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Shih Tzu Dogs
One Of The Most Popular Small Dog Breeds!

shih tzu puppies Shih Tzu dogs, a much favored breed in ancient times, are still treasured among the little dogs affectionately referred to as "lap" dogs.

Shih Tzus are thought to have originated in Tibet and China where many were bred in monasteries. Some fanciers believe that the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese featured prominently in its development while others contend it started out as a dwarf Tibetian Terrier.

The breed arrived on the shores of England during the 1930s where it soon acquired the interesting nickname of "Chrysanthemum Dog". The resemblance to this flower is supposed to do with the way its hair grows out in all directions from the centerpoint of its nose. This is especially noticeable in puppies.

This pretty and aristocratic-looking dog stands 8-11 inches in height and weighs between 9-16 pounds. Colors are many and varied, including Silver, apricot-fawn or black, but a white blazed tail is very desirable.

The Shi Tzu wasn't bred for any particular purpose other than to be enjoyed as a companion to the wealthy classes.

shih tzu puppy dog

Shih Tzu Grooming

Shih Tzus have what is classified as a drop coat in the grooming world. It is a luxurious coat that is both long and dense and includes a considerable undercoat. Needless to say, this type of coat does require extensive grooming to maintain its signature good looks and to avoid mats, painful tangles and hot spots. But a little care each day works wonders to keep it under control.

Long Or Short Hair style? If you are planning to show your dog in competition, the coat must be pretty much left in its naturally long appearance. Otherwise, you have the option of switching to a shorter haircut for ease of upkeep at home.

The grooming workhorses - Clippers
All three of the grooming clippers shown below are the ones recommended by the manufacturer for clipping or trimming the Shih Tzu type of hair. We like, and have used, the trusted Wahl brand over the years for our pets. They are powerful, run quietly, are easy to use and have generous warranties.

Even if your dog gets the occasional professional cut, you'll be furballs ahead if you can handle the clipper part of grooming yourself too!

wahl dog clippers image
Wahl U-Clip Deluxe

Pro U-Clip Kit
Including 7 Guide Combs
Grooming DVD, Scissors
Apron & Comb
image of wahl rechargeable dog clipper
Pro Ion
Rechargeable Clipper Kit
Lithium Ion Technology
7 Guide Combs
Grooming DVD, Scissors
Styling Comb,
Cleaning Brush Blade Oil
image of wahl basic dog clipper
U-Clip Basic Kit
Quiet Yet Powerful Clipper
Adjustable with 4 guide combs
Blade Guard
Styling Comb, Cleaning Brush

Some benefits of home grooming:

  • It's cost-effective
  • Can be done at your convenience
  • Appointments not needed
  • No driving required
  • Most pets are happier being groomed in their own home

Also it can be quite fun and easy to do with the addition of the right tools. So let's get to some more recommendations.

The importance of high quality dog brushes...

...cannot be over-stated when it comes to caring for the Shih Tzu coat. The human-like texture of its double coat makes it more susceptible to tangles and mats. Inferior brushes can make "matters" worse by causing hairs to split - increasing the odds for more tangles and grooming challenges!

Bottom line: this is not the place to cut corners if you want to make grooming and bonding with your pet an enjoyable time.

Our favorite brushes come from the Chris Christensen line - this company has been involved for many years in the show dog world so you know they have to be good.

Here are our picks for Shih Tzu brushing.

wood pin brush
Wood Pin Brush
slicker brush
Slicker Mark II
ice on ice conditioner
Ice on Ice With Sunscreen
Perfect for daily needs
without damaging coat.
Gentle to the pet
Smooths out tangles.
Terrific brush for removing
loose hair in the coat.
Easy on groomer's wrist.
Spray on conditioner and
leave-in coat protector.
Makes brushing a breeze!

Dog grooming is an everyday process whether you take your pet to the salon or not. For this reason, we think it's worthwhile to invest in good tools and products so you'll be ready for dirty dog problems any time - especially when you want your pet to look and smell his best! Here are some more always needed suggestions for grooming supplies to round out your arsenal:

Combs, Scissors, Shampoos, Conditioners, and Accessories

While the best scissors by far are the ones from Chris Christensen, if you're just getting started with grooming, you may want to try the one of the sets pictured below first.

Bathing a Shih Tzu about every three weeks will help prevent breakages, tangling and matting - messy puppies may need a bath more often. Some of our favorite bath products are included here, but you might also want to check our organic shampoos and conditioners.

One more tool you may want to check out if you have a pet that runs and hides at the very sound of clippers, is an innovative pair of shears, aptly named Scaredy Cut Scissors.

Personality and Traits Of The Breed

Pretty dogs, like many toy dog breeds, are often assumed to be frail especially if they are are also small in size. But, in fact these particular small dogs are surprisingly much sturdier than they look!

Shih Tzu dogs do enjoy the creature comforts, are very friendly and assertive dogs, but can at times be a bit aloof. Overall though, they are resilient, fun, playful and have the look of very much the spoiled lap dogs.

This toy dog breed can be a little more difficult to train as he likes to be in charge and has an independent streak. Taking this into consideration, training should begin early to establish your alpha status.

However, since the breed is affectionate, seeks attention and thrives on lots of people contact, owners can use this to their advantage during training. Above all, with this breed in particular, it is important to be consistent with the training methods you choose.

As a watchdog, Shih Tzus are good at sounding the alarm to unusual activity, or approaching visitors - a trait frequently seen in other small breeds of dogs. But in general they are not thought of as nuisance barkers.

Activity Level

Although they mostly like being inside and in your lap, they also enjoy getting out for a daily walk. A short one is usually sufficient. Beyond a walk and playing outside, the ST does not need a lot of additional exercise.

art print of Shih Tzu dog in watercolor

Space Needs

The beauty of the Shih Tzu dog breed is that it is adaptable to any environment, not requiring a lot of space, but a yard is always a welcome addition for play time, training sessions and potty breaks. They are not very active in the home, except for following you around and checking out the arrival of visitors.

Shih Tzu Dogs With Children:

A fun family pet. They can be a little wary of small children and do better if you can get a puppy and raise them together. Or, if the children in the family are older and have shown that they are gentle and considerate in their approach to pets.

The best policy, no matter what breed of dog you have, is to favor caution and always have adult supervision when kids are interacting with pets.


The Shih Tzu (Terra Nova Series) The Shih Tzu (Terra Nova Series)

Shih Tzu dogs are ideal companions for the elderly or more sedentary family. They are happy little dogs and enjoy a lot of attention.

While exercise requirements are modest, it should be noted that they do need get out each day to keep them both physically and mentally healthy.

What Other Owners Say About Shih Tzu Dogs

Other visitors have shared information about their treasured Shih Tzu dogs. You can read their stories here:

If you have one of these popular small dogs, you can add your own story here.

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