Shih Tzu

Size
Small
Height
9 to 10.5 inches
Weight
9 to 16 pounds
Coat
Long
Color
Black, white, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red and silver
Energy
Low
Activities
Agility, Obedience, Rally

The Shih Tzu is a surprisingly solid toy breed dog with a big personality. These happy little dogs make great companions. In fact, that is their sole purpose. Shih Tzus are outgoing, trusting, affectionate and require little exercise.

Did you know?

 

PERSONALITY

Shih Tzus are friendly, intelligent and lively toy dogs bred for the sole purpose of companionship. They are especially affectionate with children. Despite being mischievous and funny little dogs, they are fairly low maintenance in terms of activity and exercise needs.

While some dogs prefer a yard to explore or long walks outside, a Shih Tzu is perfectly happy perched in your lap as you enjoy a show or book from the comfort of your couch.

Training a Shih Tzu can be a challenge as they have a stubborn tendency. The breed tends to charm his owner into getting his way, which can make house-breaking and trick learning challenging.

FACTS

  • The Shih Tzu was a house pet for most of the Ming Dynasty.
  • Shih Tzu means “lion” in Chinese.
  • In Buddhism, there is an association between the lion and their deity.
  • The Shih Tzu was first classified as an Apsos but became a separate breed in 1935.
  • Shih Tzus are often called “chrysanthemum-faced dogs,” because of the way their hair grows around their face.

HISTORY

Shih Tzus are a piece of Chinese history, developed in the palace of the Chinese emperor centuries ago from Tibetan breeding stock. They are most likely a product of the cross breeding of the Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese.

For hundreds of years, Shih Tzus lived the royal life as lap warmers to emperors and their families. Emperors loved the cute dogs so much, they were often pampered at home and rewards were given to breeders who produced the most beautiful and affectionate dogs.

Although the breed was popular behind the palace gates, Shih Tzus didn’t make their debut to the outside world until the 1930s, not entering the American Kennel Club Stud Book until 1969. Since then, the Shih Tzu has been one of the most popular toy breeds in the US.

Caring for Shih Tzus

 

TEMPERAMENT

The Shih Tzu is affectionate, playful and outgoing.

LIFESPAN

10 to 18 years

SHEDDING

The Shih Tzu’s long, soft coat does not shed but does require daily brushing and baths every three to four weeks. If you don’t want to keep their coat long, they also look adorable in the popular “puppy cut,” which is easier to maintain.

HEALTH

Although the Shih Tzu is a very sturdy toy dog, they are susceptible to health issues, including hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and eye disease.

Corneal dryness and inflammation can happen as a result of improperly closing eyelids. Cataracts, juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and retinal detachment can also occur.

A responsible breeder screens their dogs for conditions that can affect the breed, however.

CHOOSING THE BEST DOG FOOD FOR SHIH TZUS

When it comes to choosing the best dog food for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to take his or her unique breed traits into consideration. Since Shih Tzus are a toy breed, a dog food formulated for small or toy dogs is a smart choice to maintain their ideal body composition.

These foods include:

CHOOSING THE BEST FOOD FOR SHIH TZU PUPPIES

When choosing a food for your Shih Tzu puppy, remember puppies of any breed have specific nutritional needs during their time of development. A formula containing DHA nourishes brain and vision development and antioxidants support their developing immune system to help them thrive during their first year of life.

The following foods meet the needs of a growing puppy: