Imperial Shih Tzu – All Information You Need To Know

The Imperial Shih Tzu may seem to be quite the royalty due to its name. In fact, many people often take this type of Shih Tzu as a breed on its own. The reality is,  the term “Imperial” is more of a flattering depiction of the opposite. Thus, this kind of Shih Tzu is an impure breed, considered a smaller version of the purebred. Therefore, they tend to fall short in terms of the standard size of this breed. 

Although this may be true, some people still prefer the smaller ones, since they are cute and adorable. If you’re into the cute little pups, then the Imperial Shih Tzu is for you.

Now, before going to a store and taking one of these small pups home, it’s essential to understand a bit more about this type of Shih Tzu. This way, you won’t go through all the trouble of not knowing what to do when you have it with you.

This article contains all the essential information you need to know about the Imperial Shih Tzus.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

General info

Imperial Shih Tzus may look fancy and adorable due to their tiny sizes. In reality, it’s just a term for Shih Tzus born with bodies below the standard.

Of course, the body itself may be cute due to its being small. However, that trait comes with some consequences.

In general, we can sum up the information about this Shih Tzu type with the following:


  • Weight – 5-7 lbs as an adult
  • Height – 8 inches as an adult


  • Imperial Shih Tzus have a small body and head than other Shih Tzus.

What to expect

  • Prone to health risks and issues
  • Needs 20 minutes of exercise per day
  • Has an average energy level
  • Has an average lifespan of 10-18 years
  • Does not drool much
  • Does not 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

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


Imperial Shih Tzus boast of their tiny sizes, and it’s the first thing that sets them apart from the rest.

Like all other Shih Tzus, Imperials have a similar appearance. They also have that long and double coat, which is quite elegant.

They can also have a variety of colors any regular Shih Tzu may have. Thus, you can see Imperial Shih Tzus in black, liver or brown, white, gold, brindle, silver, and red.

Many of these Shih Tzus have their hair in a bun to avoid falling in their eyes. If you groom them properly, they’ll have that gorgeous-looking coat like that of any Shih Tzu.

Like other Shih Tzus, Imperials share a similar appearance as well. In simple terms, they are miniature versions of Shih Tzus.


Imperial Shih Tzus weigh less than an average Shih Tzu. Moreover, they lack the height of the standard ones as well. They have an average of 5-7 pounds. As you can see, they are smaller than the smallest regular Shih Tzu.

The average and standard size of Shih Tzus is 9-16 pounds (4.1 to 7.3 kg) in weight and 9-10 1/2 inches (22.9 to 26.8 cm) in height.

If you plan on getting this kind of pup, it would be best to choose between this range.

Pups weighing 4 pounds below are riskier and are unlikely to survive long.

Since these royalty dogs are relatively small, they also have tiny organs. Thus, they are prone to many health issues and problems.

Coat colors and quality

Like other Shih Tzus, Imperials have long and silky coats that are gorgeous in everyone’s eyes. Moreover, this breed boasts of many colors. Their coats may come in the following:

  • Black (Solid Black is rare)
  • Black and White
  • Gray (or silver) and White
  • Brown (Solid brown, which is often considered Liver)
  • Brown and White
  • Red and 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.


Imperial Shih Tzus goes a long way in History. Since they are Shih Tzus of small size, they might even exist side by side for as long as regular sized dogs are around.

The thing is that they have a palace history, dating back to ancient times.

Many historians discovered the same and speak of this breed as existing as early as the 17th Century.

For this reason, many people even in ancient times probably have such small Shih Tzus in their laps.


Imperial Shih Tzus are nothing but mighty despite their small size. They are playful, loving, and charming pets.

Despite being small, these pups will defend themselves and the people they think of as their own.

Another great thing is that they are incredibly playful. Since these pups are small, they are great with children.

However, be sure to supervise them, as they can get hurt easily, even by children.

Thus, if you have kids at home, it’s likely that the dog will get hurt rather than your kid.

Imperial Shih Tzu and family

Imperial Shih Tzus make great family pets. Because of their small size, you can entrust your kids to them, and they’ll play until they get tired.

The only risk involved is that they are too delicate to get left without your supervision. While these pups can’t harm kids, the kids may harm them on the other hand.

For this reason, it would be best to always be with your kids and our pet when you allow them to play together. Moreover, they can play with other members of the family.

Still, it would be best to remind every member to be gentle in handling such a pet. This way, you can ensure its safety and avoid unwanted incidents.

Imperial Shih Tzu dog

Care and life with an Imperial Shih Tzu

An Imperial Shih Tzu would need constant care to keep good health. It requires more attention and delicate handling than regular Shih Tzus.

Before taking an Imperial Shih Tzu home, it’s essential to learn and understand how to care for this dog.

Further, you must understand what to expect 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. Imperial Shih Tzus also need to play, exercise and train regularly.

Without further ado, let’s have an in-depth take on the things to keep in mind.


Due to their small sizes, Imperials aren’t as healthy as a standard Shih Tzu. Having that little body means having small and delicate organs. Thus, they come with many more health risks than a typical Shih Tzu.

Imperials are delicate pets, and they are prone to many health risks and issues. Among these problems are:

  • Liver Shunts
  • Difficulty digesting food due to small stomach
  • Incontinence due to a small bladder
  • Low blood sugar
  • Fragile bones
  • Difficulty breathing due to the small respiratory system
  • Eye Issues
  • Ear Infections
  • Dental and gum issues
  • Calcium deficiency

If you plan on taking one home, expect it to be fragile. Thus, you need to be more careful and expect frequent vet visits.


Another effect of their small size is their low digestive functions. Since they have small bodies, they also have small stomachs, making them unable to eat more food. Thus, you need to be careful with their portions and amount of meals per day.

They may not be able to handle solid food and probably not dry food. You will want to feed these dogs in small amounts several times a day to be sure they can digest it completely.

Feeding may require more effort for Imperials. Due to the small size, these dogs may find it challenging to digest dry food.

Moreover, they may not handle solid food well. These pups also have small stomachs, which means they can’t take in food in large amounts.

For this reason, it would be best to feed these dogs in small amounts but frequent times. It’s also important not to overfeed and to overplay these dogs.

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 Imperial 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.


You need to know that these small Shih Tzus can get tired more than regular ones. Thus, you need to allow your pet to rest after a 30-minute playtime.

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

If you wish to teach your Imperial the basic commands, it’s essential to prepare yourself to be patient and consistent. Moreover, being such means they usually seem confused. That gesture is because they do become confused most of the time.

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

Imperial Shih Tzu breeders

Imperial Shih Tzus are delicate pups requiring extensive effort and care. Thus, healthy and lively ones often come from diligent and reliable breeders.

If you’re thinking of getting this pup, it would be best t filter out your options. Moreover, make sure that you only get this pup from the best breeder.

If you’re uncertain where to look, here are five of the Imperial Shih Tzu breeders where you can start.

C&M’s Imperial Shih Tzu

The owner of this shop has been raising and breeding Shih Tzu for more than 19 years already. Thus, they are quite into the game.

They know and understand how delicate an Imperial Shih Tzu can be. Thus, their mission is to produce healthy, quality, and sound Shih Tzu that you could enjoy for many years.

If you’re looking for Imperial Pups, be sure to check them out!

  • Payson, Utah
  • (801) 623-2743

Shih Tzus Forever

This shop’s owner boasts of her passion for breeding the Imperial Shih Tzu. She has been producing such for many years, with health as her top priority.

All her pups received home-care and love, ensuring that your future puppy gets the love it deserves. If you’re looking for an Imperial Pup, be sure to check out her site.

  • 300 Starmont Road Gallion, Alabama 36742
  • (334) 289-0682

Kelly Imperial Shih Tzus

They are a family of breeders caring for Imperial Shih Tzu. In their shop, the dogs are part of their family. Thus, they boast of having home-cared pups that know how to socialize with the family.

Be sure to check out their site as well. You’ll see how cute the puppies are!

  • Connell Washington
  • (509) 234-0152

Little Loves Imperial Shih Tzu

This shop is a small in-house breeder of tiny Imperial Shih Tzu ranging between 4-9lbs as adults. They boast of their time and expenditures to finding and caring for these adorable pups.

In their shop, you can see adorable puppies that will make your heart melt. Be sure to check them out as well!

  • Ferndale, WA 98248
  • (360) 303-9966

T-Cup-N-Up Imperial Shih Tzu

They boast of their shop as the home of some of the tiniest and cutest Imperial Shih Tzus around. You can ensure they know their way around Imperials since that’s the only type of dog they breed.

If you’re in quest for an Imperial Shih Tzu, be sure to check out their site.

  • Southern Nevada
  • (928) 377-9158

Interesting facts

If you wish to know more about Imperial Shih Tzus, you may find the following facts interesting.

Here are five fun facts that will make you fall in love with Imperial.

People tend to fall for them.

Imperial Shih Tzus look too cute for people not to get mesmerized by their charm.

Due to their tiny size, they look more like toys than pets. For this reason, many people get tempted to take it home after seeing one.

They are polite.

Imperial Shih Tzus are so polite that you’ll do nothing but love them. If you tell them to move towards something, they’ll walk so cute and obey that it is quite a delight to see.

Their hair is quite soft.

Their coat is thin and soft, which seems too good to be true. In fact, Imperial Shih Tzus do seem like a living stuff toy.

They have a floor-length coat.

Imperial Shih Tzus have a floor-length coat that makes them look gorgeous, especially if groomed regularly.

If you’re willing to spend time grooming your pet, you’ll end up with a gorgeous looking buddy.

They always move.

The thing about these little pups is that they are always on the move. It’s not in their trait to keep calm and stay in one place. Thus, you can often see their cute paws moving around endlessly.

Honestly, it’s quite enjoyable and satisfying to watch.

Types of Shih Tzu

Aside from Imperials, Shih Tzus come in many other types. In general, there are seven more specific types that you need to know.

Understanding the difference is essential in choosing your preferred pet to take home. Aside from Imperials, the other types of Shih Tzus are:

The 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.


Imperial Shih Tzus boast of their tiny and cute bodies with a warm and loving expression on their faces. Due to their small size, Imperials are perfect in our hands, and even in our purses.

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