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Shih Tzu – 10 Vital Dog Breed Information

Shih Tzu Puppies
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Shih Tzu Puppies are called the Chrysanthemum dogs (in England). It is believed to have its origins in Tibet, and then it was developed in China. In the modern Chinese language, the Shih Tzu means “Xi Shi dog.” Xi Shi was one of the most beautiful women of ancient China.

Indeed, the name comes from the Chinese language word for “lion” as they have developed it to look like a lion as it was portrayed in traditional oriental art.

This dog breed is called the Tibetan Lion Dog. However, whether the species should be referred to as “Tibetan” or “Chinese” is to be established from both the historical and political angles.

Shih Tzu Video And Infographic


Shih Tzu Infographic

Shih Tzu Types

American Shih Tzu


In 1969, the American Kennel Club took notice of the Shih Tzu breed. Moreover, Shih Tzu is a pure-bred dog.

In fact, the Official Shih Tzu Guide describes the appearance of an American Shih Tzu dog as a dog that has a square-shaped head, high, forward-facing legs and frontal shoulders, short neck, small chest, and small wide-set eyes.

European Shih Tzu


The European Shih Tzu is a purebred breed, and hence United Kingdom Kennel Club gave recognition to this dog in 1946. The physical appearance of a European Shih Tzu Puppies is a round head, broad chest, large eyes, long neck, and also a wider stance with front legs bent back a bit.

Imperial Shih Tzu


This dog is not recognized by any national kennel, and it is also not of a purebred nature. Mostly, sellers consider and pass it off as a purebred puppy.

The term “Imperial” Shih Tzu was created by sellers as a supplementary word for the otherwise smaller version of the breed.

However, a buyer can tell others that the Imperial Shih Tzu is a pure breed after measuring its height and weight.

Teacup Shih Tzu


This is a minuscule-sized dog of the Shih Tzu breed. Breeders and sellers use the word teacup to signify that this dog breed has a small body structure. There are no significant differences between the Imperial and Teacup dogs.

Shih Tzu Colors

Typically, Shih Tzu puppies have a stocky build with large dark eyes and a short muzzle. They can be having a soft and long double skin or coat. Its coat could be in various colors, but mostly white and grey blazed dogs are only noticeable.

Besides, Shih Tzu puppies’ coat can be in various colors like shades of gold, white, brown, and black. It might even be in solid black, black mask gold, black and white, white, red and white, grey and white, and brindle red.

Besides, the Shih Tzu puppies appear to be a fraction longer than to say a taller look. According to the breed standard, Shish Tzu must have an underbite.

Since this dog has a long coat and fast-growing hair, you have to groom it periodically to refrain from shedding hair and snarls. This is, of course, a costly exercise. Although its coat is clipped short, the coat needs to be brushed daily.

Shih Tzu Life Expectancy

The life span of a Shih Tzu dog has stated to range anywhere from 10 to 18 years. On average, Shih Tzu dogs live for 12.8 years.

Generally, it is noted that female Shih Tzu dogs live around 1.5 years more than their male counterparts.

However,  smaller breed dogs have a longer life than the medium and larger breeds. The Shih Tzu poodle can live for 15 years or more.

Shih Tzu Size

Shih Tzu dogs’ average height and weight are:

On average, a male Shih Tzu dog’s height is 23-28 cm (9.1-11 inches), while the female dog stands 20-25 cm (7.9-9.8 inches).

On the other hand, the weight of a male Shih Tzu dog is 4.99–8.618 kilograms (11.00–19.00 lb.), whereas the female dog weighs 4.53–8.16 kilograms (10.0–18.0 lb).

Shih Tzu Temperament

  • Not ignoring the fact that each dog’s behavior varies from one another, the Shih Tzu dog breed is known to be loyal, outgoing, affectionate, and cautious.
  • It is mandatory for the owners to give the needful training and socializing for this dog right from a younger age to obey their commands.
  • Moreover, the Shih Tzu puppies typically maintain that rigid attitude when called for training. It is a good watchdog because of its naturally alert nature.
  • Overall, these dogs are usually seen to maintain a friendly relationship with their companions, owner, and his/her family members, children, and adults.


Exciting Facts About Shih Tzu Puppies

Historical records state that the Shih Tzu dog breed is over 1000 years old.

The translation of the name Shih Tzu in Mandarin means little lion.

The origin of Shih Tzu is Tibet, but they are also called as Chrysanthemum-faced dogs.

When the Shih Tzu dogs were almost nearing extinction in the first half of the 20th century, 14 dogs (7 males and 7 females) of this breed were only left and helped rebuild this breed.

Military personnel from America who were on duty in European nations brought this breed their homeland (USA) during the 1940s and 1950s.

The Shih Tzu breed vanished from the scene in China due to the Communist Revolution. Shih Tzu dogs are athletic.

Celebrities who own or had a Shih Tzu dog were: Bill Gates, Queen Elizabeth II, Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Colin Farrell.

Shih Tzu Names

Male DogsFemale Dogs

Shih Tzu Price

In the US market, Shih Tzu puppies’ price is in the range of $500 to $1200. It is possible that premium quality puppies bought from very reputed breeders can have an average price of almost $1500 or even higher.

However, the price of Shih Tzu puppies can even vary from state to state within the country. In the UK, you can buy Shih Tzu puppies from a price range of £150 up to a maximum of £4000.

The price fixation for this breed depends on factors like the quality level of the species, breeder reputation, location, etc.

Shih Tzu Breeders

 ♦ Shih Tzu Breeders In Texas

  • Shihtzu Factory
     13174 Co Rd 108
    Abilene, TX 79601
    Tel:   (325) 676-0200 home
    E-mail: shihtzufactory@hotmail.com
  • Petland Dallas, TX
    11909 Preston Rd Suite 1428
    Dallas, TX 75230
    Tel:  (972) 992-1023

♦ Shih Tzu Breeders In California

  • Teramimo’s Shih Tzu Palace
    2148 Pvt Rd 5076, McKinney, TX 75071, USA
    Tel: 972-569-9889
  • California Shih Tzu Pups
    1333 Pinecroft Road
    Colfax, CA 95713
    Tel: 916-749-8210
    Email: judyparkercx@gmail.com

 ♦ New York

  • Special K Shih Tzu
      82 Fairview Ave
    Islip Terrace, N.Y.
    Tel:  631-277-3190
    Email: specialkshihtzu@aol.com

♦ Shih Tzu Breeders In UK

  • Karashishi – Shihtzus
    Farmside, Branches Lane, Romsey SO51 6FH, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 1794 323283
  • Castellan House Kennels
    castellan house, Banff’s sa370hz Pembrokeshire, Wales
    Tel: 01239841644
    Cell: 01239841609

Shih Tzu Health Problems

Firstly, some of the usual hereditary diseases in a Shih Tzu dog are: Hypothyroidism, Breathing Problems, Intervertebral disk disease, and Eye-related issues.

Some of the other diseases include the Portosystemic shunt of the liver, hip dysplasia, Ear Infections, epilepsy, and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

♥ Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is usually notable in middle-aged dogs and also across all breeds. This disease onsets when there is a decrease or lack of thyroid hormone, thyroxine, production, and even due to immunity disorders.


  • Hair loss
  • weight gain
  • recurrent skin problems
  • muscle loss
  • lethargy

Indeed, if this disease is unattended for a long time, it will result in cardiovascular diseases.


Firstly Hypothyroidism is detected by taking blood tests. There are some effective medications involved to treat a Shih Tzu dog with hypothyroidism.

However, preventive methods are not currently identified. It’s soothing to know that this disease will not cause a significant threat to your dog’s quality of life.

The recommended dosage of medicines and their frequency of intake will differ, based on the disease stage.

Generally, the daily dosage of levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone sold in the market under brand names Soloxine or Thyroxine is recommended for treating Hypothyroidism. Generic drugs are also prescribed to treat hypothyroidism.

A dog with Hypothyroidism is commonly prescribed for a standard drug dosage that is compatible with its weight. Then, blood samples are checked at periodic intervals to know the dog’s response to the treatment.

After studying the nature of the response, the vet will bring the necessary changes in the drug dosage. Once a dog with hypothyroidism starts taking treatment, the dogs are to be under medication for a lifetime. The treated dogs are constantly monitored periodically.

Furthermore, some natural therapies like Kelp, Astragalus, Fenugreek, vitamin, and mineral supplements are also advocated to prevent and treat some hypothyroidism cases.

♥ Breathing Problems


Shih Tzu dogs’ breathing issues can be due to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome and Breathing Spasms – Reverse Sneezing.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome


  • Fast breathing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble Eating
  • Snoring
  • Trouble eating
  • Incapacitated to exercise due to a breathing problem
  • Collapse


Depending on the disease’s condition, the veterinary doctor will decide on whether to adopt non-surgical (medication) or surgical treatment.

However, Shih Tzu dogs in the initial and second stage of brachycephalic airway syndrome can be handled by weight loss treatment by giving needful exercises.

Things like avoiding stress for the dog, keeping it in an air-conditioned place, and avoiding hot conditions are also necessary.

The non-surgical (medications) methods are applying corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and oxygen therapy.

However, these can only act as a short-term reliever of respiratory problems and inflation suffered by the Shih Tzu dog. Any abnormal conditions in the anatomy cannot be definitely cured through the non-surgical method.

Generally, surgery is the most recommended treatment for dogs with abnormalities in the anatomy that hinder its normal breathing. Stenotic nares can be surgically corrected by removing a wedge of tissue from the nostrils where this will permit more airflow through the nostrils.

An elongated soft palate can also be reduced through the surgical method to the standard size. Ultimately, the surgical excision of everted laryngeal saccules can be valuable in removing the larynx’s obstruction. 

Breathing Spasms – Reverse Sneezing


  • Sudden and random attacks of repeated loud and fast breathing
  • Breathing cold air
  • Showing intense excitement while performing a regular mediocre exercise
  • Breathing some irritants like perfume or air freshener spray
  • Allergies can develop where it can lead to signs like wheezing
  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes
  • Watery eyes


Some treatments can be tried out at home before consulting a veterinary surgeon if the situation becomes serious.

Some useful tips:

Firstly, place a tiny dab of peanut butter onto the dog’s nose. It will induce the dog to put out its tongue wherein this will help it relax the throat and resurrect itself to normal breathing.

Now, gently massage the throat area with soft downward strokes wherein this will make the throat of the dog feel relaxed. Then, prompt the Shih Tzu to have a small snack or drink

Intervertebral disk disease


  • Pain and feeling of weakness in the rear legs
  • Crying out due to intolerable pain
  • Anxiety
  • Lower Appetite and Activity Level
  • Muscle spasms over the back or neck
  • Hunched back or neck with tense muscles
  • Reluctance to jump
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control


After careful reading of the IVDD disease condition of the Shih Tzu dog, the vet doctor can recommend for either medication-based or surgical treatment. The therapeutic requirements will be based on the severity of the disease.

Doctors generally recommend muscle relaxants, glucocorticoids, corticosteroids for pain, and inflammation alleviation. However, careful handling of these drugs is required to avoid problems like gastrointestinal discomfort and irritation that might lead to intestinal rupture.

♥ Eye-related Issues


There are eight different eye-related diseases that Shih Tzu dogs usually face, namely:

  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive retinal atrophy,
  • Entropion
  • Trichiasis
  • Cherry Eye
  • Pink Eye
  • Red Eye


When there is a cataract, the light is no longer transmitted to the retina, where it usually is processed and converted to signals transmitted to the brain. Therefore the dog becomes blind. Diabetes and inflammation are the most noted symptoms of Shih Tzu puppies with this condition.

When the condition is glaucoma, the eye’s redness is noted; high pressure of the eye can be felt by touching the eyelids. It is challenging for dogs to bear this condition because the fluids inside its eyes do not drain out, resulting in sudden heavy accumulation, thereby causing glaucoma. Glaucoma is also a genetic disease.

By the way, progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary disease where the retina, the part inside the eye that helps enable a dog’s vision, is subjected to gradual damage. However, this degeneration has no cure really and is most notable in dogs. Dogs with this condition have permanent blindness which

Entropion is a condition where the eyelids fold inwards and make eyelashes rub the eye! As a result, the eyelash hairs pierce the eyelids and cause irritations to the dogs.  This is also one of the hereditary diseases a Shih Tzu dog faces.

Trichiasis is an eye-related disease where eyelashes are abnormally pointing towards the misdirecting eyeball. This causes permanent irritation.

Red-eye is when the white matter of the eye appears red in color because of the enlargement of the blood vessels. This condition is quite dangerous. This condition occurs when the blood vessels irritate the eye membrane by becoming visible.

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the disease where the eye is infected by bacteria. This condition is also known as inflammation of the conjunctiva.

The symptoms can also be noted by swelling in eyelids and heavy water discharge leading to dry eyes. The Shih Tzu puppies will have a dimmed vision.

Cherry Eye is another eye disorder where there is a problem with the inner eyelids.


With cytological tests, the condition can be clearly understood. Doctors suggest surgeries in many cases but when the condition is because of heredity, the only alleviation of the condition is possible instead of a complete cure.

In non-hereditary diseases like red-eye, cherry eye, Trichiasis, and cataract, surgery can be an effective treatment but subject to the disease stage.

♥ the portosystemic shunt of the liver


  • Neurobehavioral abnormalities which include low balance, lack of appetite
  • Intermittent gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea etc.
  • Vomiting
  • Hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar levels
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Drug intolerance
  • Stunted growth
  • Seizures


A Portosystemic liver shunt is handled well by vets by managing and correcting the imbalances in fluid, glucose, and electrolyte; it is highly recommended by the veterinary doctors to ensure that the dog’s diet remains unaffected by this condition.

The dog’s liver functioning much be checked properly. The dog should be fed with a diet that has minimal protein content. Such conditions can also give rise to bacterial infections. Doctors can also prescribe neomycin to treat bacterial infections.

If the dogs suffering from PSS (Portosystemic shunt) liver are given the right medications, dogs will gradually improve in health. Doctors opt for surgeries only when the medications don’t help.

♥ Hip dysplasia


Shih Tzu dogs with hip dysplasia suffer from:

  • Difficulty to walk or run with an altered gait
  • Avoiding the extension of the rear legs
  • Stiffness and pain in rear legs.
  • Difficulty in climbing the stairs
  • Lack of interest and struggle to walk.
  • Reluctance in walking


Since this disease is of a genetic nature, surgical treatment might not guarantee a complete cure; instead, it can alleviate the effect.

The most effective steps recommended by a vet doctor are: providing the dog with a perfectly nutritious diet, exercises, and Winston’s Joint System (a combination of three natural whole food supplements) can only allay the development of this hereditary joint disease.

However, vets recommend some orthopedic beds for comforting the dog from pain. The Canine Cooler bed with smooth, soft technology can be a source of considerable relief for the dog.

♥ Ear Infections


Symptoms Of Ear Infection

  • Ear wax discharge
  • Odor
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Hair Loss
  • Crusty Skin


Organic products recommended by a vet like the Eco Ears – Dog Ear Infection Formula & Cleaner can be used by Shih Tzu dog owners for clearing the ear infections.

Doctors would be interested to find the source of infection and treat it. If the infections get severe and get worse, even surgeries might need to cure the dogs.

In many cases, the doctors can also look for the presence of any foreign particles which might have harmed the eardrums.

Vets use the otoscope to view the ear canal looking out for any suspected ear infection. If your Shih Tzu dog has unbearable pain, doctors may administer anesthesia to make the examination more comfortable for your pet.

A cytology test could also be done by the veterinarian removes a sample from the ear canal and examines it under a microscope.

This way, the veterinarian can determine the type of organism causing the infection and prescribe the most effective medication for your pet. Vets generally prescribe antibiotics in the case of bacterial infection.

♥ Epilepsy


 A Shih Tzu dog suffering from epilepsy can show signs dependent on the length, frequency, and broad exposure to this disease.

The commonly seen symptoms:

  • Trembling
  • Twitching
  • Paddling of limbs
  • Salivation
  • Urination
  • Defecation
  • Changes in consciousness.


There is a general view that epilepsy is an incurable disease, but it can be managed well-using drugs for an extended period. Medications will help the dog to become highly resistant to the abnormal electrical impulses that can induce epilepsy.

Usually, Phenobarbital, a popular medication recommended by the WHO, is given to epileptic dogs. However, chronic therapy is deployed by a vet if this drug generates severe side effects or continual seizures.

Shih Tzu puppies with severe epilepsy conditions could be advocated for treatment in a hospital to manage more severe episodes.

In respect of the long period of seizures, even after treatment in a hospital, there is a high possibility that the Shih Tzu can even face death. For Shih Tzu puppies, which experience seizures occasionally, there is no need for treatment.

♥ Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia



The symptoms of immune-related hemolytic anemia could be in a stage of mild to severe. Another thing is that in some instances, the dogs may not show any signs. However, it is necessary to go to a veterinarian when there is:

  • Discoloration of the skin or mucous membranes
  • Swelling of the face or jaw
  • Pale gums
  • Paleness in the eyes or ears
  • Weakness, tiredness, or depression
  • Lack of appetite or weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • Black Stools
  • Ingesting dirt
  • Hypothermia


Based on the severity of anemia and multiple tests, the doctors would decide for any of the following treatments:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Antibiotics, when the anemia is caused by a bacterial infection
  • Change of medications in case of anemia occurrence
  • Bone marrow transfusion
  • Blood transfusion during acute conditions like the risk to life
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • Immunosuppressive drugs when there is [AIHA or IMHA]
  • Potassium phosphate supplements
  • Parasite or deworming medications

♥ Tick Bite Fever


  • Fever
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Lethargy
  • A runny nose and eyes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint Pain
  • Stiff Neck
  • Epilepsy


A dog gets tick fever because of an infected tick’s bite. The transmission of a virus from the tick’s body to the dog happens due to this bite. The dog will show the symptoms, as mentioned earlier, after that.


Treatments are based on the severity of the fever. Dogs with intense bleeding are administered with IV fluids and blood transfusion.

Generally, Doxycycline and Tetracycline are the prescribed drugs for dogs with tick fever. If you detect the tick fever at an early stage, then the regaining of health is quicker.

However, dogs in the moderate to the critical stage will take a couple of months or more (2 or 3 months) to show signs of gradual recovery from tick fever.

Read More: How To Kill Ticks?

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