Choosing the perfect dog breed can be a tough decision, especially when faced with adorable options like the Shih Poo and Cavapoo. Both breeds are popular among dog lovers for their charming looks and lovable personalities. As an experienced dog parent and part of the PawsAndTheCityNYC team, I understand the importance of finding a dog that fits well with your lifestyle.

This article will help you compare Shih Poo and Cavapoo, focusing on their size, temperament, exercise needs, and more. By the end, you’ll have a clearer idea of which breed might be the right fit for you and your family.

Shih Poo vs Cavapoo: Which Is Right For You?

The main difference between Shih Poo and Cavapoo lies in their parent breeds, size, and trainability. Shih Poo, a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle, tends to be smaller and may exhibit a more independent streak, requiring a bit more patience during training. In contrast, the Cavapoo, a mix of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle, can be slightly larger and is often more eager to please, making training easier.

FeatureShih PooCavapooWho Should Choose Which
OriginSoft, curly, or wavyA cross between Shih Tzu and Poodle
SizeSmall (8-18 lbs)Small to medium (9-25 lbs)Shih Poo: Those preferring a consistently smaller dog; Cavapoo: Those okay with a slightly larger range
CoatSoft, curly, or wavyBoth breeds have a similar lifespan, good for a long-term commitmentBoth breeds are suitable for those looking for hypoallergenic dogs with low shedding
ColorsVariety of colorsVariety of colorsBoth breeds offer a wide range of coat colors
Grooming NeedsHighHighBoth breeds require regular grooming; ideal for those willing to invest time in coat care
TemperamentFriendly, affectionate, playfulFriendly, affectionate, playfulBoth breeds are great for families, singles, and seniors due to their adaptable nature
Exercise NeedsModerateModerateSuitable for those who can provide regular daily walks and playtime
TrainabilityIntelligent but can be stubbornIntelligent and eager to pleaseShih Poo: Those with patience for training; Cavapoo: Those looking for a slightly easier-to-train breed
Health IssuesMay inherit Shih Tzu and Poodle issuesMay inherit Cavalier and Poodle issuesPotential owners should be aware of breed-specific health concerns for both
Lifespan10-15 years10-15 yearsBoth breeds have a similar lifespan, good for long-term commitment
Living ConditionsAdaptable to apartment livingAdaptable to apartment livingBoth breeds are suitable for apartment dwellers and those with smaller living spaces
CostModerate to high (initial and maintenance)Moderate to high (initial and maintenance)Suitable for those prepared for the financial commitment of owning a designer breed
SuitabilityGreat for families, singles, seniorsGreat for families, singles, seniorsBoth breeds are versatile, but specific temperament nuances may sway preference

Both breeds are friendly, affectionate, and well-suited for families, singles, and seniors, but choosing between a Shih Poo and a Cavapoo ultimately depends on your preference for size and ease of training.

Shih Poo Breed Overview

Shih poo
Image: Envato Elements

Origins and History

The Shih Poo is a designer dog breed that originated from crossing a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. This hybrid breed gained popularity in the late 20th century as part of the trend toward creating companion dogs with desirable traits from both parent breeds. The aim was to combine the Shih Tzu’s charming and affectionate nature with the Poodle’s intelligence and hypoallergenic coat.

Physical Characteristics

Shih Poos are small dogs, typically weighing between 8 to 18 pounds and standing about 8 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder. They have a variety of coat types, ranging from curly to wavy, and their fur is often soft and fluffy. Coat colors can vary widely, including black, white, brown, gray, apricot, and combinations of these. Their eyes are expressive and round, and they often inherit the Shih Tzu’s distinctive pushed-in face.

Personality and Temperament

Shih Poos are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They thrive on human companionship and are typically very loyal to their families. These dogs are playful and enjoy interactive activities, making them great companions for children and adults alike. While they are intelligent and can learn quickly, they may also inherit some stubbornness from their Shih Tzu parent, requiring consistent and patient training.

Shih Poos are generally good-natured and get along well with other pets, making them an excellent addition to a multi-pet household. They are adaptable and can live comfortably in both apartments and houses, as long as they receive sufficient attention and exercise.

Cavapoo Breed Overview

Portrait of a cute Cavapoo sitting on green clay looking up

Origins and History

The Cavapoo, also known as the Cavoodle, is a designer dog breed resulting from a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle. This breed originated in Australia in the late 1990s, aiming to create a small, affectionate companion dog that combines the gentle nature of the Cavalier with the Poodle’s intelligence and low-shedding coat. Cavapoos quickly gained popularity due to their friendly demeanor and suitability for families and individuals alike.

Physical Characteristics

Cavapoos are small to medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 9 to 25 pounds and standing about 9 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder. They have a soft, curly, or wavy coat that can come in a variety of colors, including cream, fawn, gold, chestnut, and combinations of these.

Their fur is often described as hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for people with allergies. Cavapoos have a sweet, expressive face with large, round eyes and a well-proportioned body that reflects the elegance of both parent breeds.

Personality and Temperament

Cavapoos are known for their friendly, affectionate, and playful nature. They are highly social dogs that thrive on human interaction and enjoy being part of family activities. Their temperament is gentle and patient, making them excellent companions for children and seniors.

Cavapoos are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement and enjoy learning new tricks and commands.

This breed is also known for its adaptability and can comfortably live in various environments, from apartments to houses with yards. Cavapoos are generally good with other pets and enjoy playtime with other dogs, making them a great addition to multi-pet households.

Who Should Consider a Shih Poo?

1. Ideal for Smaller Living Spaces

Shih Poos are typically smaller, making them an excellent choice for those living in apartments or smaller homes. They do well in confined spaces as long as they get regular exercise and attention.

2. Experienced Owners

If you have some experience with dog training or are willing to invest the time and patience, a Shih Poo can be a great companion. Their occasional stubbornness requires consistent and gentle training methods.

3. Low to Moderate Activity Levels

Shih Poos are relatively low-energy dogs compared to some other breeds. They enjoy playtime and short walks but are also content with lounging around the house. This makes them suitable for individuals or families who prefer moderate activity levels.

4. Affectionate Companionship

Shih Poos are incredibly affectionate and loyal. They thrive on human interaction and are happiest when they are with their family. If you are looking for a dog that will be a close companion and enjoy cuddling, a Shih Poo might be the right choice.

5. Allergy Considerations

Their Poodle heritage means that Shih Poos tend to have hypoallergenic coats. This can make them a good option for people with mild allergies, though it’s always best to spend time with the breed before making a decision.

Who Should Consider a Cavapoo?

1. Family-Friendly

Cavapoos are known for their gentle and patient nature, making them excellent family pets. They get along well with children and other pets, making them a great choice for households with multiple family members and animals.

2. First-Time Dog Owners

Their eagerness to please and relatively easy trainability make Cavapoos a good option for first-time dog owners. They respond well to positive reinforcement and enjoy learning new commands and tricks.

3. Active Lifestyles

While Cavapoos are adaptable to different living environments, they do have moderate energy levels and enjoy regular exercise. They are perfect for individuals or families who enjoy outdoor activities and can provide ample playtime and walks.

4. Companion for All Ages

Cavapoos are versatile and can adapt to various family structures. They are gentle enough for seniors and playful enough for children, making them a great all-around pet for any age group.

5. Hypoallergenic Considerations

Like Shih Poos, Cavapoos often have hypoallergenic coats, thanks to their Poodle parentage. This can be beneficial for people with allergies, though it’s important to confirm individual compatibility.

Making the Decision

1. Size Preference

If you prefer a smaller dog that is easy to carry and manage, the Shih Poo might be a better fit. If you don’t mind a slightly larger dog and appreciate a bit more sturdiness, the Cavapoo is an excellent choice.

2. Training Needs

Consider your patience and experience with training. Shih Poos may require a bit more persistence, while Cavapoos are typically easier to train.

3. Family Dynamics

Think about your family structure and lifestyle. Cavapoos are generally more family-oriented and better suited for households with children, while Shih Poos can be great for singles, couples, or smaller families.

4. Exercise Routine

Reflect on your activity levels. If you enjoy regular walks and playtime, a Cavapoo will be a wonderful companion. If you prefer a more relaxed routine, a Shih Poo might be more suitable.

Both Shih Poo and Cavapoo are wonderful breeds that can bring joy and companionship into your life. By considering your living situation, experience level, family dynamics, and activity preferences, you can choose the breed that aligns best with your lifestyle and enjoy the unique traits each has to offer.