Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu pictures
Shih Tzu suitability

In my own words


What’s that, who goes there? I’m hugely energetic and curious. I love a lively snoop. Though more than anything, I love attention. Yes, my owner showers me with attention and in return I’m her loyal steed. We potter about the house together, as I don’t need too much outdoors exercise.  I’m not continuously bouncing off the walls and charging high energy. I can be amazingly low key and satisfied, especially when being held.  I love to be held. Human interaction is so important to me. As is grooming. You can see from my lusciously layered coat it’s a bit of a handful. If you like to pamper your pet, I’m your shih Tzu.

Please read on, to find out more about me, and whether I will be someone you can be happy with for the next 12 years, or even longer!

My ideal owner(s)




Families with older children

Hair stylists

They are great apartment dwellers,

What they say about me



Loves to be pampered


Dainty and precious

Noble and aloof

Is this Shih Tzu for you?

Test your knowledge about the Shih Tzu

Information essential about the Shih Tzu


Kennel Club Group: This little dog is a member of the utility group. In Australia it is classified as a non-sporting dog, and in America as a toy dog.

Size: Small

Weight: Male & Female 9 - 16 pounds

Height: Male & Female 10 - 11 inches




They originated in Tibet, but are most associated with China where they were highly revered as a palace pet and prized companion. Though good family dogs, Shih Tzu are not especially good with very young children. They cannot be handled roughly or awkwardly and tend to get snappish when their patience wears thin. However, they are very popular with singles.

Breed History:

Shih Tzu is undoubtedly one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. Chinese paintings from the 6th century A.D. show Shi Tzu-like dogs, while documents from the period claim these pets were a gift to the Chinese court from the Byzantine Empire. However, they are believed to have originated in Tibet, where they lived in the Temples and were occasionally given as a gift to the Emperors of China. Once they were in China they were crossed with the Pekinese to become the breed we recognise today. The Shih Tzu was a popular house pet during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 A.D.). Since that time they’ve been highly prized and fiercely guarded by the Chinese. In 1908, they made their way to England, where they were bred and dispersed to Europe and Australia. The American Kennel Cl;ub certified the breed in 1969, and it has been a popular competitor and pal ever since



The Shih Tzu is small, sturdy, and intelligent. They carry themselves with a noble and proud posture befitting their aristocratic ancestry. One of their most valued characteristics is the eye, which exude warmth and a human-like quality. The Shih Tzu is the least delicate of the toy breeds.



The Shih Tzu is first and foremost a companion. They love nothing more than being indoors with their family. This breed gets along very well with older children and other pets. They are outgoing and self-assured, keen and alert. They do not do well being separated from their owners and may become destructive if left alone for extended periods of time. They are docile and quiet, but they also love to play. The Shih Tzu is spunky and can be obstinate at times. They expect to be treated as royalty and are easily spoiled. A good family dog and highly interactive, the Shih Tzu usually adapts well to adults and children alike. Not especially suspicious of strangers, they still make an alert and consistent watchdog, barking heartily when people approach the house.



The Shih Tzu in covered in flowing long hair, including a tuft above the nose, which provides its trademark “chrysanthemum” (i.e., floral) face. On a typical Shih Tzu, the rounded head has a long beard and moustache, a short muzzle and a black nose (except in reddish brown dogs which have a reddish-brown nose). Most Shih Tzu have round, dark, wide-set eyes with pendant (hanging) ears that are engulfed in hair. The frame is longer than tall, and the tail curls over the back. The Shih Tzu has a long, dense, and abundant double-coat. The luxurious and profuse outer-coat often sweeps the ground, and may be slightly wavy. The under-coat is woolly and soft in texture. The long hair on top of the head is typically placed into a topknot to prevent eye irritation. They are minimal shedders and are considered hypoallergenic.


They do require a lot of daily grooming to keep their coats looking in top condition. It is best to start getting the dog used to being groomed when it is very young. Also they do require frequent bathing, sometimes as much as once a week. Remember they must be dried completely. Their faces may need to be washed daily as food, amongst other things, can get stuck on the hair. If the coat becomes too much they can be kept short, a groomer or the breeder is probably the best person to advise on how this is carried out.



The coat comes in a variety of colours including black, gold, grey, silver, red, beige and brindle, all these colours can have white with them.



The Shih Tzu may be difficult to housetrain. The crate method works best. Although they are eager to please, and quick to learn, this breed's stubborn streak requires persistence and consistency. They do not respond to harshness or punishment. The Shih Tzu does very well in obedience training provided it is low-key and motivational.



The Shih Tzu requires extensive grooming. They need brushed daily to prevent knots, tangles, and mats. They need to be bathed monthly. They are not suited for humid climates. It is important to keep their eyes and ears cleaned. Their eyes are particularly sensitive. They are prone to kidney disease and slipping kneecaps. The Shih Tzu's short muzzle makes it exceptionally prone to snoring and wheezing problems. Keep an eye on Shih Tzu while they are drinking. Because their noses are so centrally located, water can easily block their breathing. Dental hygiene is crucial to prevent tooth loss. They tend to gain weight easily and must not be overfed. The Shih Tzu enjoys short daily walks or vigorous indoor play sessions and games. They are very well suited for apartment or condominium dwelling. However, they love to play outside, so a small fenced yard is ideal.




Common health issues include inguinal hernia, entropion, trichiasis, renal dysplasia, portacaval shunt (liver shunt), hip dysplasia, ear and kidney infections, and eye problems. Check their ears and eyes regularly for cleanliness. They are particularly prone to eye problems as they protrude. Due to this they are susceptible to lacerations and their eyelids and lashes can grow in such a way as to irritate the eye. The tear ducts may produce too much or too little and need to be treated. You can find eye drops that are specified for them.


A healthy Shih Tzu can live as long as 15 years. The average size of litter is 4 to 6 puppies, although litters of 9 puppies have been known.








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The following grid gives a fast track review, which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if a Shih tzu is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1= strongly disagree, and 5= strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog to make a good walking companion, look down the list under ‘Activities’, and you will see that Shih tzu have lots of energy and are strong walkers, scoring 5. If you want a dog that is good for urban living, look under ‘Environment’ and you will see that Shih Tzu are suited to city living, scoring 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your final choice.

Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion3/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming2/5
Likes learning new tricks3/5
Likes to hunt2/5
Likes to fetch4/5
Good gundog/retriever1/5
Barks a lot3/5
Gets easily jealous4/5
Friendly with strangers5/5
Expensive to insure3/5
Expensive to feed4/5
Happy to sleep outside3/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment2/5
Prefers temperate climate5/5
Prefers hot climate4/5
Prefers cold climate5/5
Moults a lot4/5
Requires lots of grooming3/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly5/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children4/5
Good watch dog5/5
Good guard dog1/5
Good with other pets4/5
Good with other dogs3/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs2/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs4/5
Requires lots of exercise5/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners5/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall5/5
Easy to train5/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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