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White Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu, a beloved small dog breed, is renowned for its charming and affectionate nature. With origins tracing back to ancient China, these dogs were prized companions of royalty and are easily recognized by their luxurious, flowing coats and distinctive facial features. Shih Tzus are known for their lively, friendly temperament, making them excellent companions for families, singles, and seniors alike. They typically get along well with children and other pets, thanks to their sociable and gentle disposition. Their compact yet sturdy frames, combined with their bright, expressive eyes, contribute to their enduring popularity as both show dogs and beloved pets.


The Shih Tzu, a breed with a rich and ancient heritage, traces its origins back to Tibet over a thousand years ago. These small, lion-like dogs were revered in Tibetan monasteries and were known as “foo dogs” due to their resemblance to Chinese guardian lions. The Shih Tzu is believed to be a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso, which contributed to its distinctive appearance and charming personality.

The breed gained prominence during the reign of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi in China, where they were highly prized and considered sacred. These dogs were often kept in the imperial palace and were meticulously bred to maintain their unique features. Despite their esteemed status, the Shih Tzu remained relatively unknown outside of China until the 1930s.

The name “Shih Tzu,” which means “Lion Dog” in Chinese, reflects their regal and dignified nature. The breed was brought to the Western world by soldiers returning from World War II, and it quickly gained popularity due to its friendly temperament and distinctive looks.

In 2023, the Shih Tzu named “Comet,” officially registered as GCHP CH Hallmark Jolei Out Of This World, won the prestigious Best in Show title at the 23rd AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin. This three-year-old Shih Tzu captivated judges with its impeccable appearance and outstanding performance, solidifying its place as the top dog in the competition.

Comet’s victory is celebrated widely, marking a significant achievement for the breed and its handlers. The win highlights the Shih Tzu’s distinctive charm, elegance, and the dedication of its trainers and breeders. Comet’s success has been shared across various platforms, earning accolades from dog enthusiasts and the general public alike.

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Shih Tzu Temperament

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed celebrated for its perky and happy temperament. These dogs are known for their lively and friendly nature, making them excellent companions for people of all ages. Shih Tzus are incredibly social and tend to get along well with other pets and children, adding to their appeal as a family pet.

Shih Tzus exhibit a curious and playful personality, often engaging enthusiastically in games and activities with their owners. They are also known for their affectionate disposition, enjoying close contact and cuddling with their human companions. Despite their small size, they have a sturdy build and a confident demeanor, often displaying a certain regal air that belies their friendly nature.

Their adaptability and gentle temperament make Shih Tzus suitable for various living environments, including apartments and houses. They thrive on human interaction and are happiest when they are part of a loving family.

Shih Tzu Price

The price of a Shih Tzu dog can vary significantly based on several factors, including the dog’s pedigree, breeder reputation, location, and whether the dog is intended for show or as a pet. On average, the cost of a Shih Tzu puppy in the United States ranges from $750 to $3,500.

Puppies from reputable breeders with champion bloodlines can be on the higher end of this range, reflecting the quality of breeding practices and the dog’s potential for showing. On the other hand, Shih Tzus from pet stores or less established breeders typically fall on the lower end of the price spectrum, but prospective owners should be cautious and ensure that the puppies are healthy and well-cared for.

In addition to the initial purchase price, owning a Shih Tzu entails ongoing expenses such as grooming, veterinary care, food, and supplies, which can further influence the overall cost of ownership.

Additional Cost

Owning a Shih Tzu entails several additional costs and ongoing expenses beyond the initial purchase price. Monthly expenses for a Shih Tzu can range from $100 to $300, depending on the quality of care provided [1].

Key Expenses:

  1. Grooming: Shih Tzus require regular grooming due to their long, luxurious coats. Professional grooming sessions typically cost between $50 to $100 each and are needed every 4 to 6 weeks. Alternatively, grooming supplies for home care, such as brushes, clippers, and shampoos, can also add to the expenses.
  2. Veterinary Care: Routine veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and dental care are essential to maintain a Shih Tzu’s health. Annual veterinary costs can range from $300 to $500, but unexpected medical issues can significantly increase this amount.
  3. Food and Nutrition: Quality dog food is crucial for a Shih Tzu’s well-being. Monthly food expenses typically range from $20 to $50, depending on the brand and dietary needs of the dog.
  4. Training and Socialization: Investing in training classes can help ensure a well-behaved pet. Group training classes cost around $50 to $125 for a 6 to 8-week course, while private sessions are more expensive.
  5. Pet Insurance: Many owners opt for pet insurance to cover unexpected health expenses. Premiums vary but generally cost between $20 to $60 per month.
  6. Miscellaneous Supplies: Other costs include toys, bedding, leashes, and other accessories, which can add up to $100 to $300 annually.

Overall, while the Shih Tzu is a delightful companion, potential owners should be prepared for these additional costs to ensure their pet’s health and happiness.

Shih Tzu Life Expectancy

The Shih Tzu, a small and affectionate dog breed, boasts a relatively long life expectancy compared to many other breeds. Typically, Shih Tzus live between 10 to 16 years, with some individuals even reaching up to 18 years with proper care.

Several factors contribute to the longevity of Shih Tzus. As a smaller breed, they inherently have a longer lifespan than larger breeds. Additionally, females tend to live about 1.5 years longer than males on average.

Proper care, including regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and consistent grooming, plays a crucial role in ensuring a long and healthy life for a Shih Tzu. Despite their robust life expectancy, Shih Tzus are prone to certain health issues such as dental problems, respiratory difficulties, and eye conditions, which require attentive care to manage effectively.

Overall, the Shih Tzu’s combination of affectionate temperament and extended lifespan makes them a beloved companion for many families.

Common Health Issues

The Shih Tzu, known for its charming personality and distinct appearance, is generally a healthy breed but can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health problems affecting Shih Tzus include:

  1. Breathing Problems: Due to their brachycephalic (short-nosed) structure, Shih Tzus often experience breathing difficulties, including brachycephalic airway syndrome, which can cause snoring, snorting, and potentially severe respiratory distress.
  2. Eye Issues: Shih Tzus are susceptible to various eye conditions, such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). These conditions can lead to vision impairment or blindness if not properly managed.
  3. Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition affects the hip joint, leading to arthritis and pain. While more common in larger breeds, Shih Tzus can also suffer from hip dysplasia.
  4. Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, causing pain and lameness. It can range from mild to severe, with surgical intervention required in more serious cases.
  5. Dental Problems: Shih Tzus are prone to periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss and infections. Regular dental care is essential to maintain their oral health.
  6. Ear Infections: Due to their floppy ears and hair growth in the ear canal, Shih Tzus are at higher risk for ear infections. Regular ear cleaning can help prevent these issues.

Proper care, regular veterinary check-ups, and a healthy lifestyle can help manage these health issues and ensure that Shih Tzus live a happy, healthy life.

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Shih Tzu Size

The Shih Tzu, a member of the toy group, is a small but sturdy dog breed with a well-proportioned build. Typically, Shih Tzus stand between eight to eleven inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between nine to sixteen pounds (four to seven kilograms).

Despite their compact size, Shih Tzus are robust dogs with a strong, well-balanced frame. Their small stature makes them suitable for various living environments, including apartments and smaller homes. The breed’s size, combined with its friendly and adaptable nature, makes the Shih Tzu an ideal companion for many families.

Proper nutrition and regular exercise are essential to maintaining the healthy weight and overall well-being of a Shih Tzu. Monitoring their weight is important to prevent obesity, which can lead to health issues, including joint problems and decreased quality of life.

Shih Tzu Puppy Weight Chart

Here’s a table comparing the average weight for male and female Shih Tzu puppies from 1 to 12 months:

Age (Months)Male Weight (kg)Female Weight (kg)
10.9 – 1.10.8 – 1.0
21.3 – 1.61.2 – 1.4
31.8 – 2.21.7 – 2.0
42.3 – 2.72.1 – 2.5
52.7 – 3.22.5 – 3.0
63.1 – 3.62.8 – 3.4
73.4 – 3.93.1 – 3.7
83.6 – 4.23.3 – 3.9
93.8 – 4.43.5 – 4.1
104.0 – 4.63.6 – 4.3
114.1 – 4.73.8 – 4.4
124.2 – 4.83.9 – 4.6

These weight ranges provide a general guideline and individual puppies may vary. It’s important to monitor your Shih Tzu’s growth and consult with a veterinarian to ensure they maintain a healthy weight.

Shih Tzu Colors

The Shih Tzu dog breed is known for its striking array of coat colors and patterns, making each dog unique. The breed standard allows for a wide variety of colors, with no color considered more desirable than another in official competitions. Some of the most common and eye-catching colors include:

  1. Black and White: This classic combination is one of the most recognizable and popular Shih Tzu color patterns.
  2. Gold: A rich, golden hue that can range from light to dark, sometimes appearing almost reddish.
  3. Brindle: This pattern consists of a base color with streaks of another color running through it, creating a tiger-striped appearance.
  4. Blue: This rare and desirable color is a diluted black that appears as a blueish-gray.
  5. Lavender: Another rare color, lavender Shih Tzus have a distinctive pale purplish-gray coat.
  6. Chocolate: This color can range from dark to light brown and is sometimes referred to as liver.
  7. Red: A vibrant, warm color that can vary in intensity.

In addition to these primary colors, Shih Tzus can have various markings and patterns, including masks, saddle patterns, and tuxedo markings. The diversity in coat colors and patterns adds to the charm and appeal of the Shih Tzu breed, ensuring that there is a Shih Tzu to suit every aesthetic preference.

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Shih Tzu Image

Below is an image of Comet the Shih Tzu, winner of the 2023 Westminster Dog Show! If you are interested in a Shih Tzu puppy from a reputable breeder then download our DogHouse puppy finder app!

Comet the Shih Tzu AKC national champion westminster best in show dog

Shih Tzu Grooming Needs

The Shih Tzu, known for its long, luxurious coat, requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. Grooming a Shih Tzu involves several essential practices:

  1. Brushing: Regular brushing is crucial to prevent matting and tangling. A full brush-out should be done at least once every 2 to 3 days, especially if the coat is kept long. This helps to remove loose hair and dirt, and to distribute natural oils.
  2. Bathing: Shih Tzus should be bathed every 3 to 4 weeks to keep their coat clean and healthy. Use a dog-specific shampoo to avoid skin irritation. After bathing, thoroughly dry the coat to prevent moisture-related skin issues.
  3. Haircuts: Regular haircuts are essential for Shih Tzus. Most owners opt for grooming every 4 to 6 weeks to keep the coat manageable and stylish. Popular styles include the “puppy cut,” which is short and easy to maintain.
  4. Ear Cleaning: Due to their floppy ears, Shih Tzus are prone to ear infections. Regular cleaning with a vet-recommended ear cleaner helps prevent wax buildup and infections.
  5. Nail Trimming: Regular nail trims are necessary to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Aim to trim the nails every 3 to 4 weeks, or as needed.
  6. Dental Care: Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues, so daily brushing of their teeth and regular vet dental check-ups are important to maintain oral health.

Proper grooming not only keeps a Shih Tzu looking its best but also ensures its overall health and well-being.


In conclusion, the Shih Tzu is a delightful and charming breed that has captured the hearts of dog lovers around the world. With its rich history as a royal companion in ancient China, the Shih Tzu combines a regal appearance with a friendly and affectionate temperament. Known for their distinctive long coats and sociable nature, Shih Tzus make excellent pets for families, singles, and seniors alike. Their manageable size and adaptability to various living environments further enhance their appeal. While they do require regular grooming and are prone to certain health issues, the joy and companionship they offer make them a cherished addition to any household. Whether as a loyal friend or a show-stopping beauty, the Shih Tzu continues to be a beloved breed for many.

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