How Long Does a Shih Poo Live?

By Britt Kascjak

A Shih-Poo is a designer mixed breed dog, combining a Shih Tzu and a Toy Poodle. Also known as a Shoodle, this hypoallergenic mix has been gaining popularity. The average Shih-Poo will live for approximately 13 to 16 years. But, there are some key health factors to consider that can influence that number.

How Long Will My Shih-Poo Live?

The Shih-Poo is a toy breed. You’ll be happy to know that this generally means a longer lifespan.

Most Shih-Poos will live to be approximately 13 to 16 years old. But, this can change based on environmental conditions or due to health conditions.

Health Conditions Common to Shih-Poos

When mixing 2 breeds together, there is the potential for health conditions from either breed. But, in some cases, introducing 2 breeds, it’s enough to cancel these problems out entirely.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure if your new Shih-Poo puppy is in the clear.

This is why it is recommended to do any testing that is commonly carried out for either breed. This will help to rule out problems.

Some of the common health conditions that you may experience with a Shih-Poo include:

Eye Problems

Both Shih Tzus and Toy Poodles have a history of eye disorders and complications. This includes:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Distichiasis (hair growth inside the eyelid)
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Retinal detachment
  • Improperly closing eyelids (causing exposure and inflammation)
  • Corneal dryness

Some of these conditions can be treated or managed effectively. But, others are life-changing and can lead to blindness.

Bone and Joint Problems

Both the Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle have a high incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia and patellar luxation.

Hip and elbow dysplasia occur when the joint doesn’t form properly. This leads to lameness and significant pain.

In some cases, surgery is an option, but not all.

Patellar luxation is a condition that occurs when the kneecap slips out of place. While the dog can often pop it back in place again, it can lead to early arthritis.

In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to prevent the kneecap from popping out of place in the future.


Toy poodles are also prone to developing diabetes. The best way to prevent diabetes is to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Pay careful attention to the foods that your dog is eating, any treats, and his level of exercise.

Watch for signs of diabetes such as increased thirst and weight loss. If your dog does develop the disease, it can be managed without reducing your dog’s life expectancy.

Heart Disease

The leading cause of death among most older Toy Poodles is heart failure. This is due to a weakening of the heart that occurs as they age.

The weakening can be made worse by conditions like a heart murmur or heart valve disease.

Toy Poodles are also prone to dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a condition where the heart becomes so enlarged that it is unable to perform properly.

Yearly veterinary exams will help you identify many of these problems early. That will give your dog the best chance of survival.

Idiopathic Epilepsy

Toy Poodles are at high-risk for this inherited seizure disorder. The term ‘idiopathic’ means that the exact cause is unknown.

This means that there are no identifiable brain abnormalities or clear explanations.

For dogs with idiopathic epilepsy, the treatment is often seizure management. The good news is that approximately 60-70% of dogs can live happy lives with this approach.

But, many dogs experience a shortened lifespan due to more prolonged seizures and their impact on the body.

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Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.