Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (Toy); ANKC (Non Sporting); CKC (Non-Sporting); FCI (Companion and Toy); KC (Utility); UKC (Companion)


Small. Weight: 9–16 lb s Height: 8–11 inches


Long, fine and silky.


All Colors permissible

Life Span:

13 to 15 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

The Shih Tzu was created by the Tibetan lamas to be a tiny replica of a lion.


Shih Tzu Overview

It is believed that they have a similar history and breed lines to the Lhasa Apso, however it was brought to China where it was perfected. This breed was prized by Chinese nobility and was given a life of luxury in the palace. During the late 1800s, the breed was further changed by the reigning Empress Cixi, but became nearly extinct after her death. Shortly after, several dogs were brought to Europe, where they were able to bring the breed back to popularity.


Shih Tzu Characteristics

They feature similar appearance and style to the Lhasa Apso, with a flattened face and snout and lush, soft hair. They can be kept in a more traditional long show cut, which many owners like to adorn with bows or other accessories, or a more manageable “puppy” cut, keeping the short, soft hair of the Shih Tzu cute and easy to manage.


Shih Tzu Temperament

Friendly, outgoing and spunky, this breed makes a great indoor lap companion or outdoor playmate. The Shih Tzu is more sturdy than its Lhasa Apso cousins and does well with children of all ages. Their stubborn and silly personality can easily make them the charming clowns of the family.

Border Terrier


Shih Tzu Care

This dog breed lives on average 13 to 15 years, typical for a toy-sized breed. Health issues include congenital cleft palate, dental and eye issues, respiratory issues, vertebral disk disease, patellar luxation, renal (kidney) dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease. Many of these diseases are genetic and congenital and careful selection and breeding of parents may help decrease incidence.


Shih Tzu Coat

Long show-style coats should be brushed daily to keep the hair free of mats and tangles. Topknots should be kept maintained to keep long hair out of the eyes. The “puppy” style shorter coat requires far less maintenance and can be brushed weekly, however it requires regular trips to a groomer to keep trimmed.


Shih Tzu Training

They can be stubborn, but patience and rewards will pay off. Housetraining can be the most challenging aspect and requires diligence and patience to overcome. Once trained, however, this dog breed is a smart and eager to please breed that will happily show off any tricks learned.


Shih Tzu Activity

A daily walk or other play activity is more than enough to meet their needs. The breed is a companion and lapdog breed and is happiest alongside their human companions, no matter the task. As long as the Shih Tzu can be part of the family, he will be happy and occupied.

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