The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed whose name means “little lion” but they are small and gentle despite this fierce sounding name. If you’re thinking of bringing a Shih Tzu into your family, read through this key info before you make your decision so that you know what to expect and whether or not it’s the right breed for you.
The Shih Tzu is a small dog maxing out at just 10 inches tall and by adulthood, they will weigh somewhere between 9 and 16 pounds. So it’s a pretty compact breed but it’s also very sturdily built.
Their fur is extremely long and requires a lot of grooming. Even if you intend to clip it short, it will need to be trimmed every 6 weeks or so because it grows very fast. The coat is very silky and soft, making them a great dog to pet!
When trimmed short (which we recommend doing if you’re not planning to make it a show dog), they tend to look like cuddly little teddy bears. There are a wide variety of coat color and patterning in this breed.
Colors include solid black, black and white, red and white, and grey and white. Take a look at our gallery of these cute lions.
The Shih Tzu was bred to be a relaxed companion dog and that shows in its personality. While they can be energetic if you raise them to lead an active lifestyle, they are naturally inclined to lay around (especially when there’s a comfy lap available).
They are a very loving and affectionate breed which is a great quality in dogs but it does mean they need a lot of attention and do not handle being alone very well so you should avoid leaving it alone for extended periods of time.
It is very friendly and can be a good family dog if your children are a little older.
These are fairly healthy dogs but, of course, they do come with their risks. It’s not guaranteed they will get any of these conditions but they are at higher risk for them so you will want to keep an eye out for these symptoms so you can detect and treat them as early as possible.
If you keep the hair long, prepare for daily brushing and weekly baths to keep the coat smooth, silky and tangle free (consider getting a good dog dryer). If you plan on trimming it short, prepare to do so every 6 weeks. It’s best to start with grooming practices as early as possible so that your pup grows comfortable with it.
Your Shih Tzu should be fed between ½ cup and 1 cup of dog food per day. Preferably, this should be divided into two meals. A very active dog will need a little more to meet his calorie requirements and a very lazy dog will need less to prevent obesity.
The Shih Tzu is definitely an indoor dog. They are well-suited to small apartments but also do fine in larger homes. They just should not be kept as an outdoor dog on any count (although they will enjoy some outside playtime).
Their exercise requirements are not high. One or two short walks per day is more than plenty. 20-30 minutes of energetic play is also an option. Since they are especially prone to heat stroke, stick to indoor exercise when it’s hot outside.
While they are friendly and loving, they don’t do well with young children because the Shih Tzu needs to be handled gently.
This is the ideal dog for a small apartment and anyone who wants a great companion pet with minimal exercise requirements. That said, grooming can be a major chore and absolutely can’t be neglected so you’ll need to be prepared for regular grooming (even if you choose to keep its coat clipped short).
They are very friendly and loving pets so if you’re willing to deal with the grooming, you will find the Shih Tzu to be a wonderful companion dog