Brazilian woman and her pet shih tzu dog at home, making video call

Shih Tzu: Super Cute And Popular Companion Dog

Do you like small dogs? Are you considering getting a  Shih Tzu for your first or next dog? If so, you are in good company because this breed is popular and ranks in the top 10% of dog breeds registered with the AKC. Before finalizing your decision, there are a few reasons this breed may be great for you and a few reasons you may want to consider a different species.

The Shih Tzu is an adorable family pet who behaves well with children and animals. They are calm, peaceful, cute companion dogs and intelligent enough to train, although they can be stubborn about house training. They love to bark when someone rings the doorbell but are not noisy or yappy dogs.

When I pronounce the name Shih Tzu, I must be careful not to make the second “h” silent. The Zu part is easy. The first part should probably be pronounced “shee”  to avoid sounding profane!

The Shih Tzu has been around for a long time, and the breed may be over 1,000 years old. Like the Pekingese, they were kept so secret in China. They became known in Europe during the 1930s and the United States after World War II. However, it didn’t take long for them to become a trendy family pet.

Reason  1 For Getting Shih Tzu

This Man's best friend

If you need a couch buddy, the Shih Tzu (lion dog) may be the best friend your lap has ever met. This breed may have originated in Tibet and became a favorite of Chinese royalty. Being pampered is in its DNA. This dog will do fine without a big backyard, digging holes, or chasing cats. Watching sports on TV is about all the exercise the Shih Tzu and I need to be happy.

That doesn’t mean they are not fond of activity when it’s called for. They love to run and play and do well in agility competitions.   According to the American Shih Tzu Club, this dog breed has won over 417 titles in the AKC competition and 87 in agility. If you don’t know what agility competition is, check out this Youtube video of a Shih Tzu in action.

A Shih Tzu’s top speed is around 6 miles per hour, so if you are in reasonably good health, you should be able to at least keep up with your dog, unlike a Greyhound, which can go as fast as 45 miles per hour. My car may not go that fast anymore.

The Shih Tzu is very well suited for apartment living. For example, they bark but are not as noisy or “yappy” as some breeds, the Pomeranian. So, if you want a dog that loves sitting in your lap but can also run and jump, that’s a Shih Tzu.

Reason  2 For Getting A Shih Tzu

They are great family dogs. They are very affectionate and love to play with kids. They usually are not aggressive and tolerate strangers without too much growling. They are small dogs, however, and need to be protected.

Several years ago, a friend had a Shih-Tzu dog, that she kept in her store. One day a customer accidentally stepped on the dog, and it nipped the customer’s ankle. Although the dog acted out of pain and self-defense, the customer reported the incident, and the poor Shih Tzu had to wear a Dangerous Dog scarf.

Shih Tzu dogs do not shed very much and are listed as one of the hypoallergenic“ dog breeds. If you or someone in your family are allergic to dogs, the Shih Tzu may be a good choice.  The lifespan of a Shih Tzu is 10-18 years.

Reason  3 For Getting A Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is one of the cutest dogs around. And cuteness counts. I never owned a Shih Tzu, but I once had a similar breed, a Pekingese named Reggie. He was a beautiful little dog and, according to my son, a chick magnet. If you are a young man and need a conversation starter with young women, get a well-groomed Shih Tzu.

There are not many reasons against getting a Shih Tzu, but we do know of a couple. This breed loves to cuddle and is very loyal. The object to being held by responsible children who know how to treat a small dog and do not abuse it.

Reason 1 Not To Get A Shih Tzu

This dog breed has a lot of hair, and it grows. The dog doesn’t shed much, but that hair needs to be washed, brushed, and clipped frequently.

It may not be the most high-maintenance dog, but it is not a low-maintenance one. You will need to take your dog to the groomer or learn how to do the grooming yourself. You can quickly learn to groom. There are several how-to videos on Youtube. If you go this route, be sure to buy good quality equipment. Not only will good equipment make your job easier, and it will last much longer.

It will become matted and tangled if you don’t take good care of its coat. Fixing mats and tangles can be a chore for you and very unpleasant for your dog. Frequent trips to groomers can be expensive but probably will be necessary.

Reason 2 Not To Get A Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is not dumb, but it is stubborn, so training will take more time and patience. House training a Shih Tzu is likely to be more complicated than with, say, a Miniature Schnauzer or Poodle. Even using a crate may not speed up the process because they don’t seem to care whether they keep it clean.


Despite the grooming requirements and the agony of cleaning up too many messes, the Shih Tzu is such a cute and loveable dog that any dog lover will treasure having one as part of the family. If you want a small dog that becomes your best friend, is loyal and likes to cuddle on the couch, you can depend on the Shih Tzu.

Get one!

Similar Breeds

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Height (inches): 10-11
Weight (Pounds): 12-18
Life Expectancy (Years): 12-15
Popularity (AKC): 71
Group (AKC): Non-Sporting
Shih TzuShih Tzu
Height (inches): 9-16
Weight (Pounds): 10-18
Life Expectancy (Years): 10-18
Popularity (AKC): 20
Group (AKC): Toy
Tibetan SpanieTibetan Spaniel
Height (inches): 10
Weight (Pounds): 9-15
Life Expectancy (Years): 12-15
Popularity (AKC): 119
Group (AKC): Non-Sporting
Height (inches): 6-9
Weight (Pounds): up to 14
Life Expectancy (Years): 12-14
Popularity (AKC): 92
Group (AKC): Toy
Japanese Chin DogJapanese Chin
Height (inches): 8-11
Weight (Pounds): 7-11
Life Expectancy (Years): 10-12
Popularity (AKC): 104
Group (AKC): Toy


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