Discover Shih Tzu Intelligence: Expert Intelligence Tips Here!

When it comes to our furry companions, understanding their intelligence can be crucial for providing the best care and companionship. Shih Tzu intelligence has been a topic of curiosity for many pet owners, and you might have found yourself wondering, “Are Shih Tzu smart?” In this blog, I will share the fascinating facts of Shih Tzu intelligence, providing you with expert insights and tips to unravel the potential of these adorable dogs.

Discover Shih Tzu Intelligence: Expert Intelligence Tips Here!

Are Shih Tzu Smart? 

Shih Tzus are adorable lap dogs that love to play and are incredibly affectionate. They usually get along well with everyone. However, some owners wonder about their intelligence since they enjoy lounging around and may need to excel in obedience training.

According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, Shih Tzus aren’t among the most intelligent dogs in terms of obedience and working intelligence. They’re ranked 128th out of 138 dog breeds. Their true intelligence lies in their adaptability habit. They can understand human emotions. They interact so playfully!

While it’s true that Shih Tzus might not be the best at following commands or learning quickly, dog intelligence is more than just obedience. Discover why Shih Tzus is smarter than you might think. We have also provided 7 Shih Tzu training tips at the end of the article.

Measuring the Shih Tzu Intelligence

The way we currently measure dog intelligence isn’t really fair, and it has led to breeds like the Shih Tzu being called “dumb.” But how did this happen?

A dog psychologist named Stanley Coren created a list of the smartest dog breeds based on “obedience and working intelligence,” which measures how fast a dog learns something and how well it remembers it. 

He asked a bunch of obedience trial judges to help, and they evaluated many breeds based on two factors: how many times a breed needs to learn a new command and how often they obey a known command on the first try.

Only recognized breeds by the American or Canadian Kennel Club could participate, and a breed needed at least 100 responses to make the final ranking. Fortunately, the Shih Tzu, being a popular breed, easily qualified for the ranking. So, that’s how the Shih Tzu ended up on the list, even though there’s more to their intelligence than this type of test shows.

What Are The Characteristics of A Shih Tzu?

The Shih Tzu breed originally came from China. They usually grow up to about 12-15 inches tall and weigh up to 12 pounds. 

Shih Tzus have generally two types of coats, long-haired or short-haired. Their coat needs regular grooming. People may choose one based on personal preference and their climate.

Their personalities vary. Some can be a little mischievous. They’re generally smart and quite easy to train. Shih Tzus can have different eye colors like blue, brown, or green. Their beautiful eyes give them an adorable look. 

 Besides, their overall appearance is very cute. Their fur is usually brown, white, or black. Shih Tzus make great companions as they love being around people. They have a tendency to follow their owners around. They enjoy cuddles from others too. 

In addition to that, they have fantastic personalities! They are always cheerful. Spending time with them can give you a lot of fun!

What Is The IQ Of A Shih Tzu?

Studies have found that a Shih Tzu’s intelligence is similar to that of a two to two-and-a-half-year-old child. It is about an IQ of around 70. That’s actually quite decent.

It’s been observed that a Shih Tzu can learn about 160 words, and my own Shih Tzus have certainly picked up many words, including commands like “bed,” “big bed” (meaning my bed), “out,” and even “left” or “right” when we go for walks.

I must admit, though, that teaching them commands wasn’t my strong suit, and Shih Tzus, being a bit stubborn at times, didn’t always feel like learning. But overall, they’re pretty smart and adorable.

What Is The Average IQ of a Dog – In General

Although Shih Tzus aren’t the smartest dogs, they’re still doing pretty well. On average, dogs have an IQ of about 100. The smartest dogs can even learn as many as 250 words! Yes, dogs, including Shih Tzus, can even understand some basic math. 

In that regard, dogs can be as smart as a 3 to 4-year-old kid. And remember, Shih Tzus can count up to four. So, dogs are more intelligent than you might believe.

Adaptive shih tzu intelligence 

Smartness in dogs is different for everyone. Each dog has its way of being clever, and this can be linked to their personality. So, in a group of the same breed, some might be smarter than others.

When a dog is able to figure things out without you having to teach them directly, that’s called adaptive intelligence. It’s like when your Shih Tzu knows to fetch their ball from under the couch without you telling them to do so. This type of cleverness is different from just obeying commands like “sit” and “stay.”

What Is The Size Of A Shih Tzu’s Brain?

Ever wondered about the size of a Shih Tzu’s brain? It’s quite interesting that even though dogs come in different sizes, their brains are pretty similar. A Shih Tzu’s brain is about the size of a tangerine, though there might be a tiny bit of variation between individual dogs.

Are Shih Tzus Really Dumb?

Don’t let the research fool you – Shih Tzus is pretty clever! They might not score high in traditional IQ tests because they find it a bit hard to learn commands right away. You see, they’re quite stubborn. 

But where they shine is in understanding how we feel and responding to it. So, while they might not be the best listeners, they’re really good at sensing our emotions and reacting in a smart way.

shih tzu intelligence sectors

Let’s break it down – Shih Tzus is actually quite clever. They’ve got three strong points that show their smarts.

shih tzu intelligence in Understanding Human Emotion

First off, they’re like emotional wizards. They can sense if you’re happy, sad, nervous, or excited. Being companion dogs, they’re pretty awesome at reacting the right way to how you’re feeling.

shih tzu intelligence in Getting What They Want

Next up, these little guys are champs at getting what they want. They’re super stubborn, which they use to make you do things their way and avoid stuff they don’t like.

And guess what? Their stubbornness isn’t just random. They’re actually being smart by using just the right amount of energy to get what they want. Cool, right?

Shih Tzu Breed Have Empathy 

Empathy is when your Shih Tzu dog understands your feelings really well. They’ve been companions for a long time, even when they were used as lap dogs in China. They’re great at being by your side and responding to how you’re feeling, whether you’re happy, sad, or feeling any other emotion. If you’re down, they’ll cuddle with you, and if you’re excited, they’ll join in too.

How to increase shih tzu intelligence?

Want your Shih Tzu to be smarter? Here are some simple tips to help:

1. When your Shih Tzu does something clever, show them love and maybe give them treats.

2. Take your Shih Tzu out to new places and let them meet new friends. 

3. Start teaching your Shih Tzu when they’re a puppy. This will help them learn better and become smarter.

4. Gently touch and play with your Shih Tzu every day. 

5. Teach your Shih Tzu new tricks and commands often. They can learn lots of cool things.

6. Give them challenges like using special bowls to eat from. This will make them think.

Shih Tzus Intelligence Compared to Other Dog Breeds

How clever are Shih Tzus compared to other dogs? Well, some of the smartest dog breeds are Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers. 

There are also dogs similar in intelligence to Shih Tzus, like Lhasa Apsos, Bullmastiffs, and Basset Hounds. 

On the other hand, some breeds could be more smart, like Borzois, Chow Chows, Bulldogs, Basenjis, and Afghan Hounds.

4 Essential commands to teach your shih tzu intelligence

Here are four important commands to teach your Shih Tzu:

1. Sit: This is a simple command that helps them understand how you’re teaching them. It’s like a beginner’s lesson.

2. Stay: This is crucial for safety and being well-behaved. Whether it’s preventing them from running out the door or following you around, this is a command I really like to teach my dogs.

3. Come: This one is important for safety too. When you need them to stop what they’re doing and come to you, this command is a lifesaver. I’ve had moments when my Shih Tzu didn’t listen, and I wish I had practiced it more.

4. Off This is handy for getting your Shih Tzu off furniture or if they’re jumping on guests. It’s a “polite” command that’s good to have in your arsenal.

7 Training Tips for shih tzu intelligence

Here are some simple tips for training your Shih Tzu effectively:

1. Start early: Train your Shih Tzu when they’re young. They learn quickly and are eager to understand.

2. Use rewards: Shih Tzus likes getting treats and praise for good behavior. Give them these rewards to encourage them.

3. Be consistent: Everyone in the family should use the same commands and rewards. This helps your Shih Tzu understand better.

4. Meet others: Take your Shih Tzu to meet people and dogs when they’re little. This helps them feel comfortable around others.

5. Keep it short: Shih Tzus can’t focus for long, so have short and fun training sessions, like 5-10 minutes, a few times a day.

6. Teach basics: Begin with simple commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. Once they learn these, they move on to harder ones.

7. Be patient: Training needs time and patience. Don’t worry if your Shih Tzu gets it later. Keep trying, and they’ll learn eventually.


Depending on how you look at it, your Shih Tzu’s smarts can be seen in different ways. In official rankings, they’re not at the very top, being number 70 out of 79 for following commands. They can be a bit stubborn and prefer doing their own thing instead of listening, which might make them seem less clever.

However, when it comes to figuring things out on their own and getting along with people, Shih Tzus is actually quite clever. They can handle challenges and communicate well with their human friends, which puts them on par with some really smart dogs.

They might not be the absolute smartest dogs around, but their knack for solving problems and their loyal love show that Shih Tzus are pretty smart too. Your dog might surprise you with their intelligence if you give them puzzles to solve!

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