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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Shih Apso (Lhasa Apso & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pics, Care & More!

Shih Apso (Lhasa Apso & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pics, Care & More!

Shih Apso_Grace Stensland_Shutterstock

The adorable Shih Apso is a hybrid breed that combines two similar purebred dogs—the Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu. When you mix the two dogs, you have a small, smush-faced dog with a wonderful temperament and good nature.

Breed Overview


9–12 inches


12–28 pounds


12–14 years


White, black, tan, gray

Suitable for:

Apartment living, companion animals


Relaxed, lovable, affectionate, social

These dogs have so much to offer potential homes, but their most significant gift is the loyal companionship they give their families. If you’re shopping for your new family member, this adaptable pooch might be an excellent candidate to consider.

Shih Apso Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Shih Apso Puppies

The ultimate cost you can expect to pay at a breeder depends on the breeder, the area you live, and the quality of the puppies. Each person will offer their own rates along with any care costs included. Puppies will likely come with their first round of shots and a veterinary health check. Most breeders offer puppy contracts and deposits before they place these pups with their forever homes. These procedures cover the bases, ensuring puppies go to suitable homes with serious owners.

With all hybrids, you have to make sure you steer clear of backyard breeding. Some people take two purebreds and breed them without any regard for the wellbeing of the parents or puppies. They merely want to make a profit. Dogs from puppy mills or backyard breeding operations often have poor health, undesirable temperament, and other negative traits that can show through.

Because Shih Apsos are a mixed breed, finding one of these dogs in a local shelter or rescue is very possible. If you adopt, these dogs will have all appropriate health care, including spay or neuter.

Image Credit: Left – rachnelson, Pixabay | Right – kshitijprakash, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Shih Apso

Shih Apsos can carry every trait between their parents, so their temperament can vary slightly. However, most of the time, these dogs are super active, brilliant, and incredibly social animals with a happy-go-lucky approach to life.

Shih Tzus are usually quieter and more reserved, while Lhasa Apsos are much more vocal and involved. The combination produces a well-rounded dog that falls somewhere in the middle of the two personality types.

Shih Apsos can be quite stubborn, and some have more attitude and spunk than others. They are the type to turn away from you when they are in trouble—or doing something anyway despite consequence. With proper training, this won’t be an issue, as they are highly trainable.

These little dogs get entirely attached to their owners, forming solid bonds that never waver. They can even suffer from a bit of separation anxiety if they are left alone a lot. Because they are shadow dogs, always by your side—it is important to be serious about the purchase.

These dogs have a tough time being rehomed, as it’s hard for them to trust again. It is vital to make sure this is a one-home deal for them, as they will stay wholly devoted to their owners throughout their lifetimes.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Shih Apsos make terrific additions to most lifestyles. Since they can be a bit fiery, they might view kids as their equals. While this is fine, they might not tolerate small kids as much. It is important o teach mutual respect for successful relationships. They do best with children around six and older.

Even though these dogs are very energetic, they can still make excellent pairings for older adults. Since they are stuck to you like glue, they will gladly accompany you on rides, walks, and new adventures. Plus, they are small enough to meet most apartment complex weight requirements.

These dogs might tend to bark a lot, which is something you have to consider if you have nearby neighbors. Not all Shih Apsos have this behavior, but it’s definitely possible. One thing is for sure—you will know when a stranger is at the door.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Shih Apsos make awesome mates for other household dogs. However, they might exhibit a bit of a small dog complex—thinking they’re the pack leader. As long as bigger dogs are cool with this, it isn’t an issue. But if a dog reacts badly, these dogs can get hurt easily.

These dogs generally get along with cats and small animals. Although, they should never be around cage animals without close supervision. Even though they are tiny, they can still do damage if they decide to play too rough.

It’s best to socialize your Shih Apso when they are very young. Exposing them to all sorts of dogs, cats, and animals will ensure they are tolerant and accepting.


Things to Know When Owning a Shih Apso:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

When it comes to their daily diet, your Shih Apso needs a protein-rich, high-quality dry kibble. These dogs might be finicky eaters. So, if they snub their nose up to dry kibble, you can also try a wet food or homemade dog food topper to kick things up a few notches.

Both of these breeds are prone to food allergies. It would be best if you tried to offer your Shih Apso a natural-based food that is free of fillers like corn, wheat, or soy. Since grain-free diets have been linked to certain health conditions, only switch if your vet diagnoses a grain allergy.

With the supervision of your veterinarian, you might even try a homemade or raw diet. You have to make sure you meet all required nutritional profiles to ensure optimal health.

Exercise 🐕

Nothing will excite your Shih Apso more than hearing the rattle of the leash. These little dogs love going on walks to see the neighborhood. They also love chasing kids, other dogs, and tons of toys. You won’t have to convince them that it’s time to play.

To keep your Shih Apso living a healthy lifestyle, they need at least 30 minutes of upbeat exercise per day.

Training 🎾

Like all small dogs, this breed can have quite a stubborn streak, making training difficult. However, they are also eager to please and loyal, which means they’re likely to listen with positive reinforcement training tactics.

Though potty training won’t be as difficult as some other small breeds, they might take a minute to get the hang of it. Consistency and routine are key to success.

Grooming ✂️

As you probably guessed just by looking at them, these dogs require extensive grooming. They need to visit a professional groomer once every 4–6 weeks.

At home, it is best to brush these dogs daily and use a deshedding tool once a week.

Since these dogs are prone to skin allergies, try to use all-natural shampoos that are soothing for the skin. Avoid artificial dyes and fragrances. These dogs should have a good scrub down once every 4–6 weeks.

They will need routine care like teeth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning, too. You might have to wipe around their eyes as needed since they can develop runny discharge, leading to infection.

Health and Conditions 🏥

When you bring your Shih Apso home, it’s essential to already have a vet picked out. They will need to go in for a routine checkup and their second round of shots shortly after coming home. They will have quite a few vet visits in their first year of life—with annual checkups and boosters after that.

The Shih Apso can take on genetic health conditions from either parent breed, making them more prone to specific ailments. Keeping up with routine vet care will help you stay ahead of any developing issues.

Here are some possibilities of health concerns when you buy this cross-breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Eye problems
Serious Conditions
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Lissencephaly
  • Heart disease

Male vs Female

When it comes to differences between males and females, there are a few things to note. Shih Apsos have similar body structures, but males are usually larger and more stout than their female counterparts.

Since they can take on so many personality traits, this arena can vary quite a bit. However, females tend to be slightly headstrong and spunky, while males are more laidback and playful. Either gender can have yappy tendencies, but females tend to be more high-strung.

At sexual maturity, males might start marking their territory. They might mark furniture, objects, laundry, and outdoor objects at this time. To reduce the likelihood, you can neuter them around the age of 6 months.

Each dog will have its own personality, so make sure to choose a puppy based on your connection.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Shih Apso

1. Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos Are Both Brachycephalic Breeds

Brachycephalic breeds have short snouts and condensed skulls, giving them the cute pug-nosed look that you love. With both parents carrying this trait, your pup will have it—guaranteed.

2. Shih Apsos Always Have Long Hair

Both parents sport long, flowing coats that can grow floor length. They need regular trims to keep their coats mat-free.

3. Both Parent Breeds Come From Tibet

It’s a common misconception that Shih Tzus come from mainland China, but both breeds actually originate from Tibet Autonomous Region.

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Shih Apsos are perfect dogs for anyone looking for a companion. The only real downfalls to consider are that they require grooming upkeep, they may bark a lot, and they can be bossy with other dogs or small kids.

Otherwise, this breed is entirely loyal, fun-loving, and cute as a button. If you’re sold on this breed, remember to buy from reputable breeders to avoid backyard breeder or puppy mill situations. Also, you have a pretty good shot at finding one at a shelter or rescue. Happy searching!

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Featured Image Credit: Grace Stensland, Shutterstock

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