Shih Tzu Alternate Names
Shih Tzu means “Little Lion”
Shih Tzu Appearance
Body: Small and sturdy with a level backline, deep, wide chest, and well laid back shoulders.
Coat: Long, flowing, and luxurious with a soft undercoat.
Color: Black, white, gray, tan, or gold spotted.
Ears: Large and drooping, set below the crown of the skull and well covered with hair.
Eyes: Large, round, wide set, and very dark.
Feet: Compact and well-padded.
Head: Broad and round with a definite stop, well-spaced between the eyes, short, square muzzle, broad, open nostrils, and black nose. Head is carried high and is covered with hair growing every which way, and a moustache.
Legs: Forelegs are straight, well-muscled, and well-boned. Hindquarters are strong with well-boned, well-muscled legs, well-bent stifles, and well let down hocks.
Neck: Well-proportioned and balanced to the overall body and smoothly set into well laid back shoulders, with proud carriage of head.
Weight: 9 – 16 pounds
Height: 9 – 16 pounds
Tail: Curled, high set, and carried upward over the back.
Shih Tzu Behavior
Recommended for novice dog handlers
Good with cats and other pets
Good with children
Can adapt to urban living if given room to play and run about
The Shih Tzu is called the Chrysanthemum dog because his face, covered with hair growing in all directions, resembles the Chrysanthemum flower which was cultivated in China, as a flowering herb, as far back as the 15th century BC.
The Peking Kennel Club once described him as having “a lion head, bear torso, camel hoof, feather-duster tail, palm-leaf ears, rice teeth, pearly petal tongue, and movement like a goldfish.”
He is outgoing, fun-loving, highly spirited, very gentle, and good with children. This is an indoor dog not suited for being outside on a lead for extended periods of time. He relishes the comforts of home, loves to curl up on his owner’s lap, and looks forward to the luxury of a nice soft bed to nap in. He also appreciates having time to play in the yard each day.
AKC Standard says, “As the sole purpose of the Shih Tzu is that of a companion and house pet, it is essential that its temperament be outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly and trusting towards all.”
Shih Tzu Breed Type
AKC Group: Toy Group
Bred for companionship and as house pets.
Shih Tzu Care and Grooming
Exercise: The Shih Tzu is content with a casual daily walk and a little play time.
Grooming: Brush three to four times weekly. Dry his ear canals after rain or baths and keep them clean to prevent infections.
Shih Tzu Health
Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 Years
Eye problems – dry eye, lacerations, infections, double eyelashes (distichiasis)
Luxating Patella – dislocation of the knee cap
Retinal Dysplasia – have a urine screening done
vWD – a bleeding disorder
Some Shih Tzus have abnormally small nostrils that may interfere with breathing.
CERF – for the eyes
OFA – for the hips
Shih Tzu Country of Origin
China – 1600s