The Shih Tzu, also known as the ‘Chinese Lion Dog’, ‘Chrysanthemum Dog’ (because its face resembles a flower), or ‘Shih Tzu Kou’ (which translates to ‘Lion Dog’, designating its revered status in Buddhism) originates in Tibet as far back as the 1600’s. The Shih Tzu in its current form was primarily developed in China during the reign of Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi in the late 1800’s, likely from crosses of the Pekingese with the Lhasa Apso. The Shih Tzu was a favored pet of royalty, but fell into decline when British troops raided the Forbidden City in 1860. The breed survived, but was generally not distinguished from the Lhasa Apso until 1934, when the smaller, shorter nosed variety was reassigned its original Chinese name, ‘Shih Tzu’. The Shih Tzu was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969 and has continued to climb in popularity to this day. Crossbreeds between Shih Tzu and other toy breeds are also increasing in popularity, particularly crosses with the Poodle and Bichon Frise.
Compact, yet slightly longer than it is tall, the Shih Tzu hides a sturdy body beneath its mantle of luxurious hair. It has a smooth, effortless stride with good reach and drive. Even though its function is that of companion, it should nonetheless be structurally sound. Its expression is warm, sweet and wide-eyed, imparting the impression of trust and friendliness. The long, dense coat is double and fairly straight.
The spunky but sweet Shih Tzu is both a gentle lap dog and a vivacious companion. It has an upbeat attitude and loves to play and romp. It is affectionate to its family and good with children. It is surprisingly tough and does have a stubborn streak.
Features of Shih Tzu Puppy
There is no such breed as an “imperial” or “teacup” Shih Tzu. These are simply marketing terms used by unscrupulous breeders use to indicate a very small or large Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzus are difficult to housebreak. Be consistent, and do not allow a puppy to roam the house unsupervised until they are completely trained. Crate training is helpful.
The flat shape of the Shih Tzu’s face makes them susceptible to heat stroke, because the air going into the lungs isn’t cooled as efficiently as it is among longer-nosed breeds. They should be kept indoors in air-conditioning rooms during hot weather.
Be prepared to brush and comb the Shih Tzu coat every day. It mats easily.
While Shih Tzus are trustworthy with children, they’re not the best choice for families with toddlers or very young children because their small size puts them at risk for unintentional injury.
The Shih Tzu tends to wheeze and snore, and can be prone to dental problems.
While dogs of any breed may eat their own or other animals’ feces (coprophagia), the Shih Tzu seems especially prone to this behavior. The best way to handle the problem is never let it become a habit. Watch your Shih Tzu closely and clean up poop right away.
Specification of Shih Tzu Puppy
small (0-25 lbs.)
children seniors dogs cats families
friendly outgoing playful
brown / chocolate / liverredgold / yellowblackbluewhite
requires lots of groominghigh prey driveapartment-friendlygood for first-time pet owners