The top 12 Shih Tzu facts you must know!

Spread the love

The Shih Tzu, one of the most beloved dog breeds, is known for its adorable fluffy coat and friendly demeanor. But there’s much more to these small dogs than what’s commonly known. Here are 12 fascinating facts about Shih Tzus that might surprise you.

1. Ancient History

Shih Tzus have a recorded history of at least 1,000 years. They likely originated earlier, with historical documents tracing back to 1000 BC describing similar dogs in China.

2. Tibetan Origins

Contrary to popular belief, Shih Tzus actually originated from Tibet, a sovereign country until the 1950s. They were probably sent as gifts to the Chinese royal family and later crossed with Pekingese or pugs to create the modern Shih Tzu.

3. Name Significance

In Mandarin, ‘Shih Tzu’ translates to ‘lion dog,’ reflecting their resemblance to traditional Chinese lion statues. The breed was also known as ‘chrysanthemum dog’ in the UK in the early 20th century.

4. Symbol of Buddhism

The Shih Tzu is associated with the god of learning, Buddha Manjushri, who is said to have traveled with a small lion-like dog that could transform into a full-grown lion.

5. Royal Companions

Originally bred as companion dogs for royalty and the wealthy, Shih Tzus have grown in popularity worldwide, ranking among the top 20 most popular breeds in the U.S.

6. Watchdogs Turned Companions

Although initially raised as watchdogs, their lovable and understanding nature made them more suited as companion dogs.

7. Health Considerations

Due to their short, compressed muzzle, Shih Tzus are prone to certain health issues like heat stroke. It’s essential to keep them cool during hot months.

15 Signs Your Shih Tzu is Saying I Love You in Their Own Way

8. Exercise Needs

Shih Tzus require daily exercise but not as much as other breeds. Short daily walks of less than 30 minutes are sufficient for their fitness.

9. Near Extinction

The breed nearly vanished during China’s Communist Revolution. The death of Empress Dowager Cixi, who led a famous breeding program, significantly impacted the breed’s survival.

10. Genetic Lineage

Every living Shih Tzu can be traced back to one of the 14 dogs (seven males and seven females) used to rebuild the breed in the early 20th century.

11. Hypoglycemia in Puppies

Shih Tzu puppies are more prone to hypoglycemia and need to be fed more frequently, about three to four times per day, with a diet rich in protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.

12. Celebrity Appeal

Shih Tzus are a favorite among celebrities, with notable owners like Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Colin Farrell, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II.

Kid-Friendly Nature

Shih Tzus are exceptionally friendly with children, unlike many small dog breeds. However, it’s important to teach children to respect the dog’s boundaries to prevent injury.

For more insights and advice on Shih Tzus, subscribe and visit Shih Tzu Advice on YouTube.


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!

Recent Posts