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Breed Spotlight: Shih Tzu

Common Name(s): Chinese/Tibetan Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog, Chrysanthemum-Faced Dog
Shih Tzu photo

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Alert, active, playful and are usually friendly dogs. Can participate in dog sports such as agility and rally or competitive obedience. Stubborn tendencies may be lessened by using reward-based training involving small treats and favorite toys. Shih Tzus are moderately active when indoors and since they are small do well in apartments. May be intimidated by other dogs, causing defensive barking leading to confrontations.


The Shih Tzu was a breed that was created in Tibet during the seventeenth century. The development of the Shih Tzu was achieved by the crossbreeding of the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese breeds. This crossbreeding occurred when a Lhaso Apso was given as a gift by the Dalai Lama to the Emperor of China. The Emperor had a Pekingese in his palace and this Pekingese mated with the Lhasa, resulting in the world's first litter of Shih Tzu puppies.

Eventually, the breed became very popular in the Imperial Court, but in 1908 after the death of Empress T'zu Hsi, most Shih Tzu breeding came to a stop. This was further complicated by the Communist Revolution in China, which nearly caused the breed to become extinct. The Shih Tzu was saved, however, by a pool of 14 dogs that were introduced into England.

The Shih-Tzu did not find its way to America until after World War II, when they were brought back with American soldiers. The breed received official American Kennel Club recognition in 1969.


10-21 lbs


Shih Tzu identifying features


Shih Tzu average height
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