Are Shihpoo Hypoallergenic?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 17 August 2021

Shihpoo are a cross breed that combine traits of Poodles and Shih Tzus.

This particular hybrid dog is the result of breeding between these two established breeds to create a popular companion dog.

While you may know the Shih Tzu Poodle cross by the name Shihpoo, they can also go by a number of other names, including Shipoo, Shi-Poo, Shi Poo, Shihpooh, Shipooh and Shitzpoo.

The Shihpoo is a cross breed recognised by the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America and International Designer Canine Registry.

The Shihpoo have proven popular dogs thanks to their small size and their potential to have hypoallergenic qualities.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at whether Shihpoo are hypoallergenic, while we’ll speak to a number of Shihpoo owners to hear their input.

We’ll hear from a number of different Shihpoo accounts on Instagram, including Simba (@simbatheshihpoo), Colbie (@colbiethepoo), Ginger (@shihpooginger) and George (@shihpoogeorge).

Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as veterinary, medical or professional advice. There's no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog in spite of claims that breeders might make. It’s always best to speak with your vet or your doctor before deciding to get a dog if you suspect you may have allergies to pets.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

The word hypoallergenic was a term first coined by the cosmetic industry in the 1950s to denote a product that was less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.

Cosmetic companies would use the word hypoallergenic to denote a product that was less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other products within the same range.

So there’s still no guarantee that someone won’t suffer with allergies.

To ensure we’ve got a clear understanding of the word hypoallergenic, let’s take a look at how respected medical website WebMD define the word on their website.

If you see “hypoallergenic” on makeup or a skin care label, it means that that maker claims its product causes fewer allergic reactions than other ones. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is allergy-proof or gentler for your skin. The U.S. government doesn’t have standards that products must meet in order to put “hypoallergenic” on the label.

Let’s take a look at how the word hypoallergenic has been utilised within the dog world.

What are hypoallergenic dogs?

If you’ve researched a particular dog breed extensively, there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered an article that discusses whether said dog is hypoallergenic or not.

It’s important to be careful where hypoallergenic dogs are concerned because a lot of dog breeders will claim that their puppies are hypoallergenic which isn’t necessarily true.

This is especially relevant where mixed breeds are concerned because breeders can’t predict what traits a pup will inherit from each parent despite their best efforts.

The American Kennel Club write on their website that there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog breed in spite of claims made by breeders online.

So, you want a dog but have always had an allergy attack whenever you’ve been around one – you’re not alone! According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, as much as 10% of the U.S. population is allergic to dogs. While there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs, there are many breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. Dander, which is attached to pet hair, is what causes most pet allergies in humans and these dogs have a non-shedding coat that produces less dander.

The AKC refer to the fact that there are some dog breeds that are generally accepted to have more hypoallergenic qualities than other canines.

For example, the Poodle is a well-known hypoallergenic dog breed given they’ve got a low-shedding coat that doesn’t shed a lot and catches dander secreted in their curls.

The American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK put forward a number of different breeds that could be a good fit for people looking for a hypoallergenic dog.

What causes an allergy to dogs?

As the AKC referenced in their quote above, it’s thought that up to 10% of the American population struggle with allergies to dogs.

That’s remarkable when you consider there are an estimated 320 million people in the USA and there are 90 million dog owners. So we can assume that there are a substantial number of pet parents who own dogs despite pet allergies.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that dog hair is the biggest culprit where allergies are concerned. While pet hair plays a role, there are some other factors to consider.

For example, the American Lung Association explain the role that pet dander plays in pet allergies. If you haven’t heard of dander before this article, here’s how the ALA define it:

Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.

Other potential allergens include dog salvia and dog urine.

So as you can deduce, even if your dog doesn’t shed, there’s still a chance that you allergies could be triggered if dander, salvia or urine gets caught on their hair.

Here’s the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to explain more:

People with pet allergies have over-sensitive immune systems. They can react to harmless proteins in the pet’s urine, saliva or dander (dead skin cells). The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. The allergens will not lose their strength for a long time. Sometimes the allergens may remain at high levels for several months and cling to walls, furniture, clothing and other surfaces. Pet hair is not an allergen. It can collect dander, urine and saliva. It also can carry other allergens like dust and pollen.

What are the symptoms?

Before we go any further, it’s important to underline that if you suspect that you’ve got allergies to dogs than you should speak to your local doctor to learn more about the potential symptoms associated with pet alleriges.

Respected medical website Mayo Clinic outline a list of potential symptoms on their website.

• Sneezing
• Runny nose
• Itchy, red or watery eyes
• Nasal congestion
• Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
• Postnasal drip
• Cough
• Facial pressure and pain
• Frequent awakening
• Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
• In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

Are Shihpoo hypoallergenic?

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

Shihpoo have the potential to be hypoallergenic given the Poodle and Shih Tzu are considered to be hypoallergenic breeds. The American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK both put forward the Poodle as a hypoallergenic breed, while the British organization list the Shih Tzu amongst their suggested breed for dog lovers looking for canines with hypoallergenic qualities.

Darren says Simba doesn’t shed and doesn’t trigger his wife’s allergies.

We bought our Shihpoo because my wife is allergic to some dogs and we read that Shihpoos were hypoallergenic. My wife has never had an issue with our dog. He never sheds. I could rub him up and down my black shirt and there would be maybe one white hair stuck to it.

Do Shihpoo shed a lot?

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

As we’ve mentioned above, the Poodle and Shih Tzu are considered dog breeds that don’t shed a lot. Therefore, if you opt for a Shihpoo, there’s a good chance that you’ll have a low-shedding hybrid dog that won’t leave hair all over your home. However, keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that your Shihpoo won’t shed a little bit.

Ellary says her Shihpoo does shed.

No shedding! But he does need to be groomed every 4 to 6 weeks.

Shihpoo care and grooming

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

While you won’t have to worry about your Shihpoo shedding lots of hair, the Poodle Shih Tzu mix does require regular grooming to maintain the appearance and health of their coat. The Shihpoo can have curly hair that can easily become matted if pet parents don’t brush their coat regularly. It’s recommended that you brush your Shihpoo at least three or four times a week. Some Shihpoo owners may prefer to take their mixed breed to a groomer to give their designer dog a trim. It’s a good idea to wash your Shihpoo every couple of months.

Brianna gives her Shihpoo a bath every couple of weeks.

I aim for every week/two weeks. She gets groomed every 4 weeks (teeth cleaning, nail and hair cutting, etc.) but has home baths in between.

Ellary admitted grooming George has proven expensive.

George doesn’t eat very much since he’s such a little guy, so that isn’t very expensive! Grooming can be expensive though.

Hypoallergenic dog breeds

The American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK list a number of dog breeds that they believe to be suited to pet parents looking for a hypoallergenic dog.

The AKC suggest the following 19 breeds:

• Affenpinchser
• Afghan Hound
• American Hairless Terrier
• Barbet
• Bedlington Terrier
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Giant Schnauzer
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Kerry Blue Terrier
• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Maltese
• Peruvian Inca Orchid
• Poodle
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
• Schnauzer
• Xoloitzcuintli

The Kennel Club offer a more exhaustive list of 31 types of dogs:

• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Spanish Water Dog
• Bouvier des Flandres
• Giant Schnauzer
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russian Black Terrier
• Hungarian Puli
• Komondor
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Havanese
• Maltese
• Yorkshire Terrier
• Lhasa Apso
• Intermediate Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Mexican Hairless
• Standard Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Standard Poodle
• Toy Poodle
• Miniature Poodle
• Shih Tzu
• Tibetan Terrier
• Bedlington Terrier
• Dandie Dinmont Terrier
• Glen of Imaal Terrier
• Sealyham Terrier
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Anything else to consider?

If you want to learn more about the Shihpoo breed, you could also contact Shihpoo owners on Instagram to learn more. We find that dog owners are happy to offer their insights into breeds or cross breeds to help potential owners with any questions they may have.

Like we mentioned above, if you’re worried about pet allergies, we urge you to speak to your doctor to learn more before you decide to bring a dog home. Although this article has been researched, it isn’t intended to provide professional advice.

In conclusion

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

Simba the Shihpoo (Photo: @simbatheshihpoo / Instagram)

We’ve reached the end of our feature on Shihpoo. Hopefully you now know that Shihpoo are a cross breed that can have hypoallergenic qualities but there’s no guarantees.

Shihpoo are low shedding dogs that don’t secrete a lot of dander but they can still get allergen such as pollen, salvia and urine on their coat.

These designer dogs will require regularly grooming to maintain the health and quality of their coat.

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