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Shih Tzu Breed Information

The Shih Tzu are royal dogs both in appearance and attitude. Their long luxurious coats coupled with their confident demeanor and charismatic personalities have brought on unchallenged fame among small dog breeds. Friendliness, affection, loyalty, intelligence, and gentleness are just some of the many wonderful qualities these beautiful dogs possess. The Shih Tzu dogs are kind and sweet. They love their family dearly, bond wonderfully with children, and make friends on all of their daily walks.  Although their history is defined by luxury among kings, emperors, personal attenders, and great pampering, these dogs are not arrogant but rather grateful and loving companion pets.  

BREED TYPE / MIX Purebred ENERGY Moderate SHEDDING Shih Tzu has a double coat that sheds depending on the length. A long coat sheds less while a short coat is easier to brush and to keep clean. TRAINING Determined TEMPERAMENT Affectionate, Courageous, Friendly, Sweet ADULT WEIGHT 9-16 lbs ADULT HEIGHT 8-11 in LIFE SPAN 11-14 yrs

Shih Tzu Characteristics

  • The Shih Tzu sheds very little if at all and is considered a hypoallergenic dog – an excellent choice for those suffering from pet-related allergies
  • Elegant, graceful, and stunning, the Shih Tzu are famous in the canine show ring
  • The Shih Tzu is known to bond for life with his human family
  • Highly adaptable – the Shih Tzu adapts well to both small apartments and big homes
  • The Shih Tzu makes an excellent guard dog as he is alert, vigilant, and vocal when need be
  • Friendly – the Shih Tzu dogs love everyone they meet from strangers to cats and other dogs
  • The Shih Tzu makes a wonderful companion pet for children
  • Independent – the Shih Tzu doesn’t mind some alone time  
  • The Shih Tzu are amazing companion pets for retirees, families, couples, singles, as well as novice owners 

Shih Tzu Breeders

Like people, the most critical moments in a puppy's life starts in the beginning. It truly takes a special breeder to assist with nourishing and raising an Shih Tzu puppy properly. Only the nation's best Shih Tzu breeders can provide the best quality of life. Here at Premier Pups, we work hand-in-hand with our breeders. Providing a safe, natural, comfortable, and healthy environment for the nursing mother and her baby is essential.

The footage produced in our videos is 100% real. We directly take un-staged, unedited, and only authentic scenes at our breeder locations. We only align ourselves with Shih Tzu breeders whose standards are much higher than the rest. We spend consistent on-site time with our selected breeders and can undoubtedly say that our puppies come from a caring environment.

Shih Tzu Appearance

The Shih Tzu is an elegant, glamorous, and gorgeous dog. Small in stature with an average height of 8 to 11 inches, a weight of 9 to 16 pounds, and a royal demeanor, the Shih Tzu is sure to turn heads wherever he sets his paw on.  The Shih Tzu sports a long, straight, and silky double coat that comes in various colors and color combinations that include white, black, gray, silver, red, liver, gold, brindle, black and white, gray and white, red and white. The Shih Tzu puppy sports a fluffy coat up until 10 months of age at which point the glamorous adult Shih Tzu coat starts to become defined. The Shih Tzu coat has minimal shedding and hypoallergenic qualities. A fully grown Shih Tzu has a compact sturdy-built body, a short muzzle, large dark eyes, long floppy ears, and a large tail worn curled over the back.  A member of the Toy Group, the Shih Tzu carries himself in a proud manner, inspires affection, and exudes happiness. 

Shih Tzu Temperament

The Shih Tzu is a happy dog. His demeanor is joyful and he always appears in a positive mood. His openness and friendliness towards other dogs, new people, and kids make him the ideal companion pet for a great variety of households – multi-pet households, families with children, seniors, empty-nesters, and singles. One of Shih Tzu’s best qualities is that he is outgoing and eager to make friends. Upon meeting a fellow fur baby, kid, or stranger, he will greet them as if they’ve been bonded by years of friendship.  

Shih Tzus are first and foremost loving lapdogs. Their background doesn’t involve jobs like herding, ratting, or hunting. Their main job for centuries has been to love and be loved. Their affection towards their human family is a strong one. They thrive on attention, cuddles, affection, on being pampered and spoiled. What Shih Tzus crave most is to be near their human parents and play with their human or pet siblings. They love to be involved in every family activity and they will be just as happy to spend an entire day on the couch as they will be to accompany their humans on a road trip.  

Children and Shih Tzus make excellent play friends. It’s quite an amazing sight to watch a 6-year-old add ribbons to a Shih Tzu hairdo, or a toddler and a Shih Tzu cuddled up in a peaceful nap.  When it comes to training, Shih Tzu puppies can be a handful. Although they are smart and entirely capable of being trained for more than basic tricks and commands, they tend to be a little too enthusiastic and at times too easily bored by the training process.

Given their royal history, for a king Shih Tzu and a queen Shih Tzu, perhaps the best way to get them to follow a command is to approach them, bow before them in a graceful manner, then politely and respectfully ask them “if it pleases your majesty, will you grant me the great honor of sitting as I reward you with this treat?”. Once their attention is captured, there is no limit to what a Shih Tzu can learn.  The Shih Tzu is a lively, spunky, playful, and courageous dog. Some of his hobbies include playing with squeaky dog toys, jumping from couch to armchair and back again, talking back to pet parents, and napping on laps.  

Shih Tzu Reviews

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Shih Tzu History

The Shih Tzu, also known as “lion dogs” or “the chrysanthemum-faced dogs” are palace-raised dogs. From one kingdom to the next, these dogs have lived luxurious lives on the laps of kings and queens. Although their date of origin is somewhat unclear, the Shih Tzu are believed to originate from China. There are many beliefs surrounding their breed ancestry with some believing that the Shih Tzu evolved from Tibetan breeds and others claiming they are crosses of Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. Although their lineage is difficult to decipher, one thing is certain – the Shih Tzu are a gift to mankind however they came to be.  

The earliest representations of the Shih Tzu breed are found in paintings and various arts from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Paintings from that time portray the Shih Tzu dogs on beds of cushions, on the laps of Emperors, and at the side of royalty, living their pampered lifestyle.  As dynasties were renamed and rulers changed, the Shih Tzu presence at the palace was unaltered. From the Tang Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) the Shih Tzu remained the favorite lapdog of the Chinese Empires.  During her reign, Empress Dowager Cixi of China (also known as Tzu Hsi), was gifted a pair of remarkable Shih Tzu dogs by the Dalai Lama. The Tzu Hsi Empress grew so fond of her Shih Tzus that she began a breeding program to define and further the breed.  From China to Europe and the United States, these dogs of an elegant past moved on to conquer the hearts of many. The Shih Tzu received their official recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1969 and were named after Empress Tzu Hsi. The name stands for kindness and grace.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Where did the Shih Tzu originate? The Shih Tzu was originally bred in China as a lapdog companion for Chinese royalty. Its name means Lion Dog and refers to the "regal look" of the breed.

How is Shih Tzu pronounced? The Chinese pronunciation is SHIRR dza, but the Western pronunciation as most commonly recognized is SHEET-sue.

What is the size of Shih Tzu's? A Shih Tzu measures between 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder in height and weighs between 9 to 16 lbs., however some Shih Tzu’s have been known to be even smaller, in the 5 to 9 lb. range.

What is the average lifespan of a Shih Tzu? The average life expectancy is between 10 to 16 years.

Does the Shih Tzu shed? This breed is known to shed very minimally if at all.

Are Shih Tzu’s easy to train? These little ones can be quite stubborn, but that doesn’t mean that they are difficult to train. Training and socialization at a very early age will reap the best results. Practicing consistency throughout training is a must.

Are Shih Tzu’s good with other dogs? Yes, and cats too! They love the company of other animals and are known to make new friends quickly. They are not aggressive in nature and have no problem sharing their toys, their space or their food.

Do Shih Tzu’s bark a lot? Let’s just say, that Shih Tzu’s have a very vocal way of expressing themselves! They will bark when they want attention, to alert their owner of strangers or just when something seems amiss…which in their eyes can be fairly often.

How much exercise does the Shih Tzu need? Because of their tiny size they don’t require much. A short 10-15 minute daily stroll with some indoor active play will be plenty to keep these little ones fit and healthy.

What colors do Shih Tzus come in? Shih Tzus are available in many different colors and color combinations. The most common include, black, white, brindle, gold, liver, red and silver.

What are the most common health issues for the Shih Tzu’s? The most common health concerns are hypothyroidism, juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dryness, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia & brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome.

Are Shih Tzu’s hypoallergenic? No dog is truly hypoallergenic, but the Shih Tzu has minimal to no shedding which makes them an excellent choice for those who suffer from allergies.

Do Shih Tzu’s make for good watch dogs? They certainly do. Their vocal nature makes them the right dog to do the job when it comes to alerting their owners of strangers or anything out of place.

Are Shih Tzu better in pairs? These little ones definitely enjoy the company of others and the companionship of other pets. Having a pair of Shih Tzu can help to boost their mental and physical health, and enhance their quality of life.

Which is better a male or female Shih Tzu? This is completely personal preference as they both make wonderful companions. Females tend to be a bit sweeter than the males, BUT males are more affectionate and more adoring to their owners than females.