A small white dog, with a little round face, floppy, grey ears, a short muzzle with a small dark nose and big, dark eyes.

Shih Tzu

Upbeat, sweet and loyal - that’s a Shih Tzu! Whether you’re thinking of borrowing one or getting your own, we’ve pulled together lots of fun and interesting facts you should know about this affectionate small dog.

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What is a Shih Tzu?

Originally bred in Tibet, Shih Tzus eventually became royal pups in China where they lived in imperial palaces as sweet companions - probably the most pampered Chinese dogs of their time! Their toy breed size reaches 5–7.25 kilograms (11.0–16.0 lbs) with a body that is slightly longer than it is tall. Their signature look typically features long silky hair (which can be kept short), which is usually white with blazes of grey, as well as a curled tail. Despite their long hair, Shih Tzus are low shedding dogs (sometimes labelled a hypoallergenic breed).

How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need?

Because they were bred solely as companion canines, Shih Tzus only require moderate exercise and the Kennel Club suggests up to 1 hour per day. If taken for longer walks, they might seem like lazy dogs and refuse to move! But sitting around is what they were bred for, so who can blame them for preferring the sofa over runs around the park :)

A black and white dog with neatly trimmed fur and a round head is standing inside by the door

“Although he doesn’t love loads of exercise, Bertie does love to go out walking, exploring, running and playing, especially if it involves cuddles. He’s still young at heart and just loves to be playful.”- Sheryl, owner Bertie

What is the temperament of a Shih Tzu?

As loyal companion dogs, Shih Tzus are affectionate, outgoing, upbeat and happy. Their infectious enthusiasm and alert character make the breed an ideal family companion...and possibly one of the best small dogs for cuddling up to.

Floki is out on a walk, wearing a cosy jumper. He has long hair in various colours and is looking up at the sky.

“Honey is a small, happy, playful dog who loves people, attention, cuddles and play, especially with a ball. She doesn't like being on her own and even if you're only in another room, she will always want to be at your feet.” - Suzanne, Owner of Honey

Are Shih Tzus easy to train?

Since they’re prone to stubbornness, Shih Tzus can be a challenge to train, but if you start at an early age, the breed should easily learn basic commands.

“Izzy has a mind of her own and is still learning, but she tries really hard to be obedient.” - Jemima, Owner of Izzy

That being said, here are a few funny quirks that some of our members’ pooches have:

Ami, Owner of Pip Squeak

If you run yourself a bath, Pip Squeak will be in it before you!

Sue, Owner of Ellie

Ellie is the sweetest, cutest little creature. Although she is a Shih Tzu, she thinks she is a Labrador.

Most common Shih Tzu names on BorrowMyDoggy:

  • Alfie
  • Molly
  • Charlie
  • Poppy
  • Teddy
  • Buddy
  • Archie
  • Daisy
  • Bella
  • Toby

BorrowMyDoggy member, Lisa, matched with the happiest Shih Tzu, Herbie. Watch their story to see why she says “Herbie is the perfect kind of match - we can take him out whilst giving his owner a break. BorrowMyDoggy has made me feel more connected to the community. It’s a win-win."

High paws to our lovely community for letting us share these facts about their Shih Tzus. Paws crossed you found them helpful :)

Looking for the pawfect Shih Tzu to join you on a walk? Or would you like your Shih Tzu to make a new friend? Why not sign up to BorrowMyDoggy today.

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