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Shih Tzu - Small Breed Dog Profile

Updated: Apr 2

Shih Tzu dog

Shih Tzu: A Small Breed Dog with a Fun Personality


At Mary Puppins luxury dog home boarding, we get many Shih Tzus stay for their doggy holidays. Their friendly nature always makes them a big part of the family for such a small breed dog!

What is the origin of the Shih Tzu?


The Shih Tzu is an ancient breed that originated in China, where it was revered as a royal companion and a symbol of good luck.

The name Shih Tzu means "lion dog" in Chinese, and it is believed that the breed was developed by crossing the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.

The Shih Tzu was introduced to the West in the 1930s and became famous as a pet and a show dog.

What is the Shih Tzu bred to do?


The Shih Tzu was bred to be a lap dog and a companion for the nobility and the monks.

The breed has a friendly, outgoing, playful temperament that suits families with children and other pets.

The Shih Tzu is also adaptable to different living environments as long as it gets enough attention and affection from its owners.

What are the physical characteristics of the Shih Tzu?


The Shih Tzu is a small dog weighing 9 to 16 pounds and standing between 9 to 10.5 inches at the shoulder.

The breed has a long, silky coat in various colours and patterns, such as black, white, gold, silver, red, brindle and liver.

Depending on the owner's preference, the coat can be kept long or trimmed short.

The Shih Tzu has a round head, large eyes, a short muzzle and a curled tail. The breed has a distinctive underbite that gives it a cute expression.

What are the personality traits of the Shih Tzu?


The Shih Tzu is a loyal, affectionate, cheerful dog that loves being around people.

The breed is intelligent, alert and eager to please but can also be stubborn and sometimes independent.

The Shih Tzu is not a guard dog but will bark to alert its owners of strangers or unusual noises.

The Shih Tzu is generally good with children and other animals. Still, it may not get along with dominant or aggressive dogs.

The Shih Tzu is also sensitive to heat and cold, so it should be kept indoors in extreme weather conditions.

Shih Tzu Grooming Requirements


High dog grooming needs due to their long, flowing coat. Regular grooming and haircuts are essential.

The Shih Tzu requires regular grooming to keep its coat healthy and beautiful.

The breed must be brushed daily to prevent mats and tangles and bathed every few weeks or as needed.

The coat can be clipped or shaved for easier maintenance, but some owners prefer to keep it long for aesthetic reasons.

The ears, eyes, teeth and nails should also be checked and cleaned regularly to avoid infections or problems.

Shih Tzu Exercise Requirements


Shih Tzus have low to moderate exercise needs, including short walks and indoor play. The Shih Tzu is a low-energy dog that does not need much exercise.

The breed is happy with a short walk or a play session indoors daily.

However, the Shih Tzu should not be overexerted or exposed to high temperatures, as it can suffer from breathing difficulties or heatstroke.

The Shih Tzu should also be supervised when outside, as it can be prone to wandering or chasing small animals.

Shih Tzu Breed Characteristics


Shih Tzus are friendly, affectionate, and known for their elegant appearance. Good with families.

The Shih Tzu is a charming, lively, sweet-natured dog that makes an excellent companion for anyone wanting a small but spunky pet.

The breed has a unique appearance and personality that attracts many admirers.

The Shih Tzu is also easy to train and socialise as long as it is treated with respect and consistency. The Shih Tzu can live up to 18 years or more with proper care and love.

Shih Tzu Lifespan and Age Range


Shih Tzus typically live between 10 to 18 years. The Shih Tzu is considered a puppy until it reaches one year of age and an adult from one to eight years of age.

The breed is considered a senior from nine years of age onwards. The lifespan of the Shih Tzu depends on various factors, such as genetics, health, diet and lifestyle.

Shih Tzu Measurements


Shih Tzus are typically: Height: 9-10.5 inches (23-27 cm); Weight: 9-16 pounds (4.1-7.3 kg).

However, some individuals may be smaller or larger than these averages. The size of the Shih Tzu does not affect its personality or health.

What are the health issues of the Shih Tzu?


The Shih Tzu is generally a healthy breed, but it can be prone to some genetic or acquired diseases, such as:

Brachycephalic syndrome

This condition affects dogs with short noses and flat faces, such as the Shih Tzu. It causes breathing difficulties, snoring, wheezing and overheating.

Eye problems

These include cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye, corneal ulcers and eyelash abnormalities. These can affect the vision or cause pain and irritation to the eyes.

Dental problems

include overcrowding, malocclusion, tooth decay and gum disease. These can affect the bite, the appearance and the oral health of the dog.

Hip dysplasia

This condition affects the hip joint, causing pain, stiffness and arthritis. It can affect the mobility and quality of life of the dog.

Patellar luxation

This condition affects the kneecap, causing it to slip out of place. It can cause lameness, pain and inflammation in the leg.


These can be caused by food, environmental or contact factors, such as fleas, pollen or shampoo. They can cause itching, scratching, hair loss and skin infections.


This condition affects the thyroid gland, causing low levels of thyroid hormones. It can affect the dog's metabolism, weight, coat and energy.

To prevent or treat these health issues, the Shih Tzu should be taken to the vet regularly for check-ups, vaccinations and tests.

The Shih Tzu should also be fed a balanced, high-quality diet and given enough water, exercise, and grooming.

The Shih Tzu should also be spayed or neutered to avoid unwanted pregnancies or reproductive diseases.

faqs shih tzu


Here are some common questions that people ask about the Shih Tzu:

Are Shih Tzus hypoallergenic?

Shih Tzus are not hypoallergenic, as no dog breed is completely allergen-free.

However, Shih Tzus are considered low-shedding and low-dander dogs, which means they produce less hair and skin flakes than other breeds.

This can make them more suitable for people with mild allergies or asthma.

However, people with severe allergies or sensitivities should consult their doctor before getting a Shih Tzu.

Do Shih Tzus bark a lot?

Shih Tzus are not very noisy dogs, but they bark occasionally to express themselves or alert their owners of something.

Shih Tzus may bark more if bored, lonely, excited or anxious.

Shih Tzus should be trained to obey commands such as "quiet" or "stop" and rewarded for being calm and quiet to reduce excessive barking.

Shih Tzus should also be given enough attention, stimulation and socialisation to prevent boredom or separation anxiety.

How do you pronounce Shih Tzu?

The correct pronunciation of Shih Tzu is "shee-dzoo", not "shitz-oo" or "shit-zoo".

The name comes from the Chinese word for lion dog, which is spelt "獅子狗" in Mandarin and pronounced "shīzi gǒu".

The name reflects the resemblance of the breed to the mythical Chinese lion.

How much does a Shih Tzu cost?

The cost of a Shih Tzu depends on various factors, such as the breeder, the location, the pedigree and the quality of the puppy.

The average price of a Shih Tzu puppy from a reputable breeder ranges from £1,000 to £3,000.

However, some puppies may cost more or less than this range. The cost of a Shih Tzu also includes other expenses, such as food, grooming, vet bills, toys and accessories.

How do you take care of a Shih Tzu?

Taking care of a Shih Tzu involves providing them with basic needs such as food, water, shelter and love.

It also ensures their health and happiness by giving them enough exercise, grooming, training and socialisation.

Here are some tips on how to take care of a Shih Tzu:

- Feed your Shih Tzu a high-quality dog food that meets its nutritional needs. Avoid giving it human food or table scraps that may cause digestive problems or obesity.

- Provide your Shih Tzu with fresh water at all times. Change it frequently and keep it clean.

- Provide your Shih Tzu with a comfortable bed or crate where it can sleep and rest. Please keep them safe and warm, away from drafts or direct sunlight.

- Brush your Shih Tzu's coat daily to prevent mats and tangles. Use mild shampoo and conditioner to bathe your Shih Tzu every few weeks or as needed. Dry your Shih Tzu thoroughly with a towel or a hair dryer on low heat.

- Trim your Shih Tzu's nails regularly to prevent them from growing too long or causing injury. Use a nail clipper designed for dogs, or take your Shih Tzu to a groomer or a vet for this task.

- Clean your Shih Tzu's ears weekly to prevent ear infections or wax buildup. Use a cotton ball or a soft cloth moistened with an ear cleaner made for dogs. Gently wipe the inside of the ear flap and avoid inserting anything into the ear canal.

- Brush your Shih Tzu's teeth daily to prevent dental problems

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

BOOK NOW via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

Mary Puppins shih tzu

Mary Puppins, Shih Tzu

mary puppins shih tzu

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny, an expert in small breed dogs and a pet parent to her own beloved small dogs.

With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families,

Kate shares her top tips with you.

Kate guides readers on small dog breeds, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate lifestyle for their small dogs.



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