Shih Tzu Dog Breeds

July 10, 2016

Why are Shih Tzus called Teddy Bear Dogs?

Teddy Bear Dogs are dogs that look very much alike with stuffed teddy bears. Because of the small size of Shih Tzu and its coat they are in the category of teddy bears. Also, when they have their coat cut in a round fuller shape around the head they look just like a live teddy bear. More about this can be read in the history section. Shih Tzu is also known as Chrysanthemum dog and it is toy breed.


There is some DNA analysis about the ancestors of Shih Tzu. The analysis showed that they have some connection to wolves. Geographically, these dogs originate from China in 800 B.C. There are some speculations about their origins. They can be seen in some Chinese paintings when they were called Lhasa Apso, so they were favorites to the royal families. They were really appreciated and the Chinese didn’t want to trade or sell them. They were brought to Europe for the first time in the 1930s when they were renamed to Shih Tzu. They were brought to the U.S. after the Second World War by the military soldiers. In the U.S. they were categorized as Teddy Bear Dogs. In 2012 they were ranked as the 11th most popular breed and in 2013 as 15th.

Coat and Colors

The Shih Tzu can be in 4 colors such as brown, white, black and gold. Other colors include a mix of these and can be black and white, black mask gold, liver and white, solid liver, solid black, red and white, brindle and white and gray. A dog that has black pigmented skin with black lips, nose and pads has a coat which color is determined by the coat itself. A dog that has blue or liver pigment has a coat which color is categorized by the color of the pigment. The coat of a straight, fine and silky Shih Tzu is known as hypoallergenic. But, still there can be some allergies triggered by the dog’s saliva or dander. These dogs do not shed too much, only when they are brushed or bathed. The coat of these dogs can be coarse or wavy. They have a double coat which is long and soft. They have long fur on their ears and they have tail that is heavily furred. They are recognized by their underbite. Their silky coat reaches the ground and it should be brushed every day. They also need to be groomed often.


Some of the characteristics that are the same for every Shih Tzu are affection, loyalty, alertness and need to go out. Just any other dog, they require proper training at young age, so they can behave proper when they are older. When they are trained they can be stubborn sometimes. Because they are active and alert they can be excellent watch dogs. They are very loveable and like to be close to its companions. They are very friendly and connect with everyone- adults, children and other dogs. Also, they like to offer their affection even to strangers. They don’t require much space so they can live in an apartment or other small residence.


Shih Tzu is a little dog with dark large eyes and a short muzzle. They grow to 26.7 cm (10.5 in.) in height and their weight varies from 4.5 to 7.3 kg (from 10 to 16 lbs).

Average Age

The median life span of these dogs is 16 years and 4 months, but they usually live from 10 to 16 years. There is a number of health issues that Shih Tzus can have and some of those are: breathing problems, intervertebral disk disease, hypothyroidism and eye issues. Just like any other dog they require good care and health check-ups.

What’s so unique about them?

The name Shih Tzu means little lion. But, that has nothing to do with their fierceness because they are nothing like lion. They are not hunters, but usual lover dogs. They like to follow people everywhere, even from one room to another. Their lovely character will make anyone love them as much as possible.

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