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Shih Tzu: All You Need to Know

White and Brown Short Coated Shih Tzu

No wonder people are increasingly becoming Shih Tzu owners; after all, they are the complete package with their adorable faces, big dark eyes, and silky hair. They make great family pets for an apartment or tiny homes and are affectionate to children. Where a Shih Tzu goes, mischief and happiness follow.

If you are looking for a small dog who can adapt to your household and shower lots of love and happiness around the house, Shih Tzu is the dog for you. However, there is more to them than their looks; we’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you understand who Shih Tzus are before you bring one home.

Breed at Glance

GroupToy dog
OriginChina, Tibet
Lifespan10-16 years
HeightMale- 20-28 inches
Female- 20-28 inches
WeightMale- 4-7.2 kg
Female- 4-7.2 kg
Temperamentplayful, clever, outgoing, friendly, intelligent,
lively, affectionate, loyal,
Coat Colorsblack, white, brindle, liver and white, light brown, dark brown, black and white, gold
Litter Size3 to 4 puppies
Puppy PriceAverage- INR 25,000-40,000
Yearly Maintenance CostINR 50,000

Who Is the Best Human for Shih Tzu?

  • Shih Tzus coats can be high maintenance; they need an owner who commences frequent brushing and fulfills their grooming needs.
  • Shih Tzus need early training and socialization; otherwise, they can become stubborn or bossy. They need a firm owner who takes control.
  • Shih Tzus are indoor pups which is a great thing, but they are also susceptible to various health problems. Owners must be cautious, like not smoking around them, as it can affect their respiratory system, and arrange regular vet visits.
  • Owners need to be patient and use positive reinforcement to make housebreak easier for Shih Tzus, who generally face difficulties. 
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Breed Characteristics

                   Adaptability                     3 Out of 5
Apartments & Small Homes Friendly                    5/5
Good for first-time Pet Parents                    5/5
Can leave alone                    3/5
Suitable for Indian Weather                    1/5
                  Friendliness                    5 Out of 5
Good with Kids                  4/5
Good with Cats                  3/5
Good with Other Dogs                  4/5
Good with Strangers                    5/5
              Grooming Needs                    2 Out of 5
Easyness to Groom                      1/5
Drooling Potential                      1/5
Amount of Shedding                      3/5
      Health and Physical Needs                      3 Out of 5
General Health                      3/5
Potential to Weight Gain                      4/5
Energy Level                      2/5
Exercise Needs                      2/5
              Training Needs                      3 Out of 5
Easy to Train                      3/5
Intelligence                      4/5
Prey Drive                      4/5
Barking Tendencies                    2/5
Biting Tendencies                    4/5

Types of Shih Tzu

Brown Shih Tzu Puppy

American Shih Tzu

Their different build is what makes them different from other types. They have smaller heads, shorter muzzles, flat chests, short bodies with long limbs, and long necks with varying exit angles. 

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Black Shih Tzu 

Solid black Shih Tzus are unusual not only due to their solid coat color but also because of their unique genetics. They have black eye rims, nose, and paw pads. AKC has set strict standards for black Shih Tzus compared to other types. 

European Shih Tzu

They are relatively common in Russia, Europe, and Australia. They have a voluminous head, deep chest, hightail, well-defined burst, and good length of limbs but a slightly shorter format due to an increase in the size of legs. 

Imperial Shih Tzu 

They are smaller than standard Shih Tzu. Their average weight ranges between 2.5-4 kgs, while the typical Shih Tzu weighs between 4.5-8 kgs. They also come in colors like blue, Isabella, chocolate, liver, and white.

Blue Eyes

They are extremely rare due to their blue eyes, and even the blue-colored Shih Tzus are hard to find. However, liver-colored puppies can have blue eyes but later acquire a green, amber tint color. 


They are small in size due to gene manipulation, making them susceptible to several health concerns not found in other types. 

Brown colors

This includes chocolate and liver colors which are a consequence of lightning genes. Both dogs have lighter coats and a changed nose color as well. 


They have multi-colored tones, meaning various colors in their coats, like black, grey, and brown. They are considered the most beautiful out of all the other varieties. 

Myths vs. Facts About Shih Tzu

Shih tzu dog sitting on bed and looking at camera while resting in bedroom

Fact: Shih Tzu’s are more than 1,000 years old.

Their documentation goes back to 1,000 years ago, when the records show that short, square, under-the-table dogs existed in China as early as 1,000 B.C.

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Myth- Shih Tzus don’t mind being left alone.

It is the complete opposite of reality in which they suffer separation anxiety which causes stress when left alone for extended periods. It is advised to leave them with people they are friendly with instead of strangers.

Fact- Shih Tzu is also called “Chrysanthemum-Faced Dogs.”

The hair on their faces grows in every direction, not often seen as owners clip down their hair short, but they take no time to grow hair from their snout to the front of their eyes.

Myth: Shih Tzus want to be the Alpha.

Many owners believe they wish to be the boss due to their wolf ancestry or stubborn attitude when they are happy to follow the rules and be in their own company. Often negative reinforcement and lack of proper training can make them take control.


White Little shih tzu Sleeping

The name Shih Tzu originates from the Chinese word for lion due to its lion-like appearance. It is not easy to trace the exact origins of the Shih Tzu as a Chinese Royal pet; however, it became the royal house pet of the Ming Dynasty from 14th to 17th centuries. Many people believe it originated from China; in reality, it’s from china’s western neighbor, Tibet, who sent them as gifts to Chinese royalty. Chinese royals didn’t allow dogs to be traded outside of nobility. That’s why the first Shih Tzus imported to Europe was after 1930. They arrived in the U.S. after world war two and were recognized by AKC in 1969.

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