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Hey there, fellow dog lovers! If you’ve ever crossed paths with a Shih Tzu, you probably know how irresistible these little furballs can be. They’re not just dogs; they’re adorable companions who can brighten up your day with their charming personalities and flowing locks. In Shih Tzu Companions: Everything You Need to Know, we’re diving deep into the world of this beloved toy breed. We’ve covered everything from their history and unique traits to care tips and the joys of Shih Tzu companionship. So, whether you’re already smitten with a Shih Tzu or simply curious about these delightful dogs, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the wonderful world of Shih Tzu companionship together!

Shih Tzu Breed Overview

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The Shih Tzu dog breed is quite an interesting character in the doggy world. This adorable little toy breed originally hails from Tibet and is believed to be a mix of the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. In Chinese, “Shih Tzu” means “lion dog.” This is because these cuties were initially bred to look like lions, seen as symbols of power and good luck in Chinese culture. The Shih Tzu was a top-tier royal breed, reserved exclusively for Chinese emperors and the upper echelon of society. According to the American Shih Tzu Club, these adorable pups can trace their lineage back at least 1,000 years.

And get this – there are records of similar “under the table” dogs in China dating back to 8,000 B.C. That’s seriously ancient! Legend has it that those peaceful Tibetan monks originally bred these little cuties. It’s said that these little darlings were sent as gifts to the Chinese emperors. Who wouldn’t want to receive one of these fluffy bundles of joy as a gift, right?

In the early 20th century, European travelers brought Shih Tzus to the Western world. Thanks to their friendly and affectionate personalities, they quickly became popular as pets. Nowadays, they rank among the most widely favored dog breeds globally. Despite their regal history, Shih Tzus are anything but ferocious. They are gentle and playful dogs that make great companion dogs and wonderful family pets.

Did You Know?

Did you know that back in the 13th century, Marco Polo stumbled upon something fascinating? He discovered that the Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan had these tiny “ferocious lion” dogs, probably shih tzus. Even more intriguing is that these shih tzus were paired with trained hunting lions to keep them calm. Yes, you heard that correctly – lions and little lion dogs! And speaking of lion dogs, in Chinese, the Pekingese breed is also sometimes referred to as the “lion dog.” It’s like they had a thing for lion-inspired names in ancient China.

But the love for these Shih Tzu Puppies didn’t stop there. Even during the Ming Dynasty, from 1368 to 1644, records show that the Chinese royal family kept similar dogs. It’s amazing how these little companions have been cherished throughout history.

Physical Characteristics of a Shih Tzu Dog

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Regarding the charming Shih Tzus, their physical attributes are just as endearing as their personalities. These small dogs have unique features that make them irresistibly cute and distinct. From their size to their head shape and their lovely coats, let’s dive into the delightful details of the Shih Tzu’s appearance:

  • Size: Shih Tzus are generally small dogs, usually weighing 9 to 16 pounds and measuring 8 to 11 inches in height.
  • BodyShih Tzu is a small but sturdy dog with a well-rounded chest and a short, slightly arched back.
  • HeadThe Shih Tzu’s face is large and round, with a broad forehead and a short, flat muzzle. They have dark, almond-shaped eyes that are set wide apart.
  • EarsShih Tzus have large, floppy ears set high on their head.
  • TailThe Shih Tzu tail is long, thick, and typically curled over the back.
  • CoatShih Tzu has a long coat of thick hair that can be straight or curly. The coat can be any color, but black, white, and brown are the most common colors.


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This little dog is an absolute superstar in the dog world, especially in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club, it’s ranked as the 20th most popular breed out of a whopping 196. That’s impressive.

So, why is this little furball so loved? First, shih tzus is adorable. Have you seen those soft, fluffy coats and sweet expressions they always seem to have on their faces? It’s like they were designed to melt our hearts!

Second, the Shih Tzu personality is another big reason they’re such a hit, especially with families. These little dogs have some seriously excellent character traits that make them fantastic companions. Do you want to know what makes them so lovable? Well, let’s dive into seven key traits that define the Shih Tzu’s personality!

Enjoy Being Close to People

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Shih Tzu dogs are known for their playful side, there’s something else they’re pretty serious about being close to their human pals. These little guys aren’t fans of being left alone for too long. So, if your work hours are longer or you’re planning a getaway, you’ll want to arrange for a dog walker or have a friend swing by to give your Shih Tzu some company.

If a Shih Tzu goes without human interaction for too long, they feel neglected. And trust me, that’s not a feeling any of us like. It can lead to stress for your pup, and you might start noticing some not-so-pleasant behaviors, like them getting a bit destructive. We want to keep our furry friends happy and content, right?


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Shih Tzus are usually super friendly little furballs! These pups are famous for their sweet and playful personalities, and they’re great with folks of all ages, even kids. They’re like the life of the party – always up for some playtime and socializing with people.

But here’s the thing: like humans, every dog has a unique personality. So, some Shih Tzus might be a bit more or less friendly than others. That’s why it’s super important to meet the dog face-to-face and get to know them before deciding if they fit you.

Good With Children

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Shih Tzu owners find that Shih Tzu is pretty laid-back and even-keeled, which makes them fantastic companions for kids. They’re not all high-energy and wild, especially the adult Shih Tzus, but they enjoy a good playtime without going overboard.

The cool thing is that Shih Tzus doesn’t have that chase everything that moves instinct, so you don’t have to worry about them getting wild around your little ones. As long as the kiddos treat the dog respectfully, there won’t be any problems.

However, here’s the deal: young children might not get how to behave around the Shih Tzu. And in some cases, the dog might feel a bit uneasy because of that. So, if you’ve got very young children, it might be a good idea for Shih Tzu owners to wait until they’re a tad older before bringing a Shih Tzu into the family. It’s all about making sure everyone feels safe and comfy, right? Shih Tzus is good at adapting to different family dynamics.

Good With Other Dogs

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If you’ve got other friendly dogs at home, you’ll likely notice that Shih Tzus blends right into the household scene. They’re easygoing when interacting with other friendly dogs and critters, making them an excellent choice if you have cats.

Here’s a handy tip: If all your fur babies, including the Shih Tzu and other dogs, you can generally expect them to coexist without any significant issues, regardless of gender.

But here’s the quirky part about Shih Tzus – sometimes, they think they’re way bigger than they are! If you’ve got some bigger pups in your household, don’t be surprised if you find yourself stepping in occasionally to play peacemaker and keep things harmonious for your Shih Tzu’s sake.

Moderate Energy Level

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Dogs can be pretty diverse regarding their energy levels and preferences. Some can be high-strung, craving your attention 24/7, while others are the definition of Chill and want to lounge around.

Here’s where the Shih Tzu steps into the picture – they strike a fantastic balance right in the middle. Most shih tzus are not hyperactive to the point where you feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up, and they’re not so laid-back that you can’t engage in some good old-fashioned fetch. With a shih tzu, you can count on a furry friend who’ll happily follow you around the house, join you for those daily dog walks, and then maybe soak up some sun during a relaxing sunbathing session on a warm, sunny day.

Having a dog with this kind of even energy level is pretty darn satisfying. You see, many dog owners face challenges when dealing with either the super-energetic or the ultra-calm types. That’s why the shih tzu’s balanced personality is another reason why most shih tzu has such a devoted following!


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Shih Tzu dogs are a bundle of playfulness! These little furballs are always in the mood for a good game, whether it’s a spirited round of fetch, an epic tug-of-war battle, or just some freestyle romping in the yard. But here’s the best part—they’ve got this goofy side bound to crack you up. Shih Tzu dogs are masters at pulling off hilarious antics that can’t help but make their owners burst into laughter.

And let me tell you, they take the crown for playfulness. Shih Tzu dogs often score high on playfulness scales that experts use. Even as they grow older, Shih Tzu dogs tend to stay active and youthful at heart.

Speaking of age, since these little charmers typically enjoy a lifespan of around 13 years, you’ll have loads of time to enjoy endless playdates with your Shih Tzu dog pal! So, get ready for years of fun and laughter with your furry Shih Tzu companion.

Shih Tzu Grooming Guide

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Taking care of your adorable Shih Tzu isn’t just about playtime and cuddles – proper Shih Tzu care includes grooming, too! Here’s a friendly grooming guide to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat looking fabulous and those pearly baby teeth sparkling:


  • Start by gently brushing your Shih Tzu’s hair with a slicker or pin brush. This will help untangle any knots and mats that may be forming.
  • Remember to show some care to those large, expressive eyes as well! Gently clean them with a damp cloth to remove accumulated dirt or debris.
  • Check their nails regularly. If they’re looking a little too long, it’s time for a trim.


  • Treat your Shih Tzu to a soothing bath using a mild dog shampoo and conditioner. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to keep their coat soft and clean.
  • After bath time, grab that trusty blow dryer to ensure they’re completely dry.
  • It’s haircut time! Please give them a neat appearance by trimming the hair around their eyes, ears, and paws.

As Needed:

  • For a professional touch, schedule a visit to your local groomer. They can give your Shih Tzu a stylish haircut or trim to turn heads.
  • Lastly, don’t forget about those chompers! Schedule a teeth cleaning with your veterinarian or a professional groomer to keep their baby teeth in tip-top shape.

Extra Grooming Tips

Here are some extra tips to make grooming your Shih Tzu a breeze:

  • Start Early: Begin brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat when they’re just a wee puppy. This way, they’ll grow up thinking it’s just a part of their daily routine.
  • Handle with Care: Be extra gentle, especially around their precious face and those adorable floppy ears. A little TLC goes a long way in keeping them comfortable during grooming.
  • Detangle Magic: Invest in a detangling spray or a leave-in conditioner to prevent mats and tangles. It’s like giving your Shih Tzu a spa day!
  • Bath Time Basics: Don’t overdo it on the baths. Too much bath time can dry out their skin and coat. So, stick to a reasonable bathing schedule.
  • Tear-Stain Solutions: If those tear stains are causing a fuss, wipe their face with a damp cloth after meals. It’s a quick fix for a clean look.
  • Nail It: Trim those nails regularly to prevent discomfort. Your Shih Tzu will thank you for their perfectly manicured paws.

With these tips, you’ll have your Shih Tzu looking and feeling their absolute best in no time!

Shih Tzu Health Concerns

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Shih Tzus are known to be generally healthy pups, but like any breed, they can face a few health hiccups along the way. Keeping your furry friend a happy and healthy dog means staying informed about potential issues. Here’s a rundown:

  • Eye Problems: Shih Tzus is known to have a predisposition to eye issues like cataracts, corneal ulcers, and glaucoma. Make sure to pay special attention to their precious peepers!
  • Respiratory Problems: Their adorable short noses and narrow airways can sometimes lead to respiratory challenges, like brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS).
  • Allergies: Allergies from the environment or food can concern Shih Tzus. Watch out for any signs of itchiness or discomfort.
  • Dental Problems: Small jaws and crowded teeth can spell trouble in the form of dental issues, including tartar buildup and gum disease.
  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia, a common joint woe in dogs, can bring on pain and lameness, even in Shih Tzus.
  • Patellar luxation: Patellar luxation is a tricky condition where the kneecap goes out of place. It’s more common in smaller breeds like our Shih Tzu pals.
  • Thyroid Troubles: Hypothyroidism, when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, can lead to symptoms like weight gain, hair loss, and sluggishness.

Now, don’t fret! The key is regular checkups with your veterinarian to monitor their health. Awareness of these common Shih Tzu health concerns means you can catch any issues early and ensure your four-legged friend stays a happy and healthy dog.

Signs and Symptoms

Here are some telltale signs to keep an eye out for when it comes to common Shih Tzu health concerns:

Eye Problems: Watch for cloudy eyes, redness, unusual discharge, or if they start squinting.

Respiratory Problems: If you notice your Shih Tzu having trouble breathing, coughing, or wheezing, it’s time to pay attention.

Allergy Alerts: Keep an eye on your pup for itchy skin, unexplained hair loss, or recurring ear infections.

Dental Problems: Is that breath not so fresh? Look out for bad breath, tartar buildup, or any signs of gum disease.

Hip Dysplasia: Keep an eye on their hips – if they show signs of pain, lameness, or difficulty getting around, it might be hip dysplasia.

Patellar Luxation:  Swelling or pain in the knee, limping, or trouble jumping could be signs of patellar luxation.

Thyroid Troubles: If your Shih Tzu starts gaining weight, losing hair, or seems unusually sluggish, consider getting their thyroid checked for hypothyroidism.

Remember, if you spot any of these signs or symptoms in your furry friend, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Your Shih Tzu’s well-being is worth every bit of care!

Exercise and Playtime

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Shih Tzus are generally not marathon runners, but they’re no couch potatoes either! They need their fair share of exercise to keep those tails wagging. The amount of exercise they need depends on their age, health, and unique personality.

As a general guideline, try shooting for around 30 minutes of exercise daily. Don’t feel obligated to take your Shih Tzu on a single marathon walk. Instead, consider breaking their exercise into shorter walks or playtime sessions.

But here’s the deal: Shih Tzus are not built for intense workouts. Think of short, leisurely walks, gentle play, and activities that will make them do something other than Olympic-level sprints or high jumps.

Here are some cool exercise and play ideas perfect for Shih Tzus:

Stroll Around

Take them on easy walks. Start with shorter ones and slowly up the distance as they get into shape.

Fetch Fun

Play fetch with a toy just the right size for your pup. Keep the throws close to avoid a mini-marathon.

Tug-of-War Time

Tug-of-war can be a blast and build up their strength. But be sure to keep an eye on them to prevent any accidents.


This isn’t just for kids! Hide-and-seek is excellent for their minds and noses, plus it helps them learn and bond with you.

Training Time

Throw in some training sessions. It’s like hitting the gym for their brain and muscles, and it’s a fantastic way to strengthen your connection.   However, keep in mind that exercise is only a single part of the equation. Your Shih Tzu also craves playtime to burn off energy, bust boredom, and socialize with other furry friends. So, keep those tails wagging, and your Shih Tzu will be one happy and healthy pup!

Here’s a Informational Video Before You Own a Shih Tzu


We’ve explored the wonderful world of Shih Tzu dogs. These small and charming pups have a fascinating history and a lovable personality. They were once royal pets but are now beloved family members worldwide.

Shih Tzus are not just cute; they’re friendly, loyal, and great with kids and other pets. They have a balanced energy level, making them adaptable to different lifestyles. Their playfulness and devotion make them fantastic companions. Shih Tzus are adorable and make wonderful companions. Understanding their history, personality, care needs, and exercise requirements will help you provide the best love and care for your Shih Tzu. Whether you already have one or are thinking about getting one, Shih Tzus will surely bring joy and affection into your life.


Is Owning a Shih Tzu a Wise Choice for a Pet?

Yes, a Shih Tzu is generally a good dog to have. They are friendly, loyal, and great with families. They have a moderate energy level and are playful. However, they require regular grooming and may have some health concerns to watch out for. Overall, they make loving and adorable companions if you’re willing to care for their needs.

Is Shih Tzu Good for Beginners?

Yes, Shih Tzus are generally good for beginners due to their friendly and adaptable nature. They make excellent family pets and are known for their affectionate personalities, making them a great choice for first-time dog owners.

Does Shih Tzus Get Attached to One Person?

Yes, Shih Tzus often form strong attachments to one person, but they can be affectionate with everyone in their family.

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