Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu originates from...

Much conjecture surrounds the origin of the Shih Tzu, with some attributing its early existence to the mountains of Tibet where it was supposedly bred by Tibetan Lamas, and others suggesting it emerged in China in 800 BC. Wherever it developed originally, that the Shih Tzu became highly favoured in the imperial courts of China cannot be disputed. The Shih Tzu adopted its name here, being named the 'lion dog' after its distinctive appearance and structure. The Shih Tzu was primarily utilised as a watch dog and companion to the Chinese royals, and was often gifted to distinguished guests and visiting aristocrats; it was thanks to this that the Shih Tzu was not made extinct following the end of China's imperial rule. First imported to England in the 1930s, and recognised officially by the American Kennel Club in 1969.

The Shih Tzu is characterised by...

Often mistaken for the Lhaso Apso, a likely forebear of the breed, the Shih Tzu is the smallest of the Tibetan breeds and boasts a distinctive structure. Part of the Kennel Club's 'utility' breed group, the Shih Tzu shares its classification with the non-sporting Bulldog, Akita, Poodle and Dalmatian. Further, the Shih Tzu has short legs, a rectangular body with a straight topline, large, pendant ears, a broad head with wide-set eyes, and a profuse double coat. The coat itself is typically smooth in texture and straight, and requires regular grooming to retain its appearance and manageability. Any colour is permissible, although variations of gold, brown, cream, red and blue are most common. The Shih Tzu is often described as having a proud or arrogant expression and countenance.

The average Shih Tzu...

While most small breeds are prone to displaying negative behaviours such as stubbornness, disobedience and aggression - behaviours that are often put down to 'Small Dog Syndrome,' these can easily be avoided by socialising your dog from puppyhood, showing firm leadership and consistently training your dog in obedience and manners. When trained, the Shih Tzu has the potential to be a spirited, energetic and affectionate companion dog, devoted to its master and family. On average, an adult Shih Tzu will weigh 4-7 kg, with a life expectancy 15 years, although it is not uncommon for this breed to live into its 20s.


Various health conditions are identified in the Shih Tzu breed. These range from mild allergies and eye disorders, to more serious cases of respiratory problems and kidney failure. Problems with the cleft palate are prevalent in the breed, something which can be treated with corrective surgery.

Our Shih Tzu owners have uploaded 481 photos

Our Shih Tzu owners' thoughts

Added on 07/09/2014
Joined 28/06/2010
From West Sussex, United Kingdom

Clover is a fantastic, funny, loving pet - really good with children. She has played ToTo on stage and can play football as a mid-fielder. She is not keen on being groomed though!

Added on 27/10/2014
Joined 27/10/2014
From Leicestershire, United Kingdom

I have 5 Shih Tzus so am officially an addict!! After adopting Lola, who was my daughter's dog until she left home, I found myself adopting 4 rescue Shih-Tzus over the past 4 years. First came 2 sisters who had been abandoned and then 2 boys who were rescued from a life as stud dogs in a puppy farm who had been kept for 5 years in a bare cage and had never seen daylight :(
I cannot recommend this breed enough... they are the most loving and comical pets and are so gentle with children.
They do take a lot of grooming (and professional clipping) so if it is an easy care dog you want then they may not be for you :)

Added on 21/09/2017
Joined 17/10/2016
From United Kingdom

My little boy Oscar is the love of my life. Very loving and loyal. If I'm there so is he. He knows my daily routine and loves all my family.

Added on 24/03/2018

My baby is 10 maths old. This is the first shih Tzu imperial I have owned he loves being groomed but he is stubborn about having his face touched. He loves his food but I'm a bit confused about how much he should weigh, any help would really be appreciated

Added on 28/03/2018

my little boy Romeo is very playful and loving he knows I will take him out on loads of walks daily. he protects me and my family. he's the love off my life

Added on 30/04/2018

I have a rescue Shih Tzu approximately 6 years old.Freddie is black and white. I know nothing of his past life apart from the fact that he was mistreated. As a result of this he is very nervous. Also he has an aggressive nature which I suspect is due to whatever happened to him. He is loving towards me, but I have to be careful when approaching him as he has growled at me a couple of times. He is so tiny I just can’t understand how anyone could I’ll treat a defensless animal to such an extent that he is frightened of people and other dogs. He now has a loving home with me and is very spoilt and pampered.

Added on 16/06/2018
Joined 31/08/2017
From Illinois, United States

I own 2 little fur babies, Izzie is 13 and Annie is 11, They are so sweet and SO smart. I would recommend shih tzu to anyone. Best part is when they are kept groomed "no shedding"

Added on 06/09/2018
Joined 06/09/2018
From South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

My little Erik is has a lovely temperament and loves everyone. Loves to play with me and any dog he meets no matter their size, very brave little soul. Erik's best friend is a German shepherd named Sheba and it's lovely to see them playing together. Erik is now 18 months old and quite big for a Shih Tzu, he is a quarter Jack Russell, his mum was a cross breed. I love him to bits, best thing that ever happened to me, he has helped my mental health greatly. Made new friends because of Erik.

Added on 04/10/2018
Joined 04/10/2018
From Essex, United Kingdom

I have owned Shih Tzus for the past 42 years and each one has had it's own very different personality. They have al been boys and have been easy to train. They do have a mind of their own and as they get older they get have selective hearing. I have found with the older ones they will ignore an instruction they don't want to obey but mention the t...t word and they come immediately. They are very friendly to both people and other animals but are also very protective of their owner. My current baby is Scotty who has recently turned 11. He loves walks and playing with his toys but is also very relaxed at home and loves cuddles. I can't imagine my life without these precious babies.

Added on 22/10/2018
Joined 18/06/2017
From Dorset , United Kingdom

My beautiful Madge is the most affectionate, loving girl. She is well behaved and cuddles and love is what she lives for. She is my shadow and I cannot imagine I’ve without her

Added on 16/03/2019
Joined 02/12/2018
From West Sussex, United Kingdom

Rocky is 10 yrs old and has been his own boss since he was a pup. Despite hours spent on training he still does things as and when he wants to do them. He's smart, playful, loves all people and lives with 3 other dogs. He was bred as a pet so his legs are a little too long and and he's stockier than the usual Shih Tzu but we wouldn't have him any other way.

Added on 25/04/2020
Joined 06/04/2020
From Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

Buying my little Chip was the best thing I ever day!! He is a amazing little part of the family! I have a illness so wanted company for when I'm having a difficult time! He is so loving , loyal and adapts his behaviour around my illness if I'm having a good day his a normal mad running around playing with his toys ! On a bad day he will lie down next to me with his head on my chest he will knock my nose if my oxygen drops!! He has given me the motivation to get up every day!!! He is happy to go on a 10 mile walk or if I'm ill just snuggle for a few days! With the children he is fantastic he has never given end reason to distrust ! As a breed they are stronge willed and do need firm boundaries! This was the only think we did have to put in place for when I'm in hospital so he would listen to my daughter or parents !!

Added on 30/04/2020
Joined 15/02/2009
From Castell-nedd Port Talbot, United Kingdom

Have always been a big-dog person but having now realised that I can no longer keep up with labradors etc. so, when my lovely chocolate lab died, I adopted two ex-breeding shih-tzus who had had a horrendous history. They are now happy, healthy little dogs, great characters and I wouldn't be without them. One in particular has decided that I am hers and follows me everywhere but is also friendly with everyone. Never a snap or a growl, although one is extremely intelligent and a great house dog. Can thoroughly recommend as pets

Added on 15/05/2020
Joined 15/05/2020
From Co. Louth, Ireland

I adopted my 2 boys when they were 4 years old and they will be 11 towards the end of this year. They are not brothers as there is around 6 weeks in the difference of their ages. Gizmo is the older one is definitely the leader of the pack if he wants into Frodo's bed he will just whine and growl and Frodo jumps out and lets him into the space he has warned up for him. At the same time they are the best of Friends. Gizmo is very laid back but Frodo is a very nervous dog and I think he just have been badly frightened of maybe mistreated before I adopted them. They have always been together from they were babies. They are really my fur babies and I adore both of them. Unfortunately Gizmo is blind in one eye now and Frodo has a leaky heart valve but not on any treatment yet but possibly soon. I think both their mothers must have been in a puppy farm as they both have problems with their legs Frodo front bow legs and Gizmo very wobbly joints in both back legs. This I believe can happen when the mothers have too many pups. I love them both to bits they are my life now since I adopted them.

Added on 18/05/2020
Joined 12/11/2019
From Merseyside , United Kingdom

My shihtzu is the most lovable dog I have ever owned,hes like my shadow if there was a breed I had too choose it's got to be the shihtzu.My luis is my best friend were very close.

Added on 19/08/2020
Joined 19/08/2020
From Kent, United Kingdom

I got my lovely Bella when she was 18 months old, from my niece after she could no longer keep her. She is such a wonderful dog with a lovely personality. My grandchildren adore her as she does them. She is a big of a diva tho, and very spoilt. She follows me everywhere and is very loyal.