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Shih Tzu

Quick facts

Shih Tzu Dog Group: Toy
Height: 8 to 11 Inches
Weight: Miniature Size: 7-11 lbs. Standard size: 9-16 lbs.
Colors: Black, blue, white, brindle, gold, red or silver double coat with black, tan or white mask or markings, black points for eye rims, lips and nose
AKC recognized in: 1969

The Shih Tzu has been around since the 1800s. During the ancient times, this dog breed was deemed to be an earthly manifestation of the holy dog symbol of the Buddhist religion. This historical background is the same as what its look alike, the Pekingese breed.

Due to its highly esteemed background, this dog has been favored by many Asian royals such as Empress Dowager Cixi and the Ming Dynasty family.

Although it has been associated with China as its place of origin, it actually hails as a native breed from Tibet. The earliest form of this dog is believed to be a cross between the Tibetan Mountain Dog and the Pekingese. It was formerly known as the Lhassa terrier or Tibetan poodle, and in 1935, it became known too as the Lhassa lion dog.

Like other toy dog breeds, the Shih Tzu also exhibits a compact body. It is longer than it is tall. Its dense, silky, long and flowing double coat is one of its remarkable royalty-like characteristics. It is even known as a dog that holds its head high and proud, with its tail curled over its back.


Shih Tzu Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training three paws
Energy level two paws
Exercise Requirements two paws
Friendliness : Children three paws
Friendliness: Other Animals four paws
Friendliness: Other Pets four paws
Grooming Requirements four paws
Heat Tolerance one paw
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability one paw
Watchdog Ability four paws

Its original function being a lap dog matches its personality. It is very gentle and friendly. It comes alive when in company of older children and even other pets such as cats. Due to its bubbly personality, it makes a great companion and an enjoyable playmate.

But its tender personality and royal looks are more than what meets the eye. They can be tough at times. And when not properly trained they tend to be very stubborn. They can be very noisy, excitable and too playful as well.

In addition, it also expects to be pampered all the time. In some cases, Shih Tzu dogs clamor for too much attention that they tend to be jealous of babies and toddlers.

Health and Exercise

Shih Tzus have an average life expectency of 11 to 14 years.

Among its health considerations that need constant attention are renal cortical hypoplasia, entropion, trichiasis, progressive retinal atrophy, dry eye syndrome, otitis externa, portacaval shunt, inguinal hernias and canine hip dysplasia. Many of these ailments concern the eyes, thus care for this body part is ultimately necessary.

Since it has a very luxurious coat, the number one grooming requirement of this dog breed is extensive brushing of its fur. Its coat usually needs a couple or more brushings per day, at least a half hour at a time. This is to prevent its hairs from being tangled or looking matted.

To provide further care for its locks, it has to take a bath at least once a month. The matting from its feet should also be clipped on a regular basis.

Daily exercise routines are necessary so as to keep its tiny figure in healthy shape. Shih Tzu dogs are fine with being leashed when taken on short walks. They could also be involved in vigorous indoor games. On the other hand, this dog type still loves playing outdoors.

Visitor Comments

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When you have dogs, you witness their uncomplaining acceptance of suffering, their bright desire to make the most of life in spite of the limitations of age and disease, their calm awareness of the approaching end when their final hours come. They accept death with a grace that I hope I will one day be brave enough to muster.
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