Shih Poo vs Maltipoo Comparing Size, Temperament, & Family Suitability

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo, Maltipoo vs Shih Poo…trying to choose between these two Doods is going to be a tough one! If you’re not sure which of these Poodle mixes is the right choice for you, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look into the key similarities and differences of the Maltipoo and Shih Poo breeds. If by the end of it you’re still not sure which pup to get, you might just as well get them both. Let’s dive in! 

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About Shih Poos: History & Key Characteristics

The Shih Poo is a cross between the Shih Tzu and Poodle. Like other Poodle mixes, the Shih Poo has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to its hypoallergenic and low-shedding coat

Since the Shih Tzu is a smaller-sized breed, they are crossed with either Miniature or Toy Poodles. As a result, we get the most adorable small-sized Shih Poo puppies that inherit their looks and personality traits from their equally amazing parents.

Shih Poos make excellent lapdogs and they adore their human parents above all else. It’s no wonder that these pups love being the center of attention. After all, both the Shih Tzu and Poodle come from regal backgrounds. 

All in all, Shih Poos are friendly, loving, and intelligent pups that make wonderful pets for singles and families alike, especially if you’re looking for an allergy-friendly pup. 

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo

About Maltipoos: History & Key Characteristics

The Maltipoo is a hybrid cross between the Maltese and either Toy or Miniature Poodle. Like the Shih Poo, the Maltipoo is a smaller-sized Doodle that’s perfect for apartment-dwellers. Or, if you’re simply looking for a smaller companion dog. 

Maltipoos are generally very fun-loving and easy-going pups. They’re affectionate and gentle creatures that make amazing pets for singles, couples, or families with children. Although the Maltipoo is one of the newer Doodle breeds, they are also gaining more and more popularity like all other Poodle mixes. 

What’s especially great about the Maltipoo is that both of its Maltese and Poodle parents are single-coated. This means that the Maltipoo might just be one of the best options for people with dog allergies

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Size

When choosing between two different dog breeds, their size is likely going to be one of the most influential factors. Shih Tzus and Malteses are both small-sized dogs. Due to their small size, they are crossed with either Toy or Miniature Poodles, resulting in similarly small-sized Doodles. 

Here’s a closer look at the Maltipoo vs Shih Poo size comparison:

Shih PooMaltipoo
ToyWeight: 5-13 pounds
Height: 6-10 inches 
Weight: 5-15 pounds
Height: 6-11 inches
MiniWeight: 8-17 pounds
Height: 10-15 inches 
Weight: 15-20 pounds
Height: 11-14 inches
* A dog’s height is measured from the highest part of their shoulder blades, also known as withers.

As we can see from the size chart above, both Shih Poos and Maltipoos come in a similar size range. Shih Poos usually weigh between 5 and 17 pounds, and Maltipoos weigh on average between 5 and 20 pounds. 

Like with any other hybrid breed, the size of the Doodle puppies largely depends on their genetics, including the size of their parents. Naturally, if we cross together a smaller Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle, we’ll get a litter of smaller Toy Shih Poos. Similarly, by crossing together a larger Maltese and a Mini Poodle, we’ll get slightly larger Mini Maltipoos. 

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Temperament & Personality

In terms of the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo temperament, they’re both quite similar dogs. After all, they share the Poodle parent, inheriting many of the same personality traits. Both Maltipoos and Shih Poos are friendly and playful pups. Thanks to their small size and affectionate nature, both of these Doods make excellent lapdogs. 

Of course, as we are dealing with crossbreeds, it’s important to note that they can take more or less after either of their purebred parents. Likewise, all puppies are unique and have different personality traits. In addition to that, early socialization and enrichment methods also affect puppies’ behavioral development and temperament. 

Another thing to note is that Maltipoos and Shih Poos are both quite people-oriented, and therefore are more prone to separation anxiety. They truly are lapdogs that like to spend time around their humans, so they’re more suited for people who can spend the majority of the day with them. 

Are Shih Poos calmer than Maltipoos? This totally depends on your puppy’s unique nature and personality. However, some dog parents have noted that Maltipoos can sometimes get quite vocal compared to more calmer Shih Poos. Nonetheless, Maltipoos are also known as calm and chilled dogs, just maybe a bit more chatty.

Maltipoo vs Shih Poo: Appearance

We’ve already established that both Shih Poos and Maltipoos are small dogs, and they come in two distinctive sizes. But, that’s not the only similarity they share. They both also inherit the shaggy signature Doodle coat, taking more or less after either of their purebred parents. 

In terms of the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo colors, they both can inherit a variety of beautiful solid coats and color patterns from either side of their lineage. 

Maltipoos often inherit the Maltese-inspired white coat, or come in colors like black, cream, apricot, red, or brown. They can also come in black and white, parti, tri-color, phantom, and sable patterned coats. Similarly, Shih Poos can inherit a variety of coat colors, such as black, brown, white, gray, brindle, red, or apricot. 

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Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Grooming & Maintenance

For both Maltipoos and Shih Poos, grooming is a vital part of their daily routine. Although the low-shedding Poodle genes do an excellent job at keeping pet hair and allergens away, it does come with the added responsibility of regular grooming. The amount of grooming that either a Shih Poo or Maltipoo needs is determined by their coat type. Both Maltipoos and Shih Poos come in three coat types – curly, wavy, and straight.

Curly Coat

The curly coat takes more after the Poodle parent, and it’s the most hypoallergenic. But keep in mind that curly coats are harder to manage, as they are more textured and rough. As a result, curly coats are the most prone to matting, and they should ideally be brushed daily to keep knots and tangles at bay. 

Cavapoo with curly coat
Cavapoo with curly coat.

Straight Coat

On the opposite side we have the straight coat, which resembles more of the Shih Tzu or Maltese parent. However, there’s a major difference between Shih Poos and Maltipoos. Shih Tzus are double coated, whereas Malteses are single coated dogs. That gives Maltipoos a slight edge in the shedding department, as they’re always single coated dogs.

shihtzu straight coat
Shih Tzu with a straight coat.

On the other hand, straight coat Shih Poos may shed some hair, as they inherit most of their traits from the Shih Tzu parent. Nonetheless, even straight coated Shih Poos shed considerably less than their Shih Tzu parents, all thanks to their Poodle heritage!

Although the straight coat might not be as prone to matting, these pups still require regular hair trims and daily brushing sessions. What’s more, if you’ve got a straight coat Shih Poo, brushing them daily will help you remove any loose hair from the depths of the fur, which would otherwise find its way on your furniture and surfaces.

Wavy Coat

Both Shih Poos and Maltipoos can also inherit the beautiful wavy combination coat that’s neither curly or straight. Wavy coats are usually relatively easy to manage and groom. They usually don’t shed as much as straight coats, and the hair doesn’t become as easily tangled.

Wavy coat Shih Poos may come with an undercoat, which may shed some hair. In contrast, wavy coat Maltipoos are always single-coated, making them more suitable for people with allergies

Maltipoo with a wavy coat
Maltipoo with a wavy coat

Maltipoo vs Shih Poo: Health & Wellness

When comparing the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo in the health and longevity department, they both benefit from something called hybrid vigor, a common occurrence in hybrid breeds. Basically, hybrid vigor indicates that crossbreeds are less likely to inherit certain hereditary conditions thanks to their more diverse gene pool.

Nonetheless, just like any other breed, both Maltipoos and Shih Poos are prone to certain health conditions. Due to their small size, they’re both at risk of patellar luxation and elbow dysplasia, common joint problems in small-sized Poodle mixes. Eye diseases like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are also very common. So are digestive issues, allergies and sensitivities, skin problems, and ear infections

Shih Poos that inherit the shorter Shih Tzu snout may also have trouble breathing. They’re also at higher risk of heatstroke compared to pups with longer snouts, and they’re known to have dental problems. Maltipoos, on the other hand, are at a higher risk of White Shaker Syndrome and epilepsy. 

Of course, the key here is also to choose a responsible breeder that only produces new litters from health and DNA tested parents. This helps breeders choose the healthiest parents from the strongest bloodlines, ensuring the health and wellbeing of their puppies.

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Maltipoo vs Shih Poo: Lifespan

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo – which of them lives longest? On average, both Maltipoos and Shih Poos have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years, if not longer.

There are a few different factors to consider here. Namely, small-sized dogs generally live longer compared to larger dogs. And as we mentioned earlier, hybrid vigor does indicate that Doodles may be healthier than their purebred parents. Therefore, not only can we assume that Maltipoos and Shih Poos live longer lives, they also have better quality of life for longer. 

Needless to say, feeding your pup a healthy and high-quality diet, keeping track of their weight, providing them plenty of exercise and playtime, and keeping their stress levels at a minimum is also going to affect their quality of life and lifespan.

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Training & Environment

When comparing the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo trainability, they’re both equally intelligent pups thanks to their Poodle heritage. Both crossbreeds respond very well to positive reinforcement training, and they’re also eager to please their humans – a winning combination. On the other hand, Shih Poos may be harder to train, as they sometimes inherit the notorious Shih Tzu stubborn streak. 

Of course, we do recommend you start with training and socialization from an early age to really enforce good behaviors and help your puppy grow into a confident adult. Start safely socializing your puppy with people of all ages, start with potty training, crate training, and teach them good manners. All of this truly does help puppies grow into well-rounded and well-adjusted dogs. 

In terms of their exercise requirements and living situation, neither Maltipoos or Shih Poos are overly active dogs. And thanks to their small size, they can thrive perfectly well even in an apartment setting. However, they still need their daily exercise, about an hour each day. You’ll also want to schedule in some playtime and mind-stimulating activities to keep your pup sharp, get them tired for bedtime, and avoid destructive behaviors.

Behavioral issues are common in all breeds. That’s why you as a dog owner should take full responsibility for your pup’s behavior and development. If necessary, hire help or subscribe to this excellent Online Puppy School by Baxter & Bella, which we and many other dog owners have found super helpful. 

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Cost

As you might expect, designer breeds like the Shih Poo and Maltipoo often come with a pretty hefty price tag. You can usually expect to pay anywhere from $1500 and up to $5000 for either of these pups. Of course, the price depends on your geographical location, the breeder’s experience and reputation, or even what size or color you’re after.

Generally, Doodle puppies cost more in highly populated areas, where the cost of living is also higher. In addition to that, some breeders charge more for smaller Toy Shih Poos and Toy Maltipoos. The same goes for rare and highly sought after coat colors. 

When choosing a breeder, you’ll also want to make sure that your new puppy comes from a responsible breeding program. Unfortunately, the growing market for Doodle puppies has attracted countless puppy mills that breed for profit only. Their mamas are overbred, puppies are malnourished and kept in horrible conditions, and they usually come with serious health issues. Not worth the smaller price tag!

In addition to the initial cost of adoption, you’ll also have to factor in all the daily necessities like dog food and treats, trips to groomers, grooming tools, dog beds and food bowls, routine vet visits, pet insurance, and so on.

Since Shih Poos and Maltipoos are very similar in size, there isn’t much of a difference in how much money you’ll spend on their food or grooming. But, you can expect Toy Shih Poos and Toy Maltipoos to eat slightly less than their larger Mini cousins. 

Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Are They Family Friendly?

Maltipoo vs Shih Poo – which one of them is more family friendly? That’s going to be a tough one, since both of these Doods are excellent family companions. Both Maltipoos and Shih Poos are very friendly, social, and loving dogs that love being around people. If you’re looking for an adoring lapdog, then both of these pups can do the job perfectly. 

One thing you do have to consider is that their small size can pose a threat. Namely, young children may accidentally hurt them during play. For this reason, it’s always crucial you teach your kids how to interact with pets, and keep an eye on how they handle the pups

In addition to that, Maltipoos can get a bit vocal at times, whereas Shih Poos tend to be quieter in comparison. For this reason, a Shih Poo might be more suitable for families with younger children and babies. 

Of course, the key to successfully raising a Doodle puppy alongside children is early socialization. This will help any Maltipoo and Shih Poo to feel comfortable and confident around children. 

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Shih Poo vs Maltipoo: Which Is The Puppy For You?

Ultimately, when comparing the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo personality traits, looks, and size, they’re not that much different. Thanks to their small size, they both make great pets for people living in both big houses and smaller apartments. They’re also friendly and loving, and overall just precious little companions that you’ll never get bored with.

But, there are two main differences you’ll want to consider:

  • Since Maltipoos can sometimes be a bit vocal, the quieter Shih Poo may be a better option for some people. 
  • Maltipoos are always single coated dogs, whereas some Shih Poos may inherit the Shih Tzu’s double coat. For this reason, a Maltipoo would be a more suitable pet for people with moderate to severe dog allergies. 

In conclusion, trying to choose between the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo is bound to be a tough decision. They’re both small, endearing, and low-shedding companions. But, before you adopt your new puppy, it’s crucial that you’ve weighed all the potential pros and cons. Both breeds are wonderful dogs, but have slightly different temperaments and maintenance needs. If you are still undecided on whether a Shih Poo or Maltipoo is the right dog for you, hopefully this article has helped make your decision a little easier.

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