Shih Tzu Care: Diet, Health, and Training Tips

Shih Tzu

Learn how to care for your Shih Tzu with essential tips on feeding, health, training, and grooming. Get answers to common questions for a happy, healthy pet.

Coat Type: Double
Coat Length: Long
Male Height: 9-10.5 inches
Female Height: 9-10.5 inches
Male Weight: 9-16 pounds
Female Weight: 9-16 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability level
Affectionate with family
Drooling level
Barking level
Coat grooming frequency
Energy level
Good with other dogs
Good with young children
Mental stimulation needs
Openness to strangers
Playfulness level
Shedding level
Trainability level
Watchdog protective nature


The Shih Tzu, with its endearing face and luxurious coat, has captured the hearts of dog lovers around the globe. This breed's popularity soars thanks to its friendly nature and adaptability to different living situations, making it an ideal companion for many. In this article, we delve into the world of Shih Tzus, exploring their unique characteristics, dietary needs, common health concerns, effective training methods, and general care tips.

Whether you're a seasoned Shih Tzu owner or considering adding one to your family, our comprehensive guide is designed to provide you with valuable insights to ensure your furry friend lives a happy, healthy life. Stay with us as we share expert advice and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this beloved breed.

Shih Tzu Traits and Characteristics

Shih Tzus are known for their charming appearance and delightful personality, making them a beloved breed among dog enthusiasts worldwide. These small, yet sturdy companions carry a noble heritage and exhibit a range of traits that cater to a variety of lifestyles. Whether living in an apartment or a house with a yard, their adaptability and affectionate nature make them suitable for many homes.

  • Appearance: With their long, flowing coat and a cute face that features a short snout, Shih Tzus are easily recognizable. They have a double coat that comes in many colors, and despite their luxurious mane, they shed very little.
  • Temperament: This breed is exceedingly affectionate with their families. They are known for their friendly disposition, making them great with children and other dogs.
  • Behavior: Shih Tzus are alert and can be good watchdogs, but they are not overly aggressive. Their protective nature is moderate, and they're just as happy greeting strangers as they are sitting in the laps of their loved ones.
  • Grooming Needs: Regular grooming is essential for Shih Tzus due to their long coat, which requires frequent brushing to avoid tangles and matting.
  • Exercise: They have a moderate energy level, which means they enjoy playtime and short walks, but they don't require extensive exercise. This makes them perfect for those who prefer less active dog breeds.
  • Adaptability: Shih Tzus are highly adaptable, capable of living happily in various environments, from spacious homes to compact apartments.
  • Trainability: Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them quite trainable, although sometimes their stubborn streak can require a bit more patience during training sessions.
  • Size: Both male and female Shih Tzus typically stand about 9 to 10.5 inches tall and weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, making them a comfortable size for most homes.
  • Health: With a lifespan of 10 to 18 years, they are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions.

This breed embodies a balance of companionship and independence, making them not only a pet but a loving member of the family. The Shih Tzu's small size and amiable nature make them an excellent choice for dog lovers looking for a furry friend with a big personality.

Food and Nutrition - Keeping Shih Tzu Healthy

Shih Tzus, with their compact size and energetic demeanor, have specific dietary requirements that must be carefully managed to ensure their overall health and wellbeing. A balanced diet for a Shih Tzu should include the right proportions of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support their daily activities.

High-quality dog food formulated for small breeds is often recommended, as it is designed to meet their nutrient needs. Owners should look for foods that support the Shih Tzu's long coat and skin, as well as their general health. It's also important to monitor the amount of food given to prevent obesity, which can lead to health issues in this breed.

Incorporating treats into a Shih Tzu's diet can provide additional nutritional benefits and contribute to their mental stimulation. Our chew product, the Tibetan Dog Chew, is an excellent example of a treat that can complement a Shih Tzu's diet.

Made from natural ingredients like yak and cow milk, this high-protein chew is handcrafted without preservatives, making it a healthy choice for Shih Tzus. Its hard texture can also help with dental hygiene by reducing tartar and plaque build-up as they chew.

However, it's crucial to remember that treats like the Tibetan Dog Chew are not a replacement for a Shih Tzu's primary diet. They should be given in moderation as part of a well-rounded feeding routine. When considering treats, owners should ensure they are low in fat and do not exceed 10% of the dog's daily caloric intake. By providing a balanced diet along with occasional healthy treats, Shih Tzu owners can help their pets maintain optimal health and vitality.

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Health Information of Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are generally a healthy and long-lived breed, with a life expectancy ranging from 10 to 18 years. However, like all breeds, they can be susceptible to certain health issues. It's important for owners to be aware of these potential concerns and to provide the appropriate care to ensure their Shih Tzu leads a happy and healthy life. Regular veterinary check-ups and being vigilant about your dog's health can go a long way in preventing and managing these conditions.

Common Health Concerns:

  • Respiratory Issues: Due to their short snout, Shih Tzus may experience breathing difficulties, especially in hot or humid weather.
  • Eye Problems: Their large, prominent eyes can be prone to injuries and disorders like cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Although less common in smaller breeds, hip dysplasia can still affect Shih Tzus, leading to arthritis and mobility issues.
  • Ear Infections: Their floppy ears can trap moisture and debris, which can lead to infections if not cleaned regularly.

Incorporating chew toys like our antler products can be beneficial for a Shih Tzu's dental health. Chewing on hard surfaces can help reduce the build-up of tartar and plaque on their teeth, which in turn can prevent dental diseases—one of the common health issues in small breeds. Additionally, the act of chewing can also provide mental stimulation, reducing the likelihood of anxiety-related behaviors.

Dog health tips for Shih Tzu owners include:

  • Providing a balanced diet to maintain ideal body weight and prevent obesity-related issues.
  • Keeping them cool and avoiding strenuous exercise in hot weather to prevent respiratory distress.
  • Regularly cleaning their eyes and monitoring for any signs of irritation or abnormal discharge.
  • Checking their ears frequently and cleaning them as recommended by your veterinarian to prevent infections.

Always consult with a professional veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your Shih Tzu. Early detection and treatment are key to managing health issues effectively. Remember, while preventive measures and healthy habits can contribute to your Shih Tzu's overall well-being, professional veterinary care is essential for their health and longevity.

How To Train and Care Shih Tzu

Training a Shih Tzu can be a delightful experience due to their intelligent and affectionate nature. When it comes to obedience training, positive reinforcement methods are highly effective with this breed. Shih Tzus respond well to rewards and praise, which encourages them to repeat good behavior.

Consistency is key in training; it's important to establish a routine and stick to it, ensuring that training sessions are short and engaging to keep their attention. Using commands clearly and patiently helps Shih Tzus understand what is expected of them, and repetition reinforces their learning.

Our Puffs products can play a significant role in the training process. These treats, sharing the same natural ingredients as the Tibetan Dog Chew—like yak and cow milk—are perfect for rewarding your Shih Tzu during training sessions. The small size of the Puffs makes them an ideal treat for quick positive reinforcement. Since they are high in protein and free from preservatives, they are a healthy way to encourage your Shih Tzu as they learn new commands and behaviors.

When using treats like our Puffs products, it's essential to balance them with the Shih Tzu's overall diet to avoid overfeeding. Treats should be given sparingly and not replace their regular meals. Alongside effective training and the use of appropriate treats, routine care for a Shih Tzu should include regular grooming to maintain their long coat, as well as dental hygiene practices.

With proper training, a balanced diet, and regular care, your Shih Tzu will not only learn good behavior but will also thrive in its physical and mental wellbeing. Always remember to consult with a professional trainer or veterinarian for personalized advice and support in training your Shih Tzu.

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Best Popular and Unique Names For Shih Tzu

Searching for a great and unique dog name for your Shih Tzu? Worry not, here are some unique and purr-fect dog names for your furry friend.

Male Shih Tzu Name Female Shih Tzu Name
Baxter Bella
Maxwell Zoey
Oliver Luna
Teddy Molly
Gizmo Sophie
Winston Daisy
Riley Ruby
Sammy Chloe
Louie Gigi
Finn Lola

Frequently Asked Questions about Shih Tzus

How often should I feed my Shih Tzu to ensure a balanced diet?

A Shih Tzu should typically be fed twice a day with high-quality dog food appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Portion control is crucial to prevent obesity, and it's recommended to consult your vet for a feeding plan that meets your dog's specific nutrient requirements.

What are some common behavior issues in Shih Tzus and how can I address them?

Shih Tzus might exhibit behaviors like chewing everything or barking. To address these, provide plenty of chew toys and engage your dog in regular play and exercise. For barking, positive reinforcement training can teach them to bark less. Always remain consistent and patient with your approach.

Can you suggest effective training techniques for a Shih Tzu?

Positive reinforcement is the best method. Use treats, such as our Puffs products, to reward good behavior. Keep training sessions short, consistent, and fun. Basic dog training commands like sit, stay, and come are essential and can be taught at home with practice and patience.

What routine care should Shih Tzu owners not overlook?

Regular grooming is a must to keep their long coat in good condition. Also, don't skip dental care; consider dental treats to help maintain oral hygiene. Ensure they have a balanced diet and don’t forget to provide regular check-ups with the vet.

Are Shih Tzus prone to any health problems, and how can I keep them healthy?

Like all breeds, Shih Tzus may face health issues such as respiratory problems, eye conditions, and ear infections. To keep them healthy, give them a balanced diet, avoid exposing them to extreme weather, and maintain a regular grooming routine. Always seek professional help if you notice any signs of health problems.


This article shares information about dog breeds for educational purposes only, using the American Kennel Club (AKC) as our main source because they're experts on dog breeds. But remember, every dog is unique. What we share might not fit every single dog, even if they are from the same breed. If your dog needs help, whether it's for health or behavior, it's always best to talk to a vet or a dog trainer. They can give advice that fits your pet's specific needs.

We want to help you learn about dogs and how to take care of them, but we can't replace professional advice. Always check with a professional if you're not sure about something to make sure your dog is healthy and happy.