Are you currently considering adding a Shih Tzu to your family? If so, you might be interested to know that these small dogs are known for their affectionate and friendly personalities. Originally bred in China as companion dogs, Shih Tzus are known for their playful and loyal nature, making them great pets for families and individuals alike. In addition, their small size and minimal exercise requirements make them a popular choice for those living in apartments or with limited outdoor space. However, before making a decision, it’s important to understand the care and attention that these dogs require.

25-28 cm
4-7 kg
10-16 years
Low to moderate

History and Origin

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed that originated in China. The breed is believed to have been developed by crossing the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese breeds. The name “Shih Tzu” means “lion dog” in Chinese, which is fitting as the breed was often kept by Chinese royalty as a companion and symbol of wealth and status.

The exact origins of the Shih Tzu are unclear, but it is believed that the breed dates back to at least the 17th century. The dogs were highly prized by Chinese emperors and were often given as gifts to foreign dignitaries. The breed was also popular among Buddhist monks, who believed that the dogs brought good luck and were a symbol of enlightenment.

The Shih Tzu was first introduced to the Western world in the early 20th century. The breed was brought to England by Lady Brownrigg in 1930, and the first Shih Tzu was registered with the Kennel Club in 1940. The breed quickly gained popularity in the UK and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969. Today, the Shih Tzu is one of the most popular toy breeds in the world.

The Shih Tzu is a small dog, typically weighing between 9 and 16 pounds. The breed is known for its long, flowing coat, which requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Shih Tzus come in a variety of colors, including black, white, gold, and brown. The breed is known for its friendly and affectionate nature, and makes an excellent companion for families and individuals alike.

Despite their small size, Shih Tzus are known for their courage and tenacity. The breed was originally developed as a watchdog, and is still known for its alertness and protective instincts. Shih Tzus are also highly intelligent and trainable, and excel in obedience and agility competitions.

In recent years, the Shih Tzu has become a popular breed for crossbreeding. The breed has been crossed with a variety of other breeds, including the Poodle, Bichon Frise, and Yorkshire Terrier, to create designer breeds such as the Shih-Poo and Shorkie. While these crossbreeds are often cute and affectionate, they may not possess all

Shih Tzu Dog

Size and Breed Category

The Shih Tzu is a small breed of dog that typically weighs between 4.5 and 8.1 kilograms. They stand at a height of around 20-28 centimeters at the shoulder and have a compact, sturdy build. Their body is covered in long, silky hair that can come in a variety of colors, including black, white, gold, and brown. The breed is known for its distinctive facial features, including large, round eyes and a short, flat nose.

The Shih Tzu is classified as a toy breed, which means they are small enough to be carried around and are often kept as lap dogs. They are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, making them popular pets for families and individuals alike. Despite their small size, they are known for their bravery and will often bark to alert their owners of potential danger. They are also highly adaptable and can thrive in both urban and rural environments. Overall, the Shih Tzu is a beloved breed that is cherished for its adorable appearance and loving personality.


Fur Length and Colour

The fur of a Shih Tzu is one of its most distinctive features. It is long and silky, with a luxurious texture that is soft to the touch. The fur can grow up to 10 inches in length, and it is often styled in a topknot or left to flow freely. The fur can come in a variety of colours, including black, white, gold, and brown. Some Shih Tzus have a combination of colours, such as black and white or gold and white. The fur is also known for its ability to shed very little, making it a great choice for people with allergies.

The colour of a Shih Tzu’s fur can vary greatly, depending on the individual dog. Some Shih Tzus have a solid colour, while others have a mix of colours. The most common colours are black, white, gold, and brown. Black Shih Tzus can have a shiny, jet-black coat, while white Shih Tzus can have a pure, snow-white coat. Gold Shih Tzus can have a range of shades, from light to dark, and brown Shih Tzus can have a rich, chocolate-brown coat. The colour of a Shih Tzu’s fur can also change as they age, with some dogs developing a grey or silver tint to their coat.

Shih Tzu Dog in different colours



Termperament and Trainability

Shih Tzus are known for their friendly and affectionate temperament. They are loyal and loving towards their owners, making them great family pets. They are also known for being playful and energetic, making them great companions for children. However, they can be stubborn at times and may require patience and consistency when it comes to training. They are also known for being sensitive to their owner’s emotions and can become anxious if left alone for long periods of time. Overall, Shih Tzus make great pets for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to train and care for them.

When it comes to trainability, Shih Tzus can be a bit challenging. They have a tendency to be stubborn and may require a lot of patience and consistency when it comes to training. However, they are intelligent dogs and can learn quickly if trained properly. Positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise can be effective in training Shih Tzus. It is important to start training early and to be consistent with commands and routines. With the right training and socialization, Shih Tzus can become well-behaved and obedient pets.


Known Health Conditions

Shih Tzus are prone to a number of health conditions, including respiratory problems. Due to their short snouts, they can experience difficulty breathing, especially in hot or humid weather. This can lead to snoring, wheezing, and even collapse in severe cases. Additionally, Shih Tzus are susceptible to eye problems, such as cataracts and corneal ulcers. These conditions can cause discomfort and even blindness if left untreated. It is important for Shih Tzu owners to monitor their pet’s breathing and eye health, and seek veterinary care if any issues arise.

Another health concern for Shih Tzus is dental disease. Their small mouths and crowded teeth make them more prone to plaque buildup and gum disease. This can lead to tooth loss, pain, and even systemic infections if left untreated. Regular dental cleanings and at-home dental care, such as brushing and providing dental chews, can help prevent dental disease in Shih Tzus. Additionally, Shih Tzus are at risk for liver problems, such as portosystemic shunts, which can cause a range of symptoms including vomiting, lethargy, and seizures. Early detection and treatment is crucial for managing these conditions and ensuring the health and wellbeing of Shih Tzus.

Shih Tzu Dog Taking in fresh air improves overall well-being

Openness to Strangers

Shih Tzus have a reputation for being friendly and sociable with strangers. They are known to be outgoing and curious, often approaching new people with a wagging tail and a friendly demeanor. This openness to strangers is a trait that makes them popular as family pets and companions.

Despite their small size, Shih Tzus are not known to be timid or fearful around strangers. They are confident and self-assured, and are not easily intimidated by new people or unfamiliar situations. This makes them well-suited to living in busy households or in urban environments where they may encounter a lot of people on a daily basis. Overall, the Shih Tzu’s openness to strangers is a testament to their friendly and outgoing nature, and is one of the many reasons why they are beloved by dog owners around the world.

Playfulness Level

The Shih Tzu is a lively and playful breed of dog that loves to have fun. They are known for their energetic and mischievous nature, and they are always up for a game or a romp around the house or garden. Whether it’s chasing a ball, playing tug-of-war, or simply running around with their owners, the Shih Tzu is always eager to play and have a good time. They are also very social animals and love to interact with their owners and other dogs, making them a great choice for families with children or other pets. Overall, the Shih Tzu is a fun-loving and playful breed that brings joy and laughter to any household.

Despite their small size, the Shih Tzu has a big personality and a lot of energy. They are always on the go, and they love to explore their surroundings and play with their toys. They are also very intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tricks and commands, which can add to their playful nature. However, it’s important to remember that the Shih Tzu is a sensitive breed and can become easily overwhelmed or stressed if they are pushed too hard or forced to do something they don’t want to do. Therefore, it’s important to provide them with plenty of love, attention, and positive reinforcement to ensure that they remain happy and playful throughout their lives.

Suitability as a Pet for Children

Shih Tzu have a friendly and affectionate nature, making them a great choice as a pet for children. They are known for their loyalty and love to be around people, making them a great companion for kids. They are also easy to train and adapt well to different environments, making them a great choice for families who live in apartments or have limited outdoor space. Additionally, Shih Tzu have a low exercise requirement, which means they are suitable for families who may not have the time or energy to take their pet for long walks. Overall, Shih Tzu make great pets for families with children who are looking for a loyal and affectionate companion.


Exercise Needs

Shih Tzu dogs require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. These dogs have a moderate energy level and need daily walks to keep them active. A typical walk for a Shih Tzu should last around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the dog’s age and fitness level. It is important to note that Shih Tzus are prone to obesity, so it is crucial to monitor their food intake and ensure they get enough exercise. In addition to walks, Shih Tzus enjoy playing games such as fetch or tug-of-war, which can also provide them with the necessary exercise they need.

In addition to physical exercise, Shih Tzus also require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. These dogs are intelligent and enjoy learning new tricks and commands. Training sessions can be a great way to provide mental stimulation while also improving the dog’s behavior. Puzzle toys and interactive games can also be used to keep the dog’s mind engaged. It is important to note that Shih Tzus are sensitive dogs and may become overwhelmed with too much exercise or stimulation. Owners should monitor their dog’s behavior and adjust their exercise routine accordingly.

Shih Tzu Dog walking exercise

Suitability for a Multi-Pet Family

Shih Tzus have been known to coexist peacefully with other animals in the household. They are generally friendly and sociable, and can get along well with cats, rabbits, and other dogs. However, it is important to introduce them to other pets slowly and carefully, as some Shih Tzus may have a tendency to be territorial or dominant. Additionally, it is important to supervise interactions between pets to ensure that they are safe and comfortable with each other.

Housing Requirements

Shih Tzu dogs require a comfortable and safe living space that meets their specific needs. They need a warm and dry environment, with a temperature range of 18-22°C, to avoid any health issues. The ideal housing for a Shih Tzu should have good ventilation and natural light, as well as a comfortable bed or cushion for them to rest on. Additionally, they require a secure and enclosed outdoor space where they can exercise and play. This area should be free from any potential hazards, such as sharp objects or toxic plants, and should be regularly cleaned to maintain hygiene.

In terms of size, the housing for a Shih Tzu should be appropriate for their small stature. They require enough space to move around comfortably, but not so much that they feel overwhelmed or exposed. A small to medium-sized house or apartment with a secure garden or yard is suitable for their needs. It is important to note that Shih Tzus are indoor dogs and should not be left outside for extended periods of time. They thrive on human companionship and need to be close to their owners. Therefore, their housing should be located in an area where they can be easily supervised and interact with their family.

Ensuring housing involves creating a comfortable and secure environment


Shih Tzus make great pets for those who are looking for a loyal and affectionate companion. They are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, and they love to be around people. They are also relatively low-maintenance dogs, as they do not require a lot of exercise and are easy to groom. However, they can be prone to certain health issues, so it is important to ensure that they receive regular veterinary care. Overall, Shih Tzus are a great choice for anyone looking for a loving and devoted pet.


Shih Tzu Dog FAQS

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Shih Tzus can be stubborn and difficult to train, but with patience and consistency, they can learn basic obedience commands. Professional training may be necessary for more advanced training.

Yes, Shih Tzus are generally good with children and make great family pets. However, they should always be supervised around young children.

Yes, Shih Tzus are considered hypoallergenic and are a good choice for people with allergies.

Shih Tzus are prone to certain health issues such as eye problems, hip dysplasia, and respiratory issues. Regular vet check-ups are important.

Shih Tzus have long hair that requires daily grooming, but they do not shed excessively.

Shih Tzus are a small breed and require moderate exercise, such as a daily walk or playtime in a fenced yard.

Shih Tzus should be fed small meals throughout the day, as they have a small stomach. A recommended feeding schedule is 3 to 4 small meals per day.

Shih Tzus require daily grooming to prevent matting and tangling of their long hair.

The average weight of a Shih Tzu is between 4.5 to 8 kilograms.

The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu is between 10 to 16 years.