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About This Breed


Dog Group
: Toy
Size: 9-10 inches tall, 9-16 lbs
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Energy Level: Medium
Coat: Fine, straight, silky, and long
Shedding: Light
Hypoallergenic: Yes

History: While the origins of the Shih Tzu are unclear, genetic testing has proven that it is an ancient breed. Some theories suggest that the Shih Tzu originated in Tibet, where it was bred by Tibetan lamas to replicate a tiny lion. Despite originating in Tibet, the Shih Tzu that we know today developed in China during the late 1800s, where it was bred to have a more stylized appearance. Once imperial rule ended in China, the breed suffered a significant decline, but some dogs remained in England after being brought there from China. The Shih Tzu experienced another setback due to World War II, but breeding picked up again during the 1950s and 60s. The Shih Tzu became very popular in the United States, and it was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1969.

Temperament: Shih Tzus are lively, alert, and loyal, making them great family dogs. They love being around their people and will be content doing just about anything with their family members, whether it's taking a walk in the woods or relaxing on the couch. Around strangers, these dogs are friendly and approachable. Shih Tzus tend to do well with children and other dogs, but early socialization is still important. These dogs are upbeat and playful, but can be mischievous on occasion. That said, training a Shih Tzu may require some patience and extra time. When properly trained and cared for, Shih Tzus make lovable and loyal companions.