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Hill’s Brand Horizon

Shih Tzu

dog Breed Profile

Shih Tzu are classified in the toy group in most countries, with a height of eight to 11 inches and weight of nine to 16 pounds (four to seven kilograms).


Brachycephalic (squashed face), floppy ears (naturally)



9-16 lbs.

9-16 lbs.


10 in.

(at withers)

10 in.





Any color permissible



<20 minutes/day

Energy level



11-14 yrs.












Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Club recognition

AKC Class.


UKC Class.

Companion Dog



The Shih Tzu Dog Breed

To maintain the Shih Tzu's long flowing coat, the owner must be prepared for serious grooming time.

About the Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu are classified in the toy group in most countries, with a height of eight to 11 inches and weight of nine to 16 pounds (four to seven kilograms).

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Shih Tzu personality

Shih tzu are renowned for their perky, happy temperaments. They are lively and friendly. Shih tzu tend to get along well with people of all ages and with other dogs as well as other pets of different species. Rarely you will find a snippy shih tzu, but most are very sweet.

With their short muzzles, shih tzu are not big chewers, but they do enjoy digging and some indulge in nuisance barking. They have a big desire to be with people, whether that is sitting on your lap or taking a hike through the park.

What to expect

Shih Tzu are very easy to keep and quickly become obese if given too many treats. They do not need or want a mile hike every day, but they do enjoy walks and should be kept fit. Shih tzu do compete in obedience and agility with some success. Beware of exercising a shih tzu in hot, humid weather with the short muzzle, the breed is prone to heat stroke.

Hair is a four-letter word when it comes to the shih tzu. Most pet owners resort to a short year-round body clip, which looks quite nice and is very easy to care for. If you wish to keep the long flowing coat, you must be prepared for some serious grooming time. These dogs require weekly baths with oiling of the coat to help keep matting down and daily grooming to keep any foreign objects from catching in the coat. Dogs with the correct texture of coat do not mat nearly as much as those with a soft coat.

The shih tzu tends to require a large amount of personal attention each day. They thrive on human company and can easily become spoiled. They enjoy training and learning tricks, making them the center of attention. Shih tzu should be socialized to children early on, but they enjoy people of all ages. Do not count on your shih tzu to guard the house he would probably welcome a burglar with open paws.

History of the Shih Tzu

The shih tzu originated in Tibet, probably back around the 7th century, and they may have simply been the smallest of the Lhasa Apsos there. Given as gifts to the Chinese emperors, the breed developed into the dog we recognize today. Fanciers speculate about crosses with Pekingese to shorten the face as well as selection for the smaller Lhasa-type dogs. The name shih tzu means lion dog in Chinese, which further confuses the ancestry because lion dog usually denotes the Pekingese.

The Chinese royalty kept and bred shih tzu and, when the British arrived, the breed made its way to England and then on to the United States. Unfortunately, the Communist takeover in China wiped out most of the native stock.

No one disputes that these charming little dogs were intended as companion dogs. Their primary function right from the start appears to be acting as delightful company.

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