Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu, also known as the Chrysanthemum dog, is actually a toy dog breed. Being a gentle and loving dog, it is owned as a lap dog or house dog. Though its Chinese name ‘Shih Tzu’ means ‘little lion’, it is the complete opposite in nature. Rather, it is known to be a friendly house dog who loves the company of humans. Its volume of long silky hair makes it lovable and enhances its value as a show dog.

Shih Tzu Breed Information

Shih Tzu, an ancient dog breed, is thought to have originated in Tibet. Later it was bred in China in 800 BC and was owned by the royal Ming Dynasty. Theories assume that the existing breed of Shih Tzu, has been born from a cross amongst Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. This breed spread throughout Europe as a part of the Kennel Club in 1930s and was known as ‘Apso’. It was categorized as Shih Tzu later. Soon, this breed spread throughout Europe and was brought to the US. This breed was soon a part of the American Kennel Club in 1969 as a popular category in the Toy Group.
Shih Tzu easily mixes up with everyone, even strangers. Being highly affectionate and human-friendly, it stays happy with its family and desires to get their attention all the time. It also remains alert most of the times and barks at new faces.
  • Activity level: 4/5 (loves attention)
  • Intelligence level: 3.5/5 (intelligent)
  • Curiosity: 4/5 (curious and excited)
  • Friendliness: 4/5 (friendly with everyone)
  • Vocal: 3.5/5 (barks playfully)
Shih Tzu is a little dog with a delicate body. It looks more like a toy dog and has a soft double coat of fur. The coat could be of any colour, though mostly it is grey and white. Due to the random growth of hair all around its face, it draws similarity with the chrysanthemum flower.
  • Fur: Its long hair and fluffy double coat makes it unique. Availing mostly in combinations of grey and white, black and white and red and white, it looks stunning.
  • Eyes: Has large and dark eyes which highlight its fur covered cute face.
  • Body Structure: In spite of being full-grown, a Shih Tzu looks small due it its tiny body structure and soft build. A mature Shih Tzu is about to 9-10.5 inches in height.
  • Facial Features: With a short muzzle, large and dark eyes and heavy face full of long hair, it resembles a blooming flower.
  • Weight: Both male and female Shih Tzu’s attain the same weight of roughly 9-16 pounds.
Health and Care
Canine Hip Dysplasia, can cause lameness in Shih Tzu. A genetic kidney disease, Juvenile Renal Dysplasia, is most commonly found in the young Shih Tzus. Eye problems like Keratitis and Progressive Retinal Atrophy can cause it blindness. DNA Test for Hip Dysplasia, Kidney Biopsy for renal Dysplasia and eye tests are helpful in detecting these diseases. Brushing on a daily basis is a must to maintain its long and shiny coat. Its teeth should be brushed regularly to retain its dental hygiene. To keep its hair tangle-free, regular bathing (once in a week) is necessary. In order to avoid injuries, weekly nail trimming is advised. Due to its flat face, it is sensitive to heat, and thus should be kept inside the house. Half cup-one cup of dry dog food is ideal to keep it active and healthy.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely. Do you know more about this breed and want to share your knowledge with us? Send us an email at