- Full Name
- Shih Tzu
- Alternate Names
- Lion Dog, Imperial Shih Tzu
- Your PupScore
- Take the best dog breed quiz to get your Pup Scores!
- Life Span
- 10 - 18 years
- 9 - 16 pounds
The small dog boasts one of the most wonderful coats of any dog breed. It has a deep history- originally a dog from Tibet, but was developed by Chinese emperors who at the time called it the "Lion Dog". For hundreds of years, there was much competition amongst Chinese royalty over who can have the most beautiful Shih Tzu dog. Today much of that reputation is maintained, as the dog is primarily a "lap dog" rather than a working dog. Shih Tzus do not tolerate heat or intense exercise well, but overall are healthy dogs and can live up to an incredible 18 years.
- Bred For
- Family Considerations
- Child Friendly
- Stranger Friendly
- Dog Friendly
- Likes to Cuddle
- Service Dog Ability
- Overall Ease of Breed
- Ease for Novice
- Training Potential
- Amount of Shedding
- Ease of Grooming
- Exercise Need
- Amount of Barking
- Guard Dog Ability
- Tolerates Being Alone
- Home and Environment Considerations
- Good for Apartment Living
- Tolerates Heat
- Tolerates Cold
- Potential to Run Away
- Physical Characteristics
- General Health
- Energy Level
- Amount of Drooling
- Prey Drive
Is the Shih Tzu good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.
Is the Shih Tzu friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.
Is the Shih Tzu friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.
Does the Shih Tzu like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.
Does the Shih Tzu like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.
Does the Shih Tzu make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.
Is the Shih Tzu good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.
How well can the Shih Tzu be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Shih Tzu. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.
Does the Shih Tzu shed a lot?
Is the Shih Tzu easy to groom?
Does the Shih Tzu need a lot of exercise?
How smart is the Shih Tzu?
How much does the Shih Tzu bark? Does the Shih Tzu bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.
Is the Shih Tzu a good guard dog?
Is the Shih Tzu good at staying alone? Is the Shih Tzu independent?
Is the Shih Tzu a good apartment dog? Can the Shih Tzu live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.
How big is the Shih Tzu?
How much does the Shih Tzu tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Shih Tzu?
How much does the Shih Tzu tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Shih Tzu?
Does the Shih Tzu try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.
Is the Shih Tzu a healthy dog? The general health of a Shih Tzu should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.
How energetic is the Shih Tzu? Is the Shih Tzu too energetic for your lifestyle?
How much does the Shih Tzu drool?
Does the Shih Tzu have a large prey drive? Does the Shih Tzu like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.
Is the Shih Tzu atheltic? Is the Shih Tzu fast and strong?
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