October 22, 2018

Breed Profile: Shih Tzu

by Lauren R. Tharp

The Shih Tzu or “Shitzu” (pronounced as Sheet-zoo)was originally the dog of choice for the royals in the Ming Dynasty.  During World War II the dog was discovered by soldiers in England and has quickly became a favorite house pet here in the US.  More than 20 years later, the AKC officially registered the breed.   Now the AKC registers the Shitzu as the 10th most popular dog breed in the United States.


Physical Traits

Size & Weight: Very small.  Shih Tzus are part of the Toy group and tend to be 7-11 inches tall and weigh a mere 8-16 pounds.

Coat & Color: Most commonly white or white with markings; however, Shih Tzus come in all colors and markings.  Their coat is long—often dragging on the floor if not trimmed—double-coated, and flowing.

Other: The word “shih tzu” means “lion.”

Life Expectancy: 15 years or more

Temperament:

Although Shih Tzus are small, they aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves.  These dogs were bred for companionship and that’s what they excel at—loving, friendly, loyal, and trusting, these dogs make fantastic house pets.  These dogs are happy and affectionate toward all who encounter them.

Wags:

  • Friendly with strangers and other animals.
  • Requires minimal exercise.
  • Not as “yappy” and demanding as some of the other Toy breeds.

Challenges:

  • Grooming, grooming, grooming!!  Have you seen their hair?
  • They love to dig.  Prepare to have holes in your yard if you don’t keep a close eye on them during their potty breaks.  Toys and interactive play can really help discourage this behavior.

Looking for a Shih Tzu?  Please contact the Massachusetts Shih Tzu Rescue to learn more about their adoptable dogs.

A special thanks to Dog Mountain for use of this featured image of the Shih Tzu.

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