Shih Tzu: The Glamorous and Affectionate Companion

The History of the Shih Tzu Breed

Origins in Ancient China

The Shih Tzu breed has a rich history that can be traced back to ancient China. Emperors and nobles of the Chinese royal court were known to keep these dogs as cherished companions. They were highly valued for their beauty, elegance, and affectionate nature.

During this time, the Shih Tzu breed was kept exclusively within the royal palaces, and their breeding was carefully controlled. It wasn’t until much later that they were introduced to the Western world.

In the Western world, the Shih Tzu quickly gained popularity as a beloved pet. Their adorable appearance and friendly temperament made them a favorite among dog enthusiasts. Today, they are one of the most popular toy breeds in the world.

Royal Companions

Shih Tzus have a long history of being royal companions. In ancient China, they were highly regarded and often kept by Chinese emperors and nobles. These regal dogs were treasured for their beauty, elegance, and loyal nature.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Shih Tzus were considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity. They were pampered and treated like royalty, living in luxurious palaces and receiving the best care and attention.

Today, Shih Tzus continue to be cherished as beloved companions. Their regal heritage is still evident in their graceful demeanor and refined appearance. They bring joy and happiness to their owners, providing endless love and devotion.

Here are some interesting facts about Shih Tzus as royal companions:

  • Shih Tzus were often given as gifts to foreign dignitaries, symbolizing goodwill and friendship.
  • They were known for their ability to sense danger and would alert their owners with their sharp barks.
  • Shih Tzus were considered good luck charms and were believed to bring prosperity and happiness to their owners.

Having a Shih Tzu as a companion is like having a little piece of royalty in your home.

Popularity in the Western World

The Shih Tzu breed gained popularity in the Western world during the 20th century. With their adorable appearance and charming personality, they quickly captured the hearts of dog lovers. Their small size and low exercise requirements make them suitable for apartment living, which contributed to their popularity in urban areas. Additionally, their affectionate and loyal nature makes them excellent companions for individuals and families alike.

Physical Characteristics of the Shih Tzu

Distinctive Appearance

The Shih Tzu is known for its distinctive appearance, characterized by a luxurious double coat that flows gracefully. Their coat comes in a variety of colors, including black, white, gold, and silver. The Shih Tzu’s face is adorned with large, expressive eyes that exude warmth and charm. Their small, compact body is complemented by a proud and regal posture. With their adorable button nose and floppy ears, Shih Tzus are truly a sight to behold.

Coat and Grooming

The Shih Tzu has a luxurious double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. The coat is long and flowing, with a soft and silky texture. Brushing is an essential part of Shih Tzu grooming, as it helps to prevent matting and tangling of the hair. It is recommended to brush the coat at least once a day to keep it free from knots and tangles.

In addition to brushing, regular bathing is also necessary to keep the Shih Tzu’s coat clean and healthy. Use a gentle dog shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for the breed to avoid drying out the skin. It is important to thoroughly rinse out all the shampoo and conditioner to prevent any residue from irritating the skin.

To maintain the Shih Tzu’s beautiful coat, trimming is often required. This includes trimming the hair around the eyes, ears, and paws to keep them clean and prevent irritation. Some owners choose to have their Shih Tzu’s coat professionally groomed every few months to ensure it stays in top condition.

Tip: Regular grooming not only keeps the Shih Tzu looking glamorous, but it also helps to promote a strong bond between the owner and the dog.

Size and Weight

The Shih Tzu is a small breed, typically weighing between 9 to 16 pounds. They have a sturdy and compact build, with a height ranging from 9 to 10.5 inches at the shoulder. Despite their small size, Shih Tzus have a surprising amount of strength and agility.

When it comes to size and weight, it’s important to note that individual Shih Tzus may vary. Factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise can influence their growth and weight. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure your Shih Tzu is maintaining a healthy weight.

Size and Weight Summary:

Weight Range Height Range
9-16 pounds 9-10.5 inches

Note: These ranges are approximate and can vary between individual Shih Tzus.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Affectionate and Loyal

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and loyal nature. They form strong bonds with their owners and are always eager to please. Whether it’s cuddling on the couch or following their owners around the house, Shih Tzus thrive on human companionship.

These dogs are highly devoted and will go to great lengths to protect and care for their loved ones. They are known to be very intuitive and can sense when their owners are feeling down or in need of comfort.

In addition to their loyalty, Shih Tzus are also incredibly affectionate. They love to shower their owners with kisses and snuggles, making them the perfect lap dogs.

Tip: To strengthen the bond with your Shih Tzu, make sure to spend quality time together through activities such as grooming, training, and playtime.

Playful and Energetic

Shih Tzus are known for their playful and energetic nature. They love to run around and play, making them great companions for active individuals or families with children. Their small size allows them to easily navigate indoor spaces, making them suitable for apartment living.

While they are energetic, it is important to provide them with regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent obesity. Daily walks and playtime in a fenced yard are recommended to fulfill their exercise needs.

Tip: Engaging in interactive play with your Shih Tzu, such as playing fetch or teaching them new tricks, can help stimulate their mind and provide mental stimulation.

Here is a table summarizing the exercise needs of a Shih Tzu based on their age:

Age Exercise Needs
Puppy Short, frequent play sessions
Adult Daily walks and playtime
Senior Gentle exercise and short walks

Remember to always consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice on your Shih Tzu’s exercise routine and needs.

Intelligent and Alert

Shih Tzus are known for their intelligence and alertness. They have a keen ability to learn and understand commands, making them highly trainable. Their alert nature allows them to quickly pick up on changes in their environment and react accordingly.

When it comes to training, it is important to use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise. This will motivate the Shih Tzu and make the training process more enjoyable for both the dog and the owner.

In addition to their intelligence, Shih Tzus are also known for their alertness. They are always aware of their surroundings and will often bark to alert their owners of any potential dangers or strangers approaching.

Table: Shih Tzu Intelligence Ranking

Rank Breed
1 Border Collie
2 Poodle
3 German Shepherd

Note: The Shih Tzu breed is not included in the table as it is not ranked among the top intelligent breeds.

Tip: Regular mental stimulation through interactive toys and puzzle games can help keep your Shih Tzu’s mind sharp and prevent boredom.

Training and Socialization

Basic Obedience Training

Basic obedience training is essential for a well-behaved and happy Shih Tzu. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Start training early: It’s best to begin training your Shih Tzu as soon as you bring them home. This will help establish good habits and prevent any unwanted behaviors from developing.

  • Use positive reinforcement: Shih Tzus respond well to positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and rewards. This encourages them to repeat desired behaviors and makes the training process more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

  • Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to training. Use the same commands and cues each time and ensure that everyone in the household is on the same page. This will help your Shih Tzu understand what is expected of them.

  • Keep training sessions short: Shih Tzus have a relatively short attention span, so it’s important to keep training sessions brief and engaging. Aim for 10-15 minutes at a time and make sure to end on a positive note.

  • Seek professional help if needed: If you’re struggling with training or your Shih Tzu is displaying challenging behaviors, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer. They can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific situation.

Remember, training should be a positive and rewarding experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. With patience, consistency, and love, you can help your furry companion become a well-behaved member of your family.

Housebreaking and Crate Training

Housebreaking and crate training are essential for ensuring that your Shih Tzu becomes a well-behaved and disciplined member of your family. Here are some tips to help you with this process:

  • Consistency: Establish a consistent routine for taking your Shih Tzu outside to eliminate. This will help them understand where and when they should go.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to reward your Shih Tzu for eliminating in the appropriate place.

  • Crate Training: Introduce your Shih Tzu to a crate as a safe and comfortable space. Use positive reinforcement to encourage them to enter the crate willingly.

Tip: Make sure the crate is the right size for your Shih Tzu, allowing them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

  • Patience: Housebreaking and crate training may take time and patience. Be consistent, patient, and understanding with your Shih Tzu as they learn.

Remember, consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key to successful housebreaking and crate training.

Socializing with Other Pets

When it comes to socializing with other pets, Shih Tzus can be a bit cautious at first. They may take some time to warm up to new furry friends, especially if they have not been properly socialized from a young age. However, with patience and proper introductions, Shih Tzus can learn to get along well with other pets.

One important aspect of socializing a Shih Tzu with other pets is to supervise their interactions initially. This allows you to ensure that the introductions are going smoothly and that there are no signs of aggression or discomfort. It is also important to provide a safe and neutral environment for the initial meetings, such as a neutral territory or a controlled space within the home.

Here are some tips to help with the socialization process:

  • Gradual introductions: Start by introducing your Shih Tzu to one pet at a time, allowing them to get used to each other’s presence before introducing more pets.
  • Positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise when they display positive behavior during interactions with other pets.
  • Supervised playtime: Allow your Shih Tzu to have supervised play sessions with other pets, ensuring that the play remains gentle and appropriate.

Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique, and their comfort level with other pets may vary. If you have any concerns about their interactions or need further guidance, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Health and Care

Common Health Issues

Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. One common health issue that Shih Tzus may experience is brachycephalic airway syndrome, which can cause breathing difficulties due to their short snouts. Other health issues that Shih Tzus may be susceptible to include eye problems such as corneal ulcers and progressive retinal atrophy, as well as skin allergies and dental problems.

To ensure the well-being of your Shih Tzu, it is important to provide regular veterinary care and monitor their health closely. Here are some tips to keep your Shih Tzu healthy:

  • Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian to detect any potential health issues early.
  • Keep their eyes clean and free from discharge to prevent eye infections.
  • Brush their teeth regularly to maintain good dental hygiene.
  • Provide a balanced diet and regular exercise to keep them in optimal physical condition.

Remember, a healthy Shih Tzu is a happy and thriving companion!

Nutrition and Exercise

Proper nutrition and regular exercise are essential for the health and well-being of Shih Tzus. A balanced diet that includes high-quality dog food is important to meet their nutritional needs. It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate type and amount of food for your Shih Tzu.

Regular exercise is also crucial for Shih Tzus to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. Daily walks and playtime are great ways to keep them active and engaged. However, it’s important to note that Shih Tzus have a brachycephalic (short-nosed) structure, which means they may have difficulty breathing in extreme heat or during intense exercise. Avoid strenuous activities during hot weather and provide plenty of water to keep them hydrated.

In addition to a balanced diet and regular exercise, it’s important to monitor your Shih Tzu’s weight and adjust their food intake accordingly. Obesity can lead to various health issues, so it’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight for your furry companion.

Remember, a healthy and well-exercised Shih Tzu is a happy and vibrant companion!

Regular Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary care is essential for the health and well-being of your Shih Tzu. Preventive care, such as vaccinations and regular check-ups, can help detect and prevent potential health issues. It is important to find a veterinarian who is experienced in treating small breed dogs and familiar with the specific needs of Shih Tzus.

In addition to regular check-ups, there are a few key areas of care to focus on:

  1. Dental hygiene: Shih Tzus are prone to dental problems, so regular brushing and dental cleanings are important to maintain their oral health.
  2. Grooming: The Shih Tzu’s long, luxurious coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep it looking its best.
  3. Nutrition: Providing a balanced diet and monitoring your Shih Tzu’s weight is crucial for their overall health.

Remember, early detection and prevention are key to keeping your Shih Tzu happy and healthy. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or health, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian for advice and guidance.

Shih Tzu as Family Pets

Suitability for Families

The Shih Tzu breed is highly suitable for families due to their affectionate and gentle nature. They are known for their love and loyalty towards their owners, making them excellent companions for both adults and children. Shih Tzus are patient and tolerant, which makes them great with kids. They enjoy being part of the family and thrive in a loving and nurturing environment.

In addition to their loving nature, Shih Tzus are also adaptable to different living situations, including apartment living. Their small size and low exercise needs make them well-suited for indoor living. However, it is important to note that they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Overall, the Shih Tzu’s friendly and adaptable nature, combined with their love for families, make them an ideal choice for households with children and individuals looking for a loyal and affectionate companion.

Interaction with Children

Shih Tzus are known for their friendly and gentle nature, making them great companions for children. They are patient and tolerant, and they enjoy playing and interacting with kids. Safety is always a priority when it comes to children and pets, so it’s important to teach children how to properly handle and interact with a Shih Tzu. Here are some tips:

  • Teach children to approach the Shih Tzu calmly and gently, avoiding sudden movements or loud noises.
  • Show children how to pet the Shih Tzu gently, avoiding pulling on their fur or tail.
  • Supervise interactions between children and the Shih Tzu to ensure both parties are comfortable and safe.

Remember, every dog is unique, so it’s important to teach children to respect the Shih Tzu’s boundaries and signals. With proper guidance and supervision, a Shih Tzu can be a wonderful playmate and friend for children.

Adaptability to Apartment Living

Living in an apartment can be a suitable environment for a Shih Tzu. Their small size and low exercise requirements make them well-suited for indoor living. However, it is important to provide them with regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and ensure their overall well-being.

When living in an apartment, it is essential to create a designated space for your Shih Tzu. This can be a cozy corner with their bed, toys, and a comfortable crate for them to retreat to when they need some alone time. Additionally, it is important to establish a routine for potty breaks and ensure that your Shih Tzu gets enough outdoor time for bathroom needs.

While Shih Tzus are generally adaptable to apartment living, it is important to consider the noise level in your building. Shih Tzus can be sensitive to loud noises and may become anxious or stressed in a noisy environment. Providing a calm and quiet living space can help create a peaceful environment for your Shih Tzu.

Overall, with proper care, exercise, and a suitable living environment, Shih Tzus can thrive in apartment living and make wonderful companions for individuals and families alike.


In conclusion, the Shih Tzu is a glamorous and affectionate companion that brings joy and love to any household. With their luxurious coat and charming personality, they are sure to turn heads wherever they go. Whether you are looking for a lap dog or a playful friend, the Shih Tzu is the perfect choice. Their loyalty and devotion make them a beloved pet for families and individuals alike. So, if you are seeking a loving and elegant companion, look no further than the Shih Tzu.