The Shih Tzu Breed - What You Need To Know

Posted by ted@pethangout 09/03/2019 0 Comment(s)

The Shih Tzu Dog Breed - What You Need to Know



Welcome to our Dog Breed series!  


Today Pet Hangout is talking about the very sweet Shih Tzu. 

 Keep reading to learn all about the Shih Tzu and what you need to know!


General Description:

The Shih Tzu dog is a spunky and small, sweet dog that will steal your heart.    


They are best known for their gentle, playful, and outgoing nature.    When groomed, they can look so precious with small bows in their hair.  


They are also considered less maintenance due to the fact that they normally DO NOT shed their fur.



The male ranges from 7.9 - 11 inches tall and weighs 8.8 - 16 pounds.  


The female ranges from 7.9 - 11 inches tall and weighs 8.8 - 16 pounds as well.  


Their life expectancy is anywhere from 10 - 16 years.   Their colors range from Black, White, Liver, Brindle, Liver & White, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Blue, Gold, and Black & White.

They are best known for their desire to cuddle and their "oh so adorable" face. 

They aren’t the quickest to learn new commands or tricks.   But that’s okay, they more than make it up in their loyal companion department!  

Just know that you will have to issue a new command many times with your Shih Tzu… possibly up to 60 - 80 repetitions before he or she “gets it”.

They are happiest playing and hanging out with their family and favorite humans.   They have a huge need to stay close to their humans always.    

Brown and White Shih Tzu Dog


Black Shih Tzu Dog


Grey and White Shih Tzu Dog


Gracie wearing her pretty pink bows and bandana.


Sweet Shih Tzu doggie.



Profile of the perfect Shih Tzu dog parent:

  • Willing to give them at least 25 minutes of exercise/day.   
  • You love to cuddle with your pup.
  • You have bunches of patience with teaching new tricks and housebreaking them.   
  • Is willing to socialize your dog with other animals and people.
  • Doesn’t normally yell to correct - they can be sensitive.


Questions to ponder before taking the leap:

  • Will a clingy dog get on my nerves?
  • Will I be able to include my Shih Tzu in daily activity with me? 
  • Will I become frustrated that my dog doesnt learn tricks as easily as some other breeds?
  • Will it be difficult to expose my pup to other people and animals for proper socialization?
  • Will I be able to bath or get my dog groomed weekly?  



Shih Tzu at a glance (score 1 - 10  1 = low/small; 10 = high/large)

Care Demand:  7

Social:  10

Good with children/elderly:  8 (if properly socialized at an early age)

Needs to be around humans:  9

Can be independent:  6

Likes to be around other animals:  8 (could go either way depending on their socialization with other animals)   

Destructive as a puppy:  10 (give lots of toys when you are away)

Destructive as an adult:  7

Health issues:  6

Life Expectancy:  8

Playful:    9

Needs lots of exercise:  6

Whiney grade:  5

Needs lots of grooming:  7 (although doesnt shed, needs regular baths to keep the smell at bay)

Amount of Food/Day:  6

Puppy Troubles: 9


Black and White Shih Tzu dog.


Brown and White Shih Zhu puppy


Cute Shih Tzu dog sleeping.


Shih Tzu doggie resting in the grass.


Gracie a Shih Tzu underneath the christmas tree.



More about the Shih Tzu:


Notable Cool Facts:  

The ancestry of the Shih Tzu breed is more than 1,000 years old.

“Shih Tzu” is a Mandarin phrase that means “Little Lion”.

They are affectionately called chrysanthemum-faced dogs because their facial hair grows in every direction.



The Shih Tzu originated actually in Tibet, not China.    The dogs were sent to Chinese royalty as gifts who in turn bred them with Pekingese or Pugs to create the modern version of the Shih Tzu that we know and love today.

They were virtually wiped out from China during the Communist Revolution.    One of the major contributing factors was the death of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi in 1908.   She supervised an excellent breeding program for the Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and Pugs.    

7 male and 7 female Shih Tzus were bred to rebuild the breed.  Every Shih Tzu today can be traced back to these 14 ancestors.


Behavior (personality):       

     Children - Since this breed is highly affectionate, gentle, and playful, it meshes well with children.   You only need to make sure they are handling them properly and not pulling at their tail, eyes, etc.

     Elderly - A loyal and faithful companion for the elderly, especially a middle-aged to a senior dog.   They play less and desire to sleep in laps more!

      Play - Very athletic and playful.    Give intellectual toys to stimulate and challenge them too.

     Other Pets - Generally gets along well with other pets.

     Strangers - Most Shih Tzus will say, what is a stranger?   They love, love, love pets and attention from any willing body.

    When in a new environment -  Adjusts very well to new environments and new surroundings.



        Feeding:  A grown Shih Tzu eats 1 - 1.5 cups daily depending on their activity level.   Normally, feed  .5 - .75 cups in the morning and once again in the evening.  

Please choose a high-quality food with high protein.  This is very important for the healthy growth of your Shih Tzu.

        Grooming - Try to brush at least once / week.     They normally do not shed but brushing keeps hair mats away.   It’s also a good idea to bathe them weekly and have their fur trimmed away from their eyes once / month.    

You will find that their skin gets very oily, thus regular grooming keeps oils off of furniture and keeps the “doggie smell” down.

        Exercise - A brisk 20 - 25 minute walk each day is great for them.

        As a Puppy - As the puppy matures, they will need more exercise.   A good starting point is to provide 5 minutes of exercise/month of age.   For example, if your puppy is 4 months old, he should get 20 minutes of exercise daily.



Common Health Issues (The Shih Tzu is generally a very healthy breed but can experience some of the issues below):  

  • Keratitis
  • Proptosis
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Collapsing Trachea
  • Intervertebral Disk Disease
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Stenotic Nares
  • Hypothyroidism





There are a lot of things to think about when searching for a reputable Shih Tzu breeder.  

Check out for reputable breeder information

It’s full of a wealth of information on questions to ask, things to look for, the different types of breeders, and all the good, bad, and ugly of the breeding world.    

Educate yourself with the facts first before talking to a breeder for the love of the Shih Tzu Breed!



Watch this intro video on the Shih Tzu:


Are you going to get a Shih Tzu?

    Tell us below what you just love about them...


For more small dog breed info, be sure to click over to The Pomeranian Breed - What You Need to Know, Exposing Ella The Morkie Killer Dawg,  and 12 Small Dog Breeds That Will Love Your Kids.

This post is dedicated to our sweet Gracie, our resident Shih Tzu, who always loved us unconditionally.   You will be forever in our hearts sweet girl!!



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