Shih Tzu



This breed’s name means “lion dog”. The Shih Tzu was bred in Tibet, but the greatest popularity has received in China, where this active and the affectionate dog had the status of a companion of the imperial family.

Height: 10-11 inches  Weight: 9-16 pounds  Lifespan: 12-16 years


Shih Tzus are small, and yet sturdy little dogs. He has expressive dark eyes and a short muzzle. This dog breed has an aristocratic bearing, and it behaves nobly and proudly. Hence, despite the fact that the Shih Tzu looks like a stuffed toy, he is a graceful dog. Comparable Breeds: The Lhasa Apso and Pekingese.


The Shih Tzu is a companion dog, which loves to spend quality time with his family. This breed gets along well with teenagers and other pets within the family. But, even though Shih Tzus are very sociable and self-confident, they are extremely wary of strangers. Therefore, they make excellent guards. This dog breed does not tolerate loneliness, and if left neglected for long, it can become unmanageable and destructive. Shih Tzus are usually quiet and obedient, but they are sometimes too playful and excessively stubborn. The Shih Tzu should be treated with respect, but keep in mind that he gets spoiled easily.

Coat / Care:

The Shih Tzu is covered with a long, thick coat, which consists of two layers. The outer layer is luxurious and slightly wavy, usually so long that it drags along the ground. The undercoat is very soft and dense. The Shih Tzu comes in a variety of colors, including different shades of gold, white, brown and black. This dog breed is an extremely low shedder, and his coat does not cause allergic reactions. However, it needs serious care. To prevent the hair from tangling, Shih Tzu must be combed on an everyday basis. Also, make sure to bathe your pet at least once a month. Particular attention should be paid to the Tzu’s eyes, nose, ears and oral cavity. The Shi Tzu can suffer from kidney disease and dysplasia of knee joints. Because of its short muzzle, this dog breeds snores and has a propensity to bronchitis. Additionally, make sure to feed your dog properly, since Shih Tzus are prone to obesity. This breed does not tolerate damp climate.


The Shih Tzu is difficult to teach the house rules regarding cleanliness, so special cell may be required for the training. This breed is always willing to please its master and learns with ease. However, since it sometimes shows excessive stubbornness, education should be consistent and strict. Positive reinforcement, particularly motivation, is usually the most effective approach.


Shih Tzu needs short, day-to-day walks or vigorous indoor games. This breed is ideal for apartment living. Nonetheless, the Shih Tzu prefers a small courtyard, where he will be able to play freely.

Photo credit: Robert Nunnally/Flickr

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