Shih Tzu - the Lion Dog!

Shih Tzu

At a Glance


Couch Potato

The Life of the Party / The Babysitter

Beauty Queen

Famous Owners

Entertainer Frank Sinatra (dog’s name unknown)

Teen Pop Group Hanson (dog’s name – Wicket)

Singer Mariah Carey (dogs’ names – Bing and Bong)

Breed History

The Shih Tzu is a product of royal breeding in the Chinese Court. He is probably a descendent of a Lhasa Apso who was given to the emperor by the Dalai Lama. The Lhasa Apso was bred with a court Pekingese. The results of the pairing were dubbed Shih Tzu, or “Lion Dog,” because of their long flowing manes. Members of the court continued to breed them for the emperor and competed with one another to win the emperor’s favor.

Shih Tzus Today

The Shih Tzu is a small, but sturdy dog. He stands between 10 and 11 inches tall and weighs 10 to 16 pounds. His coat is long and flowing and generally grows in an upward direction from his nose, which is why you’ll often see him with his fur tied on top of his head. The growth of his fur in all directions from his face has earned him the nickname “chrysanthemum-faced dog.” His coat can be of any color and requires extensive grooming. His tail curls jauntily over his back and waves like a flag when he’s happy.

Personality and the Perfect Owner

“Lion Dog” is an appropriate name for more reasons than just his flowing mane! The Shih Tzu is another big dog in a little package. Owners often refer to him as having a Napoleon complex since he will often bark ferociously at dogs large enough to swallow him in one bite. He’s a fierce protector of his loved ones and won’t back down from a fight. In spite of his ferocious attitude toward outsiders, he’s a sweet and loving pet who is gentle with children and other family pets. He’s playful and you’ll often find him rolling around on the floor with your children or engaging in a game of tag with your cat. And, at the end of the day, be prepared to get plenty of goodnight licks and save some room in the bed for his favorite toy—he’ll undoubtedly carry it to bed with him!

Common Health Problems

Before adding a Shih Tzu to your home, ask your breeder about the dog’s health history. Common Shih Tzu ailments are:

· Slipped stifle· Eye lacerations· Respiratory difficulties· Heatstroke· Eyelid abnormalities· Gum and tooth problems· Ear infections