The breed's origins are shrouded in mystery, but it is known that these little dogs were raised in palaces by eunuchs for the pleasure of the nobility. Here they sat on satin pillows and had beautiful marble courtyards to run in. Distant relatives of the Shih Tzu are the Pekingese and Tibetan-type dogs.
Shih Tzus live from between 12 to 16 years of age.
Average size and weight
4.5kg to 8.1kg
Breed personality, characteristics & temperament
Every dog has a reason for being: the Shih Tzu's is strictly to give love. They don't hunt, pull, track or attack - they just love to be with you. Although they may bark to let you know someone is at the door, they soon befriend any visitors once they realise they are friend, not foe.
Compatibility with other pets
Shih Tzus are house dogs and love access to a securely fenced garden. However, if you live in a flat or unit, they are content to be walked daily on a lead. These dogs will give you a lot of love, which must of course be returned. A weekly bath to keep your dog's coat and skin clean needs to be followed by a blow dry to ensure that it doesn't catch cold.
Please take note
Although Shih Tzus love children, these dogs do require adult care and supervision.
Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.