Shih Tzu dog | Information & Dog Breed Facts


The Shih Tzu dog is one of the most sociable and playful companion dogs. This added to its beautiful fur and soft appearance explains why it is one of the favorite breeds today. This breed of dog is very affectionate and intelligent and requires constant attention from its owner, so it is not recommended to live outside the houses or to leave this small dog alone for a long time.

Chrysanthemum dog, lion dog, Buddha dog – these are all names of the same Shih Tzu dog breed. The history of this species of animals began in ancient times, it is not one thousand years old. The roots of Shih Tzu dogs history are lost in Tibet.

In China, this breed was elite; there was a time when these decorative dogs were kept exclusively in the imperial palace. Ordinary people were forbidden to have Buddha’s dog in their home. Now the Shih Tzu dog is popular in all countries of the world. Such a beautiful pet with long hair to the floor and intelligent eyes is able to win the heart of any person.

Shih Tzu

If you want to know more about this pretty puppy, in this article of Pets Feed, we will tell you everything you need to know about its origin, character, health and its needs in exercises, diet and grooming, so you will know everything before adopting a shih tzu dog.

Breed history

The Shih Tzu dog breed is so ancient that it has not yet been possible to reliably establish the origin of these small dogs. There are different versions on this score, both realistic stories and legends that look like a beautiful fairy tale. Admirers of the Shih Tzu breed will be interested to get acquainted with all versions:

  • According to some genetic studies, it can be assumed that the Shih Tzu dog breed was bred thanks to the crossing of Pekingese and Lhasa. According to the same studies, it can be argued that this breed is one of the oldest in the world.
  • Several Shih Tzus were presented to the Emperor of China. The Tibetan Dalai Lama made such a present. Vladyka liked the new pets so much that he introduced a ban on the breed outside the palace. Only in his chambers were Buddha’s dogs kept. When the peak of admiration subsided a little, the emperor himself sometimes presented royal dogs as a gift to high-ranking officials. It was arbitrarily forbidden to buy or steal a Shih Tzu, such freedom was punishable by death.
  • Researchers have found documents confirming that Chinese lion dogs have European roots. In these papers, it is stated that the Shih Tzu at the beginning of the seventh century came to Tibet from Byzantium.
  • In the late thirties of the twentieth century, the Ambassador of Norway received from his Chinese friends a truly royal gift in the form of a Shih Tzu bitch. The ambassador really liked the extraordinary beauty of the animal. Before returning to his homeland, he bought a couple more Chinese breed dogs. He became the first breeder in Europe to start breeding chrysanthemum dogs.
  • According to an ancient Chinese legend, Buddha was accompanied by a small dog during his travels. When a person was in danger, the dog would instantly turn into a formidable, dangerous lion. When Buddha was too tired, the dog turned into a lion again, but this time in order to carry the owner on a wide back. Buddha decided to name his faithful friend Shih Tzu, which means “lion”. Therefore, representatives of this breed are often called “lion dog”.

Now the popularity of the Shih Tzu dog is great, such a pet is considered an indicator of the well-being of the family, because the cost of purebred puppies is very high. Many clubs and kennels have been created that deal with these decorative dogs. The first standard was established in the forties of the twentieth century.

Shih Tzu

Breed standard

The Shih Tzu is one of the few species in which the coat reaches the floor, completely hiding the entire body. The Shih Tzu always has an arrogant expression. Representatives of the breed belong to decorative animals, naturally, they are small in size and light in weight. The growth of adults is about 27 cm, weight is 4.5-7.5 kg.

On a sufficiently long neck, a rounded head is proudly held. It is quite large with a shock of wool. Large hanging ears. Dark eyes are large, rounded. The muzzle is short and wide. It has a square shape, wrinkles on the face are unacceptable. The back of the black nose can be straight or slightly snub. The jaws are wide. One of the features of the breed is the bite. The fact is that in the Shih Tzu, the lower jaw is wider than the upper one, because of this, the teeth do not close completely, it turns out overshot.

The back is straight, the chest is wide. The limbs are short, straight and muscular. The tail is set high, strongly pubescent, carried upside down on the back.

The Shih Tzu is one of the few breeds with the longest coat. Slight waviness is allowed. There is a moderate undercoat. Curly hair is unacceptable.

Any color is allowed by the standard. The most common color combinations in colors are white, brown and black. The rarest colors are white or black. White spots on the tail and forehead are allowed. There may also be a light mark on the beard, it is called the mark of the Buddha.

Chien Shih Tzu

Personality and character traits of the Shih tzu dog

The Shih Tzu is an intelligent, affectionate and playful dog. This little dog can be independent and wary of strangers. He likes to learn a lot and is ready to please, but he can also become stubborn at times and give the impression of having a haughty attitude, as if certain tasks were below his level. With patience and persistence, he can become relatively obedient.

These dogs are very intelligent, sociable and cheerful. It is said that shih tzu dogs are people’s dogs because they like to be with people. They are also playful and active when they are in good shape. It is easier to socialize the shih tzu dog than other breeds of dogs, because these small furry animals are generally very friendly and sociable by nature. When properly socialized, they usually get along with people, dogs, and other animals. However, it is important to socialize dogs from an early age to achieve this adult friendly nature.

These dogs are excellent pets for singles, couples and families with children of different ages. They generally get along very well with children as long as they know how to respect the dog and do not mistreat it. They are also excellent pets for first-time owners. However, shih tzu dogs are not good pets for families and people who spend most of the day away from home, unless they can take their dogs to work.

Those who first meet a Shih Tzu will be surprised by the character, mannered behavior of the dog. He demonstrates theatrical arrogance and distrust of strangers, and shows his love and affection to the owners in every possible way.

Shih Tzu


With proper maintenance and nutrition, a Shih Tzu dog can live up to 12-16 years. Nature gave these dogs a fairly strong immunity and good health. But, like all living beings Shih Tzu get sick from time to time, they have a predisposition to the following diseases:

  • Dislocation of the patella – can immediately or over time cause severe lameness and requires an urgent visit to the veterinarian.
  • Allergy.
  • Umbilical hernia is a very common pathology. In most cases, it is congenital, but it can also occur in adults. Do not underestimate the potential threat to the health of your animal.
  • Dysplasia is a deformation of the joints that can lead to immobility, accompanied by severe pain and lameness.
  • Ear diseases.
  • Eye diseases.
  • Juvenile renal dysplasia is an abnormality in the development of the kidneys caused by impaired differentiation of cells in their parenchyma.

It is also worth noting that due to the flattened muzzle, the Shih Tzu dog is not able to fully cool down during breathing. In a hot room, in transport and outdoors in hot weather, this dog can quickly get heatstroke. Also, because of the same muzzle, the Buddha’s dog snores during sleep and wheezes while awake.

Routine vaccination and treatment against skin parasites is mandatory. It is also recommended to visit a veterinary clinic with the dog at least once a year for preventive examinations.

Shih Tzu

Basic care

Decorative Shih Tzu dogs can be kept, like cats, exclusively in an apartment or in a house. Of course, sometimes you need to walk this dog, but only in good weather. Long walks on a rainy or snowy day will turn into dirty and matted pet hair, it will be very difficult to put it in order.

The dog itself loves comfort. Therefore, she does not tend to leave the house often. The Shih Tzu dog can fulfill his natural needs on a toilet tray or a special diaper. Physical activity is limited to playing with a ball or other favorite toys.

From the first days of the Shih Tzu puppy’s stay in the apartment, a corner for rest and sleep is arranged for him. Since the Shih Tzu is a very small creature, you can buy a whole house with a couch for him. Although in most cases, a decorative doggie settles down wherever he pleases, for example, on the master’s bed or on an armchair.

Shih tzu are decorative dogs, which are not very difficult to care for. They feel great both in a house with a garden and in a modest city apartment. It is important that the Shih Tzu have their own place with soft bedding, as well as a walking area near the house.

Shih Tzu

Hygienic care for the beauty and health of a pet is as follows:

  • We pay special attention and a lot of time to the coat. The luxurious, long hair of the Shih Tzu dog will quickly get tangled and tangled if not brushed daily. Once every seven days, we arrange a general combing, affecting the areas of the armpits, abdomen, paws, intimate areas.
  • Show dogs are not trimmed, experts pay attention to the natural well-groomed coat. If you do not plan to participate in shows, the dog is trimmed every two months to facilitate grooming. Also, representatives of the breed require a hygienic haircut in the groin area and between the toes.
  • Bathe your dog as needed using a dog shampoo that makes the coat shiny, soft and pliable. After such a procedure, combing long hair is not difficult at all.
  • Ear care includes not only cleaning and checking for inflammation, excessive accumulation of secretions. It is also necessary to pull out the regrown hairs once a week inside the auricles, this helps to prevent ear diseases.
  • 1-2 times a week we brush the dog’s teeth.
  • The Shih Tzu dog leads a sedentary lifestyle, so it does not grind its claws naturally on the road surface. The owner must trim them once a month. It is recommended that you leave this to a specialist.
  • Wipe eyes with damp tampons.

It is necessary to provide the dog with a balanced diet with the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals. In food Shih Tzu are unpretentious, you need to feed adult dogs twice a day at the same time. It is better to coordinate portions with your veterinarian so as not to overfeed the animal prone to overeating.

Every Shih Tzu dog owner knows that their pets eat feces. This unpleasant habit is inherent in all dogs, but the Buddha’s dogs are considered leaders. During walks, you must carefully monitor that the Shih Tzu does not find or eat feces. You also need to clean the litter tray in the apartment on time.

Shih Tzu


The Shih Tzu dog loves to walk, but it is not a high energy dog, so exercise 30 to 40 minutes daily is sufficient. But he will also be happy to stay home to play.

Because it is so playful by nature, the Shih Tzu dog likes to get involved in many interactive games and really benefits from receiving as much stimulation as possible to prevent boredom. If a dog is bored, being so intelligent, it will look for other ways to have fun, which causes dogs to develop unwanted behaviors in the home, which includes excessive barking and separation anxiety.

The companion needs of the shih tzu are very high. These dogs are not suitable for living in a garden or in a yard. On the contrary, they must spend most of their time accompanied and live inside the house with the rest of the family. They adapt very well to life in densely populated cities and live in small apartments.

Shih Tzu

Training and education

It is difficult to educate and train the Shih Tzu. It is useless to punish or raise your voice to these dogs. The pet will respond to rudeness with isolation and a complete refusal to do what is required of him. You need to find an approach to your pet, show perseverance and firmness during his upbringing.

Of course, a small dog does not need to undergo serious training courses, as required by service breeds. But it is necessary to teach the Shih Tzu dog the rules of behavior in the house and teach him the simplest commands, such as “no”, “to me”, “place”. Training should begin at an early age, during training use rewards in the form of treats.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Dog Fun Facts

  • In China, in ancient times, the theft of a Shih Tzu dog was punished with death at the behest of the emperor.
  • According to legend, the Shih Tzu accompanied the Buddha on his travels and could turn into a huge lion at any moment.
  • Representatives of this breed can only bark at puppyhood, becoming an adult, the dog can only sometimes make sounds resembling barking.
  • Modern Shih Tzu take an active part in various sports competitions.
  • Shih Tzu were the court dogs of the Chinese monarchs of the Ming Dynasty.
  • Chrysanthemum dog, so called Shih Tzu because of the muzzle that resembles such a flower.
  • The Chinese empress Tsi Xi equipped a palace for her beloved dogs, which was intended exclusively for Shih Tzu and their servants. Little pets were taught to wave their paws to greet their regal mistress.

According to statistics, many people choose the Shih Tzu as their pet.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Dog Breed Highlights

Each dog breed has its own advantages and disadvantages. Before buying a Shih Tzu puppy, check out the pros and cons of this Chinese breed so you know for sure if such a pet is right for you.

Positive points

  • Shih Tzu is totally people-oriented
  • It is an excellent dog for novice owners.
  • He gets along well with children of all ages.
  • The Shih Tzu dog is social by nature
  • He makes a wonderful companion because he is so nice.

Negative points

  • High maintenance on the grooming front.
  • The Shih Tzu dog hates being left to himself and suffers from separation anxiety.
  • He can bark excessively when left alone.
  • This dog can be a bit stubborn and willful at times.
  • Known to suffer from some hereditary and congenital health problems.

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