Shih Tzu Breed Information

Everything you need to know about the Shih Tzu

According to history, Shih Tzu dogs or (chrysanthemum dogs) as we know them today were specifically bred to look like miniature lions; hence the nickname “lion dog”. Looking at these beautiful loyal companions today we can only appreciate the imagination as well as the dedicated efforts of the earliest breeders. It is a known fact that Shih Tzu breeders selected traits that were greatly influenced by some very basic human emotions such as the “cute response”. It is no coincidence that when we first see a Shih Tzu the first thing that comes to mind is “cute”. This is a natural response that we can all relate to. This Is why this dog is one of the most popular dog in the world today.

shih tzu puppies - all about the shih tzu

There is no denying that the Shih Tzu especially Shih Tzu puppies are just too cute to ignore. However, no matter how cute they are, this breed is not meant for everyone. Shih Tzu ownership should not be taken lightly. There is a lot that has to be learned about this breed if you want to give them a loving home where they can prosper and love you. Shih Tzus need a lot of care and attention. They must live indoors and must be groomed on a regular basis; this is a breed that also lives for a long time. Therefore, you must be prepared for a long term commitment. It is imperative that you spend as much time with this dog as possible and learn everything there is to know about them. This breed also comes with a stiff financial obligation as well as commitment.

“The correct pronunciation for Shih Tzu is (sheed zoo), which is Chinese for “lion”. However, according to historians don’t let the Chinese name fool you, they believe that the ancestors of the Shih Tzu were actually developed in Tibetan monasteries before they made their way to imperial China.”

“The Shih Tzu was not the only dog to be bred to resemble small lions. Other Asiatic breeds such as the Lhasa Apso, Pug, and Japanese Chin were also bred that way.”


A Shih Tzu is considered a companion dog, therefore their character as well as personality is very important. The temperament of a Shih Tzu is so important that is a major consideration in the breed according to the AKC standard.

Your new Shih Tzu companion should be trusting, friendly, happy, confident, outgoing, and affectionate. They should not have any personality flaws such as nervousness, shyness, or aggressiveness. This is a breed that should also be alert, bright, and lively. Your little companion dog should carry herself in an arrogant, aristocratic, and proud manner all with her head held high with her tail curved over her back.


When it comes to the mind of the Shih Tzu you will find a cornucopia of different emotions, innate ingrained behaviors, learned and reinforced behaviors, genetics, perceptions, and memories. There are a variety of factors that influence the aforementioned list such as the way the Shih Tzu is raised, socialized and trained. In addition, her environment as well as experiences play a big part in how she behaves and thinks. Keep in mind that the first twelve weeks in a Shih Tzu’s life are extremely important. This is the time when they are most impressionable when it comes to personality development; this is especially true between the ages 3 and 9 weeks of age. This is a breed that has been so highly domesticated for many many centuries that some of her behaviors are instinctive. However, there is a good deal of her personality that is influenced by human, experiences, and environment other than by her ancient ancestors.

List of Normal Personality qualities:

Playful, outgoing, inquisitive, affectionate, sweet, arrogant, sometimes bossy, easily pampered, show off, likes to investigate new sights and sounds, approaches in greeting, loves to be with people, loves to be picked up, carried, cuddled, and pampered

List of Personality flaws:

Fearful, shy, reclusive, runs when approached, growls without provocation, aggressive, nips with intent to harm, fear-biter, incompatible with littermates, struggles to escape when picked up, yelps or protests when held, does not enjoy human company, does not want to be pet, is not eager too please

Shih Tzu Health

You will always be able to tell when your Shih Tzu is feeling healthy. For the most part she’ll be bright-eyed, alert, beautiful, active and inquisitive. Therefore, if your Shih Tzu is looking depressed, does not want to eat, lethargic, losing weight, or any other problems that may not seem normal, please contact your vet as soon as possible.

Here are some Shih Tzu disorders that you should be aware of:

Brachycephalic conditions – An elongated soft palate, small or pinched nostrils, and breathing difficulties.

Dental abnormalities – Abnormal placement of teeth: misalignment, malocclusion; abnormal number of teeth: missing teeth, retained deciduous (baby) teeth; dentigerous (teeth bearing) cysts that cause bone and jaw lesions.

Ear conditions – Congenital deafness; infections (the dropped ear covers the ear canal, making a warm, moist environment for bacteria and yeast to grow), characterized by foul odor, waxy buildup, pain, and itching.

Skin problems – Allergies: food, parasites (especially fleas); immune related skin problems.

Bleeding disorders – Slow blood clotting time (Von Willebrand’s disease).

Skeletal problems – Open fontanelle: Failure of the “soft spot” on the skull to close completely by adulthood; Patellar luxation: the kneecap slips in and out of proper position due to a flaw in bone (femur) structure and weak ligaments (can be surgically corrected).