Shih Tzu Dog Breed: Characteristics, Facts, and Names

Shih Tzu’s are an extremely lovable breed who are big-time attention seekers! They’re covered with flowing hair all over and look adorable if you tie their hair in ponies. A Shih Tzu come in a range of colors varying from white, brown, a mixture of black and white and are a very popular breed among people now.

Shih Tzu Dog Breed Overview

shih tzu dog breed overview

Group: Toy Group
Size: 9-16 pounds
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Best Suited For: Singles, elderly couples, families
Temperament: Lively, Clever, Alert, Outgoing, Affectionate
Exercise Needs: Moderate
Drooling Potential: Moderate
Grooming Needs: High
Similar Breeds: Lhasa Apso, Pekingese dog breed, Maltese, Japanese Chin, Havanese

1. Basic Features

shih tzu in a garden

Shih Tzu’s are cuddly, fuzzy small lap dogs with a long luxurious coat in colors of brown, white and other various mixtures. This breed has a personality that is friendly, warm, overexcited at times, and loyal.

2. Shih Tzu-Origin

Originally from Tibet, this breed was given by Dalai Lama to the Chinese Emperor and they became house pets during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D). Since that time they have been highly prized.

Chinese paintings from the 6th century have featured this breed.

In 1908, they made their way to England and become even more popular. There are also certain theories that advocate that this breed is a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.

3. The Personality of a Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu’s are spunky and playful who shower love and sloppy kisses on every member of the household. They are friendly with other humans and do not hesitate to get unlimited hugs from them. If that is not enough to describe them then to add, they are also great with other dogs as well.

4. Shih Tzu Behaviour

shih tzu pup on a couch

A Shih Tzu who has gone under the sofa will not dare to come out until and unless they get what they want or whenever they feel like, no matter how many times you call out their name. They are a little stubborn regardless of how affectionate they are which could get a little extreme at times.

5. Exercise Requirements

Being an indoor dog mostly, they do not need that much exercise as a larger breed. However, since they are a small breed, they are usually very active throughout the day so owners should constantly keep them engaged with toys. They are very energetic so they look forward to learning new activities and games that involve them running around in circles. A daily walk of half an hour outside is recommended for this breed but during the summer season, one must not take them for long walks as their body can get overheated quickly.

6. Diet Needs

shih tzu diet

Feeding Shih Tzu’s is not such a complicated task as they are not very fussy with their choices. The quantity, however, depends on a large number of factors including age, height, activity level among other things. This breed’s nutritional needs include a healthy, balanced diet customized to avoid obesity. Adequate quantities of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and omega 3 and 6 oils should be considered with their portion of food. Items like raw eggs, chicken, yogurt, apples, carrots, and bananas should be given to them every now and then.

7. Trainability

It is not at all difficult to teach Shih Tzu’s rules and particular games as long as you keep an incentive at the end.

They are very sensitive dogs who can mope for long if their owner yells at them.

So, if they know that a treat awaits them, they would willingly do all the tricks taught to them. House training and potty training is something that should be taught to them right from a young age. Owners should take them out every 3-4 hours for a walk to make them know the distinction between outside and inside. Socialization is also a must for this breed.

8. Common Health Problems

The Shih Tzu suffers from most of the health problems common to tiny dogs and has a few particular health problems, but overall, it is a fairly healthy breed. Shih Tzus have a smaller mouth, which sometimes is the reason for their misaligned or missing teeth. They’re also very prone to periodontal disease and require regular veterinary dental care. Shih Tzu owners need to watch their puppies carefully for signs of excessive thirst, failure to gain weight or other signs that they’re not thriving. An important thing while opting to choose this breed is to find a responsible, careful breeder.

9. Who Should Adopt a Shih Tzu

shih tzu pup

Anyone who wants infectious energy around themselves is fit to adopt this breed. This breed is one of those few breeds that go along with every kind of individual or family.