Shih Tzu

Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog, Empress Pearls

The Shih Tzu is very popular and the high demand often brings more fragile dogs to market to satisfy the breed's overwhelming popularity. Its success then becomes the beginning of its demise. This adorable little dog does not normally have any particular problem and he can become the best companion for a very long time.

Height 20 to 30 cm
Weight 5 to 8 kg
Life expectancy 13 to 15 years
Hair Loss Medium
Excercise Need Low
Home country China

Quick Overview of the Shih Tzu


  • Extreme sociability
  • Ideal life companion
  • Always cheerful
  • Never aggressive, but sometimes stubborn...


  • Face like a chrysanthemum
  • All colours are allowed
  • Long, stiff and dense coat
  • Rather round and broad head


  • Robust
  • Generally healthy
  • Rarely ill
  • No fatal pathology is linked

Temperament of the Shih Tzu

Extremely sociable, the Shih Tzu is an ideal life companion. Posed, calm, relaxed, playful, patient and intelligent, this adorable little dog is the friend of all, big or small. However, it is not a very good guardian.

Always cheerful and laughing, the Shih Tzu has a very jovial character. Never aggressive, he can sometimes be a little stubborn. He can also do silly things to amuse the gallery but his sulky face is capable of making anyone crack.

He still knows how to command respect. He loves children and their games and he loves the presence of human beings. He simply hates solitude.

This clever and courageous little specimen of the canine race is a mischievous and jovial little plush. The Shih Tzu is a born charmer. This dog is intelligent and he knew how to take his place very early by his attitude and his particular charm.

shih tzu personnalité

Breed Appearance

shih tzu

This very robust little dog has a haughty carriage and a face that looks like a chrysanthemum. These former "Empress Pearls" are so cute that they leave a very touching impression of a cheerful, fluffy doggie.


Between 20 and 30 cm (7.87 to 11.81 inches) for the male
Between 20 and 30 cm (7.87 to 11.81 inches) for the female


Between 5 and 8 kg (11.02 to 17.64 pounds) for the male
Between 5 and 8 kg (11.02 to 17.64 pounds) for the female


The dress is very varied. All colours are allowed.


Its long, stiff, uncurled hair is dense.


His head is rather round but large for a small dog. Its large dark eyes are wide apart. Its large ears have a long auricle. Its nose is black or dark brown. Its plume tail is set high and is very abundant.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 9, section 5 and is #208

Characteristics of the Shih Tzu

Does this dog suit your lifestyle?

Every dog breed has its own characteristics. However, the actual character of a dog can vary from one to another within the same breed.

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Life in an apartment
Good first dog
Tolerates solitude
Tolerates cold weather
Tolerates hot weather
Friendly with children
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other animals
Hair loss
Drooling level
Easy to care for
Robust health
Easy to train
Tendency to bark
Tendency to nibble
Instinct to hunt
Adventurous spirit
Energy level
Level of intensity
Need for exercise

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Shih Tzu puppy: between 1000 € / $ 1177 / £854 and 1500 € / $ 1765 / £1281
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder
Average monthly budget for a Shih Tzu: 80 € / $ 95 / £69
The monthly budget includes the average expenses for food and hygiene products (grooming, anti-parasite...)

Shih Tzu puppies near me

Shih Tzu pictures

Tips About this breed

However, one must be careful and teach him very early to return to the first commandment. He is naturally curious and will have a tendency to run away if he is not called to order. His education is very easy and must be focused on his stubbornness and great curiosity. If he is not properly educated, he will take the opportunity to lead the household by the rod and do as he pleases, and if something arouses his curiosity, he will follow his trail without regard to the rest.

Obviously, Shih Tzu is not suitable for outdoor life. He prefers, by far, apartment life. Whether in a large house or a tiny apartment, he will be happy as long as he is with his master. He is a small dog that hates being alone and enjoys being cuddled. Human beings are his great source of happiness.

Exclusively a companion and indoor dog, he nevertheless needs exercise. Fortunately, his size allows him to do so on all occasions. He doesn't really need a lot of space to grow.

Health of the Shih Tzu

Despite its fragile plush appearance, the Shih Tzu is quite robust and its health is generally very good. For such a small dog, it is rarely sick. The female can sometimes have difficulty giving birth, but no other problems are officially recorded in relation to the Shih Tzu.

No fatal pathology is related to the breed and its longevity is excellent.


Of course, its beautiful coat still requires a little maintenance. As it is long-haired, this small dog must be brushed daily, taking great care to gently untangle its pretty coat to prevent knots from forming.

Eyes and ears should also be inspected regularly to avoid potential problems. Frequent cleaning will be both healthy and preventive.

History of this breed

This magnificent little lion dog (literal translation of Shih Tzu) belongs to the category of Tibetan dogs with the Tibetan Spaniel, the Tibetan Terrier, the Lhasa Apso and the Tibetan Mastiff.

The latter belongs to the group of molosses while the other four belong to the group of companion dogs. Known since the dawn of time, the origins of the Shih Tzu are very ancient. However, the breed as we know it today is a little more recent.

In Tibet, the Shih Tzu is the symbol of well-being and, according to legend, has very close ties with the snow lion. Its name of lion dog comes from this legend.

According to another Tibetan legend, the snow lion is an animal embodying cheerfulness, courage and liveliness which corresponds very well to the very nature of Shih Tzu. Due to these legends, the first Shih Tzu were introduced in China to ensure the prestige of the Chinese emperors to whom the dogs were offered as gifts.

It was in the 19th century that Cixi, dowager empress and former concubine of Xianfeng, fell in love with these adorable hairballs. They were given the nickname "Empress' Pearls". The Shih Tzu would have been born in the Forbidden City following the crossing between small Chinese dogs and Lhasa Apso.

Dogs were so venerated at the time by the Chinese that the latter refused for a long time to sell them to foreign countries. After the death of the Empress followed by the fall of the empire in 1908, the dogs left the Forbidden City where the export of the "Empress' Pearls" began.

It was around 1930 that England welcomed its first Tibetan specimens. The difference between the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso was established in 1934 and the Shih Tzu breed was officially recognized in 1940 by the English Kennel Club. It was introduced in France in 1953 by the Countess of Anjou and then received by the American Kennel Club in 1955.

This small animal, sacred in the Buddhist religion, is exclusively a pet dog.


Donna Lee 13 November, 2020 - 11:46 pm

Hi I have a 11mon old ShichTsu. She is not a purebred but I love her so much. You say cataracts are a problem, I have been noticed problem with her right eye. How young do these dogs get cataracts and what should I be looking for in confirming cateratas

Rémi 16 November, 2020 - 12:16 pm

Hi Donna,

Unfortunately, we can’t really tell you at what age Shih Tzus get cataracts. You should probably talk about this with your vet.

Thank you,


Dorothy 12 November, 2020 - 3:01 pm

Got our ShihTzu from a shelter. She had been found wandering the street. Very loving even to babies. When they grab her fur she licks their hands and they stop. Loves her belly rubbed and cuddling. Best dog.

Daniel 11 November, 2020 - 4:30 am

Charlie is our 4th Shih Tzu , our 1st Spanky was great and so beautiful he was always mistaken for a girl loved to cuddle with our 2 kids, Mistie was a tea cup female that was so wonderful and playful both lived 16 years, Toby was our 3rd and this little guy would actually almost talk to you when he wanted a treat, food or just fake you out to go outside and get pecans, he just absolutely loved them, my wife was broken hearted as Neighbors big dogs killed him when he wondered off and got out under gate. We missed him so much that we looked all over trying to find another like him, luckily for us we found Charlie, and this little guy goes with us every where, the best breed ever, over 26 years and counting.

Sue James 2 November, 2020 - 5:50 pm

I rescued my Shih Tzu from an animal shelter. Someone had shot him in his back with a Bebe gun. He was found wandering on the streets and taken to the shelter. I fell in love with him at first sight. He is the best dog I’ve owned. He is such a joy in my life.

Denise Weaver 24 October, 2020 - 12:48 am

We had a Shih Tzu for almost 16 years, loved the breed and he was a delight to own. We truly miss him! Fuzzy was everything that you described and then some, just wonderful to own. My family certainly loved him ❤️🐾

Rémi 25 October, 2020 - 2:59 pm

Shih Tzus are incredible dogs, I am sure Fuzzy was no exception to that rule.

Thank you for your comment,


Nelson Laminack 23 October, 2020 - 9:11 pm

My beloved Shih Tzu of 12+ years has gone mostly blind from cataracts (diagnosis of 3 vets) also suffers from congestive heart failure. Are these common afflictions? Did I do or not do anything to contribute to these problems! Are these problems hereditary? He is still the love of my life and continues to be happy and playful. I can not imagine life without him.

Rémi 25 October, 2020 - 2:57 pm

Hello Nelson,

These afflictions are unfortunately common in Shih Tzus, I am pretty sure it is not your fault, don’t worry about that. If he continues to be happy and playful, that means that he really loves you 🙂

Thanks for your comment and have a good day,



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