Home » Is The Shih Tzu Your Dream Dog? – What’s Good and Bad About This Breed

Is The Shih Tzu Your Dream Dog? – What’s Good and Bad About This Breed

by Scott Allen
Follow, Share & Care: Help Dog Rescues!

Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Scott Allen

Shih Tzu Pros and Cons, Choosing a Shih Tzu, Shih Tzu Breed Traits, Shih Tzu Characteristics, Shih Tzu as a Pet, Pros and Cons of Shih Tzus, Shih Tzu Dog Ownership, Shih Tzu's Suitability

When it comes to choosing a dog, there are many breeds to consider. One popular breed is the Shih Tzu. This small, adorable dog is known for its long, flowing coat, cute facial features, and loving personality. However, before deciding if a Shih Tzu is the right dog for you, it’s important to understand the breed’s good and bad points.

On the positive side, Shih Tzus are affectionate and loyal dogs that make great companions. They are adaptable to various living situations, including small apartments, and are typically good with children. Additionally, Shih Tzus are known for their charming personalities and love to be the center of attention.

However, owning a Shih Tzu also comes with some challenges. Their long coats require regular grooming, and they can be prone to certain health issues. Additionally, their small size can make them more delicate, which may not be suitable for families with very young children or active households.

Key Takeaways

  • Shih Tzus are affectionate and loyal companions.
  • They are adaptable to different living situations, including small apartments.
  • Regular grooming is required for their long coats.
  • Shih Tzus can be prone to certain health issues.
  • Their small size may not be suitable for households with very young children or high energy levels.

The Shih Tzu’s Characteristics and Temperament

The Shih Tzu is a small breed of dog that commonly weighs between 9 and 16 pounds. They have a distinctive appearance with long, silky hair that requires extensive grooming. Their coat can come in a variety of colors and patterns, including white, black, brown, and gold.

One of the most appealing characteristics of the Shih Tzu is their friendly and affectionate nature. They are typically very loyal and enjoy spending time with their owners and other family members. They are also known for being good with children, making them a popular choice for families.

Despite their small size, Shih Tzus are known to have a stubborn streak, which can make training a challenge. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to successfully training a Shih Tzu. They are also known to be vocal dogs, so it’s important to work on their barking habit.

Shih Tzus have a moderate energy level and enjoy daily walks and playtime. Unlike some other breeds, they are well-suited to apartment living and do not need a large yard to roam in. However, it’s important to keep them active and mentally stimulated to prevent them from becoming bored.

Overall, the Shih Tzu is a charming and lovable breed that makes a great companion for the right owner. Their affectionate nature and adaptable temperament make them a popular dog, but their grooming needs and potential training challenges should also be considered before committing to this breed.

Shih Tzu Care and Grooming Requirements

As with any other breed, proper care and grooming for Shih Tzus are essential to ensure their health and well-being. Here are some tips to keep your furry friend happy and healthy:

Dietary Considerations

Shih Tzus are prone to obesity, so it is essential to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific needs. A high-quality dry dog food that is rich in protein, fiber, and nutrients is recommended, along with portion control and regular feeding times. Avoid feeding your Shih Tzu table scraps or human food, which can be detrimental to their health.

Exercise and Playtime

While Shih Tzus are not as active as other breeds, they still require daily exercise and playtime to maintain their physical and mental health. Short walks throughout the day, along with indoor playtime and training sessions, can provide the necessary exercise for a Shih Tzu.

Grooming Routine

A significant aspect of Shih Tzu care is their grooming routine. Their long and silky coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling, ideally on a daily basis, with a slicker brush and a metal comb. They also require regular bathing, usually every three to four weeks, using a mild dog shampoo, followed by thorough drying to prevent skin irritation. Additionally, trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, and brushing their teeth are all essential parts of their grooming routine.

Professional Grooming

While you can groom your Shih Tzu at home, it is also recommended to take them to a professional groomer every few months for a trim and a thorough grooming session. Professional groomers can also address any specific grooming needs your Shih Tzu may have, such as ear cleaning or anal gland expression.

Health Checks

Regular visits to a veterinarian are also essential for your Shih Tzu’s health. They should receive annual check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative care, along with any necessary treatment for any health issues that may arise. Shih Tzus are prone to certain genetic health issues, such as ear infections and dental problems, so regular veterinary check-ups are crucial.

Caring for a Shih Tzu requires time and effort, but the rewards are plenty. With proper care and grooming, your furry friend can live a happy and healthy life by your side.

Potential Health Issues in Shih Tzus

Like any other breed, Shih Tzus are susceptible to certain health issues. As a responsible owner, it is important to be aware of these potential health problems, take preventative measures, and seek veterinary care when necessary.

Some common health issues that Shih Tzus may face include:

Health Issue Description
Brachycephalic Syndrome Due to their short snouts, Shih Tzus may struggle with breathing problems and heat intolerance.
Patellar Luxation This condition occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated. Shih Tzus may be prone to this because of their small size.
Intervertebral Disc Disease Shih Tzus are susceptible to this spinal cord disease. Symptoms may include pain, weakness, or paralysis in the limbs or back.
Eye Problems Shih Tzus may develop eye issues such as cataracts, corneal ulcers, or progressive retinal atrophy.
Dental Problems Due to their tiny mouths and crowded teeth, Shih Tzus may be prone to dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Preventative measures for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s health include:

  • Scheduling regular check-ups with a veterinarian
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and weight
  • Providing regular exercise and playtime
  • Keeping up with grooming, including dental care

It is essential to stay vigilant and seek prompt veterinary care if you notice any symptoms of illness or discomfort in your Shih Tzu. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in your dog’s health and well-being.

Suitability of the Shih Tzu for Different Lifestyles

When considering adding a Shih Tzu to your household, it’s important to assess whether this breed is suitable for your lifestyle. Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and loyal personalities, but they have specific needs that may not be compatible with everyone’s lifestyle.

Family Life

Shih Tzus can make wonderful family pets. They are generally friendly with children and enjoy human company. However, it’s important to note that Shih Tzus are small dogs and can be easily injured by rough handling or accidental falls. Therefore, supervision is necessary when children and Shih Tzus are interacting.

Single Living

Shih Tzus can thrive in single-person households. They are independent dogs that don’t require constant attention, but they still enjoy spending quality time with their owners. They make great companions for people living in apartments or smaller spaces as they don’t require a lot of exercise.


Shih Tzus can be ideal pets for seniors. They are small and lightweight, so they are easy to handle and carry. Additionally, they are not overly active, so they won’t demand more exercise than seniors can handle. Shih Tzus are also generally social animals and can provide much-needed companionship.

Comparison to Other Breeds

Breed Suitability for Families with Children Suitability for Single Living Suitability for Seniors
Shih Tzu Good Great Great
Border Collie Great Good Fair
Golden Retriever Great Great Good
Chihuahua Fair Great Great

As shown in the table above, Shih Tzus can be a great fit for a variety of lifestyles. When considering different breeds, it’s important to take into account the specific needs and personality traits of each one to ensure a good match with your lifestyle.

Training and Socialization for Shih Tzus

Training and socialization are crucial for your Shih Tzu’s development and success as a family pet. This breed is intelligent but can be stubborn, so a consistent and positive approach to training is essential.

Early socialization is also essential for Shih Tzus. Expose your puppy to different environments, people, and other pets to help them develop confidence and well-rounded social skills. Consistent and positive reinforcement training will help your puppy learn good manners and ensure they grow into a well-behaved adult dog.

“A well-trained Shih Tzu can be a joy to own, while an untrained one can be a handful and cause frustration.”

Keep training sessions short and always end on a positive note. Use treats, toys, and positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior and never use physical punishment or harsh training methods.

Shih Tzus love attention and interaction with their owners, so training can also be an opportunity for bonding and strengthening the relationship between you and your furry friend.

Tips for Effective Training

Here are some tips for effective training specifically for Shih Tzus:

  • Start training early
  • Be consistent and patient
  • Use positive reinforcement
  • Keep training sessions short to maintain attention span
  • Use simple words and commands
  • Practice basic obedience training regularly
  • Teach your Shih Tzu to walk on a leash
  • Use interactive toys and games for mental stimulation
Training Techniques to Avoid Training Techniques to Use Instead
Physical punishment Positive reinforcement training
Harsh or loud commands Gentle and consistent commands
Ignoring bad behavior Redirecting bad behavior into good behavior

By using effective training and socialization methods, you can set your Shih Tzu up for a happy and well-adjusted life as a beloved family member.

Shih Tzus as Family Pets

Shih Tzus are popular family pets, cherished for their affectionate and loyal nature. They love to be around people and are generally gentle with children, making them a great addition to any family. However, as with any breed, it’s important to consider their personality and temperament when introducing them to young children.

Interaction with Children

Shih Tzus have a playful and adaptable nature, making them great playmates for children. They enjoy being around kids and are patient enough to tolerate the occasional rough play. However, it’s important to supervise any interactions between small children and dogs, especially if the dog is not used to being around kids.

If you have young children, it’s essential to teach them how to treat dogs with respect and kindness. They should be taught to approach dogs calmly and gently, avoiding pulling their tails or ears. Additionally, parents should never leave small children unsupervised with any dog.

Compatibility with Other Pets

Shih Tzus are generally friendly with other dogs and pets, but their level of acceptance can vary from individual to individual. Socialization from a young age can help ensure that your Shih Tzu is well-adjusted to living with other pets.

If you already have a pet at home, it’s important to introduce them to your new Shih Tzu slowly and under supervision. It’s also essential to give both pets their own separate space and belongings to avoid territorial disputes.

Benefits and Considerations

Having a Shih Tzu as a family pet can bring joy and companionship to your household. They are affectionate and loving, always eager to be near their owners. Moreover, they are well-suited to apartment living and don’t require excessive exercise or outdoor space.

However, it’s important to consider the potential challenges of owning a Shih Tzu as well. They can be prone to separation anxiety and may bark excessively if left alone for long periods. Additionally, their long coat requires regular grooming, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Overall, a Shih Tzu can make a wonderful family pet if their needs and personality are a good match for your family’s lifestyle. With proper training, socialization, and care, they can be a loyal and loving addition to any household.

Finding and Choosing a Shih Tzu Puppy or Adult Dog

Adding a Shih Tzu to your family can be a wonderful experience, but it’s important to choose the right puppy or adult dog to ensure a happy and healthy pet. Whether you’re looking for a puppy or an adult dog, there are several factors to consider when making your decision.

Where to Find a Shih Tzu

When looking for a Shih Tzu, you may consider getting one from a breeder, rescue organization, or animal shelter. It’s important to find a reputable source to ensure that you get a healthy and well-cared-for dog.

If you choose to get a puppy from a breeder, make sure that the breeder is reputable and follows responsible breeding practices. Avoid buying from pet stores or puppy mills, as these puppies are often bred in poor conditions without proper care and socialization.

If you’re considering adopting an adult dog, you may find one at a Shih Tzu rescue organization or animal shelter. These dogs may have had difficult pasts, but with love and patience, they can make wonderful pets.

Choosing the Right Puppy or Adult Dog

When choosing a Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Temperament: Look for a puppy or dog who is friendly, curious, and playful. Avoid dogs that seem overly shy, fearful, or aggressive.
  • Health: Make sure that the puppy or dog is healthy and free from any health problems. Check for signs of illness or injury, such as coughing, sneezing, or limping.
  • Appearance: Consider whether the puppy or dog meets the breed standards for appearance, including size, coat, color, and other physical traits.
  • Compatibility: Consider how the puppy or dog will fit into your lifestyle and family. Understand their energy levels and requirements for exercise, training, and socialization.

Preparing for Your New Shih Tzu

Before bringing your new Shih Tzu home, make sure that you have all the necessary supplies, including food, water, a bed, toys, and grooming tools. Make sure that your home is safe and secure for your new pet, and consider crate training and puppy-proofing important areas.

Most importantly, be prepared to give your new Shih Tzu lots of love, attention, and patience as they adjust to their new home. With the right care and attention, your new puppy or adult dog will thrive and bring joy to your life for years to come.


In conclusion, the Shih Tzu breed has many appealing qualities that make it a potential dream dog for certain individuals. Their unique characteristics, including their small size, affectionate personality, and beautiful coat, make them a popular choice for those seeking a loyal and loving companion.

However, it’s important to consider the potential challenges that come with owning a Shih Tzu, such as their grooming requirements, potential health issues, and training needs. These factors can vary from dog to dog and require careful consideration before making a commitment to this breed.

Ultimately, the decision to make a Shih Tzu a part of your family should be based on your lifestyle, preferences, and ability to provide the care and attention they need. By doing your research and finding a reputable source for your puppy or adult dog, you can ensure a happy and healthy addition to your household.

With the right care, training, and socialization, a Shih Tzu can be a wonderful family pet and a loyal companion for years to come.

Thank you for considering the Shih Tzu breed as you search for your dream dog!


Is the Shih Tzu a good breed for families with children?

Yes, Shih Tzus are generally friendly and playful, making them suitable for families with children. However, it’s important to supervise interactions and teach children how to handle dogs gently.

How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need?

Shih Tzus are a small breed with low exercise needs. They enjoy short walks and playtime indoors. About 20-30 minutes of exercise per day is usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy.

How often should I groom my Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus have a long, dense coat that requires regular grooming. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent tangles and keep their coat in good condition. They may also need professional grooming every 4-6 weeks.

What are common health issues in Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus are prone to various health issues, including respiratory problems, eye conditions, allergies, and dental issues. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent and manage these conditions.

Are Shih Tzus suitable for apartments or small living spaces?

Yes, Shih Tzus are well-suited for apartments or small living spaces. They are a small breed and do not require a large yard for exercise. As long as they have daily walks and mental stimulation, they can adapt well to apartment living.

Are Shih Tzus easy to train?

Shih Tzus are intelligent but can be stubborn at times, which can make training a bit challenging. However, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, they can learn and respond well to training.

Are Shih Tzus good with other pets?

Shih Tzus can get along well with other pets if properly introduced and socialized from a young age. They may need some time to adjust and establish a hierarchy, but with positive interactions, they can coexist peacefully with other animals.

Where can I find a Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog?

You can find Shih Tzu puppies or adult dogs from reputable breeders, rescue organizations, or adoption centers. It’s essential to do thorough research, visit the breeder or organization, and ensure they have a good reputation and prioritize the health and welfare of their dogs.

Related Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

Privacy & Cookies Policy