Shih Poo Vs Maltipoo [Breed Comparison with Photos]

Are you curious to know how the Shih Poo and Maltipoo hybrid breeds differ? These novel breeds are pretty similar, but they do have some notable differences that could impact your decision to adopt. 

shih poo vs maltipoo breed
Comparing the Shih Poo vs Maltipoo hypoallergenic dog breeds

Before you contact your local breeder and place a deposit on one of these dogs, you’ll want to consider their appearance, personality, energy level, and common health problems. Let’s explore these aspects to discover more about the Shih Poo and Maltipoo hybrid breeds. 

That way, you can make an informed decision about which pup might be suitable for you and your household!

Shih Poo Overview

The Shih Poo is a combination of two well-known dog breeds: Toy Poodles and Shih Tzus. The offspring of these purebred pups tend to be small, long-haired dogs with slightly curly coats and flat faces. However, each Shih Poo puppy is bound to be unique. 

Some puppies may inherit more of their Toy Poodle parent’s genetics, while others might resemble their Shih Tzu parent. Because this is a hybrid breed, there are few purebred Shih Poo puppies. As such, each litter is distinct and different from the one that came before.

a cute shih poo puppy
A super cute Shih Poo puppy looks up at the camera


A Shih Poo pup can display a wide range of coat colors, lengths, and styles. That’s because this hybrid breed comes from two distinct dog breeds: Shih Tzu dogs and Toy Poodles. 

Shih Tzu dogs naturally come in a wide variety of fur colors. In fact, many Shih Tzu dogs have multiple colors throughout their coat. Some of the most common coat colors for this breed include grey, white, brown, cream, gold, and black. In addition, Shih Tzu dogs tend to have long, straight, flowing hair that requires consistent grooming.

Toy Poodles are also known for their coat color varieties. However, they almost always have short, curly coats. Consequently, Shih Poo puppies may have long, medium-length, or short coats. Their fur can be virtually any natural color, and their facial features can be flatter (like that of a Shih Tzu) or box-like (as with a Toy Poodle).

Still, these dogs tend to be relatively small in size. For example, the average Shih Poo may only weigh about ten pounds!


A Shih Poo pup may exhibit several distinct personality traits, all of which come from their purebred parents. But this hybrid breed might be most known for its affectionate nature, independent streak, and friendliness. 

Most Shih Poo dogs appreciate being the only dog in the home, and their small size and sensitivity make them well suited to apartments. In addition, they may get along better with cats and other small animals than with large dog breeds.

Though intelligent, the Shih Poo is slightly more resistant to training than other hybrid breeds. That said, they don’t tend to bark as often or as loudly as other small breeds. Still, their independent side can make training a challenge.

Considering the Shih Poo’s grooming needs (which are often more intense than other hybrid breeds), it’s also a great idea to limit their time spent outdoors. Their exercise needs are minimal, though they do enjoy daily walks and short outdoor playtime sessions.

tiny shih poo and maltipoo dogs
Super tiny and super cute! The Shih Poo and Maltipoo are teacup and toy sized Poodle mix breed dogs

Energy Level

Unlike other types of small dogs, Shih Poo pups are neither high-energy nor laid-back. Instead, their energy levels are relatively moderate, and most prefer to enjoy small bouts of exercise during the day. 

Still, it’s not unusual to find a Shih Poo sleeping on the couch throughout the afternoon and evening. As such, pet parents won’t need to bend over backward to keep their pup fit, satisfied, and mentally stimulated. 

Shih Poo dogs tend to enjoy the company of their family members more than long hikes or intense play. This makes them the ideal pup for families that are moderately active or that are often at home.

Expect a lot of affection from a Shih Poo. Just like a Shih Tzu (famous for face licking) the Shih Poo will often demonstrate affection with cuddles, face licks, or just velcro-like behavior.

Common Health Problems

Generally, Shih Poo pups can live for between ten and fifteen years. That’s far longer than many larger breeds, making the Shih Poo an excellent option for pet parents seeking a long-term furry family member. However, this hybrid breed isn’t immune to health problems.

Shih Poo pups may be prone to inheriting or developing specific conditions, especially as they age. Additionally, breeders that aren’t careful may unintentionally produce sickly litters of Shih Poo pups.

Some of the most common health problems associated with this breed include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Cherry Eye
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Renal Dysplasia
  • Cleft Palate

Many of these health conditions are related to eye health. As such, Shih Poo owners must keep a close watch on their pup’s behavior and look for red flags that may indicate vision problems. 

For example, Shih Poo dogs that often bump into furniture, struggle to find their way around the house or fail to recognize you may be experiencing some form of vision failure. Pet parents should also watch for skin allergies and sensitivities, as Shih Poo dogs may be prone to developing dermatitis.

shih-poo vs maltipoo face
The super cute faces of the Shih Poo and Maltipoo dogs

Maltipoo Overview

The Maltipoo is the result of breeding Toy Poodles with Maltese dogs. Much like Shih Poo puppies, Maltipoo dogs can exhibit a wide range of physical and mental traits of either parent. Some Maltipoo pups are nearly identical to purebred Maltese dogs, but others are far more similar to Toy Poodles.

That said, many Maltipoo puppies are known for their small size, curly fur, and longer, poodle-like faces. In this way, Maltipoo dogs typically look very different from their Shih Poo cousins. But it’s crucial to note that each Maltipoo puppy is unique, especially when it comes to appearance.


Maltipoo puppies get their appearance from their parents. However, purebred Maltese dogs almost always have pure white coats, while Toy Poodles can have many colors. As such, Maltipoo pups can have white, golden, brown, or black fur. 

In terms of coat length, Maltipoo pups tend to have far shorter hair than their Maltese parents. Because Toy Poodles often have curly fur, Maltipoo dogs may have short or medium-length coats with gentle curls.

Additionally, Maltipoo pups can have shorter, flatter faces that resemble their Maltese parents. Or they could have slightly longer snouts and faces if they inherit more of their Toy Poodle parent’s genetics. Each puppy is bound to be unique, as this hybrid breed is relatively new.


Much like their appearance, Maltipoo puppies tend to inherit different aspects of their parent breed’s personalities. However, most Maltipoo dogs are notable for their affectionate nature, love of companionship, and high-energy lifestyle.

These pups do tend to bark often, but they’re also highly intelligent. As such, pet parents will need to invest time into training their Maltipoo puppy. However, this hybrid breed trains quickly and easily, lessening the amount of time that owners will need to enforce specific rules and behaviors. 

Maltipoo dogs do enjoy exploring, and they may leave the safety of your yard if allowed to do so. They’re also more sensitive to warm and cold temperatures, making this pup better suited to indoor living.

Energy Level

This hybrid breed is known for being high-energy. But because Maltipoo pups are tiny (and can suffer from joint conditions later in life), most pet parents will only need to provide about thirty minutes of high-intensity play each day. 

Water-based exercise could be the best option, as it puts less stress on Maltipoo bones and joints. Poodles are known for their love of water, and your Maltipoo dog’s parentage may make it keen to enjoy a few turns around a child-sized swimming pool.

shih poo vs maltipoo size
Comparing the size of the Shih Poo and Maltipoo breeds

Common Health Problems

The average lifespan of Maltipoo pups is slightly shorter than Shih Poos, with the standard range falling at ten to thirteen years. Naturally, purchasing from a reputable breeder and providing top-notch care can help ensure a longer lifespan.

However, Maltipoo pups may be prone to inheriting specific health problems from their purebred parents. Some potential health problems that pet parents should be aware of include:

  • Shaker Syndrome
  • Eye Ulcers
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis

Still, it’s worthwhile to note that many hybrid breeds are less likely to inherit health problems than their parents. Recessive genes that may cause health problems in purebred dogs can be wiped out by mixing those genes with a different breed.

Shih Poo Vs. Maltipoo

Both Shih Poo and Maltipoo puppies come from Toy Poodles. However, they’re distinct hybrid breeds with unique looks, personalities, and energy levels. When choosing between these types of hybrid dogs, you’ll need to consider your own wants and preferences.

For example, Shih Poo pups require a little more time and attention than their Maltipoo counterparts. If you don’t have the time to keep your Shih Poo well-groomed and trained, they can suffer from skin problems or misbehave. 

Shih Poo dogs also tend to suffer from more long-term health conditions, including cataracts and arthritis. Still, adopting a pup from a reputable breeder can help you avoid many of the more troubling inheritable health problems. 

Overall, both of these hybrid breeds are small, affectionate, and full of energy. The Maltipoo may be lower maintenance than the Shih Poo, but both can grow long hair that’s challenging to keep clean. If you’re considering adopting one of these dogs, you’ll need to be prepared to keep their coats brushed and trimmed and to spend plenty of time with them.

maltipoo puppy smiling
A super happy Maltipoo puppy

Final Thoughts

The Shih Poo is a hybrid breed that comes from Toy Poodles and Shih Tzu dogs. The Maltipoo is a hybrid of Toy Poodles and Maltese pups. Both tend to be small, long-haired dogs that adore attention and playtime. The right hybrid breed for you depends on your preferences.

Still, the differences between these two types of dogs are incredibly slight. Shih Poo pups may encounter more health and grooming problems than their Maltipoo counterparts, but they’re otherwise very similar in terms of personality, exercise needs, and appearance.