The Shih Tzu, whose name means lion, originated in Tibet as early as A.D. 600 and has been a housepet in China since the times of the Ming Dynasty(A.D.1368-1644). They are often called the “Chrysanthemum-faced dog” because their face hair grows in all directions. They were introduced into England in 1930 and brought to the United States by soldiers returning from World War II. They were registered by the American Kennel Club as part of the Toy Group in 1969. They are classified as a Non-Sporting Dog in Australia and a Utility Dog in the United Kingdom.
The Shih Tzu is small, intelligent, lively and alert. The sole purpose of the Shih Tzu is as a companion and house pet thus he is outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly and trusting toward everyone. He needs a minimum amount of exercise but the coat does need regular brushing to ensure that it won’t tangle. The long crown-hair should be tied in a top-knot to avoid eye infections.
The Shih Tzu must always appear to be compact and solid. The head is round, broad and wide between the eyes. The eyes are large, round, placed wide apart and have a warm, sweet expression. The ears are large, set slightly below the crown of the skull and carried along the side of the head.
There is a definite drop off (called the stop) between the skull and muzzle. The muzzle is square, short and should be no longer than one inch from tip of nose to stop. The pigmentation should be black or liver depending upon coat color. The bite is undershot in a broad wide jaw. The neck flows smoothly into the shoulders with sufficient length to allow the dog to carry the head high. The chest should be deep.
The legs are well-boned and muscular enabling a smooth, flowing and effortless gait. The top line is level on a short-coupled, sturdy body. The length between withers and base of tail is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The tail is set high, heavily plumed and carried in a curve over the back.
The coat is a double-coat that is luxurious, dense, long and flowing over the entire body. All coat colors are acceptable. The height at the withers is between eight and eleven inches while the weight may range from nine to sixteen pounds.
“Our Shih Tzu came into our life in January of 1989 - she was four months old and during the next fourteen years, we left her only three times and then with housesitters - she was never boarded away from our home. She was the delight of our life and shared all things good and sorrowful with us - always at our side and understanding. I never tired of looking at her face and still think it to be one of the most beautiful sights I have ever laid my eyes upon. We lost her two weeks ago and we are devastated and completely lost without her. She had multiple medical conditions and her last big bout was with chemotherapy for lymphoma, which proved to be too much for her frail little body ... she was so tired. She never lost her puppy-like appearance and still walked with a bounce, remained independent and kept all her personality right up to her last day here with us. These are the most beautiful little creatures on earth and if it is love and devotion you want, they give it so abundantly.”
“I have had our Shih Tzu for four months now. He is so much a part of the family. We have two boys, ages three and seven, and he enjoys playing with them and has never been mean to either of them. He is such a good companion and is always there happily awaiting your hugs and kisses. I would recommend a Shih Tzu to anyone. My husband wanted a big dog and was not that enthused about a little dog at first, but he would agree with me now ... he loves his little dog as much as the rest of us. Make them a part of your family, they will do the same for you.”
The breed that brings out all the maternal/paternal instincts in everyone.
“I have had many breeds of dogs and loved them all, but our little Shih Tzu tops them all and stole our hearts from day one. It is difficult to treat "The Baby" as a canine for she is such a warm, affectionate friendly little "person." She knows no enemies and thinks everyone should adore her. (They do!) Wherever we go, "The Baby" loyally follows. This breed has such expressive eyes that make you want to melt. They are sensitive, loving, cuddly little "adorables" who think they are a little princess. (They are!) Be careful not to hand-feed them, as they will expect it everyday, choosing who is going to have the honor. They also seem well versed in math as if we forget to give her the same amount of doggy treats, she waits, cocks her head and doesn't eat what is in front of her until the exact number is doled out. They are truly amazing and I will never own another breed but a Shih Tzu. We have four children and a granddaughter and even though a couple of the kids are cat lovers, they still can't resist this breed. They are wonderful around babies and want to guard them even while the baby has a handful of our Shih Tzu's hair! Be ready for them to nap a lot ... ours takes an early morning nap, mid-morning nap, a pre-lunch nap, after lunch nap, mid-afternoon nap, late afternoon nap and a pre-bedtime nap; then it's time for her to hop in our bed for her bedtime, cuddled under blankets with her head lying on our (her) pillows. They have a soft little snore which is so cute. If you are ready for lots of love, fun, laughs, and are a warm and touchy person, this is the dog for you. Keep them clean (they hate to be dirty), brushed, fed, and loved, and your life will be so full of joy!”
“My Shih Tzu is truly amazing. Due to the breed's temperament, she has become a therapy dog in a children's hospital and a nursing home. She has assisted in motivating children in pain to walk and loves to listen to them read. If you want a guard dog, do not get a Shih Tzu. She never barks (only when she wants the cat to get off the dresser and play with her). She has helped foster feral kittens. When you go dog walking you will need to extend your trip timewise because the Shih Tzu is quite the social butterfly. If you want to meet people, get a Shih Tzu. Time and money is needed to keep the breed looking presentable. It would help to learn to do it yourself. The Shih Tzu is very sure of herself ­p; thinks she is hot stuff, will steal your roast beef sandwich and will commandeer your bed as her own. Make certain you have something to distract her while you are on the phone, as she believes you are talking to her and she is the only one in your world. She will lick your tears and try to make you laugh. She will become the alpha dog of your pets even if they outweigh her by over 50 pounds. A Shih Tzu is high maintenance in many ways, but gives so much back in return.”
“My current pet, a Shih Tzu, is amazing. First of all, she's adorable. Second, she is extremely smart. I trained her to use a litter box in about four hours. She was trained after the 1st time she did her business in the box. I taught her to play dead in less than give mins. She learned to roll over in about a half an hour. She can do anything you want her to do. She also doesn't shed. She loves car rides, especially that windy feeling. She listens to every word i day with careful scurtiny. In other words, she know a lot of people words and can respond effectively. If you want to get one, REMEMBER do not start them on any table food. Once this occurs, they will not want their food because they are too smart and know that our food is better. After a while, you will notice that this pet starts to act like a human being. If you sleep on a pillow, they will. If you are in a good playful mood, they w ll be. My dog knows all of her toys by name i.e. doggie, snake, ball, football, frisbie, georgie, ducky, hotdog, kitty etc. Her favourite is her sweaky doggie toy. Well, i truly would recommend this breed to anyone. She was expensive but well worth the money. My wife and I are overwhelmed with happiness because of this doggy factor.”
“I was always a big dog person. I was raised with Great Danes, so little dogs were out of the question! When my son was getting ready to turn 4 I thought it was time to bring a dog into our life. However we live in a small town home so Great Dane was out of the question. I did a lot of research for a smaller dog that was quiet (can't disturb neighbors), playful, patient with children, and not would do okay while I am at work during the day. Well all the research was right when it pointed me to the shih tzu. Harvey is a little over one year, and we are getting another. They are so sweet and patient. And even though, I'm sure my son gets on his nerves, he has never growled at, bitten, or even given my son a dirty look! They are very people oriented, and never meet a person they don't like. Full of energy, but never in the way. I just can't say enough about them, that's why we're getting another. A lot of grooming, but it becomes an enjoyable experience for all of you.”
Sturdy, affectionated, wonderful, big dog in a small package for a great family dog.
“Shih Tzu: A large dog in a small package. They do not know that they are a toy dog. Although appearing to be a FooFoo dog, they are sturdy and live a long life. Good family dogs as they are bred to be a companion dog with all members of the family theirs. They like to play, are curious and most are very intelligent, if well bred, not from USDA breeders. Their origin is from the palaces of China where they were favored by the royality. Not allowed out of the country, seven were smuggled out to start what we have today in the breed. As in all other breeds, there are genetic diseases the are being worked towards irradicating such as the fatal kidney disease. Eyes can also be a problem as they bulge out and have to be checked by the owner frequently for problems. These caught in time are easily treated. Although considered a high maintance dog, if kept in a short cut, they are easy to maintain. House breaking is usually easy but occasionally there will be one that is stubborn. They like their crate but prefer their owners bed for sleeping. If that is not available a couch or easy chair will do. A lap is even better. If they have their own beds most will use them occasionally if the former are not available. But they do like something of their own and if more than one are in the family they will share as they do like to have company. The downside of the breed is that they do have to be groomed more than a short haired dog but they are also non shedding so that is a plus. They do not blow coat yearly. Some do not like the bath but most do get to enjoy it as well as the grooming which can be as little as five minutes a day. Some bark some do not. They are not a noisy breed but there can be exceptions. They are not a breed known for biting, they would rather give kisses. All in all, a Shih Tzu becomes a family member taking on personalities of kids,and families think of them as such.”
“Our Shih Tzu was a very warm loving little housedog, so adaptable and gentle. He barked the first time a stranger would come to the house, but never barked again at the same person. He was very sensitive, intelligent and did not shed his hair. He was a bit testy to housebreak, but pretty good overall.”
“After many months of research on the internet, reading many books and talking with other dog owners, I chose a Shij Tzu for a pet. Everything I read is true and then some. He is the joy of our lives. He loves to play and loves to be loved and petted all the time. He's almost a year old and I can't imagine life without him. For anyone thinking about getting a Shih Tzu, please check references and know your breeder - alot of them seem to be in it just for the money. Riley is happy, healthy and the best dog I've ever had.”
“I have always been a person who loved big dogs which I still do but the day my friend gave my little a Shih Tzu to me it was love at first sight! He is the sweetest little dog that I have ever had. When I first brought him home I worried that my 2 year old son would just scare and terrorize the little ball of fur and that the two German Sheperds that we have would not take kindly to him, but he proved me wrong. To be so small he is very strong and full of patience and incrediably smart. He has learned to "sit" and "down" just by watching the other two dogs and he thinks he's just as big as them. It seems to me that (even though ever dog is different) Shih Tzu's are a wonderful family pet. Even with all the "rough housing" that my son gives him he has never once growled or bitten my son and I trust him to be left compltey alone with my son in a room. It's my son I have to watch out for. I will agree with a review that I read earlier I did find it hardier to housebreak this breed. But if your ooking for a road trip friend, someone to come home to who will always be happy to see you I would recommend the Shih Tzu to anybody. Just be sure you have the time to recieve all the love this little dog can give, it may be to overwhelming for you!”
“I always wanted a dog, for some reason. Finally, on my 12th birhday, I was allowed a Shih Tzu pup. From the moment I saw him, I knew he was the dog for me. Now he is one year old, and the sweetest thing you have ever seen. He loves everyone for their own traits and wants to spend time with everyone. I was the one to train and clean up messes in the house. I stared with the usual sit and gradually moved up. It took a very short time to train him. The entire family cant resist him and gives endless treats. The woords cookie, treat, ball, and the newest one, come give me kisses! The shih-tzu breed loves to give big, wet, slobbery, kisses, espically to the face. We all find it rather funny-he has a tendancy to snore and grunt, espically when he is happy. We have all enjoyed the Shih Tzu breed and recommend it to just about anyone who can take the time out of their day to groom their dogs. More than once, we have been stoped to be asked what breed it is and if they can pet him. Of course, the answer is always Shih Tzu and of course. Many times he has coaxed fearful children to pet him. He loves everybody! I cant say enough...”
“I received my first Furbaby from my son last summer. It was a complete surprise. However, it was love at first sight. As a single parent with an empty nest, Baby Girl ahs filled my house with love and joy. She spends the day with my mother playing with her dog. We go home and snuggle on the couch followed by a play time with her squeaky ball. She loves to ride in the car and help me plant flowers. I would highly recommend this breed to anyone who wants a snuggle bunny who gives lots of wet,sweet kisses.”
“Shih Tzu was our Christmas present. She has given us total loyalty, unconditional love, many many hours of happiness. The breeder told us that if we ever decided that we didn't want her, then just bring her back. We both said to each other, wow she must like dogs alot. When ever one of us have had a bad day for whatever reason, we come home, see her, and it seems that she erases the bad day away. She waits for us everyday by the family room window. She sits on her bed looking out the window next to her toys. When we come home, she greets us at the door with one of her toys in her mouth. We set aside play time for her everynight and she loves it! My husband who never wanted a dog, is terribly attached to her and just can't wait to see her when he gets home from work. Everytime we go shopping, he has to pick her up a toy. Now she has only 500 toys. We now know why the breeder told us that, because she loves the Shih Tzu's as much as we do. My husband and I send the breeder a picture every year (for Christmas) of our little bundle of joy and thank her very much for giving us the best Christmas Present we ever received. I had to have an emergency hysterectomy 6 years ago, and the only thing that kept me going was my little girl. She kept me company and watched over me day and night. She seems to know when I wasn't feeling quite right and was always there for me. We both love her dearly and hope to have another 8 years with her in our lives. Just can't imagine otherwise!”
“This is a loyal breed which more often than not seems to take on a "people" personality. A Shih Tzu needs lots of patience and time as a puppy but this certainly pays off in the long run. I have 4 of them and they get along great with my 3 kids - one is 16 months! I not only give answers to questions from people who buy from me but also to people who have purchased a Shih Tzu from somewhere else. My dog is used to being dressed up like a baby and pushed around in a doll carrage and also loves to go for rides in the wagon down the street. I can't say enough!”
Sunny, amusing dispositions - tolerant of children.
“Our original Shih Tzu came from the local pound. I originally only intended to rescue and rehome him as I never cared for small dogs. He had been abandoned for a housebreaking problem which took two months to correct. Housebreaking seems to require a bit more work with this breed, but their tolerance for children is unrivaled in the toy breeds. They are quiet dogs for the most part. Mine only bark to let me know there is someone at the door and stop as soon as I acknowledge them. Finding the grooming tedious, I have opted to keep them cut short. We currently own three and they enjoy each other's company and get along well. Health problems have been minimal.This is a very social breed, not happy to be left alone all day every day.”