The Shih Poo is a small canine that all dog lovers usually fall in love with due to its funny appearance and good character. This dog is named after the Chinese words ‘lion dog’ since it was bred from its origin to resemble the king of the jungle, although, of course, its size is far from close to a lion. Here you will discover all kinds of facts to know in-depth what this canine breed is like.
1. A dog that has existed for thousands of years
Many have linked this canine over the years with Empress Tzu Hsi, who ruled in China from 1861 to 1908, considering it a sacred dog, although the history of this breed of dog goes back much longer. The Shih Poo appears in ancient tapestries that are dated back more than 2,000 years. Also, this breed has a lot of past in common with the Pekingese dog. Both breeds are originally from Buddhist monasteries, considering them as sacred dogs and which were given by Tibetan monks to China’s emperors when they visited the temple.
During the Ming and Manchu dynasties, these dogs were bred by palace eunuchs. They were considered the exclusive property of the Chinese Royal Court. So it was sporadic that this breed of dog was seen behind the walls of the palaces.
And it is rumored that Shih Poo was worn by noblewomen inside suits and was even used as foot warmers for emperors, placing them on the end of the bed for warmth.
And in the 1930s, Shih Poo dogs came to England. At that time, the English very much confused these canines with the Lhasa Apso breed. Even back then, these two races were treated as if they were the same. Over time, they began to treat them as independent breeds. They also came to the United States, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that they began to gain popularity.
2. A small, furry dog
The Shih Poo is a small dog, but do not be fooled by its size, as it is robust and strong for its height. It usually happens in canines of this characteristic height. It has a more elongate body than it is tall, having a straight back and a broad and deep chest. And being so small, he does not need a lot of outdoor exercises. He prefers to play in small spaces and take short daily walks, especially in the seasons where the temperatures are high.
One of this pet’s main characteristics is how its head, which is round and wide, is covered by its long fur, gives a feeling of having a really ‘big head’. And it is that this breed is characteristic of its hair. However, care must be taken since its long coat requires daily brushing and cleaning the eyes to avoid infections since the hair covers the canine’s eyes.
And despite having a dense, double-layered coat, which is usually straight, this breed sheds much less hair than other breeds that do not have such a long and abundant coat. One of the many curiosities about its hair is that the FCI considers the Shih Poo’s hair. It can be any color, either single color or with spots or areas of various colors.
3. A very sociable breed
The Shih Poo has a very affectionate, cheerful, and sociable character. So the deal with people will be faultless, in addition to being a very playful and vital breed. And they are easier to socialize than other dog breeds, as they are sociable by nature. And that’s not all, as they tend to get along peacefully and well with other dogs and other household pets.
It is a pet that likes company, is calm, and adapts to living in any home type. It is also an ideal dog for families with children. With its pleasant character, it will be very easy for it to fall in love with children. In addition, this breed of dog is very easy to train from the beginning.
However, because they are dogs that like to be paid a lot of attention and keep them company, they can become very attached. For this reason, Shih Poo does not handle loneliness very well, so it will not be the ideal dog for someone who cannot spend much time with them.
4. A dog with great strength
Although they do not tend to suffer more serious diseases until old age, this breed of dog will need a lot of care to stay completely healthy. One of the cares mentioned earlier is daily brushing. Otherwise, your hair ends up getting tangled and forming knots, which will accumulate dirt. Although to avoid complications with your hair care, the best option is to take it to the dog groomer and ask for a haircut.
The life expectancy of this pet is usually around 13 years. Although it must be taken into account that this breed is brachycephalic, it has a short and flattened muzzle. For this reason, dogs with this problem have respiratory dysfunctions since their nostrils are narrower than normal. And they also have little resistance and adaptability to high temperatures.
Another hereditary disease that can occur is the portosystemic shunt, which accumulates toxic substances in the blood that affects the nervous system due to liver filtration problems. This breed can also suffer from kidney dysplasia, a disorder that causes degeneration of the kidneys. Regarding problems at the bone level, the Shih Poo can suffer patella luxation and hip dysplasia.