Shih Tzu Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Shih Tzu Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Dogs in the Shih Tzu breed have origins in China and Tibet. Being one of the earliest lapdogs in history, it is no surprise that the Shih Tzu has remained a favorite companion through the years. They have a playful personality and are both trusting and affectionate. This breed has bright, black button eyes that shimmer with mischief and fun. Other names used for these furballs include Chinese Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog, Lion Dog, and Little Lion. Westerners pronounce Shih Tzu as ‘Sheed-Zoo,’ and in their homeland of China, their name sounds like ‘sher-zer.’

Males and females do not differ much in size or stature. Both stand 7 to 12 inches high, and the males weigh 8 to 16 pounds while the females weigh 6 to 14 pounds. Their expected lifespan is 10 to 18 years, and the females have one to eight puppies per litter once a year.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of the Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are gentle, brave, affectionate dogs, lively in spirit and motion. Intelligent, energetic, and sweet, the Shih Tzu makes a wonderful companion. However, the breed is known to be short-tempered with children and others when spoiled and untrained.

They are fast learners, so do your family and your furry friend a favor by following through with obedience school and socialization. Because of their intelligence and enthusiasm, Shih Tzus are great candidates for lifelong learning. They will proudly show off any new skills, from running agility courses to learning tricks in the living room.

Shih Tzu Breed Traits

Shih Tzu Information


Males 7 to 12 inches

Females 7 to 12 inches


Males 8 to 16 pounds

Females 6 to 14 pounds

Relation with family

Affectionate, Loyal, Energetic, Intelligent, Active, Sweet tempered 

Relation with children

Happy, Affectionate, Gentle, and Playful with older children

Relation with other dogs


Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

A silky single layer at birth, double layer later 

Coat length

The coat length varies according to owner’s choice of trim style

Coat grooming frequency

Daily brushing, monthly bathing, quarterly trimming

Dogs’ Reaction/Openness to Strangers

Friendly, outgoing

Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



10 to 18 years 

How Does the Shih Tzu Interact with Family?

The small, spunky Shih Tzu is known for retaining his puppy-like attitude throughout his life. The Shih Tzu is one of a handful of similar breeds whose job has always been “companion.” They are specifically designed to love and be loved.

Regular grooming is essential for showing off your Shih Tzu dog’s luxurious long hair and keeping it out of their eyes. And you may find yourself needing extra doses of love and care during training. But good news, it all balances out, as these low-shedding pups require less daily exercise than other dogs and can be just as happy playing hide-and-seek in your living room as chasing after a ball in the park.

Shih Tzus are really in their element as long as they get to be with you. Whether that’s part of a large family with lots of kids and four-legged pets or just you two, these companion dogs are happy just being by your side. But take note: Shih Tzu puppies should be supervised when playing with small kids and babies; this toy breed’s small stature can make them vulnerable to injuries.

They can be suitable for new pet parents who are consistent with training their little Chrysanthemum Dog and are home often. A Shih Tzu will suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods; if you’re going to be gone for a while, take your pup to doggy daycare or schedule a play date with a neighbor or friend.

If you want a smart little dog to run you and your home, this is your breed. Shih Tzus pack a lot of love into their tiny bodies and are never happier than when cuddling in their owners’ laps. That doesn’t mean these dogs don’t need exercise and training. Resist the impulse to be overprotective by carrying them everywhere and plucking them out of trouble. Let your dog be a dog. In particular, the Shih Tzu excels at learning tricks and loves to show off.

The Shih Tzu’s happy, courageous nature makes him a wonderful pet for many. However, Shih Tzus are tiny and can easily be injured if play is too rough, or they may snap at a child in self-defense if frightened or hurt. Therefore, early socialization for both Shih Tzu and young children is essential.

How Does the Shih Tzu Interact with Other Dogs?

The Shih Tzu may show aggression toward other dogs of the same gender. Aside from that, though, they are of the “more the merrier” school of thought. However, Shih Tzus often overestimate their size and powers. They suffer from the typical Small-Dog Syndrome or Napoleon Syndrome. They will not hesitate to make dogs much bigger than themselves understand that they are overstepping their boundaries when they come too close.

Shih Tzus are typically good with other pets, and they usually love to play with cats if adequately socialized or raised together. However, these Little Lion Dogs love chasing cats and other small furry things like Hamsters, Gerbils, Rats, or Guinea Pigs for the fun of it. 

As with any pet introduction, be sure to do it slowly and in a controlled environment to make sure they like each other. If you are a multi-pet household, make sure you know that all the animals get along well before you commit to the Shih Tzu. As long as the Shih Tzu is socialized as a pup, he will get along with most other pets. 

How are Shih Tzu with Older People?

Shih Tzus are small dogs that are an excellent fit for the elderly. Males and females weigh only 8 to 16 pounds, which is not too large and heavy for most seniors to handle. Even though they may exhibit a stubborn streak and require extra patience when training, they are worth the effort. Their loyalty and calm manner in all situations serve them in good stead as emotional support animals when their small size is not an issue. 

They need grooming weekly, as they have fast-growing hair. A Shih Tzu is highly energetic and will deal with boredom or restlessness by running indoors and playing with toys. However, for centuries their favorite way to pass the time has been to curl up on their owners’ laps and, if allowed, spend the entire day there.

Older adults who can cope with the grooming and daily walks can make no better choice for a canine companion. Despite their small size, Shih Tzu’s love and loyalty make them protective of their family and property. Despite their small size, they will bark at anyone who dares to come too close before proper introductions. 

Their innate love and loyalty make these sensitive dogs the ideal therapy dogs to comfort the elderly, as long as their humans show affection in return. Older people who cannot take their Shih Tzu for walks can reach out to dog walking services to ensure their canine companions get adequate exercise.

How are Shih Tzu with Children?

A fun-loving breed, Shih Tzus enjoy playing with older children, who understand how to play gently with a small dog, and other four-legged pets as long as proper introductions have been made – they have descended from royalty, after all. They aren’t known for biting, but they may bite if pushed too far in rough play. 

Be sure to supervise your Shih Tzu puppy around young children who may mistake this adorable pup for their favorite stuffy. Shih Tzu Parents with young children should ensure their kiddies sit on the floor when holding the tiny Chrysanthemum Dog puppy. That way, if the pup has had enough and wiggles out of the toddler’s arms, it won’t have far to fall.

Although Shih Tzus are rarely aggressive towards kids, they might not tolerate rough play. Children who are too young to learn how to play with dogs must not be left with the Shih Tzu without adult supervision, regardless of how well you know your dog. The only way your pup has to defend itself against little hands grabbing its hair is to snap and maybe bite the child. 

How are Shih Tzu with Neighbors or Guests?

Shih Tzus are excellent watchdogs, and nobody will come to your door unannounced. Your alert Chrysanthemum fluff ball will let you know before they reach your front door. However, Shih Tzus love people and will join you in welcoming guests who pose no danger. It won’t be long before your Shih Tzu regard neighbors and frequent guests as family members.

What are the Physical Traits of the Shih Tzu? 

The Shih Tzu is a breed of lively, sturdy, and alert little dogs with a beautiful double coat flowing and long. In its full glory, the Shih Tzu coat touches the floor all the way around the dog. The dog’s bearing is as royal as its history, arrogantly carrying his head high and tail curving over his back.

The Shih Tzu is a solid, compact breed with weight and substance. They may be small dogs, but they are strong ones. They have large dark eyes with a short muzzle and fur-covered drop ears. They are just a little longer than tall, with a distinct underbite.


Trait information




Males 7 to 12 inches

Females 7 to 12 inches


Males 8 to 16 pounds

Females 6 to 14 pounds




Round, broad, and wide between eyes, its size in balance with the overall size of the dog


Large, round, not prominent, placed well apart. Very dark. Lighter on liver pigmented dogs and blue pigmented dogs.


Large ears set slightly below crown of skull; heavily coated


Square, short, unwrinkled


Nostrils are broad, wide, and open.


Undershot. The jaw is broad and wide

Exercise Needs



10 to 18 years


The Shih Tzu has a luxurious double coat that consists of a rougher outer coat and a soft inner coat. Your Shih Tzu puppy will have one soft, manageable coat until around the age of seven months when the second one will start to grow in.

Coat color

Any color


Set on high, heavily plumed, carried in curve well over back


Well-boned, muscular, and straight

How to Feed a Shih Tzu? 

Your Shih Tzu’s life stage determines its dietary needs. Toy-sized dogs have different dietary needs for each life stage. Thus, base your Shih Tzu’s diet on a toy breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Several dog food manufacturers include breed-specific, or, at least size-specific formulas in their dry dog foods ranges. 

Shih Tzu Life Stage

Shih Tzu Age


Under 9-12 months


Over 9-12 months


11+ years

It is always good to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Shih Tzu grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Shih Tzu from the table; all it does is add weight. Instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Shih Tzu’s small size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. Your furry friend will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Kibble for small breed dogs is smaller and easy for little toy-sized mouths to eat. Since Shih Tzus are prone to develop dental problems, feeding them dry dog food rather than wet food helps keep their teeth clean. Your Shih Tzu’s daily portion depends on its life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Shih Tzu a food formulated for a small breed and appropriate for its life stage. 

Adult Lion Dogs should generally eat somewhere between ¼ and ¾ cups of food each day, and this food should be divided into two or three meals. Feeding your Shih Tzu several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend.

Since Shih Tzu can have problems with obesity, it will be essential to make sure you are feeding your furry Chrysanthemum Dog the proper amount of food. For senior, adult, and puppy dogs, you’ll want to choose high-quality food from a trusted manufacturer. Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that the food you are feeding your dog meets their nutritional needs.

Examples of premium food specially formulated for small breed seniors, adults, and puppies are listed below:

The best dry dog food for your Senior Shih Tzu is Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food. It is specially formulated to provide whole-body nutritional support and crafted using carefully chosen ingredients, including premium proteins and wholesome grains, supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, taurine, and beta carotene.

The best dry dog food for your Adult Shih Tzu is Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. These tasty, dry recipes are specially formulated for small breed adult dogs. It starts with real chicken as the main ingredient—no chicken by-product meal here. Add lamb, salmon, and a blend of 15 superfoods, and you have a mouthwatering, healthy meal.

The best dry dog food for your Puppy Shih Tzu is Blue Buffalo’s Freedom Small Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This delicious, 100% grain-free, and gluten-free kibble are smaller for your puppy’s tiny mouth. It features real chicken first and is entirely free from poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial flavors and preservatives.

How Much Should a Shih Tzu Puppy Eat? 

The Shih Tzu puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a small breed dog. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Shih Tzu puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable.

The best dry dog food for your Puppy Shih Tzu is Blue Buffalo’s Freedom Small Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.

This delicious, 100% grain-free, and gluten-free kibble features real chicken first and is entirely free from poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial flavors and preservatives.

Since it’s specially designed for small-breed puppies, the kibble is sized smaller, and it contains a proper blend of carbohydrates and protein to meet your little one’s higher energy requirements. Furthermore, it contains DHA and ARA, which are fatty acids also found in mama Shih Tzu’s milk that help support brain and eye development. It also includes BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits—a combination of selected antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins picked by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support your pup’s overall health and wellness.

Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Shih Tzu puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems in their Golden Years, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Shih Tzu should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow free feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Shih Tzu with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule because Shih Tzus are prone to obesity.

What are the Health Tests that Shih Tzu Should Take?

The Shih Tzu is a healthy, sturdy, and well-muscled dog that will live a long, healthy life given proper care and nourishment. The average Shih Tzu lifespan is 10 to 18 years, and some live up to 20 years old. However, it is essential to know that all dog breeds are susceptible to certain diseases, and the Shih Tzu is no exception. Although Shih Tzus are predisposed to some hereditary health conditions, it does not mean they will have these diseases. 

The American Shih Tzu Club does not require mandatory health testing, but they encourage the following: 

Breeders must carefully research the genetic problems that may lurk in the background of the dog’s bloodlines. The breeder should know and work to control and/or eradicate conditions, including those particular to the breed, as listed below.

  • Renal dysplasia
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Hip problems
  • Eye problems
  • Allergies
  • Von Willebrands disease
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Inguinal hernias. 

What are the common health problems of Shih Tzu? 

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Shih Tzu has some health conditions that can be a concern. Although it is a long list of ailments, it does not mean your Shih Tzu will develop any of these health conditions. However, even healthy Shih Tzu should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

    • Portosystemic Shunt: A shunt is formed when blood vessels bypass the liver. A birth defect often causes it. Symptoms include poor muscle development, abnormal behaviors, and stunted growth. Treatments include diet changes and medications.
    • Obesity: Shih Tzus are prone to obesity, so monitor their calorie intake (don’t forget to count treats!) and ensure they get enough indoor and outdoor playtime. Maintaining a healthy weight helps prevent heart disease, joint and back pain, and metabolic or digestive issues.
    • Eye Problems like Glaucoma, entropion, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), etc.
    • Periodontal Disease in dogs is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to gum infections, bone loss, loss of teeth, and other serious health problems.
    • Renal dysplasia (RD) is a medical term that refers to improper development of the kidneys. This condition can be inherited (genetic) or acquired.
  • Hip dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.
  • Reverse Sneezing or Paroxysmal Respiration: Reverse sneezing occurs when the dog rapidly inhales air rather than rapidly exhales air as they do with a normal sneeze. It usually occurs in response to an irritation in the nose or throat that causes a spasm.
  • Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid hormone. Signs of this condition can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes.
  • Distichiasis: The presence of extra eyelashes in dogs is a condition where hairs grow in an unusual area on the eyelid. The hairs will generally grow out of the meibomian glands at the lid of the eyelid.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease is a bleeding disorder caused by a protein deficiency (von Willebrand factor) that helps platelets stick together and form clots. While most dogs with the disease never show symptoms, some dogs may get a spontaneous nose bleed or have prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery.
  • Inguinal hernia: It occurs near the groin where your dog’s hind leg attaches to its body. If the inguinal hernia is large, the bladder or uterus may become trapped, which can be a life-threatening situation.
  • Brachycephaly (flat-faced) problems – Shih Tzus can develop breathing problems without proper care. As with any brachycephalic dog, humid, hot days and frigid days can be dangerous, even fatal. It is important for them to stay in cool temperatures and not become over-exerted. As part of this condition, some dogs have elongated soft palate include breathing difficulties, snoring, stridor, snorting, gagging, etc. Depending on the severity, the dog may be unwilling to exercise and may even develop a complete collapse of the airway.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in Shih Tzu by purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Shih Tzu? 

Bred to be the lapdog of emperors, the Shih Tzu is more well-suited for your air-conditioned living room than the rugged hiking trails of the great outdoors. They do need some daily exercise to manage their moderate energy levels and stay healthy, though much less than what is required for bigger breeds.

Taking your dog out for two to three 20-minute walks a day will help keep their bodies fit and minds entertained. Any longer may be difficult for this short-legged breed to endure. Watch out for signs of exhaustion like heavy panting or lying down on the ground and refusing to budge. 

Because they’re moderately sensitive to heat, avoid the hottest times of the day for your walks and bring some water and a vessel for your Chrysanthemum Dog to drink from. Conversely, you’ll want to dress them up in fleece or jacket in the wintertime and keep their exposure to the cold to no longer than 15 minutes.

Switch up your daily routes for your Shih Tzu to experience different environments, like an open field or a sandy beach, and bring their favorite rubber ball for them to chase. Giving your Shih Tzu lots of opportunities for indoor and outdoor play will stimulate their minds and bodies. You don’t want this curious pup to get bored, as it can lead to behavioral problems like chewing on things around the house or even excessive barking.

What are the Nutritional Needs of Shih Tzu? 

The nutritional needs of a Shih Tzu include high levels of specific nutrients as listed below.

  • Protein: Shih Tzus need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for their health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Shih Tzu’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Shih Tzu need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving your Shih Tzu sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: It is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Shih Tzu puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Shih Tzu by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Shih Tzu.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Shih Tzu are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for Shih Tzu’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Shih Tzu. 

What is the Shedding Level of the Shih Tzu? 

The Shih Tzu’s shedding is minimal, so they can be enjoyed by people who are allergic to other breeds of dogs. In return, it is your responsibility to keep them groomed regularly to maintain their handsome appearance.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of the Shih Tzu? 

There is no doubt that these dogs are high maintenance. Frequent bathing and daily brushing are required to keep the Shih Tzu’s luscious coat free from tangles and matting. They don’t shed often even though they have double coats and are therefore considered hypoallergenic. This is because the Shih Tzus have hair instead of fur. Fur sheds and regrows, while the hair will continue growing until it is cut or trimmed.

Puppy Shih Tzus are born with only an outer coat. When your tiny Lion Dog reaches seven months, it will grow a dense, cottony undercoat, intensifying the grooming process. Insufficient brushing through the undercoat increases the risk of skin infections.

The amount of grooming your Shih Tzu requires depends on the haircut you choose. If you really want to do justice to their pièce de résistance, you’ll likely go for that cascading, waterfall-like coat that will need daily brushing. Even if you trim the pup’s hair to about one to two inches long all over, its coat still needs care about every other day. Regardless of the length, you’ll have to reach through all the layers of hair right down to their skin when you brush to keep their coat free of mats and tangles.

Don’t forget about your furry Chrysanthemum’s mustache and topknot, which you can either tie up into a snazzy little bow or have trimmed to a more manageable length by a groomer. And since they barely shed at all, you’ll be able to catch most of those loose hairs when you brush them. To keep your Shih Tzu smelling good for all those cuddles you’ll be getting, bathe her every three to four weeks to keep her hair and skin healthy without stripping the natural oils from her coat.

If all of this sounds like too much work, take your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer who can give the coat the care it needs or trim it into an easy-care puppy clip that you can manage at home.

Other essential grooming your Shih Tzu needs include:

  • Trimming his nails every week or two.
  • Making them short enough that they don’t click on the floor.
  • Brushing his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall dental health and fresh breath.

What is the Drooling Level of the Shih Tzu? 

If you’re a new Shih Tzu owner, you’d be happy to find your furry puppy’s drooling is minimal. However, drooling is a natural process, and like your mouth waters by the thought or aroma of a favorite dish, your Little Lion Dog’s built-in drool producer will respond to specific triggers. Even low-drooling dogs will drool under certain circumstances. The primary triggers of drooling are listed below, some are natural, and some are red flags to indicate potential health concerns, in which cases you should reach out to your vet. 

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat – even seeing you handle the kibble container can trigger drooling.
  • Excitement – some dogs will drool more heavily when they become excited. That is why guests are frequently slathered in slobber when greeting your dog.
  • Sexual excitement, when a male Shih Tzu spots a female Chrysanthemum Dog in heat, it will trigger drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.
  • Dental issues – an abscessed tooth or accumulation of plaque and tartar
  • Ingesting poison – extreme amounts of foamy, frothy drool are often the first indication that a dog has ingested a poisonous substance. Seek emergency help immediately.
  • A foreign object – small pieces of bone, wood splinters, shards of a destroyed plastic toy, etc. can become lodged between a dog’s teeth or throat.
  • Anxiety – any situation, like heading to the vet for shots, that causes a dog to become nervous
  • Overheating and heavy panting is a dog’s natural way of cooling off, but if an increased amount of drool accompanies it, there might be cause for concern.
  • Growths- Both harmless lumps and more serious, cancerous growths in a dog’s oral cavity
  • Internal Conditions or infections – kidney or liver issues, transmittable diseases like rabies, upper respiratory infections, seizures, strokes, and other internal conditions could all trigger excessive drooling.
  • Nausea – change in diet, motion sickness, overeating, etc

You know your Shih Tzu better than anyone else does. Any drastic or sudden change in your dog’s drooling habits may warrant a trip to the veterinarian as a deviance from the norm may indicate an underlying issue.

What is the Coat Type of the Shih Tzu? 

The Shih Tzu breed is single coated for the first seven months after birth, at which time they grow a dense cottony undercoat. Still, they do not blow their undercoats and need thorough, deep brushing to keep both coats free of tangles and prevent matting. 

What is the Coat Length of the Shih Tzu?

The silky, straight, flat coat hangs long over the sides of the body from a center part almost, if not entirely, to the ground, and it should not impede movement. The long hair on the head may be tied up in a single or double topknot or left hanging. If your Shih Tzu is only a companion and not a show dog, you might prefer to keep its hair trimmed.

What are the Social Traits of the Shih Tzu Breed?

The social traits of the Shih Tzu breed are affection, playfulness, and friendly nature. It gets along well with children, other dogs, and strangers. In fact, your Little Lion is likely to give even a burglar a guided tour. Shih Tzus are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. They are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you feel down. Other social traits of Shih Tzu are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Shih Tzus love playing with their family, from children to grandparents. They are perfect examples of dogs that never grow up. They remain mischievous and playful for most of their lives. They are the ideal companions to keep seniors on their toes while playing games like hide-and-seek in the lounge. However, all they want is food and love. A lap available for most of the day is enough to make your Shih Tzu hear the angels sing. Cuddles and kisses are the food for their souls. Their grooming might be a bit overwhelming, but that is why there are doggy parlors and walkers to ensure your puppy gets adequate exercise. 
  • Children-friendly: Shih Tzus enjoy running around or chasing after children, and playing catch is one of their favorite games. Shih Tzus are sensible enough to take care when young children are part of the play. However, supervision is essential in such circumstances because these dogs are small and easily hurt. Socialization is crucial for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Shih Tzu puppies are easily one of the most friendly pups out there. They generally get along with their human family’s friends, children, and other dogs and cats. If you have a larger animal in the house already or rambunctious kids, monitor them while they play with your Shih Tzu puppy. Shih Tzu puppies can be as small as two and a half pounds at eight weeks, so they are incredibly delicate. Fortunately, Shih Tzu puppies grow quickly and reach their adult size of ten to 16 pounds as early as seven months.
  • Pet-friendly: The Shih Tzu is a playful dog, making him an ideal companion for children and other pets. The Shih Tzu is like a magnet in the dog park, and it is not only humans of every size who want to pet the little Lion Dog, but other dogs cannot stay away either. Every other canine species are typically drawn to the regal prancing of this little Chinese beauty. Every last dog will want to sniff just how special your lapdog is. At home, your Shih Tzu will find great pleasure in chasing fellow furry pets of the feline kind and other critters like hamsters and gerbils, with no other reason than the fun it provides.

How do Shih Tzus Interact with Strangers?

Shih Tzu dogs love people, whether friends or strangers, making them ideal therapy dogs. Despite their small size, many of these miniature Chrysanthemum Dogs serve as therapy dogs to comfort complete strangers. Shih Tzus fulfill their ancient role as canine comforters in ways their Imperial breeders never imagined. 

With guidance from mental health professionals, Shih Tzus are certified for animal-assisted crisis-response work with organizations like HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response in Eugene, Oregon. The strict requirements include obtaining certification through a pet-therapy program, undergoing a screening process, attending a three-day workshop, and continuing education training with FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency].

Helping people in crisis who deal with overwhelming grief, fear, and confusion goes beyond what therapy dogs do when visiting hospital patients who are strangers to them. Examples of some disasters where two Shih Tzus, Emma, a silver and white, and Bear, who is gold with a black mask, provided comfort to traumatized people, are listed below.

  • They’ve eased the pain at school shootings.
  • They’ve helped soften hearts during the floods in West Virginia; Ellicott City, Maryland; and Toms River, New Jersey. 
  • With flaming torches as a backdrop, they calmed responders at the first anniversary of the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • They brought hope to homeowners after a series of hurricanes hit along the Texas coast.

Your Shih Tzu can even learn to serve strange children with learning difficulties by letting the kids practice their reading skills with the Little Lion dogs as their audience. While improving their reading, the children’s self-confidence is also boosted.

Is the Shih Tzu Playful?

The Shih Tzu breed’s temperament traits make him a faithful, playful dog who is everyone’s friend, including children. They never grow up. Like a puppy, the playful Shih Tzu temperament means your Shih Tzu will want to kiss, cuddle, and play with you all day long. Your Little Lion Dog will never decline a chance to play games or learn tricks with children old enough to treat the pup with respect. 

Are Shih Tzu Dogs Protective?

Shih Tzus love their owners so much that they will protect them against any harm that comes their way. Despite their small size, they see themselves as large protectors of their human families and property. With their ability to assess situations much faster than other small breeds, the Shih Tzu is so much more than a pretty face. They make excellent watchdogs; they are always alert for someone approaching your home and will make sure to let you know. Although your Shih Tzu’s growling and barking may not cause an intruder to flee in fear, your tiny watchdog will make sure you know of the threat.

What is the Adaptability Level of the Shih Tzu?

Your Shih Tzu will be happy to live anywhere as long as she is not separated from you. Shih Tzu puppies are very adaptable when it comes to living spaces. Whether you live in a micro-studio, an apartment, or the sprawling countryside, this pup will happily share your home. They adapt easily to any change of condition or climate.

They are no good at hunting or herding, but they are great at loving their humans. Be sure to give your Shih Tzu puppy lots of one-on one-attention to build a strong, beautiful relationship. They need to live as a part of their family, going where they go, doing what they do. Sleeping on your bed or its own, being near their people is their greatest joy.

What are the Personality Traits of the Shih Tzu? 

The Shih Tzu is happy, even-tempered, and eager to please, with just a touch of arrogance, as befits his former role as a companion in the Chinese royal court. In fact, the Shih Tzu’s sole purpose throughout history is that of a loving and loved companion. 

This breed is destined for magazine covers with their luxuriously long, silky hair. At least, that seems to be their attitude. Shih Tzu is a popular dog breed worldwide, and for good reasons. They’re smart, playful, and sweet. Similarly, the Shih Tzu breed is one of the most loyal toy breeds, attaching themselves to their owner on the couch and on the street. Because they love lots of affection, Shih Tzus are prone to suffer from separation anxiety.

Shih Tzu is unafraid, and they’ll stroll up to new dogs and people comfortably. A Shih Tzu is an excellent option for pet owners looking for a social pup. Like any breed, Shih Tzu benefits from plenty of socialization early on. Expose them to new people, pets, smells, and sights as soon as you’re comfortable. Whatever you do, a Shih Tzu is willing to be there with you. He’s up for anything and isn’t demanding. He’s not high strung, either, and can make a great companion for a senior.

If you’re doing something mundane like cleaning the refrigerator, he will sit by and watch in solidarity. If you’re watching TV, he’ll watch too. If you’re up for play, the Shih Tzu is too. If you’re tired, he’ll take a snooze along with you. Your Chrysanthemum Dog doesn’t care what you do as long as he’s doing it with you. Left with toys to play with, your Shih Tzu can entertain himself and doesn’t mind if you work all day as long as you come home to him and give him some love.

Shih Tzus tend to like dogs and children. They enjoy play dates and can make excellent therapy dogs. Some like cats and some don’t; it seems to be entirely an individual preference rather than a breed trait. He is playful and, on occasion, mischievous. He will steal your shoes, and he may want you to chase him after he steals them. On the other hand, if he really likes them, he might bury them, and the Shih Tzu is not above taking toys from other dogs.

Can a Shih Tzu be Dangerous?

Shih Tzus are not considered dangerous dogs; however, the importance of training cannot be overstated. Like any other animal, Shih Tzu may become dangerous if they are scared or have to defend themselves. Their small size takes nothing away from the sharpness of their teeth.

Fear is generally why most dogs act aggressively towards other dogs and sometimes humans, especially if they have a history of past abuse from a previous owner. Fear-based behavior is due to a lack of adequate socialization and being in an unfamiliar situation, context, environment, or experience with many dogs.

Do Shih Tzus Ever Attack?

The Shih Tzu dog usually is not an aggressive breed, but some of these cute “lion dogs” can exhibit an aggressive streak. The severity of a Shih Tzu’s aggression varies from dog to dog, but no matter how mild or extreme a pup’s aggressive behavior is, it needs correcting as soon as possible.

Can a Shih Tzu Kill Humans?

Shih Tzu dogs never have and likely never will kill a human. Instead, several records exist of cases in which large dogs have mauled Shih Tzus to death. That can happen because many Shih Tzus are friendly with all dogs and might just jump up against an exceptionally aggressive dog that doesn’t tolerate small furry canines. 

Do Shih Tzus cope with being left alone?

Generally speaking, you can leave your Shih Tzu alone for relatively short periods if he is trained well. Depending on your Shih Tzu’s temperament, he might start getting into mischief if left alone for too long. Remember that Shih Tzus are very extroverted animals who thrive on company, so being alone is counter to their preferences. They are prone to Separation anxiety.

Potty issues and any destructive tendencies should also factor into your decision. Start with small increments and increase over time to see how your Shih Tzu handles being alone. If you need to leave for more than an hour or two each day, you might want to reconsider whether having a dog is a good fit for you. However, Shih Tzu’s are not shy, and a doggy daycare where he can find playmates might be the ideal solution to avoid separation anxiety.

Can I leave my Shih Tzu at home?

Shih Tzus tend to become anxious and withdrawn when left alone. When left in isolation, they display signs of separation anxiety. However, Shih Tzus form strong bonds with all the family members. So, when some of them have somewhere to go, the Shih Tzu will be OK if the rest of the family or even just one family member remains at home.

Can Shih Tzu be left alone for 8 hours?

Shih Tzu needs company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours because they are predisposed to anxiety. Isolation for more than a couple of hours could cause separation anxiety. Don’t get a Shih Tzu if you must leave him on his own for hours. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods.

Leaving your Shih Tzu alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. Hearing your voice might calm your little fluffball. Some owners of these precious Little Lions record the family’s conversations and play the recordings while they are away. 

The dog owners report their voices calm their furry pups enough to keep them calm even when their Human Mama gets home, with none of the typical almost hysterical excitement as when they were anxiously awaiting their owners to return. 

If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety. Once they become anxious, Shih Tzu tend to chew whatever they can find and dig holes wherever they can.

How to Train a Shih Tzu? 

The lovable Shih Tzu dog breed is notoriously attention-hungry, so the key to getting them to do what you want is to lay it on thick with praise and rewards. With the right blend of consistency, gentleness, and firmness, you can overcome your pet’s stubborn streak. It’s essential to keep practicing commands (like sit, stay, and come) and obedience throughout your Shih Tzu’s life. But remember to use only rewards and positive reinforcement methods. As this breed is prone to anxiety, raising your voice can backfire and cause your pet to misbehave.

Because they have small bladders, housetraining can be particularly challenging. Taking your Shih Tzu out every few hours or immediately after having an accident can help them learn to associate going outside with potty time. Puppy training and socialization classes are highly recommended; the earlier you start, the better. 

Though they naturally want to please you, they still have their own mind and could make a mad dash across the street if they see another dog. So, it’s essential to keep your pup on a leash when outdoors. 

Start socializing your puppy while they’re young to help them get used to interactions with other dogs and people outside their family. Take them on walks to let them meet (and sniff!) neighbors and other dogs, and enroll in puppy school. At puppy school, they’ll learn how to play nicely with other puppies, and they get to mix and mingle with other adults, all under one roof. Below is a list of ideas to make training your Shih Tzu easier.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Shih Tzu will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Shih Tzu.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Shih Tzu will learn to obey only sometimes.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Shih Tzu.
  • Making your Shih Tzu sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Shih Tzu with love in your heart will avoid Shih Tzu seeing training as punishment.

Don’t forget you’ll need to give your Shih Tzu fair, consistent training, or you’re likely to end up with a badly-behaved dog whose favorite hobbies are escaping from the backyard and jumping on everyone who comes into the house.

If you don’t train your Shih Tzu early, here’s what may happen.

Shih Tzu breed dogs can easily become picky eaters, but that problem is often unintentionally created by people. Don’t let your Shih Tzu get away with it. Give him time to adapt to what he is supposed to eat, as opposed to lunging for your cheesecake.

A Shih Tzu can be stubborn, but it’s hardly the hallmark of the breed. He may not give training the same priority that you do, and it may require some patience and extra time on your part to fully housebreak him. He can be terrific at agility, so he can certainly learn to follow commands. This vivacious little clown is confident and may have a bit too much self-importance, but that’s only to be expected given his imperial background.

Some Shih Tzus can chew too much stuff, nip a bit too often, jump on people, and lick enough to lose fur. The Shih Tzu feels that he is large and in charge, and he can growl to protect his food and toys if he isn’t taught to play nicely and share.

No matter how sweet or small, any dog can develop obnoxious levels of barking, chewing, and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained, or unsupervised. Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. He is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him.

How Frequently Does a Shih Tzu Bark?

Yes, Shih Tzus are notorious barkers that make a lot of noise when hungry, frightened, bored, depressed, or when they want to assert their dominance. Some Shih Tzu are quieter than others, but you can always count on them to be louder than average.

Your family dog will bark mostly for territorial reasons and attention-seeking. Shih Tzu can be clingy towards family members in the home and may bark or cry when their favorite person ignores them. Shih Tzu do not bark without reason, but their reason could be as insignificant as an unfamiliar sound. Training and socialization can control excessive barking, but Shih Tzu will always bark when necessary.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Shih Tzu hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Shih Tzu barks to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Shih Tzu may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Shih Tzu feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Shih Tzu uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Shih Tzu is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Shih Tzu? 

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Shih Tzu happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep your Shih Tzu occupied.

Shih Tzu are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. Shih Tzu’s playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Shih Tzu, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Shih Tzu who are six to 10 years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent accidents
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns
  • Low interest in physical activities
  • Poor social skills

What are the Breed Standards of Shih Tzu? 

The Shih Tzu is a toy breed as cute as a button with a rounded skull, a pitch-black nose, brown eyes, and medium-length floppy ears. The tail is feathery and curled. He has a long, silky coat without an undercoat. The color of his coat is pure white, and because he doesn’t shed, he is looked upon as being hypoallergenic. Most people who own a Shih Tzu like having the coat short to one length all around.

Some of the breed standards of Shih Tzu are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Shih Tzu Breed Information 


Pure White.


Shih Tzu are classified as a Toy Breed

Eye Color 

The dark brown, round eyes are set not too far apart. Eye rims are close-fitting, and black, and enhance the gentle, yet alert expression


Weight is 4 to 7 pounds.


Height 8 to 10 inches at the withers

Average lifespan 

Shih Tzu have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years

What is the General Information about Shih Tzu? 

The Chinese greatly admired the lion’s qualities and attributed these same qualities to their little “lion dogs.” The Chinese so admired the Shih Tzu that if you were to mess with the Emperor’s Shih Tzu, he would have you killed by slow torture. Like the Bombyx Mori (Silkworm), the Emperor threatened the Chinese with certain death for those who sold or gifted Shih Tzus to anyone outside the Borders of China.

Traders made money from the sales of Silkworm eggs smuggled out of China in their hollowed-out walking sticks. Because the Shih Tzu pups were limited to the laps of the elite in the Royal Palaces, none were smuggled out of China. The rest of the world only learned about the existence of these miniature Lion Dogs called Shih Tzu after 1930. 

Considering the privileged lives led by their ancestors, it is only natural for these dignified, confident tiny Lion Dogs to move about in their arrogant, head-held-high carriage. When they regally drape their feathered tails over their backs, it’s hard to imagine the types of mischief the Shih Tzu can be up to. 

Where to Buy or Adopt a Shih Tzu? 

A purebred Shih Tzu’s price can range between $750 and $3,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies from well-known breeders can cost as much as $4,000 or more from top breeders. 

If you want to bring a Shih Tzu home, do not rush. If you respond to an advertisement of “purebreds” available immediately upon request, be prepared to be scammed. Reputable breeders typically have waiting lists for each litter born under their supervision. Being on a waiting list allows prospective Shih Tzu owners the time to learn all about the special little puppy they will bring home soon. 

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote their puppies. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal.

You could expect a responsible breeder to advise you to have the puppy checked by a veterinarian within 2 days (48 hours) of sale, with additional time allowed if the puppy is sold on a Saturday or Sunday, and provide a written agreement to refund the purchase price or take the puppy back and replace it if it is found to be unfit by a veterinarian. 

Shih Tzu puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making Shih Tzu a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful, healthy companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed. The Shih Tzu is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Shih Tzu owners in touch with reputable breeders. Note that the AKC Marketplace has a listing of Shih Breeders who have agreed to and signed the Code of Ethics. This listing should be used for reference only and due diligence is your responsibility.

  •  American Shih Tzu Club, Inc.
  • American Kennel Club Marketplace
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • The Canadian Shih Tzu Club
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • The Shih Tzu Club UK
  • The Shih Tzu Club of Scotland 
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Shih Tzu Club of Victoria Inc (AU)
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club
  • Europetnet
  • Denimay Shih Tzu Miami, Florida
  • Glory Ridge Shih-Tzu Warsaw, Missouri
  • Shihtzu Treasures Lima, Ohio
  • Shihtzu Garden Morgan Hill, California
  • High Point Shih Tzu Montague, New Jersey
  • Puppies on the Prairie Hayti, South Dakota
  • Serendipity Shihtzu Olympia, Washington

If you manage to track down Shih Tzu breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Shih Tzu puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Shih Tzu puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Shih Tzu may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Shih Tzu is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Shih Tzus? 

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Shih Tzu can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder in the U.S., then your first stop should be the American Shih Tzu Club website where you will find a link to a list of recommended facilities where you might find the perfect little Chrysanthemum Dog to rescue. A Shih Tzu rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Shih Tzu mix. Similar sources are listed below for Canada, the UK, and Europe.

Shih Tzu mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

The adoption fee for a Shih Tzu from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $300 and $400. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Shih Tzu or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • American Shih Tzu Association Rescue
  • United Kingdom Shih Tzu Rescue – ADOPTIONS
  • Shih Tzu Club of Great Britain
  • Canada Shih Tzu Rescue Groups
  • Canada’s Guide to Dogs 
  • American Shih Tzu Club (USA) 
  • US Shih Tzu Rescue
  • Shih Tzu Rescue, Inc, Florida
  • Furever Shih Tzu & Companion Dog Rescue – Missouri, Kansas, Ohio
  • BlueGrass Shih Tzu Rescue – Kentucky & Tennessee
  • Lone Star Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso Rescue – Texas
  • FurBaby Rescue – Washington State Shih Tzu/Lhasa Rescue
  • South Florida Shih Tzu Rescue
  • New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue – Wisconsin
  • Shih Tzu Action Rescue – Northern England UK
  • Southern Shih Tzu Rescue – Throughout England and Wales
  • Shih Tzu Club – Wirral, Liverpool & District, and Kent England
  • Rescue Me – Canada Shih Tzu Rescue
  • Tzu Zoo Rescue Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Shih Tzu rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Shih Tzu online the reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

Wherever you acquire your Shih Tzu, make sure you have a solid contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Puppy or adult, take your Shih Tzu to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues. Shih Tzu mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Shih Tzu, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Shih Tzu mixes.

  • Shih Tzu & Poodle mix = Shih-Poo or Shoodl
  • Shih Tzu & Maltese mix = Mal-Shi, Malti zu or Malt-Tz
  • Shih Tzu & Yorkie mix = Shorkie
  • Shih Tzu & Chihuahua mix = Shichi
  • Shih Tzu & Pomeranian mix = Shiranian
  • Shih Tzu & Bichon mix = Shichon
  • Shih Tzu & Dachshund mix = Schweenie

What is the History of the Shih Tzu? 

When you own a Shih Tzu, you own a little bit of Chinese history. Imperial breeders in the palace of the Chinese emperor developed the Shih Tzu (meaning “lion dog”) centuries ago from Tibetan breeding stock. The breed is most likely the product of crosses of two even older Sino-Tibetan breeds, the Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese.

For hundreds of years, Shih Tzus lived the life of royal lap warmers and were pampered by emperors and their families. Emperors would give valuable gifts to breeders of Shih Tzus, who produced the most beautiful and affectionate dogs.

The breed remained hidden behind palace walls, virtually unknown to the outside world, until the 1930s. Breed clubs formed in Peking and later England further refined the breed, not without much debate among fanciers as to proper type. The Shih Tzu entered the AKC Stud Book in 1969.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for a Shih Tzu? 

The prices of Shih Tzu range between $750 and $3,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the status of the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will not be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, and when you do, the price could be $300 to $400, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Shih Tzu and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Shih Tzu and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down significantly, but it’s best to be prepared that a Shih Tzu will be a significant amount to a family’s monthly expenses.

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Shih Tzu are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to the maintenance costs of Shih Tzu because they need frequent professional grooming to trim and bathe the Shih Tzu’s silken coat.

How to Name a Shih Tzu? 

Choosing a name for your Shih Tzu involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Shih Tzu’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters.

Shih Tzu respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and, “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Shih Tzu pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Shih Tzu will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds.

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction, yelling, or calling your Shih Tzu. Below is a list of suggestions of names for your Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu Breed Names

Honoring their fame and spunkiness

Shih Tzu Boy Names

Shih Tzu Girl Names


The Shih Tzu with his own YouTube channel and over half a million Instagram followers

Choo Choo

A Shih Tzu owned by Queen Elizabeth


A co-star on Dougie’s videos who was rescued from life on the streets of Connecticut

Bing and Bong 

Twin Shih Tzus owned by Mariah Carey


Meaning “one who is mischievous”


A Shih Tzu owned by Nicole Richie


A play on the word lion; can also refer to the fact that Shihs Tzus were called lion dogs


A Shih Tzu owned by Fantasia Barrino, for American Idol winner


Another play on the word “lion”


Refers to “one who enjoys sitting closely”

What are the Different Types of Shih Tzu? 

Available in different shapes and sizes, Shih Tzus come in unique varieties. Each variety listed below is as cuddly and affectionate as the next one. 

  • American Shih Tzu
  • European Shih Tzu
  • Imperial Shih Tzu
  • Teacup Shih Tzu
  • Blue-eyed Shih Tzu
  • Brown Shih Tzu
  • Black Shih Tzu
  • Brindle Shih Tzu

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Shih Tzu? 

Shih Tzu may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Shih Tzu at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Shih Tzu may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Shih Tzu. 

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Maltese: Looks similar but with higher energy and only one coat. more about Maltese Dog Breed Social life care & diet information.
  • Pekingese: Slightly smaller than the Shih Tzu, its coat is less dense, less smooth, and shorter.
  • Llasa Apso: A close lookalike that’s also from Tibet, this breed has a longer snout and a hard coat.

Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.