hero

Shih-Tzu

Delightfully small, adorable, and affectionate – what more could you ask for in a pup?

icon
Animalia Team
  • basic-info

    Country of Origin

    Tibet

  • basic-info

    Breed Group

    Toy dog

  • basic-info

    Height

    Male 9-10.5 In

    Female 9-10.5 In

  • basic-info

    Weight

    Male 9-16 Ib

    Female 9-16 Ib

  • basic-info

    Life Span

    10-16 years

In a Nutshell

The name “Shih Tzu” means lion dog in Mandarin because they were originally bred to resemble lion statues in traditional oriental art. But don’t worry, there’s nothing ferocious about this dog breed. While lions may symbolize royalty, strength, and bravery, these little pooches are lovers, not hunters. The Shih Tzu is a distinctive-looking dog that’s bound to win the heart of anyone who comes across it. Bred solely to be companions, your Shih Tzu will be happy to spend a lifetime in your presence. However, as small and sweet as Shih Tzus may appear, they can also be quite a handful if not properly trained.

Life With a Shih-Tzu

Low (1) High (5)
icon

Energy level

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
icon

Trainability Level

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
icon

Amount of Shedding

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
icon

Tendency of Barking

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
icon

Exercise Needs

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • icon

    Home Alone

    Consider working from home

  • icon

    Living Arrangements

    Apartment will do

  • icon

    Kid Friendly

    Yes

  • icon

    Pet Friendly

    Yes

Looks & Personality

image

The Shih Tzu is a surprisingly sturdy little dog with a small muzzle, large dark brown eyes, and a show-stopping coat. It’s also quite common and expected for this dog breed to have an underbite, which is nothing to worry about as long as they can chew their food.

This gorgeous toy dog is covered in a double coat of long, luxuriant, straight hair that goes all the way to its ears. Their long silky coat ,that can swoop all the way down to the floor, comes in a wide variety of colors and requires daily brushing. Although the breed standard requires just a slight wave in the coat, it’s not that unusual to find a curly-haired Shih Tzu. You can tie excess hair on top of their head with a ribbon.

Due to their royal ancestry, Shih Tzus are pretty content lounging indoors. As far as temperament goes, the Shih Tzu is a profoundly affectionate breed that is easily trusting of people and children. They’re generally obliging and will tend to sit on your lap a lot. All they want is a lot of love and a little reassurance.

icon

A tip from a vet

Obesity is a significant health problem in Shih Tzus, causing joint problems, heart disease, back pain, and metabolic disorders. Unfortunately, the fact that Shih Tzus are so earnest and adorable may work against them. They're very hard to say no to, and you might find yourself giving your pup more treats than they need.
icon

A tip from a trainer

Affectionate, playful, and outgoing, Shih Tzus are very trainable, and they love learning new things. This is precisely why they’re a staple at dog shows. Because Shih Tzus tend to be people-pleasers, the training techniques that work best are those focused on positive reinforcement.
bg
icon icon

Did You Know

    did-you-know-19

    The Shih Tzu breed is more than 1000 years old, dating back to ancient China and Tibet.

    did-you-know-14

    They are considered hypoallergenic as they do not shed, but they do require constant grooming to prevent their fur from getting tangled.

    did-you-know-2

    They’re called “chrysanthemum-faced dogs” because the fur on their faces grows in every direction.

In The News

banner
A blonde Shih Tzu recently went viral in England because of its striking resemblance to the pop star Ed Sheeran. With his bucket-cut hairstyle, pink nose, and eerily human-like eyes, the resemblance is uncanny – though some argue he looks more like the business tycoon Richard Branson.

Famous Shih-Tzu Owners

Colin Farrell, Beyonce, Sharon Osborne, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, Nicole Richie, Bill Gates, Betty White

The History Behind the Breed

For centuries and throughout the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Shih Tzus were only accessible to Chinese Royalty, spending their days hidden behind palace walls on the laps of emperors. They became accessible to the general public in the 1930s and have since become a household name. Even though Shih Tzus are commonly associated with China, they are actually thought to have originated from the cold mountains of Tibet. The leaders and monks of Tibet would send Lhasa Apso, a non-sporting dog breed, to the Chinese Royalty as gifts. These dogs were then bred with the Pekingese to create the modern-day Shih Tzu.

If a Shih-Tzu Could Talk…

banner
bg
“There’s nothing I love more than being around you. And yes you can run your hands through my fabulous hair.”

A Quick Anatomy Lesson

anatomy-lesson-class-img
anatomy-lesson-img

The popularity of the breed has led to poor breeding practices, leading to generalized and lifelong diseases. Not only are Shih Tzus susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, but they're also prone to respiratory, digestive, bone, joint, and eye problems.

Common Health Problems

What about your Shih-Tzu?