Breed Group: Toy
Weight: 9 - 16 lbs
Height: 8 - 11 inches
Coat: The Shih Tzu has a long, dense, and abundant double-coat. The luxurious and profuse outer-coat often sweeps the
ground, and may be slightly wavy. The under-coat is wooly and soft in texture. The long hair on top of the head is typically
placed into a topknot to prevent eye irritation. The Shih Tzu coat varies widely in color. They are minimal shedders and are
Overview: The exact date of origin of the Shih Tzu is not known, but evidence of its existence has come to us from documents,
paintings and objets d'art dating from A. D. 624. During the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 A.D.), the King of Viqur gave the Chinese
court a pair of dogs said to have come from the Fu Lin (assumed to be the Byzantine Empire). Another theory of their introduction
to China was recorded in the mid-17th century when dogs were brought from Tibet to the Chinese court. These dogs were bred
in the Forbidden City of Peking. The smallest of these dogs resembled a lion, as represented in Oriental art. "Shih Tzu"
means "lion". The Shih Tzu is reported to be the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs, the lion being associated
with the Buddhist deity. These dogs were bred by the Chinese court and from them the dog we know today as the Shih Tzu developed.
They are also called "the chrysanthemum-faced dog" because the hair grows about the face in all directions.
It is known that the Shih Tzu was a house pet during most of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 A.D.) and that they were highly
favored by the royal family. Dowager Empress Cixi (T'zu Hsi) kept an important kennel of Pugs, Pekingese, and Shih Tzu. After
her death in 1908 the dogs were dispersed and breeding mostly ceased. When the Communist Revolution occurred in China the
breed became almost extinct. Every Shih Tzu today can be traced to fourteen dogs - seven bitches and seven dogs - some of
which were imported to England where breeding of the Shih Tzu began in 1930. There the breed was first classified as "Apsos"
but after a ruling by the Kennel Club (England) that Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus were separate breeds, the Shih Tzu Club of
England was formed in 1935.
From England members of the breed were exported to other countries in Europe and Australia. American soldiers stationed
in these countries brought the breed back to the United States thus introducing them to this country. The Shih Tzu was admitted
to registration in the American Kennel Club Stud Book in March, 1969 and to regular show classification in the Toy Group at
AKC shows beginning September 1, 1969.
The Shih Tzu is an active, happy, and affectionate breed.
Character: The Shih Tzu is small, sturdy, and intelligent. They carry themselves with a noble and proud posture befitting
their aristocratic ancestry. One of their most valued characteristics is the eye, which exude warmth and a human-like quality.
The Shih Tzu is the least delicate of the toy breeds.
Temperament: The Shih Tzu is first and foremost a companion. They love nothing more than being indoors with their family.
This breed gets along very well with older children and other pets. They are outgoing and self-assured, keen and alert. They
make excellent watchdogs. They do not do well being separated from their owners and may become destructive if left alone for
extended periods of time. They are docile and quiet, but they also love to play. The Shih Tzu is spunky and can be obstinate
at times. They expect to be treated as royalty and are easily spoiled.
Care: The Shih Tzu requires extensive grooming. They need brushed daily to prevent knots, tangles, and mats. They need
to be bathed monthly. They are not suited for humid climates. It is important to keep their eyes and ears cleaned. Their eyes
are particularly sensitive. They are prone to kidney disease and slipping kneecaps. The Shih Tzu's short muzzle makes it exceptionally
prone to snoring and wheezing problems. Dental hygiene is crucial to prevent tooth loss. They tend to gain weight easily and
must not be overfed.
Training: The Shih Tzu may be difficult to housetrain. The crate method works best. Although they are eager to please,
and quick to learn, this breed's stubborn streak requires persistence and consistency. They do not respond to harshness or
punishment. The Shih Tzu does very well in obedience training provided it is low-key and motivational.
Activity: The Shih Tzu enjoys short daily walks or vigorous indoor play sessions and games. They are very well suited
for apartment or condominium dwelling. However, they love to play outside, so a small fenced yard is ideal.
Ownership: If you are looking for Shih Tzu puppies for sale from reputable Shih Tzu breeders or to adopt a Shih Tzu from
a Shih Tzu rescue then make sure you understand as much about the dog breeds you are interested in as you can. Every puppy
breed is different. Begin your research by reading the breed information about the Shih Tzu puppy above. Search our dog breeds
section to find Shih Tzu puppies, dogs and puppies that make great pets.
Children: Best with older, considerate children.
Friendliness: Fairly friendly with strangers.
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train.
Independence: Moderately dependent on people.
Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs.
Noise: Likes to bark.
Grooming and Physical Needs:
Grooming: Extensive grooming needed.
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Long coat.
Shedding: Average shedder.
Exercise: Very little exercise needed.
Jogging: A fair jogging companion.
Indoors: Fairly active indoorss.
Apartments: Good for apartment living.
Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Owner: Good for novice owners.
Longevity: Long (15 or more years).