Small Dog Breeds > Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a small breed dog (toy dog) that originated in China. The dogs are small and sturdy and have a short muzzle and dark eyes. Their ears drop and are covered with long fur.


The dogs weight 11 to 16 pounds and stand around 10 1/2 inches at the withers. The breed’s temperament varies but the dogs are generally loyal, affectionate, alert, and outgoing. They make good watch dogs but weren’t specifically bred for that trait. The dogs do well around adults and children. However, they can become irritated if provoked so supervision is suggested when the dogs are around small children.

Shih Tzus should be trained at an early age. The dogs make ideal pets for apartment dwellers because they require minimal exercise. The dogs typically live 10 to 16 years with a median life span of just over 13 years.

Coat and Color

Shih Tzus have a long, soft, and silky double coat that reaches the floor. The most common coat color is white or another color with white blazes. However, the breed comes in all coat colors, such as brown, white, gold, black, gray, black mask gold, liver, brindle, and red and white.

Shih Tzus shed less than most other breeds. However, they are not completely hypoallergenic. Some allergy sufferers may not able to endure the allergens in the dog’s saliva and dander.

Their hair grows quickly, so regular grooming is necessary. This is an added cost that may not be suitable for all prospective Shih Tzu owners. Daily brushing is also required to prevent tangles.
Height 10.5" at the withers
Weight 11-16 lbs
Life Span 13 years
Temperament Loyal, affectionate, alert
Hypoallergenic Somewhat
Some of the Shih Tzu’s health issues include: Intervertebral Disk Disease, hypothyroidism, breathing problems, hip dysplasia, portosystemic liver shunt, and ear infections.

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