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Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
When the American Eskimo purebred and the Shih Tzu purebred are bred together the result is the Shih-Mo a small to medium mixed or cross breed. He has a life span of 10 to 13 years and is very devoted to his owner, becoming very attached and he is very happy.

The Shih-Mo is a devoted and happy dog who would be great in a family and also be a great companion to a couple or single owner. He is easy to train and while he needs some grooming he is not overly high maintenance. You do need to watch for his over possessiveness though.

Here is the Shih-Mo at a Glance
Average height 12 to 18 inches
Average weight 15 to 25 pounds
Coat type Long, straight, soft
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate to high
Shedding Moderate to frequent
Brushing Daily
Touchiness Somewhat sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Moderate
Barking Occasional
Tolerance to Heat Low to good depending on coat
Tolerance to Cold Good to excellent depending on coat
Good Family Pet? Excellent
Good with Children? Very good to excellent
Good with other Dogs? Very good to excellent
Good with other Pets? Very good
A roamer or Wanderer? Average
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent due to size
Good Pet for new Owner? Very good
Trainability Easy
Exercise Needs Fairly active
Tendency to get Fat Fairly high
Major Health Concerns Eye Problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Patellar Luxation, Kidney and bladder problems, Liver problems, Umbilical hernia
Other Health Concerns Hip Dysplasia, Reverse sneezing, snuffles, allergies, dental problems, ear infections,
Life Span 10 to 13 years
Average new Puppy Price $200 to $500
Average Annual Medical Expense $460 to $560
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $720 to $820

Where does the Shih-Mo come from?

The Shih-Mo as a mixed dog is also known as a designer dog, a recent trend that has seen a lot of deliberately bred mixed dogs. Most do not have origins known though the trend really took off in the last 10 to 20 years. As a first generation bred dog the Shih-Mo could have any traits from either parent, he could be more like the Shih-tzu or the American Eskimo and these genetics cannot be controlled or predicted. Even the puppies from the same litter could be quite different in looks and personality. With no origins then we can take a quick look at the parents to have a better idea of what may go into him.

The Shih-Tzu

The Shih-Tzu comes from either Tibet or China and is one of the oldest breeds still around. They were treasured as companion dogs and were referred to as little lion dogs. They were docile, intelligent and happy. The first breeding pair to leave China and come to England happened in 1928. In 1969 he was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

The Shih-Tzu today is still a great companion dog. He wants to please you and be with you, he is very affectionate and loves to receive it too. He is happiest when in your lap and is a happy little dog when he has lots of attention. He can be lively and likes to play and is friendly too.

The American Eskimo Dog

This dog is from the family of dogs called Spitz who are Nordic dogs. More specific origins are unknown for the American Eskimo Dog. Basically Spitz like dogs were common in German communities in America. In the 19th century the American Eskimo Dog was used as an entertainer in circuses performing tricks. At the time he was called the American Spitz but the name was changes to American Eskimo Dog in 1917 though we do not really know why!

Today the dog is admired not just for his looks but also for his personality. He is smart, full of energy, strong willed and very happy. He loves activity and needs plenty of vigorous exercise to avoid boredom and destructive behavior. He needs a strong pack leader but if he has it trains well and loves to it. You need to really keep him bus though so he is best in a super active family or with a very active owner. He does not do well being left alone as he suffer from separation anxiety. He is not a dog you can trust with smaller pets even with training and socialization as he tends to see them as prey and chase them.


The Shih-Mo is a mix of an energetic dog who loves to run but then can be quite calm. He is eager to please and protective and can be territorial of his family. He bonds very closely with his owner to the point where he gets very attached and does not like to be left alone for too long. He can even get a little aggressive about his owner’s attention. He is intelligent and friendly though and can be a great family pet. He is gentle and loyal but has a love of shredding paper so watch out!

What does the Shih-Mo look like

He is a small to medium dog weighing 15 to 25 pounds and standing 12 to 18 inches tall. He has long legs and muzzle with a curve tailed. His ears are like the Shih Tzu and his coat can be like either parents. It can be long, straight and soft. Common colors are white, cream, black and brown.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Shih-Mo need to be?

This dog is a fairly active one for a small to medium sized dog. At this size he is good for apartment living and some of his indoor play can go towards his activity needs. He will enjoy trips to a dog park, and should given two good walks a day. He can live without a yard though it is a bonus place to let him play. He should have a chance at some mental stimulation too.

Does he train quickly?

The Shih-Mo is an intelligent, eager to please and obedient dog. He tends to be quick to learn so should need less repetition than some dogs. Use positive training methods such as using praise, treats and rewards to encourage and motivate. Still use a firm tone to establish yourself as the dominant one and be consistent. Early training and socialization is very important, he will be a better version of himself as a result.

Living with a Shih-Mo

How much grooming is needed?

He will need a moderate amount of grooming and can be moderate shedding also so some clean up after them will be needed. His long coat should be brushed daily to remove loose hair and keep up with the tangles that can knot in it. He may also need regular trimming of that long coat at a professional groomers. It is also where you could have his toe nails clipped when they get too long if it is not something you know anything about. Bath time should not happen too often as it could dry out his skin so just do it when he needs it using a dog shampoo. If needed in between baths you could use a dry shampoo. His ears should be cleaned and checked for infection once a week and his teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week.

What is he like with children and other animals?

The Shih-Mo can be a great dog with children and he is also good with other dogs and other pets. Make sure you teach children how to play with and touch dogs in a safe way.

General information

He is a very good watchdog as he is very alert and will bark to alert you if there is a stranger approaching or an intruder trying to get in. As he is protective he may even act to guard you if you are threatened. He does have a high pitched bark and he is an occasional barker. When it comes to food he should be given ¾ to 1 1/2 cups of high quality dry dog food a day, split into two meals.

Health Concerns

Shih-Mo like any dog could inherit health issues from their parents. This could mean problems with health issues such as Eye Problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Patellar Luxation, Kidney and bladder problems, Liver problems, Umbilical hernia, Hip Dysplasia, Reverse sneezing, snuffles, allergies, dental problems and ear infections. Before you buy a puppy you should ask to see health clearances for the parents to help avoid problems. You should also try visiting the puppy at the breeders to see the conditions they are kept in.

Costs involved in owning a Shih-Mo

A Shih-Mo puppy could cost between $200 to $500. Other costs for things like micro chipping, blood tests, shots, deworming, neutering, crate, collar and leash and carrier come to between $455 to $500. Medical basics like check ups, vaccinations, flea prevention and pet insurance come to between $460 to $560 a year. Other needs like food, grooming, treats, toys, license and training come to between $720 to $820 a year.


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Featured Image Credit: Left: Shih Tzu, Angel LeBlanc, Shutterstock | Right: American Eskimo, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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