Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Believed to have originated in Tibet, it was in China where the breed became the one we recognise today. Among the most ancient of dog breeds, the Shih-Tzu were bred to be companion dogs for Chinese royalty and nobility. It is considered a lap dog and is also known as the Chinese Lion Dog or the Chrysanthemum Dog. The Shih-Tzu is a small, sturdy dog with a body that is slightly longer than it is tall. It has long, straight hair that is often clipped short for ease of care. If left long, the hair is often tied in a topknot to keep it out of the dog's eyes.


The Shih-Tzu is an alert, lively and happy little dog. They are considered to be intelligent but, at the same time, quite independent which makes training them a little difficult. Some believe it was living in the Imperial Palace that gave the Shih-Tzu an arrogant quality. This breed is affectionate and loyal to its family and trusting also. It is quite fearless, able to stand up for itself against dogs that are much larger. The Shih-Tzu must be socialized from a young age for the dog to bond well with children and other pets and dogs.

  • Height, Weight

    Height: Dogs 10-11 inches (26-28cm) Bitches 9-11 inches (23-28cm)

    Weight: Dogs 9-18 pounds (4-8kg) Bitches 9-18 pounds (4-8kg)

  • Health Problems

    Shih Tzus are prone to eye problems as they protrude. Irritations and infections of the eye may occur, as well as eye ulcers. Spinal disc disease is sometimes seen in the breed. This breed gains weight very easily and should not be overfed.

  • Living Conditions

    This breed is good for apartment life. Their small size and active nature when indoors makes the Shih Tzu comfortable in smaller spaces. They do not need a yard or garden as long as they are exercised properly.

  • Exercise

    Shih Tzus do not need a lot of exercise. A short, daily walk will suit them just fine. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs. Like most dogs, they do enjoy running around off-leash in a safe, open area.

  • Life Expectancy

    About 15 years or more.

  • Litter Size

    This breed will tend to have a litter size of around 4-6 puppies, although higher numbers are not uncommon.

  • Grooming

    The Shih Tzu's coat requires a lot of maintenance to keep it looking its best. This means brushing and combing the coat on a daily basis. Some owners will trim the coat to make it easier to look after. A weekly bath is also required and special care must be taken to wash the face as food or dirt can get stuck in the long hair.

  • Group

    Herding, AKC Toy classed under the Non-Sporting Dogs category.

  • Recognition


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