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Shih Tzu

Last updated date: 15th Apr 2024
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What is Shih Tzu Origin?

Shih Tzus are one of the world's 15 oldest dog breeds existing for many centuries. Although it's debatable when they initially appeared, researchers frequently point to 8,000BC as the year they were first recorded. Shih Tzus were gradually assimilated into the lifestyle of Chinese Royalty, despite the fact that Tibetan Monks are supposed to have bred them expressly as gifts for the most important people. It was said that they were precious temple pets. Their name means "lion" or "little lion," and they are the oldest and smallest Tibetan holy dogs. Shih Tzus, a Chinese royal favourite, is thought to be a mix between a Lhasa Apso or Tibetan mountain dog and a Pekingese. Shih Tzus were first bred in England in the year 1933 when the Shih Tzu Club was founded. The dogs were brought to the United States by American soldiers returning from World War II deployments, where they immediately became popular. In the year 1969, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed and called the purebred American Shih Tzu. Now with an understanding of the Shih Tzu origin let us learn more about its nature, behavioural traits, physical appearance, and possible health problems.

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About Shih Tzu













Scientific Name

Canis lupus

Skin Type






Life Span

The Shih Tzu has an average lifespan of 10-18 years. 

Distinctive Feature

Brachycephalic that is a squashed face and naturally floppy ears


Any colour permissible be it white, tan, brown, black, charcoal grey, dark brown, light brown, etc.


Both Males and Females -

Height:- 20–28 centimetres or 7.9–11.0 inches

Weight:- 9-16 lbs

Physical and Behavioural Traits and Nature of Shih Tzu 

  • Physical Appearance- With a robust body and a good-sized head, the Shih Tzu type dogs are frequently slightly longer than tall. With an undershot bite, the muzzle is relatively short. The eyes are prominent and the skull is rounded. The tail is curled up over the back in a playful manner. For such a small dog, the pace is lengthy and quick. The Shih Tzu has long, straight hair that is luxurious. This double coat requires a lot of maintenance, especially if it's left long on these short dogs to sweep the ground. The coat can be any colour, although black pigment around the eyes and on the snout is preferable. Shih Tzus are robust tiny dogs who can live to be 14 or 15 years old.

  • Heat Cycle and Reproductive Stage of Shih Tzu- It is common for the Shih Tzu to go through a heat cycle every 4 to 8 months. This happens two or three times every year on average. It's worth noting that even older dogs go into heat; the canine version of menopause doesn't usually happen. A senior's discharge may be milder and the cycles may be spread further apart than when she was younger. Nonetheless, even older dogs can get pregnant, which is one reason why spaying is suggested. The vulva of her uterus will swell. It may swell to double or even three times its original size. Owners are recommended to take notice of how the vulva appears when a dog is not in heat so that they may distinguish between the two. As for Discharge, this might range from mild to moderate. When looking at a dog, this is often not visible; nevertheless, over the course of a few hours, the discharge will accumulate on bedding and other areas where the dog is sleeping. The discharge colour might range from whitish pink to red. It's natural for the colour to shift as the temperature rises. Before the cycle ends, it may start out quite light, darken, and then lighten again.

  • Heat and Reproduction Changes- When a Shih Tzu dog is in heat, her body temperature rises, and a crimson or pink discharge from her dilated vulva appears. Fatigue, restlessness, increased urination, and mood changes are other indicators of heat. Because the Shih Tzu is ready to mate, it will naturally pique the interest of male canines and, as a result, pay greater attention to them. When it comes to mating, a female Shih Tzu will be receptive to a male's advances. Behavioural changes, vulva swelling without bleeding, increased nipple size, and a larger tummy are all signs of pregnancy. The gestational period is 56 to 63 days long. A litter of four puppies is usual. If the Shih Tzu is not spayed after it has been bred, veterinarians recommend that it be spayed since it will continue to go through its oestrous cycles until the end of its life, putting greater stress on the body.

  • Behaviour- Shih Tzus are a proud, royal, and dignified breed, but they are not arrogant or pompous in the least. When people describe Shih Tzus as aloof, snarky, or hostile, they're referring to a dog who wasn't properly raised, was a product of reckless breeding, or both.

  • Personality- A Shih Tzu's personality is a dynamic mix of attentive and affectionate lap-dog and dignified companion. These tiny creatures only want to be a member of the family when they're at home. While their confidence is generally evident, this does not imply that they are arrogant. A Shih Tzu's only drawback is that they can be stubborn. Shih Tzus have a laid-back, people-oriented attitude. They have a temperament that is stubborn, affectionate, joyful, and easygoing. They despise being left alone and require constant attention to the point of spoiledness. They weren't bred to guard, hunt, or do anything other than be a buddy, so you can't ignore them. Being a lap dog with a natural desire for human connection is one of this toy breed's characteristics. Another advantage is that, unlike other toy breeds, they do not bark excessively.

  • Exercise and Training- When it comes to training and housebreaking, these attributes might make the process a little more difficult. Bred to be the perfect companion and to hold themselves with pride and assertiveness, these characteristics can make the procedure a little more difficult. Shih Tzu puppies should be trained as soon as possible after they are born. They have a reputation for being difficult to housebreak. They have their own minds, even if they can learn tricks. Snacks and treats help to motivate them. Adult Shih Tzus simply require exercise from playing in the house or yard and going for 20-30 minute walks twice a day. They also like playing with toys. They will become bored if they do not get enough exercise and will exhibit behavioural issues like excessive barking, chewing, or overeating. In addition, they have a stronger desire to chase and catch objects than other dog breeds. They do, however, have a lower level of energy than others.

  • Maintenance of Shih Tzu- Shih Tzus, like other dogs, requires regular bathing once a month or every 3 to 4 weeks. They require extra bathing during puppyhood owing to self-soiling. Their coats must also be groomed on a daily basis to maintain them silky and tangle-free. Grooming is required every day for those with long coats, every two days for those with medium-length coats, and every three days for those with short or shaved coats. To properly groom their long double coats, one needs to be sure to get both fine-toothed and broader-toothed brushes. Their coat colours can alter and fade over time as they grow older.

Possible Health Issues Among Shih Tzu- Due to the Shih Tzu origin and the way they were initially bred many problems are hereditary and many have developed over the years since its recognition. 

  • Keratitis - If there's one thing that all Shih Tzu health problems have in common, it's that their eyes can fail. Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea that can lead to ulceration. Your Shih Tzu will almost always require surgery if he or she develops a corneal ulcer. Keratitis can, unfortunately, lead to blindness if the illness is serious enough.

  • Shih Tzus are susceptible to bacterial and viral illnesses, including parvo, rabies, and distemper, which affect all dogs. Many of these infections can be avoided by vaccination, which we will advise based on her age, the diseases we find in our area, and other considerations.

  • Obesity is a dangerous disease that can cause or worsen joint difficulties, metabolic and digestive disorders, back discomfort, and heart disease, among other things.

  • Proptosis- When the eyeball really dislodges from the socket and the eyelid closes behind it, this is another eye-related illness. It's excruciatingly painful, frequently necessitates surgery, and can result in blindness.

  • Stenotic Nares- This condition happens when a Shih Tzu's nose passageways are excessively narrow at birth. They have trouble getting the correct amount of oxygen they need to regulate their bodies because of their extremely small stature. The first sign is, of course, trouble breathing, which is often discovered right away and, if surgery is performed, can save a person's life.

Interesting and Fun Shih Tzu Facts

  1. The hair on Shih Tzu's faces grows in all directions, earning them the nickname "chrysanthemum-faced dogs."

  2. When China's Communist Revolution occurred, the Shih Tzu breed nearly vanished. The Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, who oversaw a world-renowned breeding program of Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and Pugs, died in 1908, which may or may not have been a major role.

  3. They had the life of a king and queen. Shih Tzu was given to royalty and emperors in the early twentieth century. These dogs were used as royal lap warmers, resided in palaces, were carried around in robes, and had a lavish lifestyle.

  4. Every Shih Tzu, alive today may be traced back to one of 14 dogs, seven males, and seven females, who were used to reestablish the breed when their numbers dropped to nearly nothing during the first part of the twentieth century.

  5. We tend to think of Shih Tzu show dogs as more attractive than sporting because of their beautiful flowing coats. However, beneath that beautiful coat comes a powerful body capable of doing well in agility. A number of Shih Tzu breed have excelled in agility events. A Shih Tzu became the first dog of his breed to win both a champion and an agility title in 2014.

FAQs on Shih Tzu

1. Are Shih Tzus Suitable as Pets?

Answer. The Shih Tzu makes an excellent family pet. They get along with other dogs and animals, and their calm demeanour makes them terrific kid's companions. However, when playing with a Shih Tzu puppy, children should sit on the floor to avoid carrying and dropping the puppy.

2. How Friendly are the Shih Tzu Breed?

Answer. Shih Tzus are friendly, clever, and extroverted dogs who are loyal to their owners. They are active and alert, and they thrive on human interaction, so don't leave them alone for lengthy periods of time. They can also be stubborn and make training a chore, so make sure your Shih Tzu receives consistent and comprehensive instruction.

3. When a Shih Tzu is in Heat, How Long Does it Bleed?

Answer. The heat normally lasts 2-4 weeks. A female dog may not be receptive to male dogs early in the cycle, while some are receptive throughout the cycle. It can be shorter or longer, and you'll know it's ended when all of her vulvae returns to normal size and no more bleeding or discharge occurs. 

4. When Does a Shih Tzu Stop Being a Puppy?

Answer. Shih Tzu Ages and Stages include newborns, who are between the ages of birth and three weeks, and puppies, who are between the ages of four weeks and eleven months and can be further divided into young puppies, who are between the ages of four weeks and four months, and older puppies, who are between the ages of five months and eleven months. Shih Tzu dogs reach adulthood at the age of one year.

5. When is the Greatest Time to Have a Shih Tzu Puppy?

Answer. It is suggested that you breed your Shih Tzu between its second heat cycle and the age of seven years. Due to the stress on their bodies, breeding after the age of seven years puts the mother's health at risk.