Top 10 Friendly Shih Tzu Facts

One of the friendliest dog breeds in the world was originally bred in Asia.

In this post, you’ll discover the top 10 list of interesting Shih Tzu Facts!

1. They were bred in Tibet

The Shih Tzu is a dog breed that was originally developed in Tibet and is believed to be a crossing of the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso dog breeds.

The first time these dogs were imported to Europe happened in the 1930s when they were initially referred to as “Apsos” by the Kennel Club. They were listed and given a standard for the first time by the Shih Tzu Club of England in the year 1935.

Even though the dog breed spread quickly all across Europe, they were only brought to the United States after World War II.

2. The Shih Tzu was the favorite of royalty

One of the most remarkable Shih Tzu facts was that these dogs were given as a gift to the Chinese rulers by the Dalai Lama in the 17th century.

They quickly became immensely popular at the Chinese court, something emphasized by the fact that they never gave them away or sold them. The Chinese Emperor really fancied this adorable little dog, that’s for sure!

Shih Tzu fun facts
The friendly dog / Pixabay

3. Their name refers to the Chinese world of a big cat

The name of the dog is a reference to the Chinese word for “Lion“, the big cats after which they were named. They were bred in an attempt to resemble the lion as well.

In modern-day China, they aren’t referred to as such anymore but rather as a “Xi Shi dog.” According to a popular legend in China, Xi Shi was one of the most beautiful women in Ancient China and one of the famous “Four Beauties.”

The dog is also sometimes referred to as the “Tibetan Lion Dog,” but the fact that it mentions Tibet is still a topic of discussion among historians who aren’t sure whether or not the Shih Tzu originates from China or Tibet.

4. They were developed as toy dogs

So how big is the Shih Tzu?

Because these dogs were developed as so-called “toy dogs,” these are relatively small dogs. Both the male and female are about the same size and stand 20 to 28 centimeters (7.9 to 11.0 inches) tall.

Their weight can be anywhere between 4 and 7.5 kilograms (8.8 and 16.5 lbs).

Shi Tzu Running

5. These dogs require a lot of maintenance

While the original coat of these dogs normally reaches the floor, their hair can easily be trimmed to be much shorter. If it’s not trimmed, however, it still requires a lot of maintenance!

Their coat requires daily brushing in order for it not to tangle. Their hair also grows extremely fast which makes the process of daily grooming even more important.

Perhaps the so-called “puppy cup” or “teddy bear cup” is the best option for your Shih Tzu!

6. Training a Shih Tzu isn’t the easiest thing to do

One of the most important Shih Tzu facts is that ensure to train these dogs from a very young age. This breed tends to be extremely stubborn, and even then it can remain a problem.

This doesn’t mean, however, that these aren’t friendly dogs! They are some of the most social and outgoing dogs in the world and form the perfect companion.

It’s just that, well, they won’t listen to your commands if the particular dog hasn’t been made used to it from the moment they were puppies.

Shi Tzu facts

7. They can be the perfect guard dog

Another interesting character feature of these dogs is that they are extremely alert and curious. Because of this special trait, they can also be considered the perfect guard dog, even if they aren’t trained to become one.

It’s just in their nature to reach out to complete strangers. What makes it even more fascinating is that this definitely wasn’t the reason they were bred as well.

This is especially intriguing since the breed they were developed from, the “Lhasa Apso,” is quite the opposite and pretty wary of people and other dogs they don’t know.

8. They can come in a wide variety of colors

These dogs can come in a wide range of colors and color combinations. These include:

  • Multiple shades of gold
  • white
  • brown
  • black.

The combination of colors include:

  • Black mask gold
  • Black and white
  • Solid black
  • Solid liver
  • Liver and white
  • Brindle, white, red and white
  • Grey and white.

This also means that the offspring of the Shih Tzu can be any combination of these colors as well!

Shi Tzu lying in the grass

9. The oldest Shih Tzu ever lived in Florida

So how long does the Shih Tzu live?

While these are very friendly and happy dogs, they do suffer from various hereditary health issues. These include hypothyroidism, intervertebral disk disease, respiratory problems caused by their short noses, and various eye problems.

Regardless, the average age of this dog breed is pretty normal and varies between 10 and 16 years with the UK Kennel Club setting the median lifespan of a Shih Tzu at 13 years and 2 months.

Obviously, there are exceptions and one lucky dog named Smokey in Florida managed to live 23 years!

10. The Shih Tzu has been featured in multiple movies

Because of the amazing friendly temperament and appearance of these dogs, they have been featured in multiple movies. One of these was the mockumentary comedy called “Best in Show” (2000) which featured a Shih Tzu named Miss Agnes.

Another main role for this breed of dog was in the dark comedy crime film “Seven Psychopaths” (2012), which featured a Shih Tzu named Bonny.

Perhaps the most amazing portrayal of a Shih Tzu as in an animated movie named “The Secret Life of Pets 2” (2019) in which a Shih Tzu named Daisy plays one of the main characters narrated by American actress Tiffany Haddish.

Daisy in "Secret Life of Pets 2"
Daisy in “Secret Life of Pets 2” / IMDB