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Lurians Shih Tzu
Photo Courtesy: Lurians Kennel

Breed Registries:

Note: The breed registries indicated above are the most recognized all-breed registries. The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.

* — The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.




Approximately 9 to 10 ½ inches (23-27 cm) at the withers.


The ideal weight of the mature Shih Tzu is approximately 9 to 16 lbs. Breed type and balance are always the main consideration.

Shih Tzu

Brief History of the Shih Tzu Breed:

It is believed that the Shih Tzu's ancestry goes back to the temple dogs of Tibet which had been bred in that country for over 2,000 years. The rulers of Tibet and China presented these dogs as gifts to Chinese royalty. Once in China, Lhasa-like dogs were crossed with Pekingese to produce the Shih Tzu, meaning "lion dog" in Chinese. The breed was imported into Great Britain in the late 1920's or early 1930's and brought into the United States in the late 1950's.

Further Reading:

A Brief History of the Shih Tzu from the American Shih Tzu Club.
Breed History from the Shih Tzu Club UK.

Photo courtesy of Anjuli Shih Tzu

Breed Profile:

The Shih Tzu has always been bred as a companion dog. His personality is outgoing, friendly, affectionate, intelligent, and docile. He is always alert and carries himself with an air of arrogance and self-importance with a warm, sweet, wide-eyed, friendly and trusting expression. The Shih Tzu thrives on human companionship, both adult and child, and needs a good deal of attention. In return, he is completely devoted to his family.

He has a dense, long and luxurious double coat with a soft undercoat that requires daily brushing.

A Special Note About "Imperial" or "Tiny Teacup" Shih Tzu:
The "Imperial" or "Tiny Teacup" are names that have been used to describe an undersized Shih Tzu. These are not exotic or rare varieties of the Shih Tzu. While all breeders may occasionally have an unusually small Shih Tzu, a reputable and responsible breeder does not breed specifically for this trait. For additional information on this subject, please see: The Facts About "imperial" or "teacup" Shih Tzu from the American Shih Tzu Club.

Health Issues

The Shih Tzu is generally a healthy and long-lived breed. However, like all breeds, some health problems have been seen within the breed, including:

If you are considering the adoption of a Shih Tzu puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Additional Health Resources:

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Breed Standards

Anjuli Shih Tzu

Photo courtesy of Anjuli Shih Tzu

Grooming Information

  • Grooming the Companion Dog — From the American Shih Tzu Club. Includes casual and show top knot instructions as well as grooming techniques for the companion dog.
  • Care & Grooming of Shih Tzu — From the Shih Tzu Club U.K. — Includes information on both Clipped and Show Grooming.
  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from Dogwise.com

Additional Information

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More