Shih Tzu

Country of origin:
China, Tibet
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
any, white blaze on forehead and tail
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Download standard:
Pros Cons
  • adores people
  • forms strong bonds with its master
  • self-confident
  • great stamina
  • loves children
  • loves animals
  • adapt well to any living conditions
  • needs a professional grooming
  • endures heat badly
  • not easy to housebreak

The Shi Tzu is a friendly and funny dog whose look can melt each and every heart. Its outgoing, trustful character makes it a perfect companion and apartment dog. Though it seems to be cushion dog, recently its owners have begun to draw it to dog sports, rally and other outdoors activities. The Shi Tzu has a prominent background, it had an honor to seat on the laps of Chinese emperors.

The Shih Tzu has centuries of history. A research showed that it is one of the 14 oldest breeds and remainders discovered in China have confirmed its presence there as early as 8,000 B.C.

Some state the breed evolved with the help from Tibetan Monks and was often presented to Chinese royalty. Another view suggests that the Shih Tzu was created in China by crossing other breeds with the Lhasa Apso or the Pekingese. It doesn’t matter where the Shi Tzu initially came from – Tibet or China – it’s obvious that it has been the beloved and intelligent lapdog for a long time.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Chinese royal families kept dogs that resembled the Shi Tzu. In some papers from that time they were described as the «little lion dogs» or «chrysanthemum-faced» dogs. It was a small, agile and teachable breed that looked like a lion.

From the XVIII century to the early XX century history had failed to present any substantial information on the development of the breed, but a lot of pictures portrayed little, hairy, cheerful dogs.

After the decline of the Chinese Imperia, these small dogs were almost lost for the future generation, but luckily some of them were given as a gift to foreigners, namely General Douglas and Lady Brownrigg. They and others transported some of the dogs to England. So all today’s Shi Tzus have originated from fourteen dogs.

During World War II spread of the breed was very limited, but it kept alive and prospered in the 1950s and 1960s. The American Kennel Club (AKC) acknowledged the breed in 1969. Today the Shih Tzu is famous for its faithful, noble, sunny character and is kept worldwide as trustful companion and soulmate dog.

The Shi Tzu is an outstanding family dog. It will get on well with every living creature in your house and diligent character turns it into a good friend for children. Though they should handle it gently and get to the floor to play with it. Teach your children to not touch Shi Tzu’s protuberant eyes, which can be hurt easily.

This breed was created to be a companion dog, love is its prevailing trait, and your lap is best place at your house. It also needs to receive as much attention as possible and will be always ready to give it back.

Though the Shi Tzu may bark at your guests at first, but minute later it’ll welcome them in his own happy and funny manner.

Some Shih Tzus tolerate cats and some don’t; it seems to be solely an individual predisposition rather than a breed feature. And it definitely favors dogs.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed:

• allergies;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• patellar luxation;
• juvenile renal dysplasia;
• bladder stones and bladder infections;
• eye problems;
• ear infections;
• breath problems.

Shih Tsu’s flowing locks often require regular professional grooming as well as daily combing at home. Tools you’ll need include a wire pin brush and a stainless steel comb with fine and coarse teeth.

When your Shih Tzu is about a year old, it tends to change coat. This can last up to three weeks and you need to brush it daily. Good news - the new coat is easier to care for after the old one was shed.

You can bathe your Shih Tzu whenever you like, but beforehand comb its hare carefully and thoroughly. The coat must be dried afterwards so your dog won’t get cold.

It’s common opinion that the Shih Tzu is very easy to train though it’s sometimes regarded hard to housebreak. You should watch your puppy closely so it doesn’t use your carpet for its needs. You can also teach it to use little box for the toilet so you don’t have to go for a walk in case of the bad weather.

Crate training is also useful for housetraining and gives your dog its own corner in the house. A crate is really helpful when you carry your Shih Tzu or travel with your dog.

The Shih Tzu a smart dog, but can be mulish, and, on occasion, mischievous. Though training may not be obligatory for it, you may need some extra time and energy to make it learn the rules. 
When you train your dog, lessons should be short but frequent, for example, ten to fifteen minute periods three times a day. This breed can focus its attention only for a short time, which makes quick training sessions more preferable.

If you stay patient and calm, your Shih Tzu will be easily trained basic obedience commands and good behavior.

The Shih Tzu doesn’t need a lot of exercise. It is ok with a daily short walk. It is not a really active breed and will be happy sitting on your laps, carrying toys and welcoming newcomers. Having said that, it’s important to say that even though play will fulfill of a lot of its exercise needs, it will not satisfy its main need to walk.

The Shih Tzu is prone to be overheated, so avoid going out on hot days. In general, the Shih Tzu is good for an apartment life. These dogs are pretty active indoors and can live without a yard, but not without your affection and attention.