Do you like small dogs? Are you thinking about getting a  Shih Tzu for your first or next dog? If so, you are in good company because this breed is very 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 there are a couple of reasons you may want to consider a different breed.



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

When I pronounce the name Shih Tzu, I have to 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 in the United States after World War II.  However, it didn’t take long for them to become a trendy family pets.



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 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.

The top speed of a Shih Tzu is somewhere 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.  Not like 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 do 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.

Shih-Tzu and rabbit in front of white background

Bunny Buddies

Several years ago, a friend of mine had a Shih Tzu, which she kept with her 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.

The Shih Tzu does not shed very much and is 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.

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 well-groomed Shih Tzu.

Close-up of a Shih Tzu in front of a pink background

You have to love that face!

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.  There are not many reasons against getting a Shih Tzu, but we do know of a couple.

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 definitely not a low maintenance one.  You will need to take your dog to the groomers or learn how to do the grooming yourself.  You can easily 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 to make your job easier, and it will last much longer.

If you don’t take good care of its coat, it will become matted and tangled.  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 that training will take more time and patience.  House training a Shih Tzu is likely to be harder 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 the crate clean or not.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu


Despite the grooming requirements and perhaps the agony of cleaning up too many messes, the Shih Tzu is such a cute and loveable dog that any dog lover will treasure have 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!

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