Country of OriginChina
Nicknames and Other NamesChinese Lion Dog
Chrysanthemum Dog
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupNon-Sporting Group
Companion group
Bred ForCompanion and watchdogs
Life Span10-18 years
Ideal Weight9-16 pounds (male and female)
Ideal Height9-10.5 inches (male and female)
Fur TypeDouble-coated, long, dense, flowing
Common ColorsBlack, Black and White, Brindle,
Gold, Liver, Red, red and White,
Blue and White
MarkingsBlack mask, White markings,
Tan markings, Black markings
AvailabilityCommonly available
AchievementsKnown as ‘the Lion Dog’
Suitable for ApartmentsYes
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToTibetan Spaniel

Shih Tzu is a loving canine who was originally bred for royalty in China and is still considered as a Prince among dogs.

The Shih Tzu possesses an impressive expression and is happy dogs which tend to require a large amount of attention.

Origin & History Of Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is believed to be originated in Tibet where they were bred by Tibetan monks as a tiny replica of a lion. They used to serve as companion and watchdogs to the monks in the lamaseries.

The Shih Tzu was represented by the monks as a tribute to Chinese rulers, and even their name was given by the Chinese imperial court; Shih Tzu means “little lion” or “lion dog.” The Chinese gave one more name “chrysanthemum dog” as their hair on their face grows all over like petals of the flower.

The AKC recognized this breed in 1969.

Are They Child-Friendly?

Shih Tzu is an energetic dog breed which gets very well with children including the toddlers. They are very playful and as like with other small dogs they look at children as small pets. They do play with children as their siblings, therefore nipping and scratching are common in their playing.

But unwanted incident can be minimized with proper training and socialization and you need to make sure that they should never get the idea that their this behavior is acceptable.

Temperament, Personality, And Behavior

Temperament: The Shih Tzu is a popular breed well known for their perky, happy and affectionate temperaments. They are very lively and friendly by nature and get along with people of all ages and even with other dogs and pets as well.

Personality: The personality of Shih Tzu is a dynamic mixture of an attentive and affectionate lap-dog and an amazing companion. They are very devoted to their family and staying around its family members to make them happy.

Shih Tzu Are Very Attractive
Shih Tzu’s charming Personality Image Via AKC

These little fellows are rarely snippy but you will find most of them very sweet and loving. They are generally trustworthy and are quite enthusiastic. They are never snobby or aggressive towards anyone.

If you see any negative temperaments in them, then it’s that their people-oriented tendencies are making them very clingy. As they are small in size, therefore they fit in even the smallest of apartments, their eagerness to please and desire to love and to be loved behavior can make them suffer to separation anxiety in the absence of their people.


Training a Shih Tzu can be easy if lots of praises and treats are included in their training. They tend to be stubborn but once you make them realize that you are offering them treats for being obedient, they will generally come around quickly.

Training should be started early and their training sessions should be short and interesting so that they show interest in their training and learns quickly.


Fun facts about Shih Tzu:

  • Many celebrities include Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Colin Farell, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II had once owned this breed
  • The Sih Tzu was the house pet for most of the Ming Dynasty.
  • AKC has ranked them 10th among the breeds they have registered.

Health Issues

General HealthHealthy
Common Health IssuesBladder Stone, Dry Eye, Keratitis,
Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia,
Ectopic Cilia, Reverse Sneezing
Vaccination RequiredRabies, Leptospirosis,
Canine Parainfluenza, Kennel Cough,
Canine Coronavirus,
Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper,
SheddingNone to minimal
DroolingLow Drooler
GroomingLot of Grooming Required
Weight Gain PotentialAverage to High
Separation AnxietyHigh Chance
Diets and SupplementsProtein: 18%
Fat: 6%
Fish Oil

Shih Tzus are generally healthy, but like all breeds of dogs, they’re prone to certain conditions and diseases, which include:

  • Patellar luxation: The knee joint slides in and out of places and cause pain.
  • Canine hip dysplasia: An abnormal formation of the hip socket that can cause pain and lameness.
  • Eye problems: It is common among Shih Tzus because their large eyes bulge.


The Shih Tzu are found in ten color patterns:

  • Black
  • White
  • Brindle
  • Liver and White
  • Light Brown
  • Liver
  • Dark Brown
  • Black and White
  • Blue Gold.


Shih Tzu Puppy Sleeping
Shih Tzu Puppy Image Via AKC

Some of the toy breed dogs give birth to 1-3 puppies at a time but Shih Tzu is a toy breed gives birth 1- 5 puppies in normal; however, in some cases, they can have an even more. The cost to adopt a puppy of this breed is around $700-$2,500.

Which Dogs Are They Similar To?

Dogs similar to Shih Tzu:

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