Shih Tzu

Average Height

20 - 28cm

Average Weight

4 - 7kg

Expected Lifespan

10 - 16 years

The Dog of Chinese Royalty

The Shih Tzu originated in ancient china. They have been adored amongst royal families as beloved pets for more than 1000 years. Many were even seen on emperors laps. Their name means “lion” and with such a brave name comes big responsibility. Bred to be loyal companions, these royal pooches make wonderful pets.

Although they are small in size, Shih Tzu’s are big in personality. This dog in particular is very independent, that may be why it’s harder to train basic commands to a Shih Tzu. Don’t let their stubbornness fool you though, these little lions are very intelligent. Shih Tzu’s are now also used to compete in challenging agility courses. There they need to navigate through, over and around obstacles with the help of their loving owner.

The Shih Tzu breed make great family pets. With this breed being so loving, they are friendly to other animals and are just as friendly with children. Once you have a Shih Tzu, you will see how loyal they are. If you’re lounging on the couch, going to the bathroom or even checking your mailbox, they are sure to follow you.If you are looking for a dog to be a loyal sidekick, then a Shih Tzu is a great choice.

The Shih Tzu Anatomy


Skull is domed with a definite stop. Muzzle is short and square, from the tip of the nose to the stop should ideally be 2,54cm, but can depend on the size of the dog. Ears are large. Eyes are large and dark, can be lighter in blue or liver-pigmented dogs. Nose is black, can be blue or liver-pigmented. Mouth has a slight undershot or level bite.


Neck is of proportionate length, arch flows smoothly into shoulders. Solid body which is longer than it is tall with level back. Forelegs are set well apart, under a broad chest and the elbows are close to the body. Hind legs are straight when viewed from the back, when viewed from the side there is a well-bent stifle. Tail curves well over the back. Double-coated with dense silky hair, may be straight or slightly wavy.

The Shih Tzu Coat and Colours

One colour throughout the entire coat.

  • White
  • Brown
  • Liver
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Gold

Two distinct colours on the coat.

  • White & liver
  • White & black
  • White & blue
  • White & gold
  • White & silver

Three distinct colours on the coat.

  • White, black & gold
  • White, gold & silver
  • White, silver & black
  • Black, silver & gold

Some Shih Tzu Traits

Grooming Frequency

Common Medical Conditions in Shih Tzus

This occurs when the dog’s kneecap is dislocated from its normal position in the groove of the thigh bone. When…

This is when there is an overproduction of Cortisol within the dog’s body. Cortisol helps the body respond to stress,…

The portal vein is an important blood vessel which enters the liver and allows toxic elements in the blood to…

This is when there is a degeneration of the retina, or photoreceptors within the eye that aid in the ability…

Short-nosed dogs face various upper airway problems. A brachycephalic breed may experience partial obstruction of the upper airway due to…

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