What are Shih Tzus Bred for? Let us find out. The Shih Tzu is a toy-sized dog weighing around 9 to 16 pounds known for its short, smooshed face and long double coat which usually comes in white, black, gold, blue, red, liver, brindle or combinations. Its name originates in China and means “little lion.”  Shih Tzus are historically traced to Tibetan breed stocks and have been known as the favorite among emperors, particularly during the Ming Dynasty.

In ancient China, Shih Tzu breeders were said to receive favors for producing the most affectionate, charming and beautiful dogs. Nowadays, the breed remains a favorite among pet owners the world over. In fact, it is ranked 20th out of 193 dog breeds listed in the American Kennel Club. Here are the following reasons why the Shih Tzu has remained a top breed since it was introduced to the rest of the world after being a hidden wonder exclusive to Chinese imperial royalty and their families.

1. Appearance

Shih Tzus look wonderful and impressive. They are cute, cuddly and even regal. A signature of the breed is its luxurious double-coated hair. With proper grooming, the coat should be shiny, long, dense and flowing. Aside from being compared to a lion, Shih Tzus are also called “chrysanthemum-faced dogs” because the hair on their face grows in all directions.

They should be groomed in a way that keeps hair around the eyes and muzzle short. They also require constant grooming and, in that way, can be considered a bit high maintenance. But if owners are not fond of the daily combing that the coat requires to stay pretty, Shih Tzus may also be styled with a “puppy trim.”

Although Shih Tzus belong to the “toy” group of dog breeds, and as such are quite small and stock, they should look dignified, even quite confident, but not arrogant. This is enhanced by their preferred grooming style which includes a high knot on top of the head to keep the hair around the face from irritating their eyes. It is quite common to see Shih Tzus with decorative bows on their top knot.

Speaking of which, Shih Tzus’ eyes are very dark, large and round which makes their wide face look warm, friendly and trusting. And this impression is not just down to looks. These dogs are bred for their personalities as well.

2. Temperament

Shih Tzus make for a good family dog. They are friendly, outgoing and playful. They suit a multi-pet household since they get along with other dogs and cats. This is true especially if pets have been raised together. With these characteristics, the breed is also suited to families with small children provided that the kids are old enough to handle the dog with proper care. Being such a small breed, Shih Tzus are not compatible with rough play.

They are also loyal and affectionate. While some dogs are more independent, Shih Tzus love being around their owners. Rather than playing in the yard, this breed prefers sitting in their owner’s lap. That being said, Shih Tzus are also very lively and will love to play. They don’t require extensive exercise, but they should still be challenged with games and regular walks.

They are not the easiest to train or housebreak, but owners should still give them basic training. Eager to please, Shih Tzus react best to praise and treats. Positive reinforcement is the name of the game. However, this breed may become too possessive or spoiled. Therefore, balance is still key to keep them well-tempered and well-adjusted.

3. Home Life

As a toy breed, Shih Tzus require very little in terms of housing. They are perfect companions for those living in the city, even in small apartments or condominiums. With their squashed face, they also have a low tendency to chew on things. You won’t find them causing trouble by chewing on shoes, furniture or other household items. However, owners should be on the look out for extremes in temperature.

Shih Tzus are prone to overheating. They should not be taken on walks when the sun is high, and the pavement is still warm. They also cannot handle very cold temperatures. Their coats are not made to handle any extreme temperature. Shih Tzus should be kept indoors where they will happily sit in the couch, cuddle or play.

They are also considered hypoallergenic. This is due to their low shedding pattern, despite having long, dense and flowing hair. This means loose hairs are likely to be kept within their coat rather than remain in the air. They will greatly benefit with daily grooming. As such, even people with allergies or sensitivities can enjoy being a pet parent to a Shih Tzu.

With the characteristics mentioned, it is no wonder that this tiny, cute, and adorable breed has captured pet lovers’ hearts for generations. From their origins in Tibet and China, to their proliferation throughout the world, they have been beloved family pets from emperors, celebrities to everyday families.

Their appearance makes them a huge draw and their personality and temperament makes them a friend for life. They don’t hunt. They are too small to be guard dogs. And they are not working dogs either. Shih Tzus are truly bred solely for companionship. They enjoy cuddles, spending time together and are very openly affectionate. Provide them with love, shelter, proper care and training, and they will reward you with love in spades.

We hope you enjoyed our What are Shih Tzus Bred for article. We also hope that you learned a bit more and we would appreciate if you would share this article with other dog owners. Also read our article Do Shih Tzus get along with cats

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If you want to learn more about the Shih Tzu, have a look at the Shih Tzu Breed Information

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What are Shih Tzus Bred for