Breed Group: Toy
Height: 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 9 to 16 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 18 years
The compact Shih Tzu is the ideal canine companion. Originally bred for royalty in China, this little guy still considers himself a prince among dogs. A true sweetheart, his purpose in life is to love and be loved. Playful and mischievous, he will steal your shoes.
Did You Know the Shih Tzu Are Bred to Give Love and Soak It All Back in?
One of the more ancient breeds in existence, Shih Tzus are believed to have been bred by Tibetan lamas to be a tiny replica of a lion, which is associated with Buddhist mythology.
Once the prized lap dog of Chinese emperors, the Shih Tzu doesn’t see any reason to accept the slightest reduction in status. But his assumption that the world revolves around him rarely comes with arrogance or aggressiveness. The Shih Tzu is, somewhat inexplicably given his willingness to be spoiled, one of the sweeter of toy breeds and one of the more popular, too.
Shih Tzus do not guard, hunt, or tunnel into the earth, although they may retrieve balls for you to throw again. They are bred to do one thing, and they do it well: They are companion dogs who give love to the world and soak it back in. They’re an in-your-lap kind of dog. They’ll bark to alert you that someone is at the door; once whoever it is comes inside, there’s a good chance your dog will like the person as long as you do, because they are trusting creatures.
Intelligent dogs, Shih Tzu like learning. They are good in obedience classes and can do great at agility and obedience competitions. They may take a little more time during training, and housebreaking can be a problem that requires perception and consistency on your end.
A Shih Tzu should get a short walk daily, but if you can’t, most will be content with using the furniture as a track course.
Colors in the breed are gold and white, red and white, black mask gold, solid red, black and white, solid black, solid liver, liver and white, blue and white, brindle and white, and silver and white.
A terrific apartment dog who does equally well in mansions and farms, he will adapt to whatever living arrangement you provide. What he can’t do is live outside. The Shih Tzu is too small, too human oriented, and too heat sensitive to live outdoors. He may not need a palace, but he definitely needs a home.
Other Quick Facts Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are often called chrysanthemum dogs because of the way their hair grows up from the nose and around the face in all directions.
The Shih Tzu may have originated in Tibet, bred by Tibetan lamas to be a tiny replica of a lion, which is associated with Buddhist mythology.
The Shih Tzu is prized for his small size, sweet nature, flowing coat, and intelligent mind.
The name is pronounced SHEED-zoo.