Know Your Breed: Shih Tzu

The name “Shih Tzu” means little lion, but there’s nothing fierce about this dog breed. Pronounced SHEED Zoo, SHID Zoo, or SHEET Sue–is a small, regal dog with long, abundant locks, a distinctive face that melts many a heart, and a friendly attitude.

People commonly associate the Shih Tzu with China, but they actually came from China’s western neighbor, Tibet, which was a sovereign nation until the 1950s. Tibet probably sent dogs to the Chinese royalty as gifts. The Chinese then bred them with Pekingese or Pugs to create the modern-day Shih Tzu.

When China underwent its Communist Revolution, the Shih Tzu breed all but disappeared. This may not have actually been caused by communism; a contributing factor was the 1908 death of the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, who supervised a world-renown breeding program of Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and Pugs. When she died, the breeding program fell apart, and it became nearly impossible to get a Shih Tzu.

With their flowing hair sweeping the ground and their topknot elegantly tied, the Shih Tzu does appear snobbish, suited only for lying about a palace on silk pillows. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Shih Tzus are beautiful, but they are also friendly, lively, devoted companions.⠀

The Shih Tzu personality is enormously appealing, and even grudging dog observers find it hard to resist this breed. They were bred to be a friendly companion–they don’t hunt, herd, or guard–and that’s what they are. They love nothing more than to meet and greet friends and strangers alike. Count on a Shih Tzu to make friends wherever they go.⠀


Shih Tzus have many unique features such as their compact bodies, flaring wide faces, and big emotive eyes that warmingly gaze at everyone. Their long silky coats are double-layered and come in all sorts of colors necessitating regular grooming if they are to keep shining.

Shih Tzus are lively creatures despite their size. They love being around humans which explains why they are playful all the time but also totally loyal. In addition to looking so majestic, Shih Tzus can really act silly sometimes while still enjoying any kind of attention they can get from others.

Essentialities for Caring:

Caring for a Shih Tzu means meeting their specific needs to secure their health and happiness. Routine visits are necessary to prevent matts from forming and hair tangling in excess on the body of the animal. This includes brushing their hair daily, giving them regular baths, and trimming their facial hair so that it doesn’t become irritated.

Even though Shih Tzus are small in size, exercise is important for them as well. Those dogs’ lives should be filled with walks in the evening or games offering physical exercises because they need to keep both physically active and cognitively alert which can help deter boredom cases and other related behavioral issues.

Besides, they must also eat the right diet if they are to stay healthy generally. A well balanced diet composed of good quality dog food accompanied by fresh fruits and vegetables helps maintain their energy levels at peak and keeps them looking shiny thus maintaining a healthy coat.

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