The Shih Tzu originated in China and is reported to be the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs. The breed has several nicknames: Tibetan Temple Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog (due to its face looking like the flower), and the Tibetan Lion Dog.
The breed stands 8 to 11 inches tall and weighs 9 to 16 pounds. It is a solid, compact dog with good substance for its size. The Shih Tzu is characterized by its short snout, large eyes, flowing double coat, and palm-like tail which waves above its torso. The coat can be many colors, but it is most often black and white.
The Shih Tzu is an energetic, friendly breed. It may be a fairly time-consuming pet due to some of its special needs, but it makes an excellent companion due to its lively attitude among other things.
The breed’s care could require daily brushing if the coat is kept show length. The breed needs regular haircuts and bathing as well. The Shih Tzu’s face should be cleaned after eating, as its face can get messy. Mucus buildup can occur around the eyes, and it can be difficult for the dog to drink as well. Many Shih Tzu are trained to drink from hamster licker bottles in order to keep from having breathing issues while drinking.
The Shih Tzu generally lives 13 to 15 years. It may experience some health problems such as portosystemic liver shunt, renal dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and eye problems. It is also sensitive to high temperatures due to its snub nose.