7 Pros and Cons of Shih Tzu

pros cons Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a small, royal dog that originated in Tibet 2000 years ago. It’s believed that this breed was made by mixing Pekinese and Lhasa Apso, to create a perfect lap and companion dog. They were given as gifts from monks to imperial families used to warm royalties over the winter and provide company all year round.

Shih Tzu remained a companion dog, even after all these years. They are perfectly content with just sitting by your side or following you around the house. They are very playful and go well with everyone, especially children. This breed has a beautiful silky and long coat, and it’s almost considered hypoallergenic, due to the special kind of coat they have. The allergens are still present in the saliva and dandruff, so they can still cause some reactions. In this article, we will be looking at some of the pros and cons of owning a Shih Tzu.

This royal pup made for loving does best as an indoor pet. While they do need an occasional walk or run, they were made for regulated temperatures and don’t do well if kept outside. They are not the easiest to train, but they can be managed if you have the patience.

Pros of Owning a Shih Tzu

1. Friendly

A major pro of Shih Tzu is that it is one of the friendliest and social dogs ever. They were made to keep humans company and this is what they do best. They are not shy and will approach almost everyone, including other animals and small children.

They are tiny but fearless, so they need to be kept inside to be safe from trouble. They are small but pretty sturdy dogs, so children are not going to hurt them easily. The personality of a Shih Tzu will accommodate everyone and if everything else fails, they will use their puppy eyes to sway you.

2. Family pet

The Shih Tzu is considered in many ways the best dog for any family, a huge advantage of owning a Shih Tzu. They can be active and playful, but at the same time, they are content with lounging on the couch. They are not loud and demanding as some small dogs, so it will be a pleasure to have their company in the house.

They are not made to be a guard dog or too active, so they are not going to be a good running buddy. But they are active and funny enough to children and adults, thus a perfect fit for most families.

3. Small

The Shih Tzu is 9 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 9 to 16 pounds, with males slightly bigger than females. So they are a perfect sized companion that you can take on any trip, walk or a vacation with you.

Considering their calm nature and affectionate personality, this social butterfly will feel the best if it’s by your side.

4. Adaptable

The Shih Tzu may be bred for royalties, but they are more than adaptable. They don’t mind the location or surroundings as long as they are with you. A big pro of a Shih Tzu is that it can live in an apartment just as well as a country house.

Their love for the owner is so big, they will be content living in a tent. It is wise however to keep them inside, especially during summer or in a hot climate, because they do tend to overheat fast.

Cons of Owning a Shih Tzu

1. Hard to train

There are not many cons to owning a Shih Tzu, because they were made to be a perfect lap dog. But that being said, the Shih Tzu does have a few “flaws” and the ability to learn is one of them.

A combination of a spoiled companion dog and average intelligence means the Shih Tzu is not the easiest to train. It may take up to 80 repetitions for them to understand and learn the command. They are playful but not obedient, so if you want your pooch to do some tricks you will have to be patient and very persistent.

2. Grooming

The Shih Tzu is famous for its long and silky, hair-like coat. They do have a thicker undercoat and they do shed. The main thing when it comes to grooming a Shih Tzu is regular, daily brushing. They also require face and eye cleaning to avoid infections.

The easier solution would be to give your Shih Tzu a “puppy cut” where the long coat is cut shorter and thus way easier to groom. They will still need regular brushing, but they won’t get as dirty or matted.

If you plan on taking your Shih Tzu to dog shows, a long coat is mandatory so be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to grooming and maintaining it in a perfect state. This can be a demanding and time-consuming task, so be careful and do your research.

3. Health problems

Even though the Shih Tzu is considered a generally healthy dog, they do have some medical conditions that are more common with this breed.

The Shih Tzu suffers from a few health problems, like:

  • Acute and chronic kidney failure
  • Heart problems
  • Eye problems (cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal detachment, and corneal dryness)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation (a slipped kneecap)

Like with any purebred breed, you should make sure the breeder is doing the right kind of breeding and taking care of the animals. A high-quality breeder will always run tests and screens of the entire litter to make sure hereditary illnesses are not present.

Most of the problems they have are not fatal but can be very painful, along with heartbreak and discomfort you will have frequent vet visits and big bills to pay.


The Shih Tzu was known as a “little lion” in ancient times, and the name suits them perfectly. They are a small package full of life and compassion. Their job was to accompany humans and this is what they do the best.

They can be hard to train, and a handful to groom, but they will love you endlessly in return. They are one of the longest living breeds in the world, so your best friend will be by your side for many years to come.

I hope that this article on pros and cons of a Shih Tzu was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Dog Category!

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