Shih Tzu

Dog Breed Profile

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Shih Tzu History

The Shih Tzu is a toy-sized, hypoallergenic Chinese breed of dog. The Shih Tzu is among the most popular and influential of the “hairless”, or “peke”, Oriental breeds. The origin of this “lion-dog” type is uncertain. In ancient China, the lions used for sacrifices in religious ceremony were said to be similar to the modern Pekingese. The lion’s head, the mane, and the lion’s body were all incorporated into the early Pekingese. It has not been determined whether the final shape of the present-day Shih Tzu was the result of intentional breeding for lion-like traits, or whether these traits were coincidental. The Pekingese was a favourite of royalty in Ancient China. It is said that Emperor Qianlong had a pet named “Lion of Chu”. The Lion of Chu was a male Pekingese and was the largest known specimen of his kind. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the “Pek-a-Ling”, as it was often called, was a popular housepet in Europe. Small numbers of these imported Pekes were crossed with Pugs and King Charles Spaniels to create small companion dogs. These crosses resulted in the creation of a new, smaller variety of Peke called the “Yorkshire Terrier”. In 1973, the Yorkshire Terrier and the Peke were officially recognised by the British Kennel Club as the “Shih-Tzu”.

Time of Origin


Country of Origin

Tibet, China

Shih Tzu Physical Characteristics

The Shih Tzu is a small, medium-to-large, toy-breed dog that typically stands between 9 and 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 6 and 15 pounds. They have a soft, well proportioned body with rounded facial features. They have long, silky hair that is either white, red, or blue. They have wide, open, almond-shaped eyes. Their nose is large and wide, and their mouth is small. The Shih Tzu is loving and affectionate.

Eye Colors


Nose Colors


Coat Colors


Height Range

Male Height Range: 8 – 11 inches

Female Height Range: 8 – 11 inches

Weight Range

Male Weight Range: 9 – 16 lbs

Female Weight Range: 9 – 16 lbs

Shih Tzu Health

Description of breed health.


10-18 yrs

Shih Tzu Health Concerns

Intervertebral Disc Disease, Eye Problems, Brachycephalic Syndrome, Otitis Externa, Urolithiasis, Eye Disease, Cleft Lip or Palate

Shih Tzu Temperament and Behaviour

The Shih Tzu is a playful, happy, and outgoing breed that is gentle, loving, and affectionate. They are friendly and get along well with children and other household pets. They are generally quiet, but can become vocal when they want something.

Shih Tzu Activity Requirements

Shih-Tzus are small, affectionate, and lively. They are known for being playful and curious. Daily walks or short play sessions will be enough to keep your Shih-Tzu happy. Most Shih-Tzus will prefer to play indoors. They are excellent lap dogs and do well in small living spaces. If you live in an apartment or other small space, a Shih-Tzu may be a good choice. While they are a relatively low-energy breed of dog, they do still require regular walks. However, if your dog is overweight, he may need to lose weight before you are able to take him on long walks.

Miles Per Day


Activity Per Day


Daily Food

1 cups

Kennel Club Recognition

American Kennel Club

Recognized by the American Kennel Club

Shih Tzu is part of the Toy group.

Visit the American Kennel Club website.

The Kennel Club

Recognized by The Kennel Club

Shih Tzu is part of the Utility group.

Visit the Kennel Club website.

Australian National Kennel Council

Recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council

Shih Tzu is part of the Non-Sporting group.

Visit the Australian National Kennel Council website.

Canadian Kennel Club

Recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club

Shih Tzu is part of the Non-Sporting group.

Visit the Canadian Kennel Club website.