Shih Tzu


A small Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)9-11in (23-28cm)
Weight9-16lbs (4-7kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan10-15 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size4-6
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirementsLow
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftHigh

The Shih Tzu is a small and elegant little dog. The long body is petite but sturdy, and low to the ground with short legs and a tail curled and is spread across the back. The head has a round face, large wide-set eyes and furry ears. The coat has a long and silky outer coat with a wooly under coat, and the colouring can vary greatly.


Shih Tzus are lively and confident little dogs with proud and gentle temperaments. They are affectionate and entertaining, and love to play and perform tricks. Although they can sometimes appear arrogant, they have sweet natures and make loyal and trusting companions and family pets that thrive on affection and attention. These dogs are often suited to those that cannot get around much, such as the elderly. As they are intelligent and responsive, they are easy to train and so they are suited to both experienced and novice dog owners. However, they can often be headstrong and difficult to housebreak. Shih Tzus get along well with older, more considrate children, but are not suited to smaller kids as their small size can put them at risk of injury. They also get along well with other animals and pets, as well as strangers. Despite this, they still make effective watch dogs and will bark to raise the alarm if anything seems amiss.

History & Skills

Shih Tzus originate from Tibet and are thought to be a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. Developed in the 1600s, they became regarded as a holy dog and were a favorite of the Chinese Imperial Court. These days they are popular as companions and show dogs.

Breed Specific Ailments

Shih Tzus tend to live between 10-15 years, and some of the health problems noted in this breed include bloat, vWD, anemia, luxating patella, spinal disc disease and ear, eye and respiratory infections and allergies. Attention to dental care is required as these dogs can lose their teeth at an early age. Their large eyes can be susceptible to injury and infection and these dogs are prone to heatstroke in hot or humid conditions.


Shih Tzus are low shedders when groomed correctly, and so may be suitable for allergy sufferers. Their grooming requirements are pretty high though and their coat will need brushing four or five times each week, and trimming every month or two. The hair around the bottom area should be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons, and the ears should be kept clean and dry to prevent the chance of infections. The topknot can be tied with a bow to allow the dog to see properly, or it can be trimmed. These dogs have very sensitive eyes and so they should be cleaned with specially formulated drops. The ears and the area around the eyes should be kept clean to avoid allergies.

Exercise & Environment

Shih Tzus tend to live indoors and are suitable for small homes, such as apartments. These are active dogs but will tend to lounge when allowed, and so a daily walk is essential to keep them fit, as they gain weight easily. Access to a yard or garden for play is a good idea too. Shih Tzus prefer cooler climates because their thick coats make them sensitive to heat.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

Coming soon!

Owners Gallery

Pretty empy right now. If you would like to see you dog here please email a photo to BFD Photos along with your name, your dog's name & age, breed and rough location (please keep image file sizes reasonable!).