Shih Tzu small dog breed

Shih Tzu small dog breed

Shih Tzu small dog
Shih Tzu dog 

The Shih Tzu is a breed of small companion dog of very ancient type, with long silky fur. The breed originated in China, possibly by way of Tibet. The name is both singular and plural.

Names and etymology

Cute Shih Tzu dog
Cute Shih Tzu dog 
Shih Tzu (simplified Chinese: 狮子狗; traditional Chinese: 獅子狗; pinyin: Shīzi Gǒu; Wade-Giles: Shih-tzu Kou; literally "Lion Dog"), is the Chinese name rendered according to the Wade-Giles system of romanization in use when the breed was first introduced in Europe; the Chinese pronunciation is approximately SHIRR-dzə. The name translates as Lion Dog, so named because the dog was bred to resemble "the lion as depicted in traditional oriental art,"[1] such as the Chinese guardian lions. The Shih Tzu is also often known as the "Xi Shi quan" (西施犬), based on the name of Xi Shi, regarded as the most beautiful woman of ancient China, and, less often, the Chrysanthemum Dog, a nickname coined in England in the 1930s. The dog may also be called the Tibetan Lion Dog, but whether or not the breed should be referred to as a Tibetan or Chinese breed is a source of argument, the absolute answer to which "may never be known".


Beautiful Shih Tzu dog
Beautiful Shih Tzu dog 
A small dog with a short muzzle and large deep dark eyes, with a soft long, double coat, the Shih Tzu stands no more than 26.7 cm (10 1/2 in.) at the withers and with an ideal weight of 4.5 to 7.3 kg (10 to 16 lbs). Drop ears are covered with long fur, and the heavily furred tail is carried curled over the back. The coat may be of any colour, although a blaze of white on the forehead and tail-tip is frequently seen. The Shih Tzu is slightly longer than tall, and dogs ideally should carry themselves "with distinctly arrogant carriage".
The traditional long silky glossy coat that reaches the floor requires daily brushing to avoid tangles.
Often the coat is clipped short to simplify care, in a "puppy clip". For conformation showing, the coat must be left in its natural state, although trimming for neatness around the feet and anus is allowed.Because Shih Tzu noses are small and flat, owners often wipe the dog's face with a damp paper towel to remove food remnants after the dog has eaten a meal. Shih Tzu may be trained to drink out of a water bottle. The water bottle keeps the face clean and dry preventing red yeast from growing on the Shih Tzu beard and moustache. Owners often tie strands of hair from the Shih Tzu's head into a pony tail that sticks up.


Shih Tzu dog
Shih Tzu dog 
Recent DNA analysis confirms that the ancestors of today's Shih Tzu breed are among the most ancient of dog breeds.Ludvic von Schulmuth studied the skeletal remains of dogs found in human settlements as long as ten thousand years ago. Von Schulmuth created a genealogical tree of Tibetan dogs that shows the "Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog", a scavenger, evolved into the "Small Soft-Coated Drop-Eared Hunting Dog" which evolved into the Tibetan Spaniel, Pekingese, and Japanese Chin. Another branch coming down from the "Kitchen Midden Dog" gave rise to the Papillon and Long-haired Chihuahua and yet another "Kitchen Midden Dog" branch to the Pug and Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu was almost completely wiped out during the British invasion of China. Seven males and seven females were saved, and today, all shih tzus can be traced back to one of these dogs.
There are various theories of the origins of today's breed. Theories relate that it stemmed from a cross between Pekingese and a Tibetan dog; that the Chinese court received a pair as a gift during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD); and that they were introduced from Tibet to China in the mid-18th century (Qing Dynasty. Dogs during that time were selectively bred and seen in Chinese paintings. The first dogs of the breed were imported into Europe (England and Norway) in 1930, and were classified by the Kennel Club as "Apsos". The first European standard for the breed was written in England in 1935 by the Shih Tzu Club, and the dogs were recatagorised as Shih Tzu. The breed spread throughout Europe, and was brought to the United States after World War II, when returning members of the US military brought back dogs from Europe. The Shih Tzu was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1969 in the Toy Group. The breed is now recognised by all of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. It is also recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale for international competition in Companion and Toy Dog Group, Section 5, Tibetan breeds.

Health :

Shih Tzu dog Puppy

A number of health issues, some of them hereditary, have been found in individual Shih Tzu, and are listed below. There is no data on the percentage of dogs with these ailments.


Some health issues in the breed are portosystemic shunt of the liver and hip dysplasia in standard sizes.

Breathing problems

Shih Tzu are brachycephalic (short-muzzled) dogs and are very sensitive to high temperatures. Many airlines that ship dogs will not accept them for shipment when temperatures at any point on the planned itinerary exceeds 75 °F (24 °C). When they are drinking, it is sometimes necessary to supervise Shih Tzu; water can enter their face-level noses more easily and inhibit breathing. This is why many Shih Tzu are trained to drink from the sort of licker bottles used by hamsters and gerbils. The area around the eyes should be checked each day for mucus buildup and cleaned when needed. Providing the Shih Tzu with bottled water (or water that does not contain chlorine) helps to keep eye mucus to a minimum.


The life span of a Shih Tzu is 9-13 years although some variation from this range is possible.


The Shih Tzu is a friendly lap dog that at one time was bred to be a companion dog for Chinese royalty. Some say living in the imperial palace gave the Shih Tzu an arrogant quality, although they also display qualities of devotion and adaptability. They are not afraid to stand up for themselves. They tend to be sweet, playful, and trusting as well. It ranks 70th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, considered one of the lowest degree of working/obedience intelligence (trainability). They don't need as much exercise as larger dog breeds, but do suffer from the same difficulties as most small breed dogs due to having a smaller bladder.

Variations :

Size issues

There is no such thing as a "teacup" Shih Tzu nor a "toy sized" Shih Tzu. Imperial Shih Tzu is a term used by breeders to sell Shih Tzu that are below healthy standard size. These tiny dogs, often less than 50% of the recommended minimum size, are prone to serious health problems and may not live a full life span. Many are created by breeding the runt of one litter with the runt of another litter.

Kennel club differences

There is a difference between the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club (UK) Shih Tzu.

The KC Shih Tzu

  • The legs are larger and are held further apart; they look slightly bent.
  • The chest is broad and proud.
  • The head is round and the neck is strong and long enough.
  • The eyes are protruding and large.
  • The shoulders of this dog are laid behind.

The AKC Shih Tzu

  • Their legs are high and the front legs face forward.
  • The chest is small.
  • The head is more or less square-ish and is set on a very long and slender neck.
  • The eyes are smaller and do not face the front completely.
  • The shoulders of the American type of Shih Tzu are frontal.

Crosses with other breeds

White Shih Tzu dog with black head and hears
White Shih Tzu dog with black head and hears
A crossbreed or dog hybrid is a dog with two purebred parents of different breeds. Dogs traditionally were crossed in this manner in hopes of creating a puppy with desirable qualities from each parent, but when two different breeds are mixed, there is no way to know which traits will be inherited from each parent. For pet dogs such as the Shih Tzu, crosses are done to enhance the marketability of puppies, resulting in "Designer" dogs with portmanteau names such as Shih-poo (a Shih Tzu crossbred with a toy Poodle). It is fashionable to merchandise crossbreed and mixed breed dogs with the word hybrid, which implies two different species, but all Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu crosses are of the species Canis lupus familiaris. As with all dogs born of parents who are not the same breed, "designer" dogs are not purebreds, and therefore are not eligible for purebred registries such as the American Kennel Club.


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