Dog breeds
General Description

Shi Tsu (pronounced in the West “sheed-zoo” or “sheet-su”; the Chinese say “sher-zer”), weighing between 9 to 16 pounds, and standing between 8 and 11 inches, are surprisingly solid for dogs their size. The coat, which comes in many colors, is worth the time you will put into it—few dogs are as beautiful as a well-groomed Shih Tzu.

Being cute is a way of life for this lively charmer. The Shih Tzu is known to be especially affectionate with children. As a small dog bred to spend most of their day inside royal palaces, they make a great pet if you live in an apartment or lack a big backyard. Some dogs live to dig holes and chase cats, but a Shih Tzu’s idea of fun is sitting in your lap acting adorable as you try to watch TV.

Though he has an aristocratic demeanor, a stubborn streak, and definite likes and dislikes, the Shih Tzu doesn't tend to get into much trouble, and even when he doesn't obey very quickly, he's easy to forgive. Training will actually go very well if you rely on consistency, praise, and food rewards. The most difficult thing to teach a Shih Tzu is housebreaking.

Shih Tzu are lively and energetic companions. Yet, they are also amazingly low-key and satisfied—assuming they get an adequate amount of attention. They like nothing better than to be held, stroked, petted and pampered by their owners, and are perfectly happy sitting on the couch with you for hours while you dote on them. This is a noble breed—sometimes translating into arrogance and haughtiness, other times into courageousness and politeness—but they are never too proud for a roll on the floor with a treasured squeaky toy.

Though he has an aristocratic demeanor, a stubborn streak, and definite likes and dislikes, the Shih Tzu doesn't tend to get into much trouble, and even when he doesn't obey very quickly, he's easy to forgive. Training will actually go very well if you rely on consistency, praise, and food rewards. The most difficult thing to teach a Shih Tzu is housebreaking.

  • Active
  • Friendly
  • Playful
  • Independent
  • Calm
Living Conditions

A good family dog and highly interactive, Shih Tzu usually adapt well to adults and children alike. Not especially suspicious of strangers, they still make an alert and consistent watchdog, barking heartily when people approach the house.

They are great apartment dwellers, but not happy in hot climates. And while they don’t require as much exercise as a Lab, a daily walk is necessary.

Suitable for

The Shih Tzu is a wonderful family pet. He gets along with other dogs or animals, and his docile personality makes him a good companion for children. Kids should sit on the floor to play with a Shih Tzu puppy, however, so there is no risk of carrying and dropping him.

Temperament

This breed is considered very happy-go-lucky and is typically not an aggressive dog. However, some Shih Tzu may show unwanted behavior including growling.  Most Shih Tzus are friendly (or at least polite) with strangers, though socialization is necessary to develop this trusting temperament. Shih Tzus are also peaceful with other pets.

Health

The Shih Tzu should do well on a high-quality dog fooddog, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

A healthy Shih Tzu can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, ear and kidney infections, and eye problems. Check their ears and eyes regularly for cleanliness. (You can even find special eye drops for them).

They are great apartment dwellers, but not happy in hot climates. And while they don’t require as much exercise as a Lab, a daily walk is necessary.

Contributor: Blanche