use them for less popular or less recognized hybrids.
Size and Weight of the Shih Tzu Labradoodle Cross
As there is not a whole lot of available data on the size and weight of any Labradoodle Shih Tzu crosses that exist to date, we can look at the size and weight of the parent breeds to hopefully give us an indication of what we might expect from this cross.
As we have covered already, this cross would generally utilize a Toy Labradoodle. The Toy Labradoodle can be expected to be between 14” and 16” tall and weigh in the region of 15lbs to 25lbs.
The Shih Tzu on the other hand is smaller at only 8” to 11” and weighs as little as 9Lbs to 16 lbs.
Assuming a responsible breeder would choose a larger Shih Tzu and a smaller Labradoodle it could be estimated that this cross would be somewhere between 10” and 13” tall and likely to weigh in the region of 10lbs to 20 lbs.
In summary, a cross that is still firmly going to fall in the Toy category.
Color and Coat Types of the Labradoodle Shih Tzu Cross
The Shih Tzu brings with it a dense, long, and flowing coat. They come in nine solid colors: black, blue, white, gold, red, silver, liver, lavender, and albino.
After the solid color, they can be double color variations of any of the above or even tri-color. Less commonly a Shih Tzu can carry the gene and express a brindle coat pattern. This is where they have streaks of color running through the main base color. This gives a multi-tonal appearance of gold and tans or browns and blacks.
Most commonly the breed is bi-colored and a completely black or white Shih Tzu is considered one of the rarest presentations.
The Labradoodle brings with it just as much coat color variation, while presenting a wavier to a curlier pattern that will be lower shedding than the Shih Tzu. The Labradoodle coat is generally not as long as the Shih Tzu and if being chosen for this mix would likely have a denser curl pattern with the hope of passing it on.
We can surmise therefore that a Labradoodle Shih Tzu mix will likely present with a wavy to curled, mid-length coat that will be lower shedding. Color-wise as it will really depend on the mix of parents. However, given the Shih Tzu’s tendency to pass on mixed or tri-color patterns they will likely be more than one solid color.
Health of the Labradoodle Shih Tzu Mix
Mixing two breeds offers the chance to “breed out” some of the problem health issues in either of the parent breeds by reducing the chance of a pup inheriting two faulty genes. There are however some health problems that overlap between the Shih Tzu and Toy Labradoodle which does suggest the mix may be slightly more prone to the following conditions:
- Some eye problems
- Cushing’s disease (a hormone condition)
- Luxating patellar (issues with knee caps)
Thankfully overall the Labradoodle is considered healthy as is the Shih Tzu and a lifespan of somewhere in the region of 12 to 18 years would be considered possible for this cross
What is the Temperament like of a Labradoodle Shih Tzu Mix?
A Shih Tzu Labradoodle mix will offer up a mix of its parent’s attributes. As we know, things like environment, training, and nutrition can play a big part in temperament however some of the genetic traits likely to be passed on are outlined below.
The Labradoodle genes will offer up a friendly, loyal and energetic demeanor with less tendency for prolific barking than their little Shih Tzu counterpart. The Shih Tzu is generally more predisposed to being confident which can temper some of the anxious traits sometimes seen in Labradoodles.
How Much Exercise will a Shih Tzu Labradoodle Cross Need?
The Shih Tzu is firmly rooted throughout history as a house companion. With very little legs and a diminutive stature, this breed would only require a short daily walk or equally could have their exercise needs met with indoor play and access to a secure yard. The Toy Labradoodle however is more energetic with greater stamina even for a small dog.
The Shih Tzu Labradoodle mix would therefore be likely to present as energetic. However, would likely be satisfied with one burst of vigorous exercise a day or two shorter walks covering between 30 and 60 minutes per day.
Feeding Requirements for the Labradoodle Shih Tzu Mix
As both parent breeds in a Shih Tzu Labradoodle mix are in the Toy category, they require significantly lower daily calorific intake than say a Labrador. Due to their small size, they are very easily predisposed to obesity as only a few additional treats or table scraps a day can quickly pile on the pounds. Obesity can be particularly devastating on the joints of small dogs.
Specific advice on feeding will depend on various factors such as gender, activity level, and type of food. It is advisable to seek veterinary advice if you are concerned about your pup’s weight or nutrition.