Shih Tzu Dog Breed – All Information You Need To Know

Shih Tzu roughly translates as “little lion.” However, contrary to its name, this dog shows nothing of fierceness. Instead, it’s a breed made to be companions and not hunters.

Shih Tzus are affectionate dogs. They are happy, outgoing, and friendly to everyone in the house. They find their places in the laps of all kinds of people during ancient times, even in an emperor’s.

For this reason, it’s no wonder why many people choose this breed over others.

If you’re planning to take home this cute little breed, this article is for you to read.

Here, you can find all the information you need to know about this breed. Take some time to enjoy the facts to prepare as you get this pet.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

General info

Shih Tzu may be a single breed, but it comes with different types you can choose from if you have a specific preference.

However, in general, we can sum up the information about this breed with the following:

Size

  • 9-16 lbs is the average weight of both male and female
  • 10 inches is the average height of both male and female

Features

  • Shih Tzus have a squashed face and floppy ears.

What to expect

  • Needs 20 minutes of exercise per day
  • Has an average energy level
  • Has an average lifespan of 11-14 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

Coat

  • Long Fur Coat
  • Straight Coat
  • Color varies

Club Recognition

  • AKC Classification – Toy
  • 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.

Appearance

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

The head of a Shih Tzu is usually round, broad, and is wide between eyes. Its size is always in balance with the body. Thus, it’s neither too large and too small.

A Shih Tzu’s expression is warm, wide-eyed, sweet, trusting, and exceptionally friendly.

The body is short-coupled and sturdy, with no waist. This breed is also a bit longer than tall.

Its coat is a luxurious one. It’s double-coated, long, flowing, and quite dense.

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

The legs are relatively straight, boned, muscular, and well-apart under the chest.

Shih Tzus also have healthy and perpendicular pasterns. The feet are quite firm, well-padded, and point straight ahead. It has dewclaws that you can remove.

Size

As stated in the description earlier, Shih Tzus have small sizes, making them perfect lap and toy dogs.

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

Shih Tzus 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.

History

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.

It was in 1969 that the American Kennel Club recognized it as belonging to the Toy Group.

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

Temperament

If you plan on getting a Shih Tzu, here are 5 of its renowned personalities. Thus, here’s what you can expect from taking this puppy home.

Playful

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.

Stubborn

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.

Quiet

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.

Friendly

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.

Devoted

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.

Shih Tzu and family

Shih Tzus make great family pets because 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.

shih tzu dog breed

Care and life with Shih Tzu

Before taking a Shih Tzu home, it’s crucial to learn and understand how to care for this dog.

Moreover, you must 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.

Health

In general, Shih Tzus are healthy breeds. However, like all other breeds, they are prone to certain conditions and diseases.

Allergies

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 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

As always, it’s best to consult a vet to learn and understand how to take care of your pet and prevent them from suffering such issues.

Feeding

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 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.

Training

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 Shih Tzu 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.

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.

The eight types of Shih Tzus are:

The 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.

For this reason, you can’t go wrong with any of the Shih Tzus when it comes to attitude and personality—choosing which of the eight types is more of a preference in appearance.

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

Shih Tzu breeders

Shih Tzus isn’t something you can get from any pet store without any documents like all other breeds. For this reason, it’s crucial to get your pet to a registered breeder.

Moreover, it’s essential to understand everything about your breeder of choice. This way, you can ensure your pet comes from a reliable and responsible person.

To find a suitable breeder, we compiled several breeders you can check. Also, we included tips on knowing a good breeder.

Here’s a list of states where we wrote a list of breeders. If you’re around the area, you can check the specific article for you.

If your area is not there, feel free to reach out, and we’ll be happy to help you look.

We also have three online breeders where you can search for your Shih Tzu.

AKC MarketPlace

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has an online marketplace where you can search for the pup that you want. Aside from the puppy, you can also find other tips and information necessary on their site.

Here is the link to their website:

Adopt a Pet

Adopt a Pet is North America’s Largest Non-Profit Pet Adoption Website.

In it, you can find both Shih Tzu Pups and adults that are near you. You can also filter the searches with the sex and age of the dog that you want.

Here is a link to their website:

Puppies For Sale Today

Puppies For Sale Today is also a website where you can search for puppies of all breeds. If you’re looking for a Shih Tzu pup, you can find one in there.

Here is a link to their website:

You can also check out our blog for more related articles.

Interesting facts

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. However, they came from Tibet, a neighboring country of China.

Their name roughly means Little Lion.

The term Shih Tzu roughly translates as “Little Lion.” However, 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.”

The reason why they earned the term chrysanthemum-faced is that 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 particular 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 that exists today is 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 in Europe 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 popular persons with Shih Tzu are Mariah Carey, BeyoncĂ©, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II. 

Summary

Shih Tzus are wonderful breeds that earn the favor of many for being companion dogs. Thus, it’s no wonder why many people search for and take this pet home.

Of course, like any other breed, Shih Tzus have specific needs, and they need constant care. However, as long as you pay attention and show love and care to this dog, it’ll surely return the favor. In the end, you’ll have a great companion in your life, no doubt.

Share on: