Shih Tzu

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Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Overview

The Shih Tzu (pronounced “sheed-zoo”) are lively, adorable charmers. Small in size but not in affection, they make great home companions and are excellent with kids. The Shih Tzu (or “lion dog”) originated as royal lap dogs, and are used to being treated like royalty. They are bred to spend most of their time inside, and will do well in smaller homes or apartments. These toy dogs love to spend time in your lap while you watch TV. Short daily walks and indoor playtime will be enough activity for these small, short-legged dogs. Though small, Shih Tzus are solid and sturdy for their size. Their long coats require a good amount of care, but their beauty will make it well worth it. Shih Tzus need their coats to be brushed daily, as it mattes easily. They are also susceptible to heat stroke because of the flat shape of their faces and should be kept inside in a cool place in the warmer months. The beauty queens of the dog world, Shih Tzus also have a warm, friendly demeanour and a sweet wide-eyed expression. Happy and even-tempered, their slight arrogance is offset by their eagerness to please. They’ll treat their people like royalty too. Shih Tzus make loving and attentive pets, beloved by the entire family.

Did you know?

The Shih Tzu was the preferred house pet during China’s Ming Dynasty.

Shih Tzu Stats

  • Kid-Friendly Kid-Friendly

  • Good with other animals Good with other animals

  • Easy to train Easy to train

  • Therapy dog Therapy dog

Popularity ranking**
9-10.5 in / 9-16 lbs (S)
Average lifespan
10-18 years
Activity level
When necessary
Barking level
When necessary
Coat length

Caring for your breed

Daily serving

Daily kibble serving

0.5-1 cup

Daily exercise

Daily exercise

2 hours


Grooming frequency

Brushed regularly

Dog Food

Feeding your Shih Tzu

High-quality dog food is best for your Shih Tzu’s health—the better the food, the further it will go towards nourishing your dog. Your Shih Tzu should have dry food two times daily and clean, fresh water should be available at all times. While treats can be an important factor in training, too many can cause obesity. Exact diet restrictions will vary depending on size, activity level, and age.


*Contrary to popular belief, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs. There are breeds, however, that have non-shedding coats and are suited well to allergy sufferers.
**The breed popularity ranking is based on the most current ranking of the American Kennel Club (AKC)

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