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Breeds Home > Breed List > Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Breed Information

Shih Tzu

Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
AKA: Shitz, Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog
Mispellings: Schitzu, Shihstzu, Shihtzu, Shihzu, Shistzu, Shitshu, Shitsu, Shitsue, Shittzu, Shitzoo, Shit Zoo, Shit Zu, Shitzu, Shitzuh, Shiz Tsu, Shiztu, Shizue

Caring for a Shih Tzu

Feeding: Shih Tzus should not be overfed as this breed tends to gain weight quickly. Some Shih Tzus can be picky eaters.

Living with a Shih Tzu

Temperament: Shih Tzus are happy, alert, outgoing, affectionate, friendly and spunky little dogs. The have lots of character and trust everyone. They are courageous and dignified dogs who can be arrogant at times.

Family Dog: The Shih Tzu makes a great family pet. They do well with gentle, polite children and other pets. The Shih Tzu needs to be with its family.

Shedding: The Shih Tzu sheds little to no hair.

Grooming: The Shih Tzu requires daily brushing with a bristle brush. Their hair is tied on top of their head in a 'topknot' so that they can see properly. Some Shih Tzu owners like to keep the coat trimmed to make maintenance easier. Shih Tzus need to have their ear passages and around their eyes cleaned regularly. There are special eye drops that can be purchased, consult your vet for information.

Training: The Shih Tzu responds well to patient, consistent training but can be difficult to housebreak. They are very stubborn and will choose when they have had enough training. Shih Tzus should be socialized early.

Behavior: Shih Tzus can be stubborn at times.

Barking: Shih Tzus are typically quiet in the house but do like to bark.

Weather: Shih Tzus are sensitive to the heat.

Exercise: Shih Tzus don't need much exercise but should have a daily walk. They also enjoy outside play-time in good weather.

Living Conditions: The Shih Tzu makes a great apartment dog as they are active indoors and do not need a yard.

Shih Tzu Appearance

Size: A Shih Tzu should be between 8 to 11 inches tall at the withers and weigh between 9 to 16 pounds.

Companionship: Shih Tzus were bred to be lap dogs.

Head: A Shih Tzu's head is carried high with a proud look. Shih Tzus have a broad, round head with plenty of space between the eyes. The size of a Shih Tzus head should be proportionate to the size of its body.

Nose: A Shih Tzus nose should be black, except on liver colored dogs where it should be liver colored. The nostrils should be broad and open.

Eyes: A Shih Tzu has large, round, eyes that are well-spaced apart and looking straight forward. The eyes of a Shih Tzu should be very dark in color, except on light colored dogs where they should be a lighter color.

Ears: A Shih Tzu's ears should be large and set just below crown of skull. A Shih Tzu's ears can get dirty easily and should be cleaned often.

Muzzle: Shih Tzus should have a short, square muzzle free from wrinkles. The muzzle should be set above the bottom of the eye rim. A Shih Tzus muzzle should never have a downward turning appearance. The front of the muzzle should be flat and the chin should never protrude or recede.

Neck: A Shih Tzus neck should be long enough to allow the head to be carried high and in balance with height and length of body.

Body: Shih Tzus have a compact, solid body.

Forequarters: The front shoulders of a Shih Tzu should be well laid-back and fit smoothly into body. Their legs should be straight, muscular and evenly spaced under the chest. The elbows should be close to the body. A Shih Tzus pastern should be strong and perpendicular. The front dewclaws may be removed.

Hindquarters: A Shih Tzus back legs should be muscular and appear straight when viewed from rear. The hocks should be well let down and perpendicular.

Gait: The Shih Tzu appears smooth and effortless when in motion. They have good front reach and rear drive with a level topline. Their head should be carried high. The tail should be carried gently curved over their back.

Feet: A Shih Tzu's front feet should be well-padded and point straight ahead.

Tail: Shih Tzu carries its tail high and curved over the back.

Color: Shih Tzus can be any color. One of the most common color combinations is black and white.

Coat: Shih Tzus have a long, flowing double coat. The coat may be slightly wavy and coarse. The hair on top of a Shih Tzus head should be tied up.

Shih Tzu Facts

Category: Herding, AKC Toy

Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of a Shih Tzu is 14 years.

Characteristics: Shih Tzus make great watch dogs. They can get snappy when startled or pestered.

Celebrity Owners: Jewel

Shih Tzu Health

Health: Some Shih Tzus are prone to ear, eye and respiratory problems. They may have back problems and spinal disc disease due to their long back and short legs. They may also suffer from luxated patellas and kidney failure. Shih Tzus tend to wheeze and snore.

Dental Health: Shih Tzus have poor dental health and require veterinary attention as their teeth tend to be lost early. While their teeth should be brushed it doesn't seem to improve their dental health much.

Shih Tzu History

History: During the 16th century dogs resembling Shih Tzus were found in documents and paintings. It is believed that the Shih Tzu was probably bred by crossing the Tibetan Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. The Shih Tzu was a favorite of the Imperial Chinese court. Shih Tzus were held very high in Chinese culture. They refused to sell or trade these dogs with the west. It was not until 1930 that the first pair of Shih Tzus was brought to England. The Shih-Tzu was first recognized in Britain in 1946. It wasn't until 1969 that the AKC recognized the Shih Tzu. Today, Shih Tzus are very popular pets and show dogs.

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