The tiny Shih Tzu can live as long as 15 years. While some toy breeds will deliver just 1 or 2 puppies per litter, the Shih Tzu typically delivers 5 or 6 puppies.
The Shih Tzu or “lion dog” is believed to one of the world’s oldest breeds. Although the Shih Tzu’s true origins are a source of mystery, paintings and documents from as early as 600 A.D. depict dogs with strong resemblances to today’s Shih Tzu.
The Shih Tzu may be descended from ancient Tibetan holy dogs and are thought to be a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingnese. Eventually, the Shih Tzu made their way from Tibet to China where they became the favorite dog of the Chinese royals. The breed faced extinction a few times in the first half of the 20th century and many believe the Shih Tzu can be traced back to only seven males and seven females.
A tiny dog, the Shih Tzu is considered a toy breed and generally weighs between 9 and 16 pounds and stands 8 to 11 inches tall.
The Shih Tzu has extensive grooming needs. The dog has a long double coat that should be brushed daily and trimmed regularly. The hair around the Shi Tzu’s face is often tied up on top of their head to keep it out of their eyes.
The Shih Tzu also needs their face wiped every day and should be given a bath on a weekly basis. Some Shih Tzu owners choose to cut their dog’s hair short to make it more manageable. The dog’s hair grows quickly though so their owners should be prepared to spend additional time and money at the groomer.
The Shih Tzu is a sweet and lively breed. They may carry themselves with a slight arrogance, but make a loving lap dog and companion.
The sweet Shih Tzu can be a great family pet and adapts well to children and guests. They like to be around people and are happy to spend the day cuddled in someone’s lap. Despite their size, Shih Tzus will stand up for themselves and bark heartily when strangers approach or when small children test their patience.
The Shih Tzu is an intelligent dog who likes to learn. The breed is known for performing well in agility competitions. However, the Shih Tzu can be stubborn and a challenge to train. Shih Tzus often approach training with a “what’s in it for me” attitude. Consistency, plenty of positive reinforcement and a variety of activities can help Shih Tzu owners overcome many training obstacles.
Due to their small size, a quick walk or game of catch can meet the Shih Tzu’s daily activity needs. They are well suited for apartment dwellers as well as seniors and single.
Although they require little exercise, the Shih Tzu does love to play. Be cautious of spending too much time outside with a Shih Tzu though, as they do not do well in hot, humid weather and are best suited to the indoors.