About the Shih Tzu

These intelligent, active and lively little dogs thrive in human company, but also like to retain a little bit of independence.

When trained and socialised well from an early age, Shih Tzus make delightful family pets and play well with children.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

Breed specifics

FCI Group 9, AKC Toy Group
Avg life expectancy
11–16 translations.feature.breeds.years

Intelligent / Lively / Alert / Friendly / Independent


  • Requires a lot of grooming
  • Struggles in warm weather
  • Needs little exercise

Origins of the breed

The roots of this breed lie in Tibet, but it was developed in China, where dogs like these lived in the imperial palaces. China became a republic in 1912 after which examples of the breed found their way to the West, though the first recorded importation to Britain was not until 1931.

It was recognised as a breed separate from other Oriental breeds in 1934 and granted a separate register by The Kennel Club in 1940, with challenge certificates on offer from 1949.