The Shih Tzu Breed Facts, Myths, and Misconceptions

panning shot of a running shih tzu
Photo by Helena Lopes on

What is a Shih Tzu

For the purposes of this article, the Shih Tzu is defined as a long, muscular, short-haired dog that has a happy-go-lucky nature, loves to be around people, enjoys being held, and seems to know when it’s time to stop playing and just sit down. Most Shih Tzus, including cocker spaniels and toy poodles, have a big-eyed and expressive face, as well as long, pendulous ears, which lend them to their name. Shih Tzu, the name of the breed, was originally a shortening of the Chinese words tay-ching (or chia-ching) which means close to humans or close friends.

The Shih Tzu Breed

There are actually four different varieties of the Shih Tzu, and all of them originated in China. The original Shih Tzu was the Fur Shih Tzu (aka simply the Shih Tzu), which was first bred by the Chinese in the 1700s, according to the Encyclopedia of Dogs. These dogs were used to dig for buried treasure, and they came with deep well-defined eyes and distinct coats. It’s the Fur Shih Tzu, or Shih Tzu, that we think of as the classic version of the breed, often seen in photos of the dog on bookshelves or in vintage pictures. Other Shih Tzu breeds, such as the Pekingese and the Japanese Chin, have a long, curly coat, and their coats are often more of a pelt, while the Papillon breed, and others, have shorter coats and longer hair.

Interesting Facts about the Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is one of the smallest dogs to be in the canine world, especially considering the long coiled coat of the Shih Tzu. A Shih Tzu should not be taller than 25 inches and weigh between 8 and 16 pounds. The Shih Tzu is extremely loyal and is one of the most commonly accepted breeds of dog. The Shih Tzu isn’t aggressive or anything like that, but they’re not the kind of dogs you would want to take to a dog park. A Shih Tzu that is dirty needs to be taken to the groomer, whereas the breed has a way of maintaining its hair. The best way to clean the Shih Tzu is by letting it air dry on a cold towel, then brushing the fur (this will also help keep the coat nice and soft). You should get a Shih Tzu from a reputable breeder or a dog show.

Myths and Misconceptions about the Shih Tzu

At one point in the past, the Shih Tzu was the ideal dog to bring home to someone who wanted a pampered pet that’d look dapper and that a husband or boyfriend could look at with approval in the morning. The funny-looking dog was considered the ultimate in ladies’ man cuteness. But this same personality type can also make a pet owner wonder if the Shih Tzu will be a good family dog. Bonding with dogs can be hard for many people. For example, Shih Tzu’s sometimes make them feel like they have to be constantly near a family member or spend tons of time with them. Not to mention, their attention span is often very short when it comes to them being around people and playing with toys.


Despite being called vicious, the Shih Tzu is a very special breed. It’s also a very special breed that can do lots of things for your family. At its core, the Shih Tzu is an easy dog that adapts easily to family life, can give unconditional love, and can have fun with them. On top of that, they can be family-friendly and generally easy to train, but are also small enough to sleep in bed with you, and don’t have huge hearts like some of the bigger dog breeds. Do you want to know more about the most adorable and mischievous breed out there If you’re interested in getting one, the first thing to keep in mind is that you should definitely make sure that your pet home is completely ready for a dog of this breed?