A Shih Tzu stands by a body of water.
A Shih Tzu stands by a body of water.

Shih Tzu

avatarStephanie Lenoir LVT, VTS (ECC)

Height19-22"
Weight45-55 lbs
TypeToy
Life Expectancy10-16 years
Area of OriginChina

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The Shih Tzu is a very docile and intelligent toy breed. They were bred to be friendly, outgoing, and sweet-natured companions. Physically, they're known for their small size and extremely long, flowing hair coat. They make great family pets and are good with other dogs and children, but don't make the best watchdogs, since they're not suspicious of strangers.  

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Shih Tzu From?

The Shih Tzu originated in East Asia, China, and Tibet. There are paintings and documentation of the Shih Tzu dating back nearly 1000 years in China. This breed got their name because of their resemblance to the lion, hence the direct translation of Shih Tzu, meaning “”little lion.”” They were bred to be a house pet and companions for the royal family in China in the 17th Century. The royals cherished these breeds so much that they refused to sell or trade them. They were developed as a cross between the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, and the Pekingese.

The Shih Tzu first arrived in the US in the 1930s and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969.

Where Are Shih Tzu From?

The Shih Tzu originated in East Asia, China, and Tibet. There are paintings and documentation of the Shih Tzu dating back nearly 1000 years in China. This breed got their name because of their resemblance to the lion, hence the direct translation of Shih Tzu, meaning “”little lion.”” They were bred to be a house pet and companions for the royal family in China in the 17th Century. The royals cherished these breeds so much that they refused to sell or trade them. They were developed as a cross between the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, and the Pekingese.

The Shih Tzu first arrived in the US in the 1930s and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969.

Care

How Often Do I Need to Feed My Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzu puppies need to be fed four small meals a day to prevent hypoglycemia, since this breed is small and doesn’t yet possess fat reserves. Adult dogs may be fed twice daily depending on the brand and amount of food. Dry food is a good choice for the breed, since it helps reduce tartar and combat dental disease. They are also considered a brachycephalic breed, so it is important to avoid overfeeding them, since it can contribute to breathing difficulties.

Caring for a Shih Tzu

How Often Do I Need to Feed My Shih Tzu?

Do Shih Tzu Shed?

Are Shih Tzu Healthy Dogs?

How Do You Train a Shih Tzu?

Do Shih Tzu Need Daily Walks?

How Often Do I Need to Feed My Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzu puppies need to be fed four small meals a day to prevent hypoglycemia, since this breed is small and doesn’t yet possess fat reserves. Adult dogs may be fed twice daily depending on the brand and amount of food. Dry food is a good choice for the breed, since it helps reduce tartar and combat dental disease. They are also considered a brachycephalic breed, so it is important to avoid overfeeding them, since it can contribute to breathing difficulties.

What Are the Physical Traits of a Shih Tzu?

The Shih Tzu is not the most energetic breed. They do not require much exercise, sustaining on a 10 to 15-minute walk twice a day. Exercise in the warmer months needs to be done with caution, since they do not tolerate heat well. They make great apartment pets because of their small size and low energy level.

The Shih Tzu has a round and broad head. There is a wide space between their eyes, which are dark and round in shape. They have a short muzzle, slight overbite, and large ears that are folded over and covered with hair.

The body of a Shih Tzu is a little longer then it is tall. They are well-balanced, sturdy dog with no waistline.

The tail is heavily covered in hair and is curved over the back, resembling a feather duster.

Front legs are straight and short, sitting apart and right under the chest.

The Shih Tzu can be found in a variety colors: such as white with tan, light brown, dark brown, and liver. Their hair is similar to human hair, as opposed to that of another dog breed, since it’s typically soft and straight.

The hind legs are proportional with the forequarters.

Shih Tzu Facts

1

Shih Tzu are also known as "Chrysanthemum-Faced Dog" because of the resemblance between their hair growth and the petals of a flower.

2

There are quite a few celebrities who own and love this breed. Bill Gates owned a Shih Tzu named Ballmer for many years. Even Queen Elizabeth ll had a Shih Tzu named Choo Choo, whom she loved dearly.

3

During the Communist Revolution in China, Shih Tzu almost became extinct because the Dowager Empress halted the breeding program.

Other Breeds to Explore

Choosing a Lhasa Apso
Havanese
Pekingese

References

  • Morris, Desmond. Dog: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.

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