Are Shih Tzu Cross Eyed?

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If you’ve ever looked into the soulful eyes of a Shih Tzu, you may have wondered, “Are Shih Tzu cross-eyed?” It’s a common question among dog lovers and owners, and it’s understandable why. After all, their adorable flat faces and expressive eyes can sometimes give the impression that they’re looking in different directions. But is there any truth to this notion? Let’s dive into the world of Shih Tzu eyes and find out the answer!

When it comes to Shih Tzu and their eyes, there’s a lot more than meets the eye. While it’s true that some Shih Tzu may have a slight tendency to appear cross-eyed, it’s not actually a result of their eye positioning. Instead, it has to do with the unique structure of their face. The prominent forehead and short snout can give the illusion of crossed eyes, but in reality, their eyes are perfectly aligned. So, rest assured, your Shih Tzu is not intentionally giving you the side-eye or seeing the world in a different way! In fact, their eyes are just as beautiful and soulful as they appear, adding to their overall charm and appeal.

Are Shih Tzu Cross Eyed?

Are Shih Tzu Cross Eyed?

Shih Tzu dogs are known for their adorable and expressive eyes. However, some owners may notice that their Shih Tzu appears to be cross-eyed. This raises the question: are Shih Tzu cross-eyed? In this article, we will explore this topic and provide you with all the information you need to understand and address this potential concern.

Understanding Shih Tzu Eye Anatomy

To determine whether Shih Tzu are cross-eyed, it is important to understand their eye anatomy. Like all dogs, Shih Tzu have two eyes positioned on the front of their head. Their eyes are large, round, and set wide apart. The shape and position of their eyes give them their signature adorable and alert appearance.

Shih Tzu eyes can vary in color, ranging from dark brown to light hazel. Some Shih Tzu may even have blue or green eyes. It is important to note that eye color does not affect their vision or the potential for being cross-eyed.

What Causes Crossed Eyes in Shih Tzu?

Crossed eyes, also known as strabismus, occur when the eyes are misaligned and do not point in the same direction. This can happen in any breed of dog, including Shih Tzu. There are several possible causes for crossed eyes in Shih Tzu:

1. Genetics: Some Shih Tzu may inherit a predisposition to crossed eyes from their parents. If both parents carry the gene for crossed eyes, the offspring are more likely to develop the condition.

2. Nerve or Muscle Damage: In some cases, crossed eyes can be caused by nerve or muscle damage. Trauma, injury, or certain medical conditions can affect the muscles or nerves responsible for eye movement, leading to misalignment.

3. Developmental Issues: During the early stages of a Shih Tzu’s development, issues with eye coordination and muscle control can lead to crossed eyes. This is more common in puppies and may resolve as they grow older.

Signs and Symptoms of Crossed Eyes in Shih Tzu

Identifying crossed eyes in your Shih Tzu can be done by observing their eye alignment. Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:

1. Misaligned Eyes: The most obvious sign of crossed eyes is when one or both eyes deviate inward or outward, not aligning with each other.

2. Lack of Depth Perception: Shih Tzu with crossed eyes may have difficulty judging distances accurately, affecting their depth perception.

3. Squinting or Blinking: Crossed eyes can cause discomfort or strain on the eye muscles, leading to frequent squinting or blinking.

4. Abnormal Eye Movements: You may notice rapid or jerky eye movements in your Shih Tzu if they have crossed eyes.

5. Head Tilt: Some dogs with crossed eyes may tilt their heads to compensate for the misalignment.

It is important to note that not all Shih Tzu with misaligned eyes have crossed eyes. Sometimes, their eyes may appear crossed due to the shape of their face or the positioning of their eyes. If you are unsure, it is best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause.

Treatment Options for Crossed Eyes

If your Shih Tzu is diagnosed with crossed eyes, the treatment will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Here are some possible treatment options:

1. Medication: If crossed eyes are caused by an underlying medical condition, such as nerve damage or muscle weakness, medication may be prescribed to address the root cause.

2. Surgery: In severe cases or when other treatments are ineffective, surgery may be recommended. The goal of surgery is to realign the eyes and improve their function and appearance.

3. Eye Exercises: In some cases, eye exercises can help strengthen the eye muscles and improve coordination. These exercises should be done under the guidance of a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist.

4. Supportive Care: Regardless of the treatment option chosen, providing your Shih Tzu with a comfortable and stress-free environment is essential. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian will also help monitor the condition and ensure your dog’s overall eye health.

Preventing Crossed Eyes in Shih Tzu

While crossed eyes can have genetic components, there are steps you can take to potentially reduce the risk:

1. Responsible Breeding: If you are considering breeding your Shih Tzu, ensure that both parents have undergone thorough health screenings, including eye examinations. This can help minimize the chances of passing on any genetic predispositions to crossed eyes.

2. Early Detection: Regularly monitor your Shih Tzu’s eye alignment, especially during puppyhood. Early detection of any misalignment can help address the issue promptly and prevent further complications.

3. Proper Nutrition: Providing a balanced and nutritious diet to your Shih Tzu can contribute to their overall health, including their eye health. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is receiving the right nutrients.

4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule routine check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your Shih Tzu’s eye health and address any concerns promptly.

In conclusion, while some Shih Tzu may appear cross-eyed due to the shape of their face or the positioning of their eyes, true crossed eyes can occur in this breed. It is important to observe your Shih Tzu’s eye alignment and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns. With proper care, early detection, and appropriate treatment, crossed eyes in Shih Tzu can be managed effectively, ensuring your furry companion leads a happy and healthy life.

Key Takeaways: Are Shih Tzu Cross Eyed?

  • Shih Tzu dogs can sometimes appear cross-eyed due to their facial structure.
  • Most cross-eyed Shih Tzu are born that way and it doesn’t cause them any harm.
  • Crossed eyes in Shih Tzu can be more noticeable when they are tired or stressed.
  • If you notice severe cross-eyedness or any eye discomfort in your Shih Tzu, consult a vet.
  • Regular eye check-ups and proper grooming can help maintain your Shih Tzu’s eye health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Do Shih Tzu dogs have cross eyes?

Shih Tzu dogs are not typically known for having cross eyes. While some individual Shih Tzu dogs may have a slight cross-eyed appearance due to the shape and size of their eyes, it is not a common trait in the breed. Most Shih Tzu dogs have normal, forward-facing eyes that are aligned correctly.

If you notice that your Shih Tzu has a significant cross-eyed appearance, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian. Cross eyes can be a sign of certain eye conditions or underlying health issues that may need to be addressed.

Question 2: What are the common eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs?

Shih Tzu dogs are prone to several eye problems, although cross eyes are not one of them. Some common eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs include:

1. Cherry eye: This is a condition where the tear gland in the eye becomes prolapsed and appears as a red, swollen mass in the corner of the eye.

2. Entropion: This is a condition where the eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea. It can lead to irritation, redness, and potential eye damage.

3. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): This is a genetic condition that causes the degeneration of the retina, leading to vision loss over time.

If you suspect any eye problems in your Shih Tzu, it is important to seek veterinary care for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Question 3: Can cross eyes in Shih Tzu dogs be treated?

If your Shih Tzu has a cross-eyed appearance, it is essential to have them examined by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. Treatment options will depend on the specific cause of the cross eyes.

In some cases, cross eyes may be a result of a congenital condition that cannot be corrected. However, if the cross eyes are due to an underlying eye condition or health issue, appropriate treatment may be available. This could include medications, surgery, or other interventions as recommended by the veterinarian.

Question 4: How can I prevent eye problems in my Shih Tzu?

While some eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs may be hereditary or unavoidable, there are steps you can take to help prevent certain eye issues:

1. Regular eye examinations: Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian who can assess your Shih Tzu’s eye health and detect any potential problems early.

2. Proper grooming: Keep the area around your Shih Tzu’s eyes clean and free from excessive hair. This can help prevent irritation and eye infections.

3. Protect from injury: Be cautious when playing or walking your Shih Tzu to prevent eye injuries. Avoid exposing them to harmful substances or environments that could irritate or damage their eyes.

4. Maintain a healthy diet: Provide your Shih Tzu with a balanced and nutritious diet to support overall health, including their eye health.

Question 5: Are cross eyes in Shih Tzu dogs a sign of a larger health problem?

In most cases, cross eyes in Shih Tzu dogs are not necessarily a sign of a larger health problem. However, it is always recommended to have your Shih Tzu examined by a veterinarian if they have a cross-eyed appearance.

While cross eyes can occur due to genetic factors or certain eye conditions, they can also be associated with underlying health issues. A thorough examination by a veterinarian can help determine if there are any additional health concerns that need to be addressed.

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Final Summary: The Truth About Shih Tzu Crossed Eyes

After delving into the topic of whether Shih Tzus are cross-eyed, we can conclude that while some Shih Tzus may appear to have crossed eyes, it is not a common trait in the breed. Crossed eyes, medically known as strabismus, can occur in any dog breed, including Shih Tzus, but it is usually a result of a genetic abnormality or an underlying health issue. It is important to remember that not all Shih Tzus will have crossed eyes, and if they do, it does not necessarily indicate a problem or affect their overall health.

While some people may find the crossed eyes in Shih Tzus endearing, it is crucial to prioritize their well-being. If you notice any concerning signs or symptoms related to your Shih Tzu’s eyes, such as excessive tearing, redness, or discomfort, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend any necessary treatment or management options.

In conclusion, while Shih Tzus may occasionally have crossed eyes, it is not a defining characteristic of the breed. As responsible pet owners, it is essential to monitor our furry companions’ eye health and seek professional advice if any concerns arise. Remember, a happy and healthy Shih Tzu is a sight to behold!


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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