Shih Tzu

Updated 03 November 2023
Read time: 2 mins
article author
Written by Elle Padgham
Lead Copywriter

Breed History

The Shih Tzu is a regal dog that was once owned by Tibetan monks. They have been in existence since around 800BC. They have featured in legends and stories since their origin. One such story involves Buddha himself. His Shih Tzu was said to have saved him from being murdered by turning into a lion and fiercely protecting him. In gratitude, Buddha kissed the dog on the head. This created a white mark of fur, still seen today in some breed members.

General Appearance

The Shih Tzu is classed as a Toy dog breed in most instances, reaching heights of up to 27cm and weighing in between 4-7kg. They’re recognisable for their adorable underbite, rounded head and fluffy drop ears.


These are dogs who have been kept as loving companions throughout the ages. They were never used as ‘workers’ and so make excellent pets. They are loving, devoted and relatively low energy. They make a good choice of pet for people who are not overly active.

Health Considerations

Though the Shih Tzu is a long-lived breed, with many living into their late teens, they can suffer from a range of health issues. Intervertebral Disc Disease, Dry Eye, Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome, Mitral Valve Disease and Patellar Luxation are all relatively common in the Shih Tzu.


This ancient, intelligent breed is very trainable and seems to appreciate learning new things. It might not take long for your Shih Tzu to pick up new tricks but are you really training your Shih Tzu, or are they training you?


Due to their long coats, Shih Tzu’s need regular grooming. It’s important we get our dogs used to grooming from a young age.  Outside of regular visits to the groomers, a full brush every 3- 4 days is recommended with baths every 2 - 3 weeks.


Aim for 60 - 80 minutes of exercise for your Shih Tzu every day. Try splitting up your exercise routine between a few short walks and at-home or in-garden play.

Feeding Considerations

Feeding your Shih Tzu at regular intervals is advised, even into Adulthood we should aim for 3 meals a day - breakfast, lunch and tea. Ensure you feed your Shih Tzu a premium complete diet, like Pooch & Mutts’ Small Dog Superfood.

You'll find a handy feeding calculator on every product page here at Pooch & Mutt to help you identify how much of our health led recipes are right for the age, size and weight of your dog.

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