The Shih Tzu, or “lion” dog, probably originated from matings between Tibetan Lhasa Apso dogs brought to China during the 17th century and native Pekingese dogs. The Shih Tzu became a favorite of the Imperial Chinese court. The breed was so revered that for many years after the Chinese began trading with the West, they refused to sell, or even give away, any of the little dogs. It was not until 1930 that the first pair was imported to England. The Shih Tzu was recognized in Britain in 1946 and by the AKC in the United States in 1969. Today the breed is very popular, both as a companion and as a glamorous show dog.

Our Price:  Registered:  $275 (male)/$300 (female)

Description: This small, sturdy dog, like the Lhasa Apso, is covered over with an abundant double coat of long hair lined with a woolly undercoat. The hair above the nose grows upward, creating a “chrysanthemum” face. The head is rounded, with a profuse beard and mustache, short hairy muzzle, and black nose (except in liver colored dogs which have liver noses). There is a definite stop. The eyes are large, round and wide-set, dark on most dogs but lighter on liver and blue colored dogs. The pendant ears are so covered with hair that they blend right into the body coat. The teeth should form a level or undershot bite. The topline is level and the body is slightly longer than the height at the withers. Dewclaw removal is optional. The heavily plumed tail is curled over the back. Any color is acceptable, though white on the forehead and tip of the tail is preferred .

Height: 8 to 11 inches

Size: Very Small

Weight: 9 to 18 pounds

Personality:  Assertive and engaging. Arrogant and proud. Alert and spunky. Very loyal. Friendly. Likes his comforts. Playful and lively. Needs to be with people. Can be willful, but will respond to training. Can be snappish if surprised or peeved.


Children: Best with older, considerate children Friendliness: Fairly friendly with strangers Trainability: Slightly difficult to train Independence: Moderately dependent on people Dominance: High Other Pets: Generally good with other pets Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs Noise: Likes to bark

Grooming and Physical Needs:

Grooming: Extensive grooming needed Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed Coat: Long coat Shedding: Average shedder

Exercise: Very little exercise needed

Jogging: A fair jogging companion

Indoors: Fairly active indoors

Apartments: Good for apartment living

Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard

Climate: Does well in most climates

Owner: Good for novice owners

Longevity: Long (15 or more years)

Talents: watchdog

Notes: Can be difficult to housebreak. Tends to wheeze and snore. Some bloodlines are prone to ear, eye and respiratory problems. Susceptible to slipped stifle. Sensitive to the heat. The long, dense coat requires extensive grooming attention. Pet dog owners may choose to trim the coat short to make coat care easier. Do not overfeed as the breed tends to gain weight easily. Don’t jog with this dog in hot weather. The long hair on the head is often tied up in a knot so the dog can see properly. The Shih Tzu is a very popular breed. Buy only from a reputable breeder, as many inferior animals are being produced to satisfy the demand.

Grooming Demand Rating: High

Full Grooming Interval: 4 Weeks

Maintenance Interval: Twice Weekly Minimum

Blades & Tools:  Slicker and pin brushes, metal combs, matt rake or splitter and scissors.

Coat & Groom Tips Daily grooming is very helpful with a full-coated Shih Tzu. The coat is rich, dense, long and flowing with perhaps a slight wave. The substantial coat can easily become matted especially when exposed to moisture. Some pet owners not concerned about maintaining a show quality coat and appearance will have the hair coat clipped shorter for easier maintenance. No one wants to remove the coat of a Shih Tzu but when it gets severely matted it is not fair on the animal to undergo excessive de-matting.

New groomers should be prepared for Shih Tzu owners that depart from owning a long-coated, breed specific groomed pet. To save time from demanding coat maintenance duties they often choose trims similar to variations of “Teddy Bear styles” more similar to styling on Poodle mixes and a bit similar to the look of a Bichon Frise. Of course, the Shih Tzu coat is different and that means we are talking “similar” and not the “same” look.

For show the dog is never trimmed. It is common for owners of Shih Tzu mixes to request mixed breed styling creating more of a “Poodle look” or other variations. The main intent of these owners key is to reduce the hair coat in order to reduce their maintenance demand, or to make the pet more comfortable in hot weather regions.

Don’t use too much cream rinse conditioner on this coat. A protein rich shampoo should be fine. If you do use a conditioning rinse, rinse well or the coat could lose its loftiness.