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The Lion Dog of the Forbidden City of China has an illustrious history which fortunately does not prevent him/her from being the delightful companion to a wide variety of households today.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Toy Height: 9-10.5 inches
Weight: 9-16 pounds Longevity: teens
Colors: all are allowed Coat type: double long and flowing over the entire body, as such, requires daily grooming
Recognized Registries: AKC, UKC, NCA and others
Overall Appearance: Compact and yet not overly refined, the Shih Tzu is a wellbuilt dog of presence and flowing carriage who's attitude is only enhanced by the remarkable and fluid coat. When groomed for show, this will include a topknot and hair cascading to the floor.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to high
General Nature: very good
  with Children: very good but as a toy dog, deserves respect, careful handling and adult supervision
  with other pets: generally exceptionally good
  with dogs: fabulous especially with other toy and small dogs, does well with larger dogs if introduced properly
Socialization requirements: moderate; without proper socialization the naturally cocky attitude of the Shih Tzu can become fearful and withdrawn
Ideal home characteristics: appreciation of the Shih Tzu on a mission prance, appreciates the thinking nature and entertainment effort this breed puts forth, enjoys grooming and time spent with a devoted companion, fairness in establishing rules so that the dog is not a tyrant
Temperament Notes: joyful, playful, fun, loyal, attentive, intelligent,
Training requirement: moderate to high: while many think of Shih Tzu as lap pets, they will be inclined to create jobs for themselves if left unoccupied...
Trainer notes: A wonderful little breed that many mistake as being low maintenance (regardless of the regularity of the grooming).  The Shih Tzu is indeed very playful because this is typically the only outlet for the little dog as a job.  Your Shih Tzu will revel in lots of games and unique rituals within your home.  Keep him/her entertained in order to help avoid problems that are the result of boredom and anxiety.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: ancient times in the Forbidden City of China
Country of Origin: China
Original Function: companions to the royal court
History: Developed by the eunuchs of the Forbidden City, the breed was rarely seen outside its walls until after the revolution.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: poor dentiton, poor pigment,
Health Notes: eye issues, back issues, liver issues, heart problems
Health Testing: CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Shih Tzu?
  • How would you describe an ideal home?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • What health clearances do you get on your breeding stock?
  • What do you consider the proper temperament for the breed?
  • What health conditions have you observed in the breed?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • What would happen if at some point a home weren't able to keep a dog they purchased from you?
  • What instructions do you offer for the care, socialization and training of a pup?
Web Sites: - Very active Shih Tzu and small dog rescue - Canadien Shih Tzu Club Rescue - National Shih Tzu Rescue

How gentle and natural can a dog shampoo be and still be effective?  The team at Indamira Pets - dog lovers - Professional Groomer and Chemist - would know. This isn't your same old dog shampoo.

Other Resources
Breed standard: - Shih Tzu standard as per the Shih Tzu Club of America, parent club with the AKC

Breeder Ethics: - Canadien Shih Tzu Club Breeder Ethics Shih Tzu Club of America Breeder Guidelines

Other: Note: Coprophagia (the eating of feces) is not particular to the Shih Tzu but it is noted that many of the breed are inclined to it.  If you intend to have a Shih Tzu as a companion, discuss with the breeder or rescue the best ways to deal with this behavior and prepare yourself accordingly.  It is not fair for this issue to become one that would potentially threaten the security of your dog in their home.  Rehoming a Shih Tzu over this behavior is not necessary nor should it be realistically considered.  Management (keeping droppings picked up) can serve to prevent the question at all.
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