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Shih Tzu Dogs: The Ultimate Guide for Lovers in 2024

Last updated on February 18th, 2024 at 12:34 am

The Shih Tzu is a small, sturdy dog with a long, double coat. They are an ancient and noble breed known for their confident, courageous nature. Shih Tzu dogs are popular among toy breed enthusiasts and make great house pets when trained and cared for properly. Today, people from all walks of life, including celebrities like Queen Elizabeth II and Miley Cyrus, are drawn to the Shih Tzu’s exotic charm. 

If you’re interested in learning about the Shih Tzu, you’ve come to the right place! This post will give you the lowdown on this adorable pup. So sit tight and get ready to discover everything you need to know!

Contents show

Overview

Asian origin:Tibet
Height:9-10.5 inches
Weight:9-16 pounds
Lifespan:10-18 years
Coat type:Double, long
Colors:Black, black & white, brindle, brindle & white, gold, gold & white, red & white, silver & white, blue, blue & white, liver, liver & white, silver, red, black gold & silver, black white & silver, white, silver gold & white, black gold & white
Temperament:Affectionate, playful, outgoing
Suitable for:Apartment-friendly, prefer cooler temperaments

Kid-friendly:

Pet-friendly:

Energy level:

Trainability:

Tendency to bark:

Shedding amount:

History

The Shih Tzu is a dog breed with a long and rich history. They were originally bred by imperial breeders in China, who used Tibetan stock to create the breed. Shih Tzu means ‘lion dog,’ it is believed to be a mix of two other breeds, the Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese. These dogs were kept exclusively within the palace walls for centuries and were pampered by emperors and their families.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that the breed became more widely known outside of China. Breed clubs in China and England helped refine the breed, though there was much debate among fanciers about the ideal type. In 1969, the Shih Tzu was officially recognized by the AKC Stud Book, and it has remained a famous toy dog ever since. They are known for treating their owners like royalty, no matter who they are.

Appearance

shih tzu dogs

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed that is alert and lively. They have a long, double coat and were once considered to be highly valuable as pets for noble families. These canines have a confident appearance, with their head held high and tails curved over their back. In addition, they are always compact and have a solid build.

Temperament

Shih Tzu dogs have an outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly, and trusting temperament towards everyone they meet. They love attention and are happiest when they are close to their owners. They do not have any hunting, herding, or guarding instincts, which makes them an ideal pet for those who just want a loyal and loving companion. These dogs quickly become friends with every human they meet, and while they may bark at first, they soon become friendly.

Grooming

If you own Shih Tzu dogs, brushing their coat daily with a wire brush is crucial. Make sure you reach the skin by layering the hair. A bath every three or four weeks will also help to keep the coat clean and looking good. Don’t forget to comb the mustache and topknot often, and gently clean the corner of the eyes with a damp cloth. If you don’t have time to groom your dog’s coat, you can take it to a professional groomer.

Exercise

Shih Tzu dogs were actually bred to be indoor pets. So, you don’t need to worry too much about how to spend your time exercising them during a work day. However, it’s still essential to establish a routine for exercise to keep them happy and healthy. You can take them for a daily walk or play fun games together to stimulate them mentally and physically. Trust me, your furry friend will thank you for it!

Training

shih tzu dogs

Training Shih Tzu dogs can be both fun and frustrating. This breed can be charming and may convince their owners to let them have their way, leading to a chubby, hard-to-groom pet who is not entirely housebroken. 

Shih Tzu dogs are very social and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods that involve praise and rewards. It’s best not to use harsh corrections with this breed. Introduce new behaviors gradually, be firm, and don’t give in when the dog misbehaves. 

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs

Etc.

Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

Health

Shih Tzu dogs have heavy coats and short faces, making them vulnerable to heat. They are not strong swimmers either. Responsible breeders should screen their dogs for common health conditions such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (a slipped kneecap), eye anomalies including cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal detachment, etc. Despite these risks, most Shih Tzus are usually healthy.

Nutrition

To keep your Shih Tzu healthy, feed them good-quality dog food you can buy or make at home. Your vet will help you choose the proper diet based on your dog’s age, whether a puppy, an adult, or a senior. Watch their weight and limit treats to avoid overfeeding. Also, learn which human foods are safe for them to eat, and make sure your Shih Tzu always has clean water to drink. If you’re concerned about their weight or diet, talk to your vet.

Living Condition

shih tzu dogs

If you plan to adopt Shih Tzu dogs, you’ll be glad to know that they can adapt well to apartment living. However, keep in mind that these adorable pups are not very tolerant of hot weather due to their luxurious coat and flat, so it’s essential to have a cool spot for them to chill when the temperament rises. These dogs love the gentle breeze of a fan and would be over the moon with some air conditioning. Overall, with some extra care and attention, your Shih Tzu will be a happy and healthy companion for years to come!

3 Little-Known Facts About the Shih Tzu Dogs

1. Communist Revolution Nearly Wiped Out Shih Tzu Dogs

When China went through its Communist Revolution, the Shih Tzu breed mostly disappeared. One reason for this might have been the 1908 death of the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, who ran a famous breeding program for Shih Tzu dogs, Pekingeses, and Pugs. When she died, the breeding program fell apart, and it became nearly impossible to find a Shih Tzu.

2. A Lot of Celebrities Have Owned Black Shih Tzu Dogs

Did you know that the Shih Tzu is one of the most beloved dog breeds among celebrities? Some famous faces who have owned these adorable pups include Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Colin Farrell, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II. These furry companions sure know how to steal the hearts of the rich and famous!

3. These Furry Friends Are Glamorous and Athletic

Shih Tzu dogs have long, flowing coats, which makes them look more glamorous than sporty. In fact, these little pups are actually quite athletic and have won numerous agility competitions. Back in 2014, a Shih Tzu made history by becoming the first of their kind to win both a champion title and an agility title! 

Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale

shih tzu dogs

If you’re considering getting Shih Tzu dogs, you should know a few things about the cost. On average, buying a Shih Tzu puppy can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000, sometimes up to $5,000 if they come from a championship line. But the cost doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to budget for taking care of your new furry friend for the rest of their life, including veterinary visits, grooming, and proper food. Therefore, you should plan ahead for both expected and unexpected costs.

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why I’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.

Conclusion

The Shih Tzu is a popular dog breed that’s been around for a thousand years. They are known for their mischievous personality and cute appearance. They make great pets for those who live in apartments or lack a big backyard. These lively charmers are especially affectionate with children and love to sit in your lap while you watch TV. So, if you want a loyal companion that will bring joy into your life, a Shih Tzu might just be the perfect dog for you!

FAQs

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzu dogs have different personalities, leading to different pros and cons. Some can be stubborn and mischievous, while others are less temperamental than other breeds. One of their best quality is that they’re incredibly suitable for apartment living.

Do Shih Tzus Make Good House Pets?

Shih Tzu dogs are great pets for families with kids due to their playful nature, eagerness to please, and quick adaptability to family dynamics. However, each Shih Tzu may exhibit a different level of comfort around young children.

Is Shih Tzu a Low Maintenance Dog?

Shih Tzus dogs require moderate to high maintenance. Their long, flowing coat needs daily brushing and regular professional grooming. Their eyes and ears also need regular cleaning.

Does Shih Tzus Tend to Bark a Lot?

Some do, some don’t. They can be alert barkers but are generally not considered excessive barkers. Early training and socialization can help manage barking behavior.

Can Shih Tzu Be Left Alone?

Shih Tzu dogs should not be left alone for extended periods. They are social creatures and can experience separation anxiety. Remember that crate training and providing stimulating activities will help when they are alone.

Is a Male or Female Shih Tzu Better?

There’s no clear answer, as both genders have pros and cons. Males may be more playful and active, while females may be calmer and more independent. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Does Shih Tzus Smell a Lot?

This breed is known for not having a strong odor. But you can prevent excessive smell by maintaining your pet’s hygiene and grooming. Pay attention to skin folds and ears, and clean them regularly.

Are Shih Tzus Easy to Train?

One thing to keep in mind is that they have a strong will and can train their owners far quicker than their owners can teach them. This means that it’s vital for owners to establish themselves as the pack leader early on and consistently reinforce rules and boundaries to avoid any behavioral issues. 

Do Shih Tzus Have Bad Health Problems?

Shih Tzu dogs are generally healthy, but responsible breeders check for common health conditions such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), and eye anomalies.

Can Shih Tzus Sleep With You?

Yes, but whether or not you share your bed with your Shih Tzu is a personal choice. Some people find it comforting, while others prefer separate sleeping arrangements. Ensure your bedroom is safe and comfortable for your furry friend.

Are Shih Tzus a One Person Dog?

While Shih Tzu dogs form strong bonds with their primary caregiver, they can be affectionate and friendly with other family members and pets.

How Long Can a Shih Tzu Hold Its Bladder?

Puppies need frequent potty breaks, but adult Shih Tzu dogs can generally hold their bladder for 4-6 hours, depending on age, activity level, and water intake.

Do Shih Tzus Suffer From Separation Anxiety?

Yes, they can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and crate training will help.

What Does a Full-Grown Shih Tzu Look Like?

Full-grown Shih Tzus are still small dogs with long, flowing coats, flat faces, and large, expressive eyes. They come in a variety of colors and markings.

How Long Do Indoor Shih Tzus Live?

With proper care, Shih Tzu dogs have a lifespan of 10-18 years.

At What Age Can a Shih Tzu Leave Its Mother?

Ideally, Shih Tzu puppies should stay with their mother and littermates until at least eight weeks old. This allows them to learn critical social skills and develop a robust immune system.

How Often Should a Shih Tzu Puppy Be Bathed?

Puppies need more frequent baths than adults. Typical numbers are every 3-4 weeks. Use a gentle shampoo and avoid getting water in their ears.

Why Do Shih Tzus Follow You Everywhere?

Shih Tzus are loyal and affectionate dogs who crave companionship. Following you is their way of showing love and wanting to be involved in your activities.

What Is the Leading Cause of Death for Shih Tzus?

Old age is the leading cause of death in Shih Tzu dogs. However, some health conditions like respiratory and heart problems can also contribute.

What Should I Know Before Getting a Shih Tzu?

Before welcoming a Shih Tzu into your life, consider their needs and temperament. Be prepared for daily grooming, regular veterinary care, and potential training challenges. Ensure you can provide a loving and stable home environment.

Are Shih Tzus Smart?

Shih Tzu dogs are intelligent and can learn both basic and advanced commands and tricks. However, they might be stubborn and independent, so positive reinforcement training methods are most effective.

What Is the Temper of a Shih Tzu Dog?

Shih Tzu dogs are generally happy, playful, and affectionate. They are loyal companions and enjoy spending time with their families. On the other hand, they can easily be stubborn and hard to train.

What Are Shih Tzus Known For?

Shih Tzu dogs have long, flowing coats, flat faces, and large, expressive eyes. They are also known for their friendly and affectionate personalities, making them great companions.

Do Shih Tzus Need Another Dog?

No, Shih Tzus don’t necessarily need another dog. They can be happy living as the only pet in a household. However, if you are considering getting a second dog, choosing a breed compatible with Shih Tzus is crucial.

How Do You Pick up a Shih Tzu?

The best way to pick up a Shih Tzu is to support their chest and hindquarters with your hands. Be gentle and avoid placing any pressure on their neck or spine.

How Often Should a Shih Tzu Be Walked?

Shih Tzu dogs do not require a lot of exercise. A short walk or playtime session once or twice a day is sufficient.

How Do I Know if My Shih Tzu Is Sad?

To detect sadness in your Shih Tzu, observe for behavioral cues such as whines, mopey behavior, lethargy, refusal of food, squintiness in eyes, and alterations in sleep patterns or general behavior.

What Not to Do With a Shih Tzu?

Avoid hitting or yelling at your Shih Tzu. Don’t leave them alone for too long. Avoid overfeeding them. Groom them regularly. Additionally, take them to the vet for regular checkups.

What Is the Ideal Weight for a Shih Tzu?

The ideal weight for a Shih Tzu is between 9 and 16 pounds.

How Big Are Shih Tzus When They Are Full Grown?

Full-grown Shih Tzu dogs typically stand 9 to 10.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 9 to 16 pounds.

How Can You Tell if a Shih Tzu Is Happy?

Some signs that your Shih Tzu is happy include:

      • A wagging tail
      • Playful behavior
      • A relaxed body posture
      • Bright, alert eyes
      • Enjoying affection

Why Do Shih Tzus Cry in Their Sleep?

There are a few reasons why Shih Tzu dogs cry in their sleep. They may be having a bad dream, in pain, or trying to communicate something to you. Pay attention to their behavior and see if there are any other signs of distress.

Why Is My Shih Tzu Restless at Night?

If your Shih Tzu is restless at night, it could be because they are bored, anxious, or simply not tired. To help your pup sleep better, try to figure out what might be causing their restlessness. Once you identify the issue, address it.

Sources

  • https://www.shihtzu.org/
  • https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/shih-tzu/
  • https://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/ShihTzu.pdf
  • https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/shih-tzu-facts/
About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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