Weather Updates
Friday, March 24, 2023

Shih Tzu

Group: Non Sporting (Group 7)
Club: Shih Tzu Club Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Mrs Maurenn Schuyt
Phone: 0401 990 954

Brief History

They were called Shih-Tzu Kou in traditional Chinese, which literally means “Lion Dog”. The breed’s lion-like facial features were revered in Imperial courts because Buddha was said to have ridden to earth on the back of a lion. During the Ming and Manchu Dynasties, the little lion dogs were bred and raised by palace eunuchs and were considered the exclusive property of the royal court. They were rarely seen outside the palaces and anyone caught owning one could be sentenced to death. These thickly coated Shih Tzu were sometimes carried inside the robes of noble women and were even used as bed warmers and placed at the feet of the emperors and empresses to generate heat.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 10 to 16 years.


Friendly, independent and is clownish and lovable.

General Breed Description

They have large, round heads and large, round eyes, short noses, short legs, sturdy bodies, a tail curled over their backs and long, luxurious coats when properly maintained. Their facial expression is soft, and their temperament is clownish and lovable.  They are very clever, easily trained, but somewhat stubborn. All colours except merle permissible, white blaze on forehead and white tip to tail are highly desirable in parti-colours

Coat and Care requirements

The outer coat is long, dense, not curly and there is a moderate undercoat, not woolly. Slight wave is permitted in the coat. Length of coat should not restrict movement. It is strongly recommended that the hair on head is tied up, so their sight and eye health is not affected. The Shih Tzu has a coat that requires regular brushing, combing, bathing and drying. For those wishing a shorter coat, professional clipping is recommended every 6-8 weeks.


Weight: Males & Females 4.5-8kgs (10-18lbs)Height: Males & Females 27cms (10.5ins).


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders in is recommended you enquire about breed health and what health testing the breeder does. The Shih Tzu is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Umbilical hernias which are common but easily fixed at neutering. Breeding stock should be free from severely pinched nostrils and elongated soft palates and should be DNA tested for Pre-Kallikrein Deficiency (a mild blood-clotting disorder). Hip Dysplasia is known to occur, but is generally mild due to their size.


The ideal owner for the Shih Tzu is someone who enjoys spending time with their dog. The coat demands attention and romping in mud or seedy paddocks is not ideal. Small children, cats and large dogs can easily hurt a Shih Tzu and extra care should be taken. 

In Conclusion 

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders