Consider searching breed rescues or animal shelters for Shihpoo puppies instead of buying from a breeder. Petfinder.com is a good source for searching adoptable dogs and allows potential adopters to search by breed, age and location.
Although Shihpoos are marketed as a designer breed, they are crosses between Shih-Tzus and Poodles. Their popularity has caused enough demand that disreputable breeders are producing them for profit. Puppies from these breeders are more likely to have health and temperament problems, and their parents are often kept in inhumane conditions.
Avoid buying puppies sight-unseen over the Internet or purchasing them from a pet store. Instead, meet the breeder, and visit the facilities where the puppies are raised. Make sure the parents are treated kindly. Be wary of any breeders who make unrealistic promises or claim that health testing is unnecessary. While crossbred dogs may have a smaller chance of inheriting genetic health problems, they still can.
Poodle mixes, including the Shihpoo, are often marketed as hypoallergenic. Buyers who are looking for puppies for this reason should take extra care to spend time around the puppy itself. Mixed-breed dogs can inherit the coat of either parent, so there is no guarantee a Shihpoo is going to have a poodle coat.
Look for a breeder who seems to care what kind of home you can provide for the puppy. Good breeders ask a lot of questions and may request references or other proof that new owners can care for the puppy properly.