Shih Tzu Facts Personality traits and everything you need to know about

Did you know that the Shih Tzu breed is more than 1000 years old? Ancient records show that the Shih Tzu (Pronounced as Sheed Zoo) was found in China in the early 1000 B.C. Right now, they are a popular dog breed in the U.S.A and in parts of Europe. Some experts argue that the Shih Tzu shares similar genetic materials with wolves. So, what makes the dog so popular with its owners? Here are some of the interesting facts about Shih Tzu dogs.

portrait of cute shih tzu dog at walk

17 Interesting Facts about the Shih Tzu Dog Breed

1. Origin

Though there are conflicting reports about their exact becoming into existence, many experts believe that the Shih Tzu originated from the Tibetan Plateau. They were bred by Tibetan monks who offered the dogs to Chinese emperors as gifts in the early 1000 B.C. The Buddhist Mythology values lions, and the Shih Tzu resembles the lion in appearance. Shih Tzu means "Little Lion" in Chinese. They were widely regarded as palace pets and lived a pampered life.

2. Appearance

The Shih Tzu dogs look longer than their height, which is about 9 inches and they weigh between 10-15 pounds. They are a popular breed because of their appearance; they have a long silky coat which looks extremely hairy. You cannot miss their dark-colored eyes and short muzzles. Also, their ears are droopy and their tail has thick fur which curls backward. In line with its name, it carries itself with distinction and arrogance.

3. Grooming

Make sure to include some grooming time in your busy schedule. The Shih Tzu requires daily grooming due to their long hairy coats. You have to brush their hair and even give them a puppy cut.


4. Temperament

The Shih Tzu dogs get along with family members just fine, as they are usually loyal, outgoing and alert. Since they get along with strangers, they aren't great watchdogs but companions.

dog breed shih tzu

5. Health

All dog breeds are susceptible to some ailments, and the Shih Tzu is no exception. The Shih Tzu breed is vulnerable to Hypothyroidism (especially at middle age) you will see signs of hair loss, weight gain, and muscle loss. Call a vet immediately if you see these signs. Other ailments specific to the Shih Tzu include; Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, and Anemia.

6. Showing

The Shih Tzu now competes in national dog shows, and more recently in the kennel club show in Westminster. People like their agility and appearance, that's why they pay to watch them.

7. House Rules

There are a few traits specific to the Shih Tzu, they ignore training because of their stubborn nature and are notorious because they eat their waste. Dog experts advise you to lock them up in a dog crate when you leave; otherwise, they will mess up the whole room. Early training is advised.

8. Famous Owners of the Shih Tzu

There are a few celebrities who own the Shih Tzu, some of them are; Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who owns a Shih Tzu dog named Choo Choo.

puppy shih tzu

9. The Shih Tzu was nearly extinct

Tzu Hsi, a Chinese empress had started a breeding program for this breed which was named in her honor. After her death, this breeding program was neglected by her predecessors. That's why Shih Tzu numbers dwindled during the twentieth century.

10. Yapping

Unlike other dogs, the Shih Tzu is not a yappy dog. They are vocally shy and they just love the attention and love you give them. Yappy dogs can be a nuisance at times.

11. Breeders

You'll find some Shih Tzu breeds labeled as Teacup or Imperial when they are for sale by breeders. These two terms mean small and large sizes respectively of the Shih Tzu breed. Before committing to buy a Shih Tzu, do some research on the breeder so that you get a purebred.

12. Your Shih Tzu might be a "Wolf"

The recent advancement in gene mapping technology shows that the Shih Tzu dog and the wolf have close genetic ties. Most Asian breeds have this trait, for example, the Siberian husky, Samoyed, and the Alaskan malamute.

puppy's innocent face

13. Shih Tzu dog breed was saved by 14 dogs

When the Shih Tzu dog breed was under the threat of extinction after the demise of Empress Tzu Hsi, the 14 dogs that were left in the palace helped revitalize their numbers. Each Shih Tzu dog can trace back its ancestry to these 14 dogs.


14. Film Culture

Most of you have watched the dark comedy "Seven Psychopaths" which featured a Shih Tzu character named Bonny. Due to their great appearance, Shih Tzu dogs have been featured in many films and documentaries.

15. Breed Standards

The world's top kennel clubs, the American and UK Kennel Clubs, recognize the Shih Tzu dog breed. The two top traits of the Shih Tzu, according to these clubs are that; they should have a muscular hindquarter and short front legs. The head should be large and round. The Shih Tzu is often known as a toy breed due to its underbite.

16. Care

Give the Shih Tzu high nutrient foods daily, about one cup of dry dog food and freshwater. In addition to that, take them to the vet for annual examinations. Always give it some light exercise like a morning jog. Also, be careful when giving them human food, as some foods can cause serious health complications to the dog.

17. Coats

Of course, we can't wrap up this article without talking about the coat colors. The Shih Tzu comes with numerous coat colors like red and white, black and white, and liver and white just to name a few. Some come with gold and brown colored coats, so you have a variety of coat colors to choose from.

Wrapping up

Due to the Shih Tzu's docile nature, they are great for families with kids, as they can play with it at all times. They look nice with their coat variations and black colored eyes. You should go get one for your kids. Also, they are not great watchdogs as they get along well with strangers.

List of reference books:

  1. Jaime J. Sucher. (October 1, 2010). Shih Tzu (Complete Pet Owner's Manual). Retrieved from
  2. Eve Adamson. (Apr 2, 2007). Shih Tzu For Dummies. Retrieved from
  3. AllShihTzu's GIANT Book of Shih Tzu Care. (November 16, 2017). Retrieved from


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