Shih Tzu Information & Dog Breed Facts

Collection of all the general dog breed info about Shih Tzu so you can get to know the breed more.

Group Companion Dogs
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Shih Tzu dog profile picture
OriginChina flagChina
Other Names
What other names does the Shih Tzu have?
Chrysanthemum DogChinese Lion Dog
Breed Type
What type of dog breed is it?
Purebred

Shih Tzu Price and Availability

Price
How much does the Shih Tzu puppy cost? What is the price range of this puppy? What is the average price of this dog in the United States? Is this puppy expensive? How much should I pay for it?
$800-$1200
If you choose to purchase the Shih Tzu, you should know that the mentioned amount of money is an average of the collected data from breeders’ sites and puppy finder places. If you have a Shih Tzu for sale, please advertise it on a reliable website to make sure the Shih Tzu gets to a happy place.
Availability
How easy is it to get a Shih Tzu?
Very frequent: The Shih Tzu is quite easy to get. There is a risk of overbreeding, as it is an extremely popular breed.

Inbreeding is common because of its popularity. A new study suggests that inbreeding contributes to the incidence of disease and health problems.

So be careful, buy from a trustworthy place or kennel and seek the help of an experienced person, a professional, to make the right decision.

Shih Tzu Size

Size
What size is this breed? How big is this dog?
Small
Weight
How much does the Shih Tzu weigh? Shih Tzu weight:
9–16 pounds (4-7 kg)
Average Weight
What is the average weight of the Shih Tzu? Shih Tzu average weight:
9–16 pounds (5.5 kg)
Height
How tall is the Shih Tzu? Shih Tzu height:
8-11 inches (20-28 cm)
Average Height
What is the average height of this fido? Shih Tzu average height:
9.5 inches (24 cm)

Shih Tzu Grooming, Hair and Care

Coat / Hair Types
What type of coat does the Shih Tzu have? What does this canine coat/fur look like?
Dense
Colors
What color is the breed's coat? What color is a proper Shih Tzu's coat?
BrindleLiverSilverBlue GoldRedBlack
Grooming
How to groom the Shih Tzu and how often?
Professional: This breed needs a lot of work to keep in good condition. The Shih Tzu requires grooming on a daily basis.

Cutting the dog's hair by a professional groomer is essential. Everyday brushing of the dog's coat is necessary to reduce shedding.

Ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections. Don't skip the seasonal flea treatment too. Dog nail trimming and dog bath should be on a weekly schedule.

Taking good care of your Shih Tzu is time-consuming and requires excellent grooming skills. If you don't have the time and skill search for the best dog groomer or clipping service in your area and book an appointment.

Maybe you're lucky to have a dog boarding service that includes grooming or walk-in dog bath places nearby.
Shedding Level
How much do Shih Tzu dogs shed? How to control, reduce and prevent the shedding of the Chrysanthemum Dog?
Shih Tzus shed none to minimal. Having a puppy from this breed you don't have to be afraid of your couch or car being covered by dog hair. Shih Tzu dogs could be the best choice if you don't tolerate dog hair.
Bath Time / Bathing Frequency
How often does the Shih Tzu need a bath? How often should bathe this dog? Can I bathe my Shih Tzu every day?
4-6 weeks
Average. Experts recommended at least every 4-6 weeks for this family pup. According to a study, 56% of pet parents don’t bathe their dogs as frequently as they should, and 60% use the sniff test when deciding when it’s bath time. Bathing your dog is beneficial to them in more ways than just one. It’s also a good time to look for unusual scratches, bumps, fleas, and other irregularities. When their hair is wet and flat against their body, these details are more visible.

Shih Tzu Personality / Temperament

Temperament
What kind of personality does the Shih Tzu have? What characteristics or traits does the breed have?
ActiveFriendlyHappyLivelyPlayfulCourageousGentleIntelligentOutgoing
Intelligent Rank
How smart is the Shih Tzu? Are they intelligent?
Low: The Shih Tzu is one of the dog breeds that have the lowest degree of obedience intelligence. You need to work hard if you want to impress people with these dog tricks and commands. They understand and memorize new commands in 80-100 repetitions, and obey the first command 25% of the time or better.
Trainability
Are Shih Tzu dogs easy to train? Do they go well on dog training?
Shih Tzus are quite easy to train. Sometimes they can be challenging, but if you're consistent in teaching new commands they will obey for sure.
Playfulness
How playful is this breed?
Shih Tzus are not the most playful dog breed. Sometimes they do like playing, but that's not their favorite activity.
Sensitivity Level
How sensitive are they? Shih Tzu sensitivity:
Shih Tzus have an average emotional level and are not the most sensitive dog breed. Sometimes it's okay to change the daily routine, have guests and listen to loud music. Some dogs handle moderate punishment very well, while others crumble apart at a dirty look. This breed is not affected emotionally by moderate punishment.
Affection Level
How affectionate are they? Are they affectionate?
High: Shih Tzus are genuinely loyal, soft and gentle, loving and affectionate dogs toward their handlers. They enjoy quality time with their owners despite the activity and are considered great therapy dog for those in need. This breed responds strongly to their handler's emotions because they bond closely. Their happiness is your happiness.
Social Needs
How much social interaction does the Chrysanthemum Dog need? Shih Tzu social needs:
Shih Tzus need a lot of social interaction. They desire to always be with someone or around people. This breed hates being left alone.
Barking
Do Shih Tzu dogs bark a lot? Are they barkers/noisy? Why does my Chrysanthemum Dog bark?
A lot: Shih Tzu is a particularly loud breed. They often enjoy barking and howling loudly. If you want a quiet dog, not the best choice. The main triggers for barking are fear, attention, alarm, boredom, greeting, separation anxiety, compulsive barking, and defense.
Watchdog Ability
Is Shih Tzu good as a watchdog? Are they alert at night?
Shih Tzus are average watchdogs. If they sense something different, they will alert you, but the observation isn't considered their main job.
Guarding Behavior / Territorial
Do Shih Tzu dogs have an aggressive behavior to protect their home/house/territory? Do they have guarding instincts?
Shih Tzus strongly protect their territory. This breed is a complete security guard, so you don't have to be afraid in case of danger.
Biting Potential
Do Shih Tzu bite humans? How likely are you to get bitten from the Chrysanthemum Dog? What are the odds of getting bitten by a Shih Tzu? Why do dog bites happen?

Low 🔽

The Shih Tzu has a low chance of biting somebody. Top reasons for dog bite: protection, pain, excitement, herding instinct, being provoked. (Data based on the available online bite statistics.)
Bite Force
Does the Shih Tzu has a hard bite?

Between 100 and 200 PSI 🔽

Shih Tzu bite force: Weak. Dogs that have the weakest bite force below 200 PSI. However, it is important to note that despite the fact that their bite force is considered the “weakest” it can still be very dangerous as all dog bites are. They are usually not aggressive and very friendly towards children and other animals.
Mouthiness
How much mouthing/nipping/play biting does the Shih Tzu do?
Shih Tzus have a higher than average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people. It's a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These "bites" don't hurt, but Shih Tzus need to be taught for a good attitude.
Impulse to Wander or Roam
How likely is the Shih Tzu to run away? Does this breed explore or wander a lot? Does Shih Tzu roam?
Shih Tzus tend to escape less than other breeds. They have low to average wanderlust potential. Exploring the world is not the best activity they can imagine.
Prey Drive
Do this canine have a strong prey drive? Does Shih Tzu have high prey drive?
Shih Tzus have a higher impulse to chase and catch something than other dog breeds. Cats or any other small animals might be in danger. It's a natural instinct, doesn't necessarily mean that Shih Tzus are aggressive. Better to keep this breed on a leash.
Apartment Friendly
Is Shih Tzu good as an apartment dog? Can they live in a flat?
Very house-friendly dog the Shih Tzu breed. It's good if you have a small garden where he can go out and do his business, but it's not important at all. You can get enough exercise with one or two walks a day, so keeping them indoors shouldn't be a problem.
Adaptability
Are they adaptable and easy-going?
Shih Tzus adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments. They don't mind moving from one place to another with their owner.
Tolerates Being Left Alone
Can you leave this breed home alone?
Shih Tzus tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.

Shih Tzu Good With

Stranger Friendly
Are they aggressive or friendly towards/with strangers? Shih Tzu temperament with other people:
Shih Tzus are average friendly towards strangers.
Pet Friendly
Are they pet-friendly dogs? How well do Shih Tzu dogs get along with other pets? Are Shih Tzu dogs good with pets? What is this canine temperament with other pets?
Shih Tzus are one of the friendliest dog breeds.
Child Friendly
Are Shih Tzu dogs kid-friendly? Are they good with young children? Shih Tzu temperament with children:
Shih Tzus are not the most kid-friendly dogs. If you have children, you may have to reconsider your choice of having a puppy from this breed.
Cat Friendly
How well do Shih Tzu dogs get along with cats? Are they good with kittens? What is this fido's temperament with cats? Can they be good with cats?
Shih Tzus are very cat-friendly dogs.
Dog Friendly
Is Shih Tzu good with other dogs? Are they dog-friendly dogs? How well do Shih Tzu dogs get along with other dogs? What is this canine temperament with other dogs?
Shih Tzus are very dog-friendly dogs. If you want more dogs in your family or you'd like to join dog meetups, the Shih Tzu can be a great choice.
Good For First Time Owners
Is Shih Tzu breed good for first-time owners? Do they make a good dog for novice owners?
Yes
Shih Tzus are good for novice owners, due to their easy-going personality.
Office Friendly
Are Shih Tzus good office dogs? Do Shih Tzus make good office friendly dogs? Can Shih Tzus be office dogs?
No
Shih Tzu is not the best dog breed for office environment.
Senior Citizens Friendly
Are they senior citizens friendly dogs? How well do Shih Tzu dogs get along with the elderly people? What is the Chrysanthemum Dog temperament with senior people? Are Shih Tzu dogs good for elderly owners?
Shih Tzus are not the best breed for elderly people.

Shih Tzu Health

Health Issues
Is it a healthy or unhealthy breed? Do Shih Tzu dogs have health problems or genetic diseases?
The Shih Tzu is a healthy breed, but there are certain health issues that you should check with your vet regularly.
Health Problems
What genetic/health problems does the Shih Tzu breed have? What are the health issues and concerns of the Shih Tzu breed? Most common health risks of Shih Tzu:
AllergiesBladder StonesDistichiasisDry EyeEar InfectionsEctopic CiliaHip DysplasiaJuvenile Renal DysplasiaKeratitisPatellar LuxationPortosystemic Liver ShuntProgressive retinal atrophy (PRA)ProptosisRetained Baby TeethReverse SneezingSnufflesUmbilical Hernias
Veterinarian Visits
How often does the Shih Tzu breed need to go to the vet? How often should you take your dog to the vet? How often should the Shih Tzu see the vet?
Average
The Shih Tzu should have a complete physical check-up at least once per year. If your dog shows any symptoms, call your veterinarian.
Life Expectancy
How long do Shih Tzu dogs live? What is the average lifespan of this breed? How old can a Shih Tzu be? What is the age limit of the Shih Tzu? How many years can the oldest Shih Tzu live?
10-16 years
The average lifespan of Shih Tzu: 13 years
Hypoallergenic
Is the Shih Tzu breed hypoallergenic?
Yes
Shih Tzus do well with allergy sufferers by causing fewer allergic reaction. However there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs in the world, there are a variety of breeds that are considered to reduce or minimize the possibility of an allergic response. Coat type isn't necessarily relevant, because most people are allergic to dander (flakes on the dog's skin) or saliva, not actually to dog hair.
Energy Level
How much energy does the Shih Tzu have? What is the activity level of the Shih Tzu?
Shih Tzus have a lower energy level than other dogs. If you live a chilled life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Activity Requirement / Exercise Need
How much activity does this dog need? How much exercise do Shih Tzu dogs require per day?
Shih Tzus exercise need is minimal. If you live a slow life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Sleeping Need
How much sleep does this fido need?
Shih Tzus like sleeping so they do sleep a lot. They're not the most active dog breed. If you live an active life, this breed can be a bad choice for you.
Average daily food consumption
How much food does the Shih Tzu need? How often should I feed my canine? What dog products should I buy?
Recommended daily amount: 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry food a day.
Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity
How easy to gain weight for this dog? Shih Tzu risk for obesity:
Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the Shih Tzu's weight, he can easily gain weight. More than one daily walk should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with quality dry dog food and live an active life together. Try to find the happy medium between exercise and feeding. If you notice any weight gain, consult your veterinarian and make a diet plan. Reduce unhealthy food and snacks, and measure the Shih Tzu's weight regularly.
Weather and Climate
Which weather condition is preferred by this dog? Can they tolerate hot or cold weather and climate?
Tolerates warm and cold weather
Dogs that tolerate hot and cold weather are typically those that have a double coat of fur. Dogs with a double coat of fur have a layer of fur that insulates their skin and helps protect them from the cold and the heat.
Stinkiness
How stinky is this dog? Why does it smell bad and how to get rid of the smell?

Low 🔽

The Shih Tzu has a low chance of bad smell. Top reasons for dog stinkiness: infection of bad tooth/ear/skin folds, gas attacks.
Drooling Tendency
Does the Shih Tzu drool?
The Shih Tzu is a perfect example of a very low drooling tendency. If you're disgusted by slobber spots on your clothes, the Shih Tzu could be a perfect choice for you. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem. Certain dog breeds drool minimum compared to others, just like the Shih Tzu. If you notice any change in your dog's drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

Shih Tzu As a Working Dog

Service Dog
Are they good as service dogs? Can Shih Tzu be a guide dog? Are they used as seeing-eye dogs?

Not really

This breed generally not used as a service dog. A service dog is a term used in the USA to refer to any type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental disorders, seizures, mobility impairment, and diabetes. Service dogs are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Shih Tzu is not the best breed for service purposes.
Therapy Dog
Are they good as therapy dogs? Can Shih Tzu be a therapy dog? Are they good anxiety dogs? Can a Shih Tzu be an emotional support animal?

Not really

This breed generally not used as a therapy dog. A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort, and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with anxiety disorders or autism. Shih Tzu is not the best breed for therapeutic purposes.
Detection Dog or Sniffer Dog
Are they good as detection dogs? Can Shih Tzu be a sniffer dog?

Not really

They are not typically employed for this type of work, but there may be exceptional cases. A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses (mostly its smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones. Shih Tzu is not the best breed for detection purposes.
Search and Rescue Dog (SAR)
Are they good as SAR dogs? Can Shih Tzu be a search and rescue dog?

Not really

This dog breed is not typically used as a search and rescue dog. The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people. The Shih Tzu is not the best breed for SAR purposes.
Boat and Sailor Dog
Are they good as boat dogs? Can Shih Tzu be a boat dog?

Not really

Shih Tzu breed usually doesn't like being on a boat.

Boat dogs were typically bred for their strength, stamina, and water resistance, as they were often required to perform tasks such as pulling in fishing nets, and jumping into the water to retrieve ropes or lines, or helping to move cargo.

Sailor dog is a type of dog that was bred to accompany sailors on their voyages. They were typically used for three purposes: as a working dog, a watchdog, and as a companion. A boat dog is a term used to describe a type of dog that was traditionally bred and used as a working dog on boats.

Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog
Are they good as cart pulling dogs? Can Shih Tzu be a drafting dog?

Not really

A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds and qualities that are needed, strength and determination. Shih Tzu is not the best breed for drafting purposes.
Fighting Dog / Military Dog
Where Shih Tzu dogs used as fighting / military dogs in history?

Not really

In history, this breed was not really used for combat dog.

Shih Tzu Reproducibility

Gestation Length
How long does this dog's pregnancy last? How long does this dog pregnant? How long does it take to have puppies?

60-64 days

Reproductive cycle of the female Shih Tzu: The first period called Proestrus lasts for about 9 days. During this time the females start to attract males. You can notice by swelling vulva and bloody discharge. The second part is the Estrus when the female is receptive for the male. It lasts for about 3 to 11 days. The sign of the proestrus part is the soft and enlarged vulva. The discharge decreases and lightens in color. The third part is the Diestrus. Normally, it occurs around day 14. In this period the female’s discharge changes for vivid red and coming to its end. The vulva returns to average, and she will no longer permit mating. The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time frame between heat periods normally lasts about six months.
Litter Frequency

Once a year.

More frequent breeding is not healthy. It is very important not to buy a dog from a puppy mill, where the needs of the pups and their mothers are ignored. It's an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility, where puppies born several times a year.
Litter Size
How many puppies can the Shih Tzu have? What is the average litter size of this fido?
2-5 puppies

Shih Tzu Recognition

AKC Group
Is Shih Tzu recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969 as a Toy breed.
FCI Group
Is Shih Tzu recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)?
Recognized by FCI in the Companion and Toy Dogs group, in the Tibetan breeds section.
Breed Recognition
What kennel clubs and organizations recognize or register the Shih Tzu breed?
American Canine RegistryAmerican Kennel ClubAmerica's Pet RegistryCanadian Kennel ClubDog Registry of America Inc.Federation Cynologique InternationaleKennel Club of Great BritainNorth American Purebred Registry, Inc.American Canine Association, Inc.Australian National Kennel CouncilContinental Kennel ClubNational Kennel ClubNew Zealand Kennel ClubUnited Kennel ClubCanadian Canine Registry

Shih Tzu Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Hypoallergenic: Shih Tzus do well with allergy sufferers by causing fewer allergic reaction.
  • Apartment Friendly: Very house-friendly dog the Shih Tzu breed.
  • Shedding Level: Shih Tzus shed none to minimal.
  • Drooling Tendency: The Shih Tzu is a perfect example of a very low drooling tendency.
  • Stinkiness: The Shih Tzu has a low chance of bad smell.
  • Impulse to Wander or Roam: Shih Tzus tend to escape less than other breeds.
  • Adaptability: Shih Tzus adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments.
  • Cat Friendly: Shih Tzus are very cat-friendly dogs.
  • Dog Friendly: Shih Tzus are very dog-friendly dogs.
  • Good For First Time Owners: Shih Tzus are good for novice owners, due to their easy-going personality.
Cons
  • Intelligent Rank: Low: The Shih Tzu is one of the dog breeds that have the lowest degree of obedience intelligence.
  • Grooming: Professional: This breed needs a lot of work to keep in good condition.
  • Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity: Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the Shih Tzu's weight, he can easily gain weight.
  • Mouthiness: Shih Tzus have a higher than average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people.
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone: Shih Tzus tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.
  • Child Friendly: Shih Tzus are not the most kid-friendly dogs.
  • Office Friendly: Shih Tzu is not the best dog breed for office environment.
  • Senior Citizens Friendly: Shih Tzus are not the best breed for elderly people.

Shih Tzu History

The Shih Tzu’s history goes back to ancient times, and it is steep in mystery and controversy. Recent research suggests that the Shih Tzu is one of the 14 oldest dog breeds in the world, dog bones found in China have proven that the dogs were there as early as 8000 B.C. Some experts presume that the breed was created by Tibetan Monks and given as gifts to the Chinese nobility and royalty. It is also speculated that the Shih Tzu was developed in China by crossing other breeds with other Sino-Tibetan breeds and the Pekingese or Lhasa Aspo. Regardless of where the breed was created, it is crystal clear that the dogs were treasured companions from the earliest times. Writings, arts, and paintings from China’s Tang Dynasty, from 618-907 A.D. exhibit small companion dogs similar to today’s Shih Tzu. References to the dogs’ existence appeared from 990 to 994 A.D. in wall carvings and drawings.

Marco Polo reported in the 13th century, that the Mongolian Emperor, kept small so-called, lion dogs with trained hunting lions in order to keep the lions calm. Between 1368 and 1644, during the Ming Dynasty, royal families kept Shih Tzu type of dogs that strongly resembled lions. Thus, consequently the name Shih Tzu means little lion, yet there is nothing fierce about the breed, they are more of a companion dog than fighting beasts. Another legend suggests that Buddha traveled with little dogs fitting the description of today’s Shih Tzu. The story states that one day, a couple of robbers came upon Buddha with the intent of robbing and murdering him. The small dogs have changed into ferocious lions and scared off the criminals, saving Buddha’s life. Then the lion turned back into Buddha’s little companion dog, which Buddha picked up, kissed, and blessed. The white spot on the heads of many Shih Tzus is believed to be originated from Buddha’s own kiss. Because of the dogs’ heroic actions, many also believe that Fu Dogs, the guardians of Buddhist temples are also representations of Shih Tzus. The breed gained more popularity in the Imperial Court after a royal concubine became the Empress of China, in 1861. The Dalai Lama gave her a pair of Shih Tzus, reportedly the source of the imperial palace's little lion dogs, during Empress Tzu Hsi's reign.

In 1908 after her death, many of the nobility competed to produce dogs of the finest colors and coats. Because of the fierce breeding competition, the breeding plans and practices remained in secret, resulting in poor quality dogs sold in mass marketplaces, and good quality dogs being smuggled out of the country. The first pair of Shih Tzus were brought to England in 1938 from Peking by Lady Brownrigg. Maureen Murdock and Philip Price were the first to bring and breed Shih Tzus in the United States.

The breed got recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1969. Since then, the Shih Tzu has been one of the most popular breeds both in the UK and in the US. The breed’s fanciers include Queen Elizabeth II. and pop-star Miley Cyrus.

Rate The Shih Tzu Breed

Shih Tzu Comments, Reviews and Questions

  • Poppy

    Mar 9, 2022, 11:38:57 AM:

  • doggy

    Nov 23, 2020, 12:18:13 PM:

  • Naomi

    Nov 6, 2020, 10:27:08 PM:

    Shih tzus are amazing! I had a shih tzu recently, and are in the process of getting one. She barked only when she needed to go out, and she just loved sitting on the couch with us! Overall, great breed! Go get a shih tzu!

  • Natti

    Sep 17, 2020, 5:49:12 AM:

    Love the dog breed! Absolutely hate the breakdown on this site. It is so far off. Atrocious. Seriously, I’ve owned multiple Shih Tzus and this info isn’t even close. It contradicts itself even. Other breeds are WAY off too. Just pitiful.

  • Rhonda

    Aug 15, 2020, 2:08:46 PM:

    My current Shih Tzu doesn't bark, LOVES meeting new people, and loves to playing with toys. She's highly intelligent and figures out things very easily, hates being alone, and is just the sweetest little thing. Shih Tzus make great companions!

  • Kat

    Jun 25, 2020, 1:58:40 AM:

  • Hi

    Mar 25, 2020, 2:34:55 PM: