Shih Tzu

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.



Not taller than 26.7cm.


Between 4.5 to 8.1kg.

Agility, Obedience, Rally

The Shih Tzu is affectionate, playful and outgoing.

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.

10 to 18 years

The Shih Tzu’s coat comes in an array of different colors, including black, white, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red and silver.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Find responsible breeders on RightPaw

Looking for your new best friend? RightPaw makes the journey of finding a puppy simpler, safer and more supportive. Visit RightPaw to search for verified breeders, learn about their breeding programs, and apply for a puppy.

Find responsible Shih Tzu breeders on RightPaw