Shih Tzu

Easy to Train


Good with kids




Heat tolerance


Cold tolerance






Shih Tzu personality traits and Temperament

The Shih Tzu (meaning little lion) is a small, sweet, sturdy dog that was bred for the sole purpose of being a companion dog. They are the perfect indoor dogs well suited to apartments in the city. The breed is very sociable to members of the family as well as to visiting strangers. The most dominant character in a Shih Tzu is his affection and desire to be with the owner. They are constant attention seekers and do not tolerate being left alone particularly well.

His docile and lovable nature makes him a great companion for children as well as other pets. Even though they make great play mates for kids and are very tolerant, adult supervision is always needed. This is especially important so as to prevent the dogs from accidentally getting hurt during rough play. As these breeds have prominent eyes, chances of children injuring the eyes are very high. Extreme provocation has been shown to elicit an aggressive response from these dogs.

The breed does not require much exercise and most of its requirements are met by running around the house and going for short walks. Like all short faced breeds, The Shih Tzu also has very low tolerance towards hot humid weather and should never be expected to live outdoors. Given their size, they are surprisingly tough and does have a stubborn streak.

Grooming, Haircuts and Shedding

Shih Tzu’s have a long, silky double coat which comes in a range of colours. The coat needs regular grooming and maintenance. The cost of regular grooming and maintenance must be considered when deciding to buy the breed. Puppies should be trained to accept grooming at an early age. If deciding to keep a long coat on the Shih Tzu, be prepared for intense grooming sessions. The coat can also get really tangled and matted and therefore daily brushing is advised.

Hairs around the eyes must be trimmed to avoid accidents. When kept in a long coat a topknot is usually tied to keep the hair out of the dog’s eyes. The hairs around the ears must also be trimmed regularly and ear canals checked for infections. Even though the breed is a long haired one Shih Tzu’s are not shedders.

Size and Characteristics

Price Range: a Shih Tzu for sale may cost between 400 to 700

Life expectancy: the life span of a Shih Tzu is generally of about 11 – 15 YEARS

Weight: 9 – 16 pounds

Height: 8 – 11 inches

Colors: Gold, white, black, brown, liver, brindle, red, etc (comes in a range of colours)

How to Train

Shih Tzu’s are a difficult breed to train. They may take a little more time during training, and housebreaking requires persistence and patience on your part. Do not allow a puppy to roam the house unsupervised until he is completely trained, as puppies are very accident prone.

Shih Tzu’s are smart dogs and can learn commands well and this can be catalysed by positive reinforcement. These dogs have a tendency for mouthiness i.e., to nip, chew and play bite on your carpets, shoes etc. This has to be identified early and corrected. Chew toys and other materials can be used to train the puppy in this regard.

Coprophagy is another issue with the breed. Best way to break the habit is to monitor the dog carefully and clean up the faeces right away. Shih Tzu puppy should be carefully supervised inside the house until he has not eliminated indoors for at least four to eight weeks. Crate training is helpful for housetraining and provides your dog with a quiet place to relax. A crate is also useful when you board your Shih Tzu or travel.

Health Issues and Food

Diet: Shih Tzu’s love to eat, therefore what you feed to the dog and the quantity needs to be strictly monitored. Overfeeding can cause obesity and subsequent problems in the breed. Breed can be maintained on dry food, meat, fish, and eggs.

Allergies: Breed is highly prone to allergies including food allergies, contact allergies, allergies to medications, etc. Food and medicines given should be monitored and any adverse reactions noted and such agents from be withdrawn

Health problems: these dogs are susceptible to a number of health related issues like hip dysplasia, ear infections, eye injury and infections, heat strokes, patellar luxation, wheezing and snoring, inguinal hernias, renal problems, retained tooth and gum problems to name a few. Due to the breed’s peculiar facial structure water can accidentally enter the nostrils and block breathing. This can be corrected by using water bottles.

Mixed breeds

Mal-Shi is a Maltese Shih Tzu cross. It is an adorable dog, easy to train and quite a palymate. They are designed to be low shedders and often used as therapy dogs due to his cuddlesome nature

Zuchon is a designer mix between a male Bichon and a female Shih Tzu. It has the appearance of a stuffed teddy bear and is an absolute delight with children. They are low shedders and make great company for allergy sufferers

ShihPoo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Toy or Miniature Poodle and it comes in a variety of colours. ShihPoos have a moderate activity level that is adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle.

Best female and male dog names

You can name your Shih Tzu as Chico or Max if he is a male and Twiggy or Zoe if she is a female.

How to adopt

For dog adoptions take a look at how to adopt a Shih Tzu

Pictures and Videos

Shih Tzu puppy

Photo Credits: Jim Winstead,.