Is A Shih Tzu Puppy Right For You?

By: Connie Limon

The Shih Tzu is classified by the American Kennel Club in the Toy Group. It is one of the elegant dogs from China. The Shih Tzu was a cherished, pampered pet of royal families in China for over a thousand years. As the Shih Tzu developed there evolved several sizes. The question of size has always been a very controversial topic.

Some Shih Tzu fanciers feel the original Shih Tzu of the Imperial Palace was the very small type ranging in weight of anywhere from 3 to 7 pounds. At the time of this writing, year of 2005, the size of 3 to 7 pounds is nicknamed Imperial Shih Tzu and Teacup Shih Tzu. The American Kennel Club does not recognize the nicknames of Imperial and Teacup for the Shih Tzu at all. The only size the American Kennel Club and the American Shih Tzu Club recognize as official Shih Tzu are with a set standard weight of 9 to 16 pounds. The under 9 pounds in weight and over 16 pounds in weight Shih Tzu are in existence and have ancestors registered as AKC, therefore, these Shih Tzu can be registered AKC. They are just disqualified from the show ring because of underweight or overweight. In general, most Shih Tzu fanciers or consumers prefer their Shih Tzu to be at least under 16 pounds.

Differences in weight is most likely due to cross breeding in the past with smaller dogs such as the Pekingese to get a smaller size Shih Tzu. The larger size Shih Tzu are probably more from the lines of the Apso.

The Shih Tzu has also been nicknamed “Chrysanthemum Face.” The hair on the face of a Shih Tzu puppy grows out in a circular direction, making the face look like flowers.

The Shih Tzu is an alert little dog with an arrogant and affectionate personality. Shih Tzu cherish their human companions above all else that surrounds them. Hundreds of the best of toys, other Shih Tzu or other animals never take the place of their adored human companions. For this reason, Shih Tzu do not do very well in large kennels, isolated from people. Shih Tzu puppies are best raised in small, intimate quarters and in the company of their best and favorite friends – us humans! Shih Tzu puppies at one week of age can respond to their breeder with warmth and affection. As newborns, they are very close to a newborn human baby.

The Shih Tzu’s long flowing double coat is a standard for their breed set by the American Kennel Club, and is extremely beautiful to look upon. Shih Tzu are one of the few breeds that have hair like humans instead of fur. Their coat makes for high-maintenance grooming and must be brushed daily.

The Shih Tzu is basically a robust and healthy breed with few serious medical problems.

A brisk walk around the block is usually sufficient enough exercise for a Shih Tzu or Shih Tzu puppy. They are delightful walking partners. They enjoy every step of the way, taking in all the scenery around them. Shih Tzu are enthusiastic and charming little pets. They love to wag their tails and greet everyone who crosses their path. Most Shih Tzu also travel well. I have had several Shih Tzu who love to stick their heads out the car windows and let the wind blow through their hair. Those we pass just ooh and ahh at this delightful antic of the Shih Tzu.

The Shih Tzu comes in an array of colors including gold and white, red and white, silver and white, brindles of red, brindles of gold, solid black, solid white, gold with black masks, mysterious shades of blue, and beautiful shades of “chocolate.”

For hundreds of years, Shih Tzu have been bred to serve humans merely as a delightful companion. In pre-Revolutionary China, it was a status symbol to own a dog that had no utilitarian function such as hunting or guarding. The Shih Tzu were highly prized in the Imperial Court where they lived lives of luxury. Their temperament continues to reflect this fact. Because of their long and intimate association with people, Shih Tzu seem almost human.

Shih Tzu are social animals. Shih Tzu love to be petted, groomed and played with. Their favorite spot is anywhere near their human companions. Shih Tzu can be self-sufficient. If you are busy, Shih Tzu are capable of amusing themselves for long periods of time. They will throw and catch their own toys.

Shih Tzu get along well with strangers, children, adults of all ages, and other dogs. Their small size makes them ideal for confined quarters. Shih Tzu do not shed seasonally and are non-allergenic because they have human-like hair rather than fur as most other breeds.

I suppose there are negatives to owning a Shih Tzu. As the writer of this article, however, I can’t think of any to share with you at the moment!

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Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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