The Shih Apso: A Complete Guide

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The Shih Apso is a designer hybrid dog breed that is a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu.

This small dog possesses many of the combined characteristics of his parents, which makes him an ideal companion and lapdog.

The Shih Apso generally stands between 9 and 12 inches and weighs 12 to 18 pounds. Females are most often smaller than males.

The coat of the Shih Apso varies. It is typically long and either wavy or smooth.

This little dog thrives on being a companion pet. He is ideal for elderly owners who want a small dog that enjoys being held and showered with plenty of love and affection.

Shih Apso Dog Puppies – Before You Buy…

A white Shih Apso with a jumper on
The Shih Apso needs regular human interaction.

What Price are Shih Apso Puppies?

The price of Shih Apso puppies is approximately $150 to $700.

How to Find Reputable Shih Apso Breeders?

Good breeders do not breed to make money. They don’t sell their dogs to anyone interested and are ready to pay in cash.

They do not sell their puppies to pet shops, brokers, or middlemen for resale.

Breeders who breed with concern pay thousands of dollars just to get a female pregnant. This does not take into account the vet visits and puppy care and feeding.

Reputable breeders keep their dogs inside their home as members of the family.

Their dogs are happy and healthy. They’re excited to meet new people and do not shy away from visitors.

They willingly show you where the dogs spend most of their time, and the place should be clean, safe, and well-maintained.

They have a strong relationship with a local veterinarian. They also explain the puppy’s medical history and what other vaccinations your new puppy will need.

Good breeders explain in detail the potential genetic problems inherent in the Shih Apso.

They offer guidance when it comes to caring and training your puppy and are always available for assistance after you take your puppy home.

They are also willing to provide references from other families who have purchased puppies from them. Good breeders feed their dogs high quality, premium brand pet food.

They don’t always have puppies available. As a result, they usually have a long waiting list for their puppies.

Reputable breeders also provide you with a written agreement, contract, and health guarantee.

If you are no longer able to care for the dog for any given reason, the breeder is also willing to take the dog back.

3 Little-Known Facts About Shih Apso Puppies

  1. The Shih Apso is also known as Shih-Apso, Shihapso, Lhasatzu, Lhasa-Tzu, and Lhasa Tzu.
  2. The Shih-Tzu parent dog comes from either Tibet or China and is one of the oldest breeds still around.

They were highly regarded as companion dogs and were referred to as little lion dogs.

  1. The Lhasa Apso parent dog is considered a sacred dog in Tibet. His name comes from Lhasa, which is a holy city there.

Physical Traits of the Shih Apso

A small Shih Apso enjoying a scratch
The Shih Apso has a stubborn, independent streak.

The Shih Apso is a small dog that weighs 12 to 18 pounds and measures 9 to 12 inches tall.

He has a shorter nose compared to his Lhasa Apso parent, but his nose is longer than the Shih Tzu’s. He can have a compressed face with long hair around it, including a mustache.

He has floppy ears and a short tail. His coat can be like either parents’ coats or a combination. It can be long and silky with a wave to it or it can have a rougher coat.

The most common coat colors are black, fawn, gray, tan, and white. He often has a smaller head on a slightly bigger body.

The Shih Apso’s coat will need regular brushing to keep it tangle-free, healthy, and clean.

With a long coat, he will need it trimmed regularly at a groomer’s. You can also have it trimmed shorter, which would need less brushing from you.

A bath once a month or as needed is good enough. Just make sure you use a veterinarian-approved dog shampoo.

His nails will need clipping, but this is something that takes the right tool and knowledge.

If you’re not that confident about doing it, have the groomer do it for you or ask them or your vet to show you how to do it.

The Shih Apso’s ears should also be checked for infection and wiped clean once a week. The teeth should be brushed at least three times a week to prevent plaque buildup and bad breath.

How Big is a Full-Grown Shih Apso?

The average height of the Shih Apso is 9 to 12 inches. They usually weigh 12 to 18 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Shih Apso?

The life expectancy of the Shih Apso is 12 to 15 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Shih Apso

The Shih Apso is a smart but sometimes stubborn dog who can also suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.

He is a loving and protective companion, too. But he loves to sit in your lap and get lots of attention.

He does have a jealous streak and can also be moody. He is energetic and eager to please and often can be quite bold.

The Shih Apso is friendly but wary and standoffish with strangers. He will follow wherever you go and invite you to spend time with him by catching your attention.

He does have some energy and can be lively. But being small, he does not have huge needs. His indoor play will go towards some of those, and then about 20 minutes a day of walks should be enough.

He will enjoy the occasional trip to the dog park, too. He can live in an apartment because of his size. A big yard, although a nice place to play and explore in, is not required.

He is intelligent and can learn, but he has a stubborn side and can be moderately difficult when it comes to training.

He might need more perseverance and patience than some dogs. It is important to stick with it and stay calm and positive.

Use rewards, treats, and praise to motivate him. Avoid scolding or becoming impatient.

Early training and socialization are important for all dogs. With it, he will be a much better and happier dog. If you need to use an obedience school or professional trainer, do so.

The Shih Apso does need early socialization and training, but he can be great with older children, other animals, and dogs.

You will still need to supervise younger kids because they tend to be clumsier. This can be a problem with smaller dogs.

The Shih Apso’s Diet

A Shih Apso laying on a bed
The Shih Apso is an animated companion for seniors.

The Shih Apso needs to be fed with premium quality kibble specially formulated for your Shih Apso. He may need a protein-rich diet with a 14% fat level to provide nutrients to his coat.

However, the Shih Apso can be prone to obesity, so check with your vet about the ideal blend.

Because he can inherit joint issues later in life, weight maintenance is important. Feed your Shi Apso 2 to 3 smaller meals each day versus free-feeding.

Avoid foods with fillers that may cause him to overeat to feel full.

How Much Exercise Does a Shih Apso Need?

The Shih Apso is a small and energetic dog that needs to burn off energy.

Because of his small size, a couple of short daily walks and some interactive playtime should be sufficient to meet his physical needs.

Visits to the dog park where he can go off-leash is a great way for him to socialize. This will also give him the mental stimulation that he needs.

Shih Apso Health and Conditions

The Shih Apso can have problems that his parent dogs can have. These include ear infections, eye problems, dental problems, snuffles, and reverse sneezing.

He can also be prone to skin, bladder, kidney, and liver problems. The Shih Apso can also suffer from patellar luxation, umbilical hernia, hip dysplasia, and allergies.

A way to prevent these health conditions is to buy a dog from a reputable breeder who can show you the health clearances of both the parent dogs.

Also, it helps to visit the puppy before buying to check the conditions he is kept in.

Supplements and Vitamins

Despite being a very small and lightweight dog, the Shih Apso is quite active and playful which is why it requires good nutritional input to stay healthy.

It is not uncommon for your pet’s regular diet to be unable to meet its daily nutritional requirements.

In this case, you should consider coupling the regular diet of your Shih Apso with useful supplements and vitamins so that it grows well.

Before exploring any supplements or vitamins, make sure you understand how a single careless choice could adversely affect the health of your dog.

It is strongly recommended to first discover what exactly your dog is allergic to so you can avoid any adverse reaction to it taking any supplement or vitamin.

Hypoallergenic supplements can be the solution in case your dog is allergic.

Provide your dog with healthy doses of Vitamin C and E which are essential for its bone and heart health, especially if your pet is old.

The Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil which is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids will help maintain a healthy and shiny coat of your Shih Apso.

Furthermore, the NuVet Plus Supplement is a natural supplement to strengthen the immune system of your dog and comes with the added bonus of being very delicious.

Also, consider probiotics to promote a healthy digestive tract.

Make sure you do not administer any supplements or vitamins to your pet without discussing them with your vet first.

This is essential because the vet will fully understand the nutritional requirements of your Shih Apso and recommend the right items to you.

Moreover, when it comes to the quantity to be given it also needs to be discussed with the vet, as every Shih Apso has its specific nutritional requirements depending upon its body, activity per day, and health.

Can it travel by car?

Thanks to it being a small little designer mix of a dog, the Shih Apso has relatively little trouble being out and about, on various modes of transportation.

As long as their masters are close, they can be seen on trains, on buses and, certainly, in cars.

However, that doesn’t mean this dog always travels easily, especially by car. The Shih Apso can be a little bit hard-headed and set in his or her ways, not always keen to try new ideas too readily.

Because of this, you’ll find that the best idea is to introduce your Shih Apso to your car very early on in life.

This establishes to this bright little dog that the car is as much a part of the daily routine as the park, the house, the garden, and the dinner bowl.

In this way, this dog travels completely free of any fuss or yapping. However, if you’re introducing the dog to a new car, or just have a nervous example of this breed as your pet, you might find your Shih Apso objects to trying to be ushered into the car and doesn’t want to go.

You have to get creative here sometimes, either by putting a favorite toy or treat on the seat to coax the dog into the car, or by laying his or her blanket over the back seat to it all smells and feels like home.

Of course, dog carrier boxes are another option, but this dog breed gets bored easily and might start barking or whining if cooped up in one for a long drive.

My Final Thoughts on the Shih ApsoThe Shih Apso is a mixed breed dog

This Shih Apso needs human interaction and wants nothing more than to touched and cuddled.

As a result, the Shih Apso bonds quickly. But he can become jealous of others that he feels are monopolizing your time.

He can suffer from separation anxiety if left on his own for long periods.

He does have a curious side.

He has a stubborn, independent streak that makes him a fun family pet and a wonderful, animated companion for seniors.

Because he can be aloof with strangers, he’s a great watchdog when needed.

But he isn’t considered yappy, so he’s a great fit for apartments.

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