Shih Tzu Breed

Everything about Shih Tzu

Flattened snout, slightly almond-shaped eyes and striking personality: this is the Shih Tzu! Known for being very companions, Shih Tzus are not hunting dogs or sportsmen, the purpose of their lives is to love and be loved by their human parents, serving as an incredible companion dog. Always ready to receive affection, they are very docile and friendly with children and other dogs. They are definitely indoor dogs and adapt very well to apartments because they are small and do not need a lot of space to move, however, this does not exclude the need for regular exercise. Shih Tzus adapt very well to different “types of tutors”, when you want to walk they will be by your side, or, when you want to take a nap, they will also be, as they have always done since they first appeared.

Dimensions of Shih Tzu

Size: From 25 to 27 cm

Weight: From 4 to 8 kg


The Shih Tzu’s coat, if not shorn, is characterized by long and abundant hair that can be slightly wavy. There are several color variations, but they usually have a white stripe on the front of the head and white hair on the tail as well. Due to their shearing, we may not notice the loose hairs around the house, but they also change hair at certain times of the year. Knots can happen frequently when not properly brushed, which is why many tutors end up opting for the baby grooming, which in addition to giving a puppy appearance to adults, is easier to maintain.


Because their eyeballs are very exposed, Shih Tzus need special attention for this region in order to avoid suffering injuries such as keratitis, corneal ulcers, dry eye, etc., in addition to accidents. The hygiene of this region should be done weekly by cleaning the secretion in the corner of the eyes with specific products for pets. A Shih Tzu parent must be committed to brushing to prevent the hair from getting tangled and forming knots that can hurt the dog’s skin. Grooming can be important, since it keeps the hair in order and does not compromise the movements due to the length. Dental care is also important, so brushing should be a habit from an early age. The main dermatological diseases of Shih Tzus are superficial pyoderma, contact dermatitis and otitis. Coprophagia (habit of ingesting feces) is also extremely common to the breed. Some experts even believe that this is genetic. Periodic visits to the veterinarian are recommended, mainly for good follow-up by performing stool and urine tests to check kidney function.

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Docile, friendly and companion: these are three characteristics that describe the temperament of a Shih Tzu very well. They get attached to their humans in the first days of living together. Like most other dogs, when changing teeth they can gnaw the wrong things, so biting toys are the best allies for these times and great alternatives for them not to choose other objects. They usually welcome visitors and other animals as well. But for this to always be a reality, the ideal is to accustom your pet from puppy to people and other pets.


The Shih Tzu has very particular characteristics of its breed that involve obedience, for example. One should not expect family or home protection activities, as they stand out more as good companions and not as protectors. If you want to train your Shih Tzu to respond to commands, you must have a lot of patience and consistency: they are intelligent dogs, but they can take 40 to 50 repetitions of command to learn a trick, for example. They can be a little stubborn, but it is not a striking feature of the breed. They are playful and very fun, able to steal your slipper just so you can go after it and play with it. They are a little independent, but they like company, so it is necessary to help them not to develop separation anxiety. Shih Tzus are very sociable and can become good friends with other animals. Coprophagy must be corrected since puppy or this habit can last for the life of your dog. Talk to a veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist about this.

Life expectation

Shih Tzus can live between 10 and 15 years when well cared for.


Shih Tzus have a long, thin coat, which can tangle and make knots that hurt the animal’s skin. For this reason, frequent brushing is important, as well as a monthly grooming mainly around the eyes, to prevent the hairs from impairing your puppy’s good vision. Weekly or fortnightly baths are important and remember: care must be taken not to get water in the ear, as it can cause ear infections. If natural nail wear does not occur by walking on rough floors, nail cutting should be provided every 45 days, on average. Bet on steaks, bones, cookies and lots of toys to make your Shih Tzu happy and draw his attention.

Fun Facts

The name Shih Tzu is of Chinese origin and means “little lion”. As mentioned in the legends, Shih Tzus slept at the feet of Chinese nobles. They are and have always been very popular in China. Shih Tzus can have up to 19 color combinations in the coat. People confuse Shih Tzus a lot with Lhasa Apsos, but the differences in shape of head and face, muzzle and skull are quite noticeable when you know the two breeds. The Shih Tzu breed is very old, it is not possible to date with certainty its first appearance.

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