Shih Tzu

When referring to 'man's best friend', this breed unarguably ranks high in that category. This small breed of dog is best suited for owners who want a loyal and loving companion with an outgoing and energetic personality.

History of the Breed

While it may not seem that the Shih Tzu has been around for too many decades, this breed was actually developed back in China in the early 1600s. It is considered one of the oldest breeds on record. The name means 'mini lion' because its features resemble that of a miniature lion. This dog was held in high regard in ages past as a 'protector of the palace' because it had an instinct for barking at intruders.

Physical Characteristics

Shih Tzus are a small breed with the following characteristics:

  • Approximate height: 8-11 inches from the ground
  • Approximate weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Flat nose
  • Long hair which can tangle very easily
  • Fluffy ears and tail
  • Eyes are round and wide
  • Popular breed for people with allergies to dogs as they shed very little hair

Personality Traits

This particular breed has a warm and loving personality and acclimates well in almost any family setting. It is rare to find a member of this breed that is not affectionate and loyal except in cases where the animal has been mistreated.

Care of the breed

While they are not a demanding dog, it is important to provide the animal with the proper care and handling to ensure it has a long and healthy life.

  • Exercise They need to be exercised regularly. This can be something as a simple as a walk or playing fetch in the backyard.
  • Grooming Once this breed's adult coat starts coming in, it is important to have the dog groomed regularly. Otherwise, their long hair will become easily matted or tangled which can create issues for the dog. Owners of this breed have the choice to allow their pet's hair to grow out longer or they can choose to keep a shorter, 'teddy-bear' style cut to avoid having to brush/comb the dog as often. Either cut will also require special grooming around the eye area to keep their vision unobstructed.
  • Housing This breed is more suited for being housed indoors. The high or low temperatures in some regions are hard on the animal's ability to breathe due to having a flat nose and shorter nasal passages.


Overall, this breed is a very healthy dog. They typically have a life span of 11 to 16 years when given the proper care and attention.

Top 5 Routes for "Shih Tzu"

  1. Pet MD This website provides a general overview of the breed, its characteristics and the history of the breed.
  2. Dog Time This website gives a little more perspective and detail of what it is like to own this breed and what to expect once the pet is in the home.
  3. Animal Planet The Animal Planet website is a reputable source for anything animals. They do an excellent job of researching each breed and providing viewers with a good overview to help them find the best breed for their personality type.
  4. AKC The American Kennel Club (AKC) is dedicated to providing support and detailed information on any purebred dog.
  5. Vet Street Vet Street provides viewers with an overview of the breed; a link to a marketplace website for those interested in owning this breed of dog; and a blog allowing current owners to share their stories and experiences of owning this breed of dog.

Where to Find Shih Tzus for Sale

AKC Marketplace (

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