Shih Tzu

Published: Last updated: by shih tzu laying in the grass with pig tails

The Shih Tzu is an affectionate small breed dog who does well with everyone. They are relatively low-maintenance but require some grooming effort.

Average size and lifespan

chihuahua silouette
great dane silouette
Height: 0ft 9in - 0ft 11in
Weight: 9-16lbs
Lifespan: 10 - 18 Years


  • Affection5/5
  • Kid-Friendly4/5
  • Stranger-Friendly5/5
  • Dog-Friendly4/5
  • Barking Amount3/5


  • Grooming Difficulty4/5
  • Shedding Amount1/5
  • Easy to Train3/5
  • Can Be Alone3/5
  • Exercise Need2/5


  • Cold Tolerance3/5
  • Heat Tolerance1/5
  • Apartment-Friendly5/5

Shih Tzu Information

The Shih Tzu may win an award for staying power and popularity. It is believed the breed originated in Tibet in China around 800 B.C. Of all the dog breeds in existence today, he is the 17th most popular dog in the United States. Why? You could chalk it up to his sweet face, compact little frame (between 9 to 16 pounds), and long, beautiful fur. Or maybe it’s his affectionate, playful personality.

Shih Tzu owners can attest to the charm and wit the breed exudes. These little “Lion Dogs,” as they were once called, are wonderfully fun to be around. Just get ready to put the time into grooming their luscious locks.


The Shih Tzu originates from the area of China and is thought to be a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. These styles of dogs were kept by the Chinese royals, who were so attached to them that they were unwilling to trade or sell them. The first time the breed reached Europe was around 1930. The breed was then spread to the U.S. after World War II.

Training & Temperament

The Shih Tzu loves its owners but can be a bit stubborn. They are best trained with positive reinforcement, and it’s a good idea to socialize them early. They tend to get along with any people if socialized properly and are suitable for families.

Shih Tzu Breed photo


The Shih Tzu requires minimal exercise and makes an easy-going house companion. They enjoy short daily walks and indoor playtime to keep them happy and healthy.


A Shih Tzu can have long hair or be clipped into a puppy trim by a groomer. If the coat is kept long, it requires daily brushing. It needs to be bathed about every 3-4 weeks. The hair near the eyes can either be trimmed or pulled into a top knot to keep it from getting in their eyes. Nails and ears should be checked and trimmed/cleaned.


Shih Tzu are generally healthy dogs. Pay attention to their eyes to see if there is any irritation. They don’t do well in the heat or water with their long coats and be sure to limit exposure to the elements.


All dogs have their own personality and unique training, causing them to differ slightly from these breed stats. However, please let us know if we made an error in the stats, we appreciate your help!

Breed FAQs

Can Shih Tzus be apartment dogs?

The Shih Tzu is an excellent apartment dog. They don't need as much space for activity and will be happy in a condo or apartment.

Can Shih Tzus be left alone?

While Shih Tzus prefer to be around their owners, they can do fairly well when left alone if necessary.

Are Shih Tzus good with kids?

Shih Tzus do well with kids. As with any dog they should be monitored closely, they're unlikely to become aggressive.

Are Shih Tzus friendly with strangers?

Shih Tzus love other people and will tend to run up to them for affection. They quickly become great friends with anyone.

Do Shih Tzus get along with other dogs?

Typically, Shih Tzus get along well with other dogs or are easy to socialize with them. It's uncommon that they're overly agressive.

Do Shih Tzus bark a lot?

As far as dogs go, Shih Tzus bark an average amount. You can expect them to bark to alert you, get your attention, or when there are strangers or other dogs.

Do Shih Tzus shed a lot?

The Shih Tzu rarely, or never, sheds. They're excellent for someone who doesn't want to clean up much dog hair.

Do Shih Tzus need a lot of grooming?

The Shih Tzu requires continued maintenance to keep their coats in healthy condition. They're not the most demanding but are on the higher end.

Do Shih Tzus need a lot of exercise?

Shih Tzus don't need a ton of exercise. You'll just need to provide some basic activity to keep them healthy.

Are Shih Tzus easy to train?

Although Shih Tzus can be a challenge to train, they can be taught with some dedicated work or by hiring some training help.

Can Shih Tzus handle cold weather?

Although Shih Tzus can handle the cold weather when out with you, they may not want to stay out for long periods of time.

Can Shih Tzus handle hot weather?

It's best not to have a Shih Tzu in hot temperatures for long as it can be dangerous to their health.

View All Breeds

cute puppy Getting a New Dog?

Subscribe and get the free guide... 5 things you need to know about raising a puppy!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe anytime.