Shih Tzu | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Chien Shih Tzu

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.


Shih Tzu photos

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Physical characteristics

The Shih Tzu is a sturdy, long-haired little dog that comes in a variety of colors. It is one of the few species whose coat reaches the ground, completely hiding the whole body. These dogs look proud, the tail is raised above the back.

The height of a Shih Tzu is 20 – 28 cm, and the weight is 4 – 8 kg.


Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is rather large, wide with a pronounced stop. The muzzle is square, shortened, broad and flattened.
  • Jaws: The jaw is powerful and strong. The teeth are white and strong. Straight bite or “scissors”.
  • Ears: The ears are relatively large, pendulous, triangular in shape, tightly pressed to the head. The ears are set high.
  • Eyes: The eyes are rounded, without a pronounced bulge, not very high, but wide in planting. The color of the iris is brown or black.
  • Body: The body is elongated, strong. The neck is of medium length, proud. The back is straight and short, smoothly transitioning into a sloping croup. The loin is broad and strong. The chest is noticeably lowered, spacious.
  • Limbs: The legs are short and regular, muscular. The legs are oval, clenched into a fist.
  • Coat: The coat is long, straight, but may be slightly wavy. The texture of the coat is coarse and dense. The undercoat is thick but not fluffy. The hairs of the muzzle in the nose area form a characteristic “chrysanthemum”. The color can be anything.

Character and behavior

By nature, the Shih tzu is a very sociable and friendly dog, especially in the circle of his family. He likes to play and spend fun, interesting and active time. And he likes to play with other domestic dogs, but sometimes he can bark at them, and even with much larger dogs.

This little dog knows how to be patient, behaves inconspicuously, but for such diligent behavior he will certainly demand a reward in the form of a treat or a favorite toy.

He does not tolerate loneliness at all, so it is important to make sure that someone is present in the house. This rule is not justified by the whim of the animal, but by an urgent necessity.

With the children

The animal has a wonderful relationship with children, but it will not tolerate the child’s bad behavior (like pulling hairs), it can bite. Do not leave the dog alone with the baby, who could accidentally harm him.

With other animals

Shih Tzu treat other animals with indifference. He prefers spending time with people. With a good education, your animal will be able to get along under the same roof as other four-legged animals, but it will not show much zeal for common games.


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.

Life expectancy

With proper maintenance and nutrition, a Shih Tzu dog can live up to 12-16 years.


The Shih Tzu dog breed requires special attention to its coat, which not only results in regular combing, but also in trimming.

Ears and eyes should be cleaned of deposits and dirt after walking. The nails are cut about once every 10 days, the dog is bathed 1-2 times a month. Due to tooth issues, this breed needs to be brushed 3 times a week with a soft bristle brush.


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.

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.

History of the breed

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.


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