Shih Tzu – 10 Vital Dog Breed Information On The Cute Companions

Shih Tzu Puppies
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Shih Tzu Puppies are called as the Chrysanthemum dogs (in England). It is believed to have its origins in Tibet and then it was developed in China. In modern Chinese language, the Shih Tzu means “Xi Shi dog”. Xi Shi was one of the most beautiful women of ancient China.

Indeed, the name comes from the Chinese language word for “lion” as they have developed it to look like a lion as it was portrayed in traditional oriental art.

This dog breed is called the Tibetan Lion Dog. However, whether the breed should be referred to as “Tibetan” or “Chinese” is to be established from both the historical and political angles.

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Shih Tzu Infographic And Video



Shih Tzu Infographic



Shih Tzu Types

American Shih Tzu




During 1969, the American Kennel Club took cognizance of this breed. Moreover, Shih Tzu is a purebred dog.

In fact, the Official Shih Tzu Guide describes the appearance of an American Shih Tzu dog as a dog that has: square shaped head, high, forward-facing legs and frontal shoulders, short neck, small chest, small wide-set eyes and square shaped head.

European Shih Tzu




The European Shih Tzu is a purebred breed and hence United Kingdom Kennel Club gave recognition to this dog in 1946. The physical appearance of a European Shih Tzu Puppies is a round head, broad chest, large eyes, long neck and also wider stance with front legs bent back a bit.

Imperial Shih Tzu




This dog is not recognized by any national kennel and it is also not of a purebred nature. Mostly, sellers consider and pass it off as a purebred puppy.

The term “Imperial” Shih Tzu was created by sellers as just a supplementary word for the otherwise smaller version of the breed.

However, a buyer can tell others that the Imperial Shih Tzu is a pure breed after measuring its height and weight.

Teacup Shih Tzu




This is a minuscule sized dog of the Shih Tzu breed. Breeders and sellers use the word teacup to signify the customers that this dog breed has a small body structure. There are no significant differences between the Imperial and Teacup dogs.

Shih Tzu Colors

Normally, a Shih Tzu puppies have a heavy build with large dark eyes and a short muzzle. They can be having a soft and long double skin or coat.  Its coat could be in various colors but mostly white and grey blazed dogs are only noticeable.

In addition, the coat of Shih Tzu puppies can be in various colours like shades of gold, white, brown, and black. It might even be in solid black, black mask gold, black and white, white, red and white, grey and white and brindle red.

Besides, the Shih Tzu puppies appear to be a fraction longer than to say a taller look. According to the breed standard, Shish Tzu must have the underbite.

Since this dog has a long coat and fast growing hair, you have to groom it periodically to refrain from shedding of hair and snarls.  This is, of course, a costly exercise. Although its coat is clipped short, the coat needs to be brushed daily.

Shih Tzu Life Expectancy

The life span of a Shih Tzu dog has stated to range anywhere from 10 to 18 years. On an average, Shih Tzu dogs live for 12.8 years. Generally, it is noted that female Shih Tzu dogs live around 1.5 years more than its male counterparts.

To be more precise, a female dog lives 1.4 years more than males. However, toy and small breed dogs are viewed to have a longer life than the medium and large breeds. The Shih Tzu poodle can live for 15 years or more.

Shih Tzu Size

In terms of the size of a Shih Tzu dog, its average height and weight:

On an average, the height of a male Shih Tzu dog is 23-28 cm (9.1-11 inches) whilst the female dog stands 20-25 cm (7.9-9.8 inches).

On the other hand, the weight of a male Shih Tzu dog is 4.99–8.618 kilograms (11.00–19.00 lb) whereas the female dog weighs 4.53–8.16 kilograms (10.0–18.0 lb)

Shih Tzu Temperament

  • Not ignoring the fact that the behavior of each dog varies from one another, Shih Tzu dog breed is known to be loyal, outgoing, affectionate and cautious.
  • It is mandatory for the owners to give the needful training and socializing for this dog right from a younger age itself so that it will obey their commands.
  • Moreover, the Shih Tzu puppies normally maintain that rigid attitude when called for training. It is a good watchdog because of its naturally alert character.
  • Overall, these dogs are usually seen to maintain friendly relations with its companions, owner and his/her family members, children, adults and even strangers.



Interesting Facts About Shih Tzu Puppies

Historical records state that Shih Tzu dog breed is over 1000 years old.

The translation of the name Shih Tzu in Mandarin means little lion.

The origin of Shih Tzu is Tibet but they are also called as Chrysanthemum-faced dogs.

When the Shih Tzu dogs were almost nearing extinction in the first half of 20th century, 14 dogs (7 males and 7 females) of this breed were only left and they helped to rebuild this breed.

Military personnel from America who were on duty in European nations brought this breed along with them to their homeland (USA) during the 1940s and 1950s.

The Shih Tzu breed vanished from the scene in China due to the happening of Communist Revolution. Shih Tzu dogs are athletic.

Not to mention, celebrities who own or had a Shih Tzu dog were: Bill Gates, Queen Elizabeth II, Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and Colin Farell.

Shih Tzu Names

Male DogsFemale Dogs

Shih Tzu Price

In the US market, the price of  Shih Tzu puppies is in the range of $500 to $900. It is possible that premium quality puppies bought from very reputed breeders can have an average price of almost $1500 or even higher.

However, the price of  Shih Tzu puppies can even vary from state to state within the country. In the UK, you can buy Shih Tzu puppies from a price range of £150 up to a maximum of £4000.

The price fixation for this breed depends on various factors like the quality level of the breed, breeder reputation, his location etc.

Shih Tzu Breeders

 ♦ Shih Tzu Breeders In Texas

  • Shihtzu Factory
     13174 Co Rd 108
    Abilene, TX 79601
    Tel:   (325) 676-0200 home
  • Petland Dallas, TX
    11909 Preston Rd Suite 1428
    Dallas, TX 75230
    Tel:  (972) 992-1023

♦ Shih Tzu Breeders In California

  • Teramimo’s Shih Tzu Palace
    2148 Pvt Rd 5076, McKinney, TX 75071, USA
    Tel: 972-569-9889
  • California Shih Tzu Pups
    1333 Pinecroft Road
    Colfax, CA 95713
    Tel: 916-749-8210

 ♦ New York

  • Special K Shih Tzu
      82 Fairview Ave
    Islip Terrace, N.Y.
    Tel:  631-277-3190

♦ Shih Tzu Breeders In UK

  • Karashishi – Shihtzus
    Farmside, Branches Lane, Romsey SO51 6FH, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 1794 323283
  • Castellan House Kennels
    castellan house, Banff’s sa370hz Pembrokeshire, Wales
    Tel: 01239841644
    Cell: 01239841609

Shih Tzu Health Problems

Firstly, some of the usual hereditary diseases in a Shih Tzu dog are: Hypothyroidism, Breathing Problems, Intervertebral disk disease, and Eye-related issues.

In addition, some of the other diseases include portosystemic shunt of the liver, hip dysplasia, Ear Infections, epilepsy and also immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

♥ Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is normally notable in middle-aged dogs and also across all breeds. This disease happens when there is a decrease or lack of thyroid hormone production.  and also immune system problems.


  • Hair loss
  • weight gain
  • recurrent skin problems
  • muscle loss
  • lethargy

Surely, if this disease is unattended to for a long time, it will result in heart disease.


Firstly detect Hypothyroidism by taking blood tests. There are some effective medications involved to treat a Shih Tzu dog with this disease. However preventive methods are not there and it is will not cause a big threat to the quality of life of your dog.

The recommended dosage of medicines and its frequency of intake will differ, based on the stage of the disease. Generally, the daily dosage of levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone that is sold in the market under brand names Soloxine or Thyroxine is recommended for treating hypothyroidism. Generic drugs are also prescribed to treat the stated disease.

Normally, a dog with hypothyroidism is prescribed for a standard drug dosage that is compatible with its weight. Then, blood samples are checked at periodic intervals to know the dog’s response to the treatment.

Next, after studying the nature of the response, the vet will bring the needful changes in the dosage. Once a dog with hypothyroidism starts taking treatment, it will be continually done until its lifetime.

Dogs undergoing treatment for hypothyroidism will show good improvement but they require to be periodically monitored. Furthermore, some natural treatments like Kelp, Astragalus, Fenugreek, vitamin, and mineral supplements are also advocated for use to prevent and treat some cases of hypothyroidism.

♥ Breathing Problems




The breathing issues of Shih Tzu dogs can be due to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome and Breathing Spasms – Reverse Sneezing.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome


  • Fast breathing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble Eating
  • Snoring
  • Trouble eating
  • Incapacitated to exercise due to a breathing problem
  • Collapse


Depending on the condition of the disease, the veterinary doctor will decide on whether to adopt non-surgical (medication) or surgical treatment. However, Shih Tzu dogs in the initial and second stage of brachycephalic airway syndrome can be handled by weight loss treatment by giving needful exercises.

Things like avoiding stress for the dog, keeping it in an air-conditioned place and avoiding hot conditions are also necessary. The non-surgical (medications) methods are the application of corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and oxygen therapy. However, they can only act as a short-term reliever of respiratory problems and inflation suffered by the Shih Tzu dog.

But, it should be understood that any abnormal conditions in the anatomy cannot be definitely cured through this method.

Generally, surgery is the most recommended treatment for dogs that have abnormalities in the anatomy that hinder its normal breathing. Stenotic nares can be surgically corrected by removing a wedge of tissue from the nostrils where this will permit more airflow through the nostrils.

An elongated soft palate can also be reduced through the surgical method to the normal size. Ultimately, the surgical excision of everted laryngeal saccules can be valuable in removing the obstruction in the larynx. 

Breathing Spasms – Reverse Sneezing


  • Sudden and random attacks of repeated loud and fast breathing
  • Breathing cold air
  • Showing intense excitement while performing a normal mediocre exercise
  • Breathing some irritants like perfume or air freshener spray
  • Allergies can develop where it can lead to signs like wheezing
  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes
  • Watery eyes


Some treatments can be tried out at home by yourself, prior to consulting a veterinary surgeon if the situation becomes serious.

Some useful tips:

  • Firstly, place a very small dab of peanut butter onto the dog’s nose. It will induce the dog to put out its tongue wherein this will help it to relax the throat and resurrect itself to normal breathing.
  • Now, gently massage the throat area with soft downward strokes wherein this will make the throat of the dog feel relaxed
  • Then, prompt the Shih Tzu to have a small snack or drink

Intervertebral disk disease


  • Pain and feeling of weakness in the rear legs
  • Crying out due to intolerable pain
  • Anxiety
  • Lower Appetite and Activity Level
  • Muscle spasms over back or neck
  • Hunched back or neck with tense muscles
  • Reluctance to jump
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control


After careful reading of the IVDD disease condition of the Shih Tzu dog, the vet doctor can recommend for either medication-based or surgical treatment. The therapeutic requirements will be based on the severity of the disease.

Doctors generally recommend muscle relaxants, glucocorticoids, corticosteroids for pain and inflammation alleviation.

However, careful handling of these drugs is required to avoid problems like gastrointestinal discomfort and irritation that might lead to the point of intestinal rupture.

♥ Eye-related Issues




There are eight different eye-related diseases that Shihu Tzu dogs usually face, namely:

  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive retinal atrophy,
  • Entropion
  • Trichiasis
  • Cherry Eye
  • Pink Eye
  • Red Eye


When cataract happens, the light is no longer transmitted to the retina where it is normally processed and converted to signals transmitted to the brain, therefore the dog becomes blind. For this reason, diabetes and inflammation are the most noted symptoms of Shih Tzu puppies with this condition.

In respect of glaucoma, redness of the eye is noted, high pressure of the eye can be felt by touching the eyelids. It is extremely difficult for dogs to bear this condition because the fluids inside its eyes do not drain out which results in sudden heavy accumulation thereby causing glaucoma. Glaucoma is also a genetic disease by nature.

By the way, progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary disease where the retina, the part inside the eye that helps in enabling the vision of a dog is subject to gradual damage. However, this degeneration has no cure really and is most notable in dogs. Thus, permanent blindness is observed to attack all dogs with this disease with the initial indicator being poor vision during the night.

Entropion is a condition in dogs where its eyelid is folded inwards and makes eyelashes rub the surface of the eye!. This causes eyelash hair to irritate the eye and may result in other eye problems. This is also one of the hereditary diseases a Shih Tzu dog faces.

Trichiasis is an eye-related disease where the eyelashes are abnormally pointing towards the eyeball, a sort of misdirection. This causes a permanent irritation to the eye and must be treated.

Red-eye is a condition of reddishness that appears in the white area of the eye and it is quite dangerous. The enlargement of the tiny blood vessel in the eye superficial membranes happens where these blood vessels that are generally not visible become visible and create this redness to the eye.

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the disease where the eye is infected by bacteria. This condition is also known as an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The symptoms also can be noted through swelling in eyelids and heavy discharge of water leading to dry eyes. The Shih Tzu puppies will have a dimmed vision

Also, Cherry Eye is another eye disorder where there is a problem with the internal eyelids i.e. it must not be misunderstood by the upper eyelid and lower eyelid.


In the above stated eye-related problems a Shih Tzu dog faces, vets generally recommend surgery. But in case of hereditary diseases, alleviation of the condition can only be made possible through surgery. For pink eye (conjunctivitis), a cytologic test could be the best treatment.

In the case of non-hereditary diseases like red eye, cherry eye, trichiasis, and cataract surgery can work out to be an effective treatment but subject to the stage of the disease.

♥ the portosystemic shunt of the liver


  • Neurobehavioral abnormalities which include poor balance, lack of appetite
  • Intermittent gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea etc
  • Vomiting
  • Hypoglycemia which is low blood sugar levels
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Drug intolerance
  • Stunted growth
  • Seizures


A portosystemic liver shunt is handled well by vets through managing and correcting the imbalances in fluid, glucose and electrolyte, It is highly recommended by the veterinary doctors to ensure that the diet of the dog affected by this disease must be properly taken care.

Ensure that the liver functioning is not subject to much pressure. In addition, you have to give a special diet with very minimal protein.

Doctors prescribe antibiotics like Neomycin to reduce the level of bacteria.

If the dogs suffering from PSS (portosystemic shunt) liver are given the right medications, it will thereafter start experiencing the good quality of life with gradual improvisation from this disease.

However, if the need arises for only surgery to give the required relief, vet surgeons can opt for it.

♥ Hip dysplasia


Shih Tzu dogs with hip dysplasia suffer from:

  • Difficulty to walk or run with the walk or run with an altered gait
  • Full extension of the rear legs is avoided by the dog due to the difficulty experienced in moving
  • It will experience stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning
  • Faces difficulty in climbing the stairs
  • Avoid morning walks
  • Lack of interest and struggle to walk makes the dog show reluctance to do its daily activities


Since this disease is of a genetic nature, surgical treatment might not really guarantee complete cure instead it can largely alleviate the effect.

The most effective steps recommended by a vet doctor are: providing the dog with a perfectly nutritious diet, exercises and Winston’s Joint System (a combination of three natural whole food supplements) can only allay the development of this hereditary joint disease.

However, vets recommend some orthopedic bed for comforting the dog from pain. The Canine Cooler bed with smooth soft technology can be a source of considerable relief for the dog.

♥ Ear Infections




Symptoms Of Ear Infection

  • Ear wax discharge
  • Odor
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Hair Loss
  • Crusty Skin


Organic products recommended by a vet like the EcoEars Dog Ear Infection Formula & Cleaner can be used by Shih Tzu dog owners for clearing the ear infections.

However, the veterinary doctors will look out for the source of the infection by proper diagnosis and then decide which course of treatment to adopt.

If the infections go worse without being noticed for a long time, even surgical treatment might not give the desired results for owners.

The veterinary doctor will look into whether a foreign body is involved and whether the eardrum has ruptured. This will affect the choices in medication that he may prescribe for your dog.

Vets use the otoscope method to view the ear canal to look out for any suspected ear infection. If your Shih Tzu dog has unbearable pain, doctors may administer anesthesia to make the examination more comfortable for your pet.

Cytology test could also be done by the veterinarian removes a sample from the ear canal and examines it under a microscope. This way he can determine the type of organism that is causing the infection, and prescribe the most effective medication for your pet. Vets generally prescribe antibiotics in the case of bacterial infection.

♥ Epilepsy


 A Shih Tzu dog suffering from epilepsy can show signs dependent on the length, frequency, and general exposure to this disease.

The normally seen symptoms:

  • Trembling
  • Twitching
  • Paddling of limbs
  • Salivation
  • Urination
  • Defecation
  • Changes in consciousness.


There is a general view that epilepsy is an incurable disease but it can be managed well by the use of drugs for a long period. Medications will help the dog to become highly resistant to the abnormal electrical impulses that can induce epilepsy.

Normally, Phenobarbital, a popular medication recommended by the WHO is given to epileptic dogs. However chronic therapy is deployed by a vet if this drug generates unbearable side effects or if there are continual seizures.

Shih Tzu puppies with severe epilepsy conditions could be advocated for treatment in a hospital to manage more severe episodes. In respect of the long period of seizures even after treatment in a hospital, there is a high possibility that the Shih Tzu can even face death.

For Shih Tzu puppies which experience seizures occasionally, there is no need for treatment.

♥ Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia



The symptoms of immune-related hemolytic anemia could be in a stage of mild to severe. Another thing is that in certain cases, the dogs may not show any symptoms. However, it is necessary to go to a veterinarian when there is:

  • Discoloration of the skin or mucous membranes
  • Swelling of the face or jaw
  • Pale gums
  • Paleness in the eyes or ears
  • Weakness, tiredness, or depression
  • Lack of appetite or weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • Black Stools
  • Ingesting dirt
  • Hypothermia


The veterinarian doctor may go for treatment options based on the condition of the anemic disease in the Shih Tzu dog. He will go for various tests and diagnose it to arrive at a plan for treatment.

There are different kinds of anemia and generally, the vets go for treatment like:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Antibiotics, when the anemia is caused by a bacterial infection
  • Change of medications in case of anemia occurrence
  • Bone marrow transfusion
  • Blood transfusion during acute conditions like the risk to life
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • Immunosuppressive drugs when there is [AIHA or IMHA]
  • Potassium phosphate supplements
  • Parasite or deworming medications

♥ Tick Bite Fever


  • Fever
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Lethargy
  • A runny nose and eyes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint Pain
  • Stiff Neck
  • Epilepsy


A dog gets tick fever because of an infected tick’s bite. The transmission of a virus from the tick’s body to the dog happens as a result of this bite. The dog will show the aforementioned symptoms thereafter.


Treatment will be given for dogs with tick bite fever based on the nature of symptoms which could be either severe or moderate or mild. Vets administer the dogs with severe bleeding programs with IV fluids and blood transfusion.

Generally, Doxycycline and Tetracycline are the prescribed drugs for dogs with tick fever. If you detect the tick fever at an early stage, then the progress in health will be within a day or two.

However, dogs in the moderate to the critical stage will take a couple of months or more (2 or 3 months) to show signs of gradual recovery from tick fever.

Read More: How To Kill ticks?

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