Shih Tzu Dog | Origin, Health, Temperaments & Best Grooming


Shih tzu dog, a pretty, dainty, and elegant looking toy dog, the Shih Tzu is a unique looking animal, and sports beautiful, lustrous, long hair. The hair of this breed is said to resemble the mane of a lion, and the name ‘Shih Tzu’ actually means ‘lion dog’ in Chinese. This dog has a small rounded skull, and a very sweet and innocent looking face, with dark wallowing eyes and a short muzzle.


The hair on the face of the Shih Tzu gives the appearance that is has a beard and mustache, which adds to its distinctive appearance. The dog’s pendant ears frame its face beautifully and are short but very hairy. Small but sturdy, this toy dog has white coloring that is infused with silver, brown or black.

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Shih Tzu Dog Temperament

The Shih Tzu is a dog that has plenty of character and energy and is a lively, playful, and entertaining dog with plenty of love and loyalty to give. This breed is bold and courageous given its size, and can also be very strong-willed and stubborn.

You will find that most of these dogs can be very gentle and affectionate, as well as alert, intelligent, and charming. However, the Shih Tzu can get snappy if nervous or provoked and is, therefore, best around older children rather than younger, more boisterous ones. This dog tends to get on well with other pets too.

They require considerable grooming and many are taken monthly to the groomers to keep their long dense coat trimmed. Owning a Shih Tzu dog can be compared to having a baby. They can not be left for long periods and need to be around you 20 hours a day!

Shih Tzu Dog Height & weight

This little toy dog can reach around nine to sixteen pounds in weight, and in terms of height usually reaches around ten inches.

Common health / behavioral problems

The Shih Tzu dog is generally a robust little dog and illness does not come their way easily provided they are well cared for.

The eyes of a Shih Tzu need daily care and cleansing and the ears need plucking frequently to keep them clean and clear. The pads require regular shaving to keep hair from between the toes from matting and the toenails and dewclaws require regular clipping.

If a Shih Tzu’s coat is not groomed daily or clipped short it will form dense mats which can be very unpleasant for this little dog. As yet there is no widespread hereditary disease which is peculiar to the Shih Tzu.

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Shih Tzu Dog Trainability

The Shih Tzu is an intelligent and alert little dog and is usually eager to please. However, this breed can be quite obstinate and willful at times, and therefore a little more determination and persistence may be required when training. However, with patience and understanding, these dogs do normally respond to training.

Ideal living conditions

This toy dog does not necessarily need a yard or garden and is therefore well suited to apartment living as well as living in a house. You will need to ensure that he gets plenty of exercises if you do live in an apartment. These dogs are sensitive to extreme heat, so the environment in which the dog is to live should reflect its needs in terms of climate and temperature.

Exercise requirements

The Shih Tzu dog is an energetic little dog, but can easily become lazy. This dog must get some form of regular exercise, but nothing over-strenuous because of its susceptibility to breathing and respiratory problems. Daily walks or some playtime in an enclosed and safe area will help to keep the dog fit and healthy, and will reduce the risk of him putting on weight.

Diet & nutrition

This breed is prone to obesity, and it is therefore important that he receives a well-balanced diet and carefully monitored portions. Use high quality dried food as part of his diet, as this will also promote oral health. Make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh drinking water at all times.

Life expectancy

A fit and healthy Shih Tzu dog can live to around fifteen years, or longer in some cases.

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Grooming requirements

This dog breed has a luxurious, long coat and to keep this in good condition, you will need to brush it daily. You can also trim the topcoat that covers the face, which will enable your dog to see properly without hair covering his eyes. Keep a regular check on the ears, eyes, and mouth, as this breed is susceptible to infections and problems in these areas.


The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed that originates from Tibet.

Dog group

AKC Toy, Herding


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