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Shih Tzu


  • Origin: China
  • Alternate names: Chinese Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog
  • Size: Small
  • Life Span: 10-16 years
  • Popularity: Ranked #20 by AKC in 2017
  • Availability in India:
  • Avg Puppy Price in India: ₹15,000 to ₹20,000
  • Dog Breed Group: Toy Group
  • Guide Dog: No
  • Is Shih Tzu Good for Indian?

Shih Tzu comes under the group of dog breeds that are not very easily available in India. They are more common in countries like U.S.A and China. But, as their demand is fairly decent in India, slowly their availability is also increasing. Shih Tzus have a substandard tolerance towards heat. They are not meant for very hot climate conditions. Hence, Indian weather conditions are not that suitable for them. Shih Tzu owners in India must be careful with the body temperature of their pups as high temperature and hot climate of India may have an adverse effect on them. They should be kept in cooler surroundings and away from the excessive heat.

  • Shih Tzu Official Breed Standards

Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed which is mostly compact and little in size. The general breed standards for Shih Tzu as given by AKC are listed below. This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1969.

  • Shih Tzu Height and Weight

Shih Tzus are miniature in size and thus they are very light-weighted and petite. The average weight of an adult Shih Tzu is less than 8 kg and there is nothing to boast about their height also. They stand tall at an average height of about 10 inches. Also, unlike many breeds, most of the male and female Shih Tzus have no difference in their body dimensions. 




04-7.5 kg

09-10.5 inch


04-7.5 kg

09-10.5 inch

  • Coat

Shih Tzu’s coat is the thing to talk about. They have a luxurious, flowing coat which is very dense and long. They have a heavy volume of hair on their head region also. And, there are numerous colors in which Shih Tzus can be found. They either can have solid colors like brown, white et cetera or a combination of various solid colors, but according to AKC standards, all are permissible.

  • Body

Although very small in size, Shih Tzus are a quite well-balanced breed of dogs. They are built sturdily with a well set-on neck and slightly deep and broad chest region. They also have straight, bony and muscular legs that might be shorter in length but are firmly padded.

  • Head

As mentioned above, they are well-balanced dogs and thus the overall size of their head is also in proportion to their body. They have a broad and round head with a pleasant expression on their face. Large eyes and ears are also the defining traits of a Shih Tzu. Their eyes are mostly in darker color shades.

  • Jaws

They have a short and unwrinkled muzzle with a wide and broad jaw region.

  • Temperament

Shih Tzus are popular because of their adorable size and friendly attitude. They are very lively and happy and are always ready to meet someone new. They also like to play a lot of games with their owners/trainers or anyone trustworthy. They possess a very warm and affable vibe that makes them quite welcoming. Some basic traits of a Shih Tzu are listed below:

  • Happy
  • Lively
  • Playful
  • Outgoing
  • Intelligent
  • Friendly
  • Gentle
  • Active
  • Courageous
  • Shih Tzu Dog Overview

Also known as Chrysanthemum Dog or a Chinese Lion Dog, Shih Tzus are believed to be originated in Tibet and later developed in China. The meaning of its name is simply Little Lion. The hair on their face region flows in almost every direction much like a Chrysanthemum flower and that is believed to be the reason behind their alternative name.

Shih Tzus are great companions and this is their primary purpose. They are very affectionate and loving and always have a desire to be with someone. Unlike many breeds, Shih Tzus are not very skilled in tasks like fetching or retrieving but they prove to be awesome partners. They have a warm nature and will never leave your side. It’s a very positive breed of dogs to be around.

They are considered very good for novice dog owners as they are fairly easygoing. They make a perfect house pet for someone who has limited space as they are very adaptable and adjusting. Only concerning aspect of Shih Tzus is their resistance to hot weather conditions. They are more likely to get a heat stroke if not cared appropriately. Their body temperature must be maintained properly.

They are also quite easy to maintain because of their low shedding and exercise needs. Like any other dog, there is some level of shedding when it comes to Shih Tzus but it is comparatively on the lower end of the scale. They also require little to moderate amount of exercise to maintain their health.

  • Popular Shih Tzu Types and Colors

Shih Tzus are mainly classified into different types by the breeders on the basis of breeding type, whether they are purebred or impurely bred. Different types of Shih Tzus have key differences between one another in various aspects like size, health issues et cetera. Listed below are the different kinds of Shih Tzus:

  • American Shih Tzu
  • European Shih Tzu
  • Imperial Shih Tzu
  • Teacup Shih Tzu

When it comes to available colors for Shih Tzus, they are found in large variety. They come in numerous solid colors like White, Black, Silver, Gold, and Red. And, apart from this, they also possess combinations of these colors like Gold & Black, White & Black et cetera.

They can also appear in various unique colors like Blue (slightly fainted), Liver and some more.

  • Shih Tzu Dog Breed Characteristics



Sensitivity Level


Affection Level


Potential for mouthiness




Drooling Potential


Barking Tendencies


Energy Level


Friendly towards dogs


Health Issues


Friendly towards other animals




Child Friendly




Exercise Needs


Shedding Level


Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Good for novice owners


Stranger Friendly




Watchdog Ability


Tolerates Heat


Tolerates Cold


  • Maintenance and Care

  • Feeding

As Shih Tzus are quite small in size, hence their feeding requirements are also paltry. They should be given high-quality food in a limited amount as required and necessary for maintaining their health. Shih Tzu owners must also keep an eye on the total calorie consumed by their doggy so as to keep their weight in check.

  • Exercise

They are considered fairly easy to maintain and raise and their requirement for minimal amount of exercise is one of the reasons for that. A short walk in the park or playing non-intensive games with the Shih Tzu can satisfy its exercising needs.

  • Training

Shih Tzus are very sensitive towards their owners/trainers. They are trained more effectively with a firm and appreciating behavior. The trainer must have a positive attitude while training Shih Tzus and should keep away from harsh corrections. Early socialization and training at a young age are recommended to yield better results.

  • Grooming and Shedding

As mentioned earlier, Shih Tzus have a low frequency for shedding. But that is not the case with their grooming needs. They require brushing of their long coat with a good quality brush on a daily basis. Also, the hair above their eyes should be tied up or trimmed so as to avoid any irritation to the eyes. Trimming of their nails and bathing them must be carried out routinely. Visits to a professional groomer are also quite common.

  • Health Issues

Shih Tzus are not very tolerant to heat because of their heavy coats and thus higher temperatures can have an adverse effect on their health. They may also suffer from various other health issues like patellar luxation, hip dysplasia et cetera. Numerous eye problems are also common with Shih Tzus like juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dryness and more. Hence, proper attention and care are required towards Shih Tzu’s eyes.

  • Visits to the Vet

Shih Tzus are prone to various health issues (mentioned above) and thus regular visits to a skilled vet are recommended.

  • Shih Tzu History and Background

Shih Tzus are one of the oldest breeds of dogs present today. Believed to be originated in Tibet, they were the desired pets for the Chinese royalty, and often Shih Tzus were given to them as presents by the Tibetan monks. It is speculated that the modern-day Shih Tzu is a result of breeding various breeds with Lhasa Apso or Pekingese.

Shih Tzus were considered a royalty in the olden times and in the 1860s their popularity reached greater heights when a royal concubine became the Empress of China. She commanded to punish anyone with a death sentence if they were caught harming or mistreating the palace dog. Her love for animals led her to carry out extensive breeding programs.

Shih Tzus were first brought to England by Lady Brownrigg in the year 1928. She was the wife of quartermaster general of north China and brought a male and a female Shih Tzu with her. This was the beginning of the proliferation of Shih Tzus in countries other than China. After this, they gradually became quite popular in countries like the U.S.A., U.K. et cetera.

Shih Tzus were recognized as a toy group by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the year 1969. And, they still are among the most popular breeds in the world. Their core values of companionship and friendliness remain unchanged to this date.