European Shih Tzu – All Information You Need To Know

The European Shih Tzu is also a purebred acknowledged by the United Kingdom Kennel Club. These dogs qualify from the norm this breed requires. Since they are purebreds, they beg comparison with the American Shih Tzu. In contrast, the European differ slightly in physical appearance.

If you want to get the Shih Tzu breeds best, the purebreds are ideal for you.

Before you go out there and get a purebred Shih Tzu, you need to understand a bit more about this breed. Moreover, you need to know the standards so you can check if the dog you’re taking qualifies.

In this article, we’ll tackle all the essential information you need, so you won’t have to do all the searching.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

General info

It’s important to note that Shih Tzus are one of the oldest breeds around. As time passed, this breed came around in different sizes and appearances. Thus, there are many types of Shih Tzus up to this present day.

However, for the European Shih Tzu, there’s a certain standard that will help you see if your pet is a purebred or not.

In general, we can sum it up with the following details:


  • 9-16 lbs is the average weight of both male and female
  • not more than 10 and 1/12 inches is the average height of both male and female


  • European Shih Tzu has a round head, long neck, and large eyes.

What to expect

  • Needs 20 minutes to an hour of exercise per day
  • Has an average energy level
  • Has an average lifespan of more than ten years
  • Does not drool much
  • Doesn’t snore much
  • Barks Quite Loud
  • Does not dig much
  • Requires close attention and care
  • Requires high and constant grooming

Bred type

  • Lapdog


  • Long Fur Coat
  • Straight Coat
  • Color varies

Club Recognition

  • UKC Classification – Companion Dog

If you want an in-depth take on each aspect of this breed’s characteristics, take a look at the following.


European Shih Tzus are sturdy, lively, and alert toy dogs wrapped in a long flowing double coat.

The head of a European Shih Tzu is broad, round, and wide between eyes. It has a good beard and whiskers, with hair growing upwards on the muzzle, giving a chrysanthemum effect.

Its eyes are large, dark, round, and placed well apart but not that prominent. These dogs also have that warm expression.

The body is sturdy and well-coupled. Its chest is broad and deep, with firm shoulders that are back level.

The outer coat of a European Shih Tzu is dense and not curly. It has a moderate undercoat that isn’t woolly. The facial hair doesn’t affect the eyes to see,taking as well.

The shoulders are well-angulated, well laid-in, and well laid-back. It fits smoothly in the body as well.

The feet are firm, well-padded, and rounded. It is also well covered with hair.


European Shih Tzus have small sizes like their American counterparts. Thus, making them perfect lap and toy dogs. However, they have a wider stance.

Both male and female Shih Tzus have an average weight of 9 to 16 lbs. Both also have an average height of 10 inches tall.

Of course, some types of Shih Tzus are smaller than the others, like teacups and imperial. However, such classifications are prone to many more health issues due to having tiny organs.

Coat colors and quality

European Shih Tzus also come in a variety of colors and color combinations and styles.

With this dog, all colors are permissible. They can come with a white blaze on the forehead and a white tip to a tail desirable in part-colors. Their coats may come in the following:

  • Black & White
  • Brindle
  • Brindle & White
  • Gold & White
  • Gold Brindle
  • Gold Brindle & White
  • Gold With Black Mask
  • Grey & White
  • Solid Black
  • Solid Gold
  • Liver
  • Liver & White

Tails that have white tips and foreheads with white blaze are quite expensive. Shih Tzus that come is Solid Black is the rarest of all.


One theory states that Shih Tzu descended from a cross between the breeds Pekingese and Lhasa Apso in the 17th century.

Shih Tzus back then earned the favor of many emperors and royals. Thus, they don’t allow any selling or trading of such pups.

It was only in 1930 that the first dogs of such breed got imported into Europe. Its first European Standard happened in 1935 by the Shih Tzu Club.

In 2013, the Shih Tzu breed ranked the 15th of the most popular among all species.


European Shih Tzus make the perfect family and lapdogs due to their warm temperament. Thus, if you plan on getting one, you can’t go wrong with their attitude.

Here are five of the personalities you’ll surely love with your European Shih Tzu:


European Shih Tzus love to play, and they’ll play and spend time with you as long as you want.

Whatever the activity may be, expect this dog to be always ready for it.

Thus, no matter what game you choose to play, your pet will likely be the same as long as you enjoy it.


European Shih Tzus can be quite stubborn, especially in following commands. The reason is that they may find it challenging to catch on.

Thus, when training your pet, it’s essential to be consistent and patient. Moreover, expect that training would take you longer and will require you more time.


Unlike other dog breeds, Shih Tzus are more on the quiet side. The reason is that this isn’t a breed designed to be watchdogs.

For this reason, don’t expect your pet to be alert when a stranger comes. It’s ideal for those of you who stay in an apartment, wishing for a quiet but adorable companion.


European Shih Tzus see everyone as their friends. Thus, if you have visitors, your pet may think they’re visiting him and not you.

Thus, if you have companions around the house, you’ll be sure this pet will be everyone’s friend.


European Shih Tzus are the ideal breed designed for long-term companionship. Thus, being devoted as your partner or buddy is what he boasts of all the time.

As long as you treat your pet right and you take good care of it, you’ll end up having the best buddy that devotes itself to you.

European Shih Tzu and family

With all those qualities, it’s no question why European Shih Tzus are the ideal family pets.

One great thing about these dogs is that they get along with other pets and even with children. Thus, as long as the kids know how to deal and play with small pups, they won’t pose any problem.

This breed boasts of being an affectionate pet towards all family members. Moreover, it sees everyone as friends. Thus, it is an ideal pet, even for a household that receives many visitors.

Affection is this breed’s dominant trait. Moreover, your lap is its favorite place. Thus, they are at their happiest state when they are with you or your family as they give and receive attention.

This breed also gets along with other dogs or animals. They have that docile personality that makes them an ideal companion for kids.

While they are friendly, they can be a bit clingy and only follow their owner’s orders. However, that trait usually happens only through training.

Although you can entrust kids with this breed, it’s always a great idea to supervise them when they play. This way, you can ensure the safety of both your kids and your pet.

Care and life with European Shih Tzu

Before you take a European Shih Tzu home, you must learn and understand how to care for this pup. You must also understand what to expect with your life with this adorable companion.

Of course, as owners, you’ll need to adjust your preferences to suit your pet. Moreover, it will also change the way you see things.

A Shih Tzu would need constant care to keep good health. It requires regular feeding and food planning to have a good diet.

Moreover, it needs to play, exercise, and train regularly. Without further ado, let’s have an in-depth take on the things to keep in mind.

European Shih Tzu dog


European Shih Tzus may have the best health among all Shih Tzus. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t get sick. Like all other breeds, Shih Tzus are prone to some health issues.

As owners, you need to be aware of such conditions so you’ll know how to respond if your pet experiences it.


Allergies come first in line when it comes to possible health issues for this dog. Generally, there are three main types of allergies, namely:

  • Food allergies
  • Contact Allergies
  • Inhalant Allergies

Eye Problems

The eyes of Shih Tzus are one of the usual roots of issues. Thus, extreme care and protection are essential for Shih Tzu’s eyes. Some of the eye problems include the following:

  • Keratitis
  • Proptosis
  • Distichiasis
  • Ectopia cilia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Dry eye

Other Health Issues

Other health issues that may happen to Shih Tzus are the following:

  • Canine hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Juvenile renal dysplasia
  • Bladder stones and bladder infections
  • Ear infections
  • Tooth and gum problems
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Portosystemic liver shunt
  • Snuffles
  • Reverse sneezing

It would be best to consult a vet to learn and understand your pet’s care. Your vet will give you recommendations on how you’ll deal with such conditions as well.


The recommended amount you should give is 1/2-1 cup of high-quality dry food for the day when it comes to feeding.

It’s important to remember that the size of food you should give will depend on things such as:

  • Size – Big size means it needs more food
  • Age – Adults need more food than pups
  • Build – Bigger builds need more food
  • Metabolism – Faster metabolism needs frequent feeding.
  • Level of Activity – High levels of activity needs more food for sustenance.

Since European Shih Tzus are companion dogs, it may be tempting to share human foods as treats. Still, it’s essential always to be cautious when doing such things.

Of course, you can give the following as treats and only in small amounts and pieces. You can offer small amounts of cheese and fruits like apples and mangoes.

If you have ice cream, you can give your pet a taste. Still, remember not to give ice cream with chocolate flavor or any food with chocolate.

It’s also better to give small amounts of meat since it’s rich in protein. As long as you keep it as treats, you can provide pork and chicken. Still, when doing so, always make sure you offer it plain, cooked but without excess oil, and with no seasoning.

Here’s a list of toxic food that you shouldn’t give your Shih Tzu:

  • Chocolate
  • Raisins and Grapes
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Nuts in general
  • Onions
  • Sweets and Candies (mostly sugar-free since they contain xylitol)
  • Mushrooms
  • Raw Egg
  • Cow’s Milk (due to being lactose-intolerant)
  • Products with Caffeine
  • Green potatoes (also toxic for us)
  • Bread dough
  • Moldy Food
  • Avocado
  • Cherries
  • Garlic

To learn more about feeding Shih Tzu, you can check out these related articles in our blog.


European Shih Tzus are the types of pets you can enjoy playing with all day long. This trait makes them adorable and easy to love. However, when it comes to training, they could be quite stubborn.

Of course, he’ll learn basic commands and tricks. However, it may take a lot more time than training other breeds.

For this reason, training your pet requires consistency, gentleness, and understanding.

If you wish to teach your dog the basic commands, it’s essential to prepare yourself to be patient and consistent.

As always, remember that despite being adorable, they can be challenging to train.

European Shih Tzu breeders

If you plan on getting a European Shih Tzu, you need to start looking at the best and reputable breeders. If you don’t know where to begin, the list below may be a great starting point for you.

High Point Shih Tzu

High Point Shih Tzu is a small, but AKC inspected and approved hobby breeder of standard size Shih Tzu. They breed various colors to be an excellent place to start looking for a purebred.

All puppies coming from this breeder received home care and love. Thus, you can assure that your future pet received the best care it deserves.

  • Sussex County, NJ
  • (973) 222-0156

Maple Lane Pups

Maple Lane Pups started in 2006 when the owners Monica and Ed adopted their first Shih Tzu. From then on, they started breeding Shih Tzu Pups.

This shop boasts of its quality and home-raised pups. Be sure to check them out if you’re looking for purebreds to take home.

  • Marion MI, 49665
  • (231) 743-6948

Serendipity Shih Tzu

The owners of Serendipity Shih Tzu take great pride in their quality puppies. As breeders for more than eight years, they strive to breed the best in health, temperament, and beauty.

The thing about this shop is that they offer various colors, and they have both the classic and rare ones. Thus, you may find a purebred Shih Tzu in their shop.

  • 10 miles south of Olympia, WA
  • (253) 321-4295/ (360) 561-2729

Puppy Spot

PuppySpot is an online platform where you can find breeders placing their puppies in various places. The thing about this platform is that it offers more than a service. It’s a community of dog lovers that will help you in your dog’s journey.

Here you can find a variety of cute little purebred Shih Tzus, so be sure to check it out as well.

  • (833) 711-0364

Westchester Puppies & Kittens

Westchester Puppies is your go-to shop when it comes to puppies and kittens.

They specialize in purebred and designer puppies of all sizes. If you plan on getting yourself such kinds of pets, they may have something for you.

  • (914) 437-7600
  • 26 South Central Avenue, Hartsdale, Westchester, NY 10530

Interesting facts

Shih Tzus have some interesting facts to tell its fans. Thus, if you’re curious to know more about this breed, you may find these few trivia interesting.

Here are some things you didn’t know about Shih Tzu:

They have been around for more than a thousand years.

The Shih Tzu breed has been around for more than a thousand years. If you go back to the ancient period, emperors and royals of China have them in their laps.

In fact, they don’t even want to trade and sell these dogs. They want themselves to be the only ones who have Shih Tzus.

They originated from Tibet instead of China.

Many people think Shih Tzus have China as its origin due to its name. Still, they came from Tibet, a neighboring country of China.

Their name roughly means Little Lion.

The term Shih Tzu roughly translates as “Little Lion.” Still, their name contradicts them. These dogs have no fierceness hiding in them.

Instead, they are much more adorable and companion pets rather than hunters.

They are usually called “Chrysanthemum-Faced Dogs.”

They are chrysanthemum-faced dogs due to their facial hair grows in every direction. Thus, these dogs have their nose as the center where the hair grows outward.

They Got Wiped Out During the Communist Revolution

During the communist revolution, a breeding program died down due to the death of its founder. After that period, it’s nearly impossible for people to get a Shih Tzu.

14 Dogs saved the breed from extinction.

All Shih Tzus today are traceable down to 14 dogs. It’s precisely seven pairs of male and female Shih Tzus that saved the breed from extinction.

Some Military Personnel are the ones who brought them to the US.

The first Shih Tzus imported were from China to Europe. Afterward, the American military personnel stationed there are the ones who brought these pups to America.

Many Celebrities and Even Emperors have Owned Shih Tzu.

If you don’t know yet, many celebrities favor Shih Tzus and own one. Thus, aside from emperors and royals, famous persons also like this breed.

Among the famous persons with Shih Tzu are Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II.

Types of Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is a breed that comes with a variety of distinctions. In general, there are eight specific types that you need to know.

Understanding the difference is essential in choosing your preferred pet to take home.

Aside from the European Purebred, the other types of Shih Tzus are:

All eight types of Shih Tzus come from one of the same breed – the Shih Tzu. Thus, the traits and personalities are similar.

The main aspects that set them apart from each other are their appearance and health.

If you wish to know an in-depth take regarding this matter, you may read our article Types of Shih Tzu.


The European Shih Tzu provides another option for persons who want a purebred. If you’re looking for the best of this breed, this type of Shih Tzu is for you.

European Shih Tzus offer top quality of their kind. Moreover, they still have that adorable and warm trait, making them excellent pets.

Of course, like any other breed, European Shih Tzus also have specific needs. Still, it’s not something to worry about so long as you understand the information and how to deal with them.

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