The Shih Tzu is a toy breed known for their long elegant coats and large round eyes. The coat of a Shih Tzu can be a variety of colors. The tail curls over the back. The ears have long hair and they have short muzzles with a long mustache and beard. The breed standard is to have an undershot bite. The Shih Tzu is generally a happy dog that makes an excellent lapdog and companion. They can adapt to a variety of home environments and do well with little exercise. They are friendly with other animals, children and strangers. While they do bark, they tend to bark less than other toy breeds. House training can be difficult because the Shih Tzu can be stubborn and has a small bladder due to its size.
Group: Toy [AKC 1969]
Life Span: 11 – 15 years
Height: 9-10.5 in.
Trainability: Moderate (can be stubborn)
Children: Yes – especially older, gentle children
Lists: AKC top 20, apartment
Some health concerns are kidney disease, hypothyroidism, breathing problems and spinal disorders. The Shih Tzu is prone to eye and ear infections and can overheat easily, so it is important to make sure that they are not left in very hot environments.
The coat of a Shih Tzu is made up of top coat that grows long like a human’s hair and a soft undercoat. Keeping the coat long requires daily grooming, so most owners keep the coat trimmed regularly. If the hair is kept long, the hair on the head needs to be tied back to keep it out of the dog’s eyes.
Known as an ancient breed, the Shih Tzu originated in Tibet centuries ago by crossing the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. The Shih Tzu was considered a holy dog. The breed was esteemed in China for centuries but did not appear in Europe until the 1930s. The breed has been growing in popularity in the United States since the 1960s.
- Shih Tzus have a close genetic relationship to the wolf
- Shih Tzu are known as the Lion Dog, the Tibetan Lion Dog and the Chrysanthemum Dog
- Bonny the Shih Tzu was featured in the movie Seven Psychopaths.