The Shih Tzu Dog: Information and Characteristics

When it comes to owning a pet dog that is regal and affectionate with Tibetan-Chinese history embedded in its origin, Shih Tzu is the way to go.

Shih Tzu looking from grass

Shih Tzu, pronounced ‘Sheet sue,’ means lion dog.
Though it resembles a lion, there is nothing fierce about Shih Tzu dogs. As a matter of fact, they are widely popular as one of the most docile and friendly dogs.

Shih Tzu dogs are estimated to be among the most ancient dog breeds, and dog bones unearthed in China suggested that they have existed since 8000 B.C.

There is extensive debate present about the dogs’ origin. While some suggest that the Tibetan community evolved the breed and gifted it to the Chinese kingdom as a present, others believe that the Chinese people mixed different species with Lhasa Apso or Pekingnese and developed Shih Tzu dogs.

Though the original story is hard to detect, small dogs resembling lions in ancient paintings and art from China are enough evidence to confirm their Chinese genesis.

Shih Tzu’s characteristics also make them highly desirable, apart from their regal antiquities.

Their long, silky hair gliding swiftly across the floor with an elegant topknot is genuinely irresistible.

Their friendly, devoted nature and gracious beauty are bound to make hearts even weaker. Initially bred for companionship, these dogs make great companions who know how to make friends anywhere.

From their personalities to their appearances, Shih Tzu dogs have it all.

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Appearance & Personality of Shih Tzu

This Chinese dog breed is the toy group that makes ideal companions.

Shih Tzu in a basket,m Shih Tzu characteristics

Their small structure constrains them in the range of 9-10.5 inches.
They usually do not grow taller than 10 inches. Shih Tzu dogs weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, which is a sturdy, solid weight for such small dogs.

Shih Tzu’s life expectancy is estimated to be from 10 to 18 years which is considered a long longevity range. Their beautiful, straight, long coating comes in different colors and shades.

People can choose from a prominent variety when it comes to Shih Tzu dogs. Along with that, their cute, little topknot with a ribbon makes them one of the cutest dogs out there.

Shih Tzu’s captivating personality grabs everyone’s attention; even those who are not big fans of dogs are delighted by their fun and lively nature. Their friendliness makes it hard for anyone to avoid them.

They are very open to people they see regularly and strangers as well and are not compatible with hunting or guarding. They love people and know the easy way to win hearts, which is why they make great companion dogs.

Furthermore, their highly adaptive nature makes them one of the best choices for apartment-living dog enthusiasts.

They tend to be the happiest when they find their owner’s lap free for snuggling. Owing to their royal ancestry, they prefer to relax in the comfort of their own homes.

Anyone interested in adopting Shih Tzu dogs does not require extensive, open backyard space. Small apartments are perfect for Shih Tzu dogs to play and move around.

Nature of Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu has an affectionate nature, evidently seen through their round, protruding eyes.

Resembling chrysanthemums with a black nose right in the middle and hair flowing on all sides, which is why they are also known as chrysanthemum dogs.

Shih Tzu loves playing with children, but it may be risky for families with toddlers to keep Shih Tzus in the house as their small sizes may result in unintentional accidents.

They are alert and observant, which is why they may take a while to warm up to strangers. However, they do not take long to get familiar and friendly.

Health & Grooming Tips for Shih Tzu

Though most Shih Tzu information consists of their gracious beauty and well-mannered nature, it is important to address the health issues they usually encounter.

A healthy Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu dogs are generally healthy, but there are some diseases and conditions they are susceptible to. They do not put up well with heat due to their short faces and heavy coats.

They should be regularly checked for several conditions, such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Eye anomalies like cataracts, retinal detachment, corneal dryness, and progressive retinal atrophy are some of the significant threats for Shih Tzu dogs. Though there are no recommended health tests, they should be taken care of properly.

Apart from the diseases mentioned above, some other conditions are pretty common among Shih Tzu dogs. For instance, their drop ears make them the perfect space for ear infections.

Therefore, the ears need to be checked weekly to avoid severe conditions. They are also prone to food, contact, and inhalant allergies. With proper diet and environmental changes, allergies can be eliminated.

Additionally, tooth and gum problems are also prevalent among Shih Tzu dogs. They tend to have undershot jaws, which may cause misaligned teeth to form.

Grooming Tips for Shih Tzu

Their teeth must be brushed daily to prevent gum diseases and bad breath. Also, their nails must be trimmed to avoid germs and illnesses. They might be charming and elegant, but they do require constant grooming.

Shih Tzus also tend to be prone to Coprophagia. Coprophagia is a condition where animals consume their feces. It may become a massive problem if they are not handled cautiously from the beginning. It is indispensable to clean their feces away to prevent Coprophagia.

Shih Tzu dogs are widely known for their gorgeous coating but keeping it perfect can be quite the work.

It is essential to use good quality brushes, and the hair needs to be appropriately divided to avoid mats.

The topknot and moustache must be groomed as well to enhance its cuteness. In addition to that, Shih Tzu dogs also tend to be very sensitive to heat and prefer to stay inside air-conditioned rooms.

They also have low drooling potential, making it easy to maintain hygiene.

Exercise & Training

Shih Tzu information about their exercise requirements is relatively minimal. Initially bred to serve as house companions, they require minimal movement.

Brief walks at the park or around the neighborhood are plenty of exercise for this short-legged poodle.

Indoor playful activities are often enough to fulfill their physical activity needs.

Shih Tzu Exercising

Ideal exercise time can be split between 2 walks per day. 20-30 minutes of walking in the morning and an additional light exercise of another 20-30 minutes in

the evening should be sufficient Shih Tzu dogs can be trained easily. They tend to listen to their owners and can fulfill commands accurately.

Though they usually bark frequently, they tend to excel in dog training.

Despite being companion dogs, they outshine in all kinds of dog sports. From agility training to dog competitions, they seem to have an aptitude for winning at everything.

Due to their petite size, they are usually carried around, which might turn into a massive problem if it becomes a habit.

They are hard to housebreak, and multiple repetitions may be required to settle the potty routine. It may take a great deal of supervision before the dog is familiar with a proper regimen.

Crate training and usage of positive reinforcement while training can make guiding easier.

Praise and rewards work best on them since they are people pleasers. Early puppy training and socialization can help them grow into highly adaptive adult dogs.

Food and Nutrition tips for Shih Tzu :

Different dog breeds have different diet requirements. Since Shih Tzu dogs are small in size, their diet needs to be maintained to prevent obesity.

Their diet also depends on their build, metabolism, and activity levels. Highly active dogs naturally require more food than couch potato dogs.

A hungry Shih Tzu waiting for food

Half to one cup of high-quality dog food per day is usually recommended. However, a veterinarian can help to provide appropriate diet charts based on weight, build, age, size, and metabolism.

It is also vital to ensure that good quality dog foods are fed to the dogs.

The better the brand’s quality, the more nutritious it is for the dog. Good quality dog foods also have all the nutrients that are usually needed.

What needs to be examined regularly is calorie consumption to help prevent them from becoming overweight.

Other than controlling calorie consumption, it is also imperative to understand which human foods are safe for dogs to consume.

They tend to be sensitive and may not digest human foods properly. A veterinarian can help provide guidance regarding the foods that may be harmful to Shih Tzu dogs. Also, treats are essential during training but giving them too much can cause obesity. Additionally, it is vital to feed them clean, fresh water to avoid stomach problems.


Shih Tzu in a picnic with family

Even with all the additional grooming, Shih Tzu dogs still make one of the best pets. Their ‘imperial’ attitude is often misinterpreted as an exploiting term for marketing, but their royalty is innate regardless.

Though they are challenging to housebreak, they eventually become the most desirable pets once they are trained well.

It is almost impossible to ignore and walk past these cute Tibetan pooches anywhere. Shih Tzu dogs are friendly, graceful, lively, and alert.

They are an all-in-one package and the perfect family dog.

This regal beauty may bear semblance to lions, but there is nothing fierce or savage about them. Contrarily, their docility and obedience win hearts everywhere.

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