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Everything You Need to Know About the Adorable Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a toy dog ​​breed that originated in Tibet and was bred from the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. Shih Tzus are known for their short snouts and large round eyes, as well as their ever-growing coats, floppy ears, and short and stiff posture.

Despite being small in stature, they are known for their most fun and playful personalities and calm and friendly natures.

They are able to adapt well to different situations. Due to their fiercely independent nature, they are not considered the most obedient breed.

Breed Overview

  • GROUP: Toy
  • HEIGHT: 8 to 11 inches
  • WEIGHT: 9 to 16 pounds
  • COAT: Long double coat
  • COAT COLOR: Found in nearly any color, most commonly in black, white, blue, gold, liver, or combinations
  • LIFE SPAN: 10 to 16 years
  • ORIGIN: Tibet

Owning a Shih Tzu: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Owning a Shih Tzu: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability: 5 PointsExercise Needs: 2 PointsSocial Needs: 5 Points
Affectionate: 5 PointsGrooming: 5 PointsStranger Friendly: 3 Points
Apartment Friendly: 5 PointsHealth Issues: 3 PointsTerritorial: 4 Points
Barking Tendencies: 5 PointsIntelligence: 5 PointsTrainability: 3 Points
Cat Friendly: 5 PointsEnergy Level: 2 PointsWatchdog Instincts: 4 Points
Dog Friendly: 5 PointsShedding Level: 1 PointChild Friendly: 2 Points
Breed Characteristics


One theory is that the Shih Tzu was derived from a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. Dogs were a favorite of Chinese royalty and so valuable that, for years, the Chinese refused to sell, trade, or give anything away.

The first dogs of the breed were imported to Europe in the 1930s and were classified as “Apsos” by the Kennel Club ( ). The first European standard for the breed was written in 1935 by the Shih Tzu Club in England, and the dogs were again classified as Shih Tzu. The breed spread throughout Europe and was brought to the United States after World War II when the U.S. Returning members of the military brought dogs back from Europe and Asia in the mid-1950s.

The Shih Tzu was recognized in the Toy Group by the American Kennel Club in 1969. There are a total of fourteen iterations of the Shih Tzu in the breed’s gene pool today. In 1934, the Shih Tzu Club of England was founded and the breed was officially recognized by the Kennel Club (UK) on 7 May 1940. When she became eligible for Challenge Certificates, none were awarded until 1949.

Now, this caste is recognized by all. One of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. It is also recognized by the Federation Cynologic International for international competition in the Companion and Toy Dog Group, Division 5, Tibetan breeds.

In the United States, the Shih Tzu ranked as the 15th most popular breed in 2013, a slight drop in popularity from 2012 when it ranked 11th. Read More On


According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), adult Shih Tzus can grow to a height of 9 to 10.5 inches and weigh between nine and 16 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 16 years.

Shih Tzu coats can vary widely, with most being white, grey, black, brown, golden, or iridescent.

Shih Tzu Temperament: What to Expect from Your Pet (Temperament and Personality)

Whatever you do, the Shih Tzu is ready to be with you. He is ready for anything and is not demanding. He is also not high class and can make an excellent companion for seniors. If you are doing something mundane like cleaning the refrigerator, he will sit and watch in solidarity. you are watching TV, it will too.

If you’re ready to play, so is the Shih Tzu. you are tired, he will take a snooze with you. He doesn’t care what you do as long as he does it with you. With toys left to play with, he can entertain himself and doesn’t mind if you work all day as long as you come home to him and give him some love.

Shih Tzus love dogs and children. They enjoy play dates and can make great therapy dogs. Some like cats and some don’t – it seems to be purely a personal preference rather than a breed trait.


playful and occasionally mischievous. He will steal your shoes. He wants you to chase him after he steals. On the other hand, if he really wants them, he can just bury them. He is not above taking toys from other dogs.

Toy breeds can easily become picky eaters, but that problem is often unintentionally created by people. Don’t let your Shih Tzu get away with it. Give him time to adapt to what he’s about to eat, as opposed to lunging for your cheesecake.

The Shih Tzu can be stubborn, but that’s hardly a breed trait. He may not prioritize training as much as you do, and it may require some patience and extra time on your part to fully housebreak him.

He can be great at agility, so he can definitely learn to follow orders. This feisty little clown is confident and a bit too self-important, but that’s to be expected given his royal background.

Some Shih Tzus can chew a lot, nip a little too often, jump on people, and lick enough to cause fur loss. The Shih Tzu feels big and in charge, and may growl to defend his food and toys if not taught to play and share nicely.

Any dog, no matter how sweet or small, can develop disgusting levels of barking, chewing, and other unwanted behaviors if they are bored, untrained, or unsupervised. Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. He is able to absorb everything you can teach him.

Shih Tzu Health

A number of health problems, some of which are hereditary, have been found in individual Shih Tzus, and are listed below. The breed’s popularity has generally allowed extremely poor breeding, leading to common and lifelong diseases, often from an early age.

Heart Disease:

Shih Tzus are susceptible to several types of heart disease. The condition can have a poor prognosis depending on when it is diagnosed and the stage of the disease when it is discovered.


The skull malformation brachycephaly was increased by breeding selection due to the ideal of beauty related to facial shape. This short nose causes skin sensitivity issues like dermatitis, bumps, and rashes.

Eye issues:

Eye problems are very common for Shih Tzus at any age, and even more so once they get older. Most vets will recommend eye drops to help with any eye irritation. Some dogs have allergies that cause excessive discharge around the eyes. Older Shih Tzus are known to develop cataracts that can be corrected with surgery. If left untreated, a dog can become blind in the eye that has a cataract. The distinctively large eyes are easily scratched which can cause ulcers.

The dog usually has the injured eye closed or half closed and may have excessive tears. The most common problem with eye conditions in Shih Tzus is the formation of epiphora, which is caused by the hairs on the eyelids scratching the conjunctiva and cornea. However, this can be mediated through the application of eye drops prescribed by a certified veterinarian.

Hair issues:

Shih Tzus do not have fur and have hair that can grow long. Long hair is required as a show coat and usually requires brushing or grooming once a day. Longer hair than a puppy cut often causes problems, including hair covering the dog’s eyes, preventing good visual acuity.

Ear issues:

A very common problem for Shih Tzus is developing ear infections, as they have long coats and hair growing in their ears. If the ears are not plucked and cleaned frequently, ear infections will reoccur and need to be treated with a veterinarian-prescribed ear cleaner and possibly medication. An ear infection is characterized by a smell coming from the ears, as well as frequent shaking of the head and itching in the ears.

Skin sensitivities:

Shih Tzu’s skin is particularly sensitive and prone to allergies. Ideally, they should be bathed every two to six months to maintain cleanliness and prevent skin irritation. They are also prone to stomach problems, and most have a delicate appetite.

Shih Tzu Care

Shih Tzus don’t care where they live as long as they are with you. They are very adaptable dogs that can be comfortable in a small city apartment or a large suburban or country home. They are definitely a housedog and should not be kenneled outside, although they do enjoy backyard play.

The Shih Tzu is content with a short daily walk. They are not highly active dogs; They are content to sit on your lap, wander around the house, play with their toys, or run to the door to greet visitors.

Like other short-faced breeds, the Shih Tzu is sensitive to heat. They should stay in an air-conditioned room or a room with a fan on hot days so that they do not suffer from heat exhaustion.

No, caste cannot fly; But owners usually report that their Shih Tzu feels like they can. It is not unusual for a Shih Tzu to fearlessly jump off a couch or chair. While they may not seem tall to you, these heights are tall for a small Shih Tzu. And, unfortunately, these jumps often end in injury.

Shih Tzu Puppy Care 101

Shih Tzu puppies need proper care to grow healthy and happy. Here are some basic tips:

Feeding: Give high-quality puppy food, 2-3 meals a day, and adjust according to growth.
Potty Training: Start early and be consistent, use positive reinforcement.
Grooming: Brush regularly to prevent matting, trim nails, and clean ears, and eyes.
Exercise: Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
Health check-ups: Regular vet visits, vaccinations, and dental care.
Socialization: Introduce to different people, places, and experiences.
Training: Start basic obedience and potty training, and be patient and positive.

Remember, every dog is unique and the needs may vary. Consult with a veterinarian for a personalized care plan

Shih Tzu Breed

The breed is front-heavy and crashes forward, which can cause head injuries or even concussions. Be very careful when carrying your Shih Tzu. Hold them securely and don’t let them slip out of your hands or off the furniture.

Although they are naturally gentle and friendly, Shih Tzus require early socialization and training. Like any dog, they can become timid if they are not properly socialized when young. Early socialization helps ensure that your Shih Tzu puppy becomes a well-rounded dog.

Shih Tzus are often considered difficult to housebreak. The most important thing is to avoid giving your puppy opportunities to have accidents inside. You don’t want them to get used to using the carpet. Some Shih Tzu owners teach their dogs to use doggy litter boxes so they don’t have to carry them in bad weather or run home to take them out.


Shih Tzu puppies should be carefully monitored indoors until they have been eliminated indoors for at least four to eight weeks. Crate training is helpful for house training and provides a quiet place for your dog to relax. A crate is also useful when you board or travel with your Shih Tzu.


The Shih Tzu has a moderate energy level and needs regular exercise. Fun activities like daily walks and games can help keep your Shih Tzu mentally and physically stimulated. They adapt very well to apartment living as long as you give them enough time for active play. However, Shih Tzus will not perform well in excessively hot environments or weather, due to their flat faces and tendency toward heat exhaustion.


The Shih Tzu’s coat grows continuously with very minimal shedding, which is why most people consider them a hypoallergenic dog breed. Loose hair is more likely to be retained in the coat rather than in the air – however, be aware that allergens remain in dander and saliva, so some will still be present in the dog’s environment. If you are sensitive, it is wise to spend time with a Shih Tzu to see if this breed triggers your allergies before adopting.

Many owners prefer to keep their dog’s hair cropped short, making it look somewhat curly and fluffy. Others prefer to keep the coat long and luxurious. Because of their coat type, regular grooming is an absolute necessity for the Shih Tzu. They should be brushed once or twice a week (up to once daily if the coat is kept long) and haircuts may be necessary every few weeks. When their facial hair isn’t trimmed, it can irritate their eyes—which is why you might see some Shih Tzus adorned with topknots or bows.

A dog’s nails should be trimmed about once a month, and you’ll need to help your dog with oral hygiene by brushing his teeth regularly.


Proper training and socialization are important to keeping your Shih Tzu happy and well-adjusted. Don’t skip these practices just because the Shih Tzu is a small dog. This breed is relatively smart but also has a bit of a stubborn streak.

Shih Tzus can be difficult to housebreak, so you’ll need to be diligent in training your dog from an early age. They can also be trained to use the litter box indoors – however, be aware that they tend to eat their own feces, so you will need to keep your dog’s area clean.

This breed gets along well in a multi-pet household with other friendly dogs and cats, especially if they are raised together. Shih Tzus are great with children as long as the child is old enough to handle the dog gently and respectfully. As a small dog, the Shih Tzu can easily be injured by rough play.

Shih Tzu Living With

The Shih Tzu is very easy to keep and can quickly become obese if given too many treats. They don’t need or want a mile hike every day, but they do enjoy walking which should keep them fit. The Shih Tzu competes with some success in obedience and agility. Be careful exercising the Shih Tzu in hot, humid weather with a short muzzle, the breed is prone to heat stroke.

Hair is a four-letter word when it comes to the Shih Tzu. Most pet owners resort to a short year-round body clip, which looks great and is very easy to care for. If you want to keep a long-flowing coat, you should be prepared for some serious grooming time. These dogs require weekly bathing along with oiling the coat to help with matting down and daily grooming to prevent foreign objects from getting caught in the coat. Dogs with proper coat texture do not shed as much as dogs with soft coats.

Shih Tzu requires a great deal of personal attention every day. They thrive on human company and can be easily spoiled. They enjoy training and learning tricks, making them the center of attention. Shih Tzu should be socialized early with children, but they enjoy people of all ages. Don’t trust your Shih Tzu to guard the house; He would probably welcome the thief with open paws.

Adopt or Buy a Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu – Top 10 Facts

Other Dog Breed And Further Research

Shih Tzu Dog Breed FAQs

Do Shih Tzus Shed?

Yes, Shih Tzu dogs do shed, but not as much as other breeds. Longhaired Shih Tzus are also minimal shedders. However, Shih Tzu puppies go through a coat change around 1 year of age and will shed a lot during this period, which usually lasts about 3 weeks.

How much is the Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzu

Your puppy can cost as little as $250 if you get it from Craigslist – or around $1,200 if you get it from a registered breeder. Dogs with exceptional pedigrees can run as high as $3,000. Rescues charge about $350 for Shih Tzu puppies.

How Long Do Shih Tzus Live?

The lifespan of Shih Tzu dogs ranges from 10 to 16 years, with an average age of 13 years. Genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, activity level, and preventative care can all affect a dog’s longevity.

How much does a Shih Tzu weigh?

These dogs usually weigh between 9 and 16 pounds. Some breeders will breed “teacup” Shih Tzus that are underweight, but these dogs have health issues and can be more difficult to care for.

Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic?

Shih Tzu dogs are considered a hypoallergenic dog breed because they shed less than other breeds and do not produce as much pet dander. However, no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, and dog owners with severe allergies should talk to their vet before bringing home a new dog.

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