Shih Tzu Dog Training Profile
Weight: 9 to 16 pounds
Height: 9 to 10.5 inches
Lifespan: 10 to 18 years
Shih Tzu Behavior and History
These are sweet little dogs who make lovely companions. Their compact size means they can easily live in both apartments and houses and their long life expectancy ensures their owners are able to enjoy plenty of time with them.
These dogs were originally bred for royalty in China. It is believed they are descended from crossing Lhasa Apso and Pekingese, two other Chinese dog breeds.
Their name literally means “lion dog;” it most likely comes from their resemblance to lions in Chinese art. Breeders who created the most desirable Shiz Tzu dogs were highly rewarded, as were the dogs.
Shih Tzus were Chinese royalty’s little secret, hidden in the palace and heavily pampered for centuries. At some point, Western traders who traveled to China expressed interest in the dogs, but the Chinese refused to part with any of them. It wasn’t until 1930 that they could be seen outside China.
In fact, the breed almost didn’t exist. It’s believed the Shih Tzu almost became extinct during the Chinese Revolution, preserved by the survival of only a few dogs.
These dogs were bred for companionship, so it’s important their owners show them lots of love and attention. They require little exercise, but they enjoy playing and showing off in front of people.
Due to their small size, Shih Tzus need to be closely monitored when they’re playing with children or other animals in order to make sure they don’t get injured by playing too rough.
Shih Tzu Training Tips
Despite their sweet and sensitive nature, Shih Tzus can also be stubborn and be difficult to train and housebreak. They love getting their own way and will try everything they can to trick their owners to get what they want.
Although it will be tempting to get frustrated if they refuse to listen, you must overcome the temptation. Rewards and praise for good behavior and never giving in to their bad behaviors are the most efficient ways to train these dogs.
Puppy training classes and socialization are very important for Shih Tzus, but positive reinforcement training methods should be the go-to option.
Shih Tzus are not typically aggressive dogs, but — just like any dog — they will sometimes growl, nip or even bite in order to protect themselves if they feel threatened.