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Shih Tzu Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Say hello to the prince!

That’s because the Shih Tzu was once a favorite of the Chinese royalty thousands of years ago. Today however, this little guy just represents a high maintenance pet to those who have never owned one.  For those who have on the other hand, these little guys are the best!

Now for those…

Who may be “on the fence” about this particular breed, we should point out that they are definitely favored by the royalty of today’s day and age – Hollywood starlets, pop stars, professional athletes and other celebs that is!

Which makes sense because…

He makes for a perfect companion dog, but don’t expect him to be much of a guard dog, watchdog or working dog. He is not a hunting dog. That’s not his thing. This is a toy breed whose only purpose in life is to look cute, make people say “Aww…he is so adorable” and be utterly spoiled by his owners.

That is why…

He is considered to be royalty among small breeds and he knows that. He was once the lap dog of the Chinese Emperor, and is still the center of attention wherever he goes. He is not arrogant or aggressive by any means, but he has a way of getting your attention – with his adorable antics and cute looks.

 He is from Tibet…

And often compared to the other famous Tibetan breed, the Lhasa Apso. The Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu are so similar that they are often mistaken for one another. But they are not the same, of course!

Perfect apartment dog…

The little Shih Tzu is perfect for life in an apartment or condo in a city. He is fine living in country estates and farms as well. He is in essence an intelligent dog who is quick to adapt to any situation or circumstance.

As long as

He gets to live with his human family and be a part of everything they do. The little guy craves human company and hates nothing more than to be ignored or isolated.

What he needs

He needs a loving and caring home, that’s all. Can you give that to him?

Make sure to get the Shih Tzu Puppies from a reputable breeder, who follows an ethical breeding program. This is really important.

Read the rest of this article to find out more about this wonderful little family pet.

Shih Tzu Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: China/Tibet

Original Purpose:  Lapdog, companion animal

Height: 8 to 11 inches

Weight: 9 to 16 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Toy group

Life Span: 10 to 18 years

Origin of the Shih Tzu Dog Breed

The Shih Tzu is a Tibetan breed. He was bred by the Lamas in Tibet. There are many ancient Buddhist texts that have references to this little dog. He served as a watchdog for the Buddhist monks.

Now back in the day…

The Lamas presented the Shih Tzu as a tribute to the Chinese Emperor. It was in the Chinese court that this little dog got its name. Shih Tzu means Little Lion in Chinese.

He was also called as the Chrysanthemum Dog because of how the hair on his face springs up in all directions, like the petals of a flower.

Incredibly enough…

This dog was almost lost at the end of the Imperial Era in China. The new Communist rulers did not like him at all, and saw the little guy as nothing more than a remnant of the hated Chinese royalty.


The little toy breed from Tibet was saved by a couple, General Douglas and Lady Brownrigg, who took him to England. All they had with them were 14 Shih Tzu dogs. But somehow the breed survived and the Shih Tzu Club was formed shortly after.

The Shih Tzu…

Even survived the World War II. Nobody had any time for cute little dogs during the World War. But thereafter, in the 1950s and 1960s, when things were back to normal again, there was a huge demand for cute puppies.

And when it comes to cuteness…

There are none that can match the Tzu puppies! The Shih Tzu became a rage in the United States, Canada and Europe. He was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969 – a belated honor.

He is today one of the 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S.

Physical Characteristics


The Shih Tzu is a surprisingly strong, active little dog with a thick beard and mustache, round head, short muzzle, pendant-shaped ears, high-set tail, large, round eyes and a unique “chrysanthemum” face.


He has a thick double coat that can be of any rainbow color –violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red or different combinations of the same. His coat has to be brushed and combed daily to prevent tangling and matting of the hairs. You should give him a bath once every week.

Personality and Temperament of the Shih Tzu Dog Breed

A loving and affectionate dog that will follow you around everywhere you go. He forms a strong emotional connection or bond with his owners. He is playful and often mischievous and makes you laugh out loud with his antics.

He does have other uses…

The Shih Tzu is always alert and is sure to bark when he spots a stranger at the door. He is not supposed to be a watchdog, but can be if he has to. The problem is this is a trusting kind of dog, who is never suspicious of anyone or anything. So don’t trust his watchdog skills too much!

He is an intelligent dog…

Who is quick to learn new tricks. He does very well in obedience and agility classes during training. The Shih Tzu one of the friendliest dogs, so socializing him is not really much of a challenge.


Housebreaking can be an issue and it takes time before you can get the Shih Tzu puppy to see things your way. Be patient and firm, and the puppy will learn eventually.

Shih Tzu Health Problems

The Shih Tzu is a healthy breed of dog and has a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years. That’s very high in dog years. But like all dog breeds, big or small, even the Tzu is prone to certain health concerns.

This is not to say that every Shih Tzu will get any or all of these ailments or diseases, but as a dog owner, you should be aware of them. The Shih Tzu is vulnerable to the following health issues…


Obesity is a concern with this dog, as he has the tendency to eat more dog food than he really needs. Watch out for that.


None of these health concerns are life threatening by any means. But the treatment for them can be expensive, especially if they become recurring health issues.

As you know

The vet bills these days can be quite high.

Does that worry you?

If you’re worried, that’s okay, totally understandable. We here at IndulgeYourPet suggest signing up for Pet Insurance for Shih Tzus. This can help cover some or most of the costs related to the treatment.

Read this article on the  Pet Insurance Policies, do your own research, find out how pet insurance for dogs such as Shih Tzu works, what it covers or doesn’t cover.

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