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Shih Tzu-Maltese

Popular Pup

Very friendly female family dog, two year old Shih Tzu-Maltese. Excellent with children. Very fast at fetching balls!. Very affectionate…


Portumna, Galway

Shih Tzu Facts

Origin: Tibet
Lifespan: 10-18 years
Breed Group: Toy
Coat Type: Long and flowing
Coat Colours: Various Colours, often with white
Temperament: Friendly, Outgoing, Alert
Height: 20-28 cm (8-11 inches)
Weight: 4-7 kg (9-16 lbs)


Shih Tzu for Sale Ireland

The Shih Tzu, a gentle and sweet-natured purebred canine, is a small-sized lap dog known for its double coat, non-shedding nature, and distinctive features. It boasts large, dark eyes, a short muzzle, and long, continuously growing silky hair that can display various colours. Classified as a member of the Toy companion category, it has a rich history of being cherished by Chinese royalty and nobility.

Believed to be the result of crossbreeding between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso, the Shih Tzu has served as a pampered and prized house pet for over a millennium. Its roots trace back to Tibetan Monks who gifted these dogs to Chinese emperors as far back as 800 BC. In the imperial courts, their lion-like facial features were so esteemed that they were considered the exclusive property of the royal court. Ownership outside the palace walls was punishable by death.

This companion breed thrives on human companionship and excels in training sessions when treated with gentleness, praise, affection, and delectable treats. It’s important to avoid raising one’s voice or displaying frustration with a Shih Tzu, as this sensitive breed responds best to calm energy and positive reinforcement during training.

A Brief History

Origins in Ancient China

The Shih Tzu’s origins are the stuff of legends. Rooted in the ancient courts of China, where they were revered as sacred companions to Chinese emperors, these dogs were so treasured that for many years, outsiders could not acquire them. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Shih Tzus made their journey westward, captivating hearts across Europe, and eventually making a mark in Ireland.

Ancient Beginnings: Tibet and China

The lovable Shih Tzu, known for its long, flowing coat, is an ancient breed of canine originating in Tibet around 800 BC, according to DNA studies. Depictions of this breed can be traced back to as early as AD 624. The Shih Tzu is believed to be the closest descendant of Senji, the prehistoric Chinese wolf.

The Role of Tibetan Monks and Names of the Breed

Many think that Tibetan monks developed the Shih Tzu breed, offering these dogs as gifts to Chinese emperors. Throughout its history, this breed has had at least seven different names. Its original name is “Tibetan Shih Tzu Kou,” meaning Tibetan Lion Dog, due to its lion-like facial features, which were revered because of the belief that Buddha rode to earth on a lion.

Naming and Pronunciation

Another name for the Shih Tzu was “Xi Shi Quan,” inspired by one of the most beautiful women in China, Xi Shi. It’s worth noting that the correct pronunciation of Shih Tzu is more like “She Zoo” or “Sheed-Zoo.” Interestingly, the name Shih Tzu can refer to one dog or many dogs since it serves as both singular and plural.

Shih Tzu in Imperial China

In the past, the Shih Tzu was raised in Chinese imperial palaces by eunuchs exclusively for the nobility’s pleasure. Ownership of these sacred dogs outside the palace was punishable by death. During the Ming and Manchu Dynasties, Shih Tzu were used as bed warmers, placed at the emperors’ and empresses’ feet to generate heat on cold nights. They were so highly regarded that they were even allowed to dine at the Emperor’s table.

Breeding and Evolution

The breeding of Shih Tzu was carried out in secret by palace eunuchs, who crossed breeds without the Empress’s approval to reduce their size and create unique markings. This resulted in the Shih Tzu having distinct characteristics that set them apart from the Tibetan Lion Dogs, which evolved into today’s Lhasa Apsos.

Near Extinction and Importation

Due to the breed’s secrecy and the difficulty of acquiring these sacred palace dogs, they nearly went extinct in China after the Communist Revolution of 1949. The entire gene pool of all existing Shih Tzu consists of only 14 dogs, seven females and seven males. In 1932, three of them were imported from China to Norway by Mrs. Henrick Kauffman, with one of them being the only female bred in the Imperial Palace to reach the Western World. Three more Shih Tzu were imported from China to England when General Brownrigg was stationed in Peking, becoming the breeding stock for Lady Brownrigg’s Taishan Kennel.

Chrysanthemum Dogs in England

In 1930s England, Shih Tzu were given the nickname “Chrysanthemum Dog” because their hair grows in all directions around their faces, resembling the petals of a chrysanthemum. The first European standard for the Shih Tzu breed was established in 1935 by the Shih Tzu Club.

Introduction to the United States

The breed was introduced to the United States after World War II when returning soldiers brought these dogs back with them. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Shih Tzu in 1969, placing it in the Toy Group.

Shih Tzu: Did You Know?

  • The breed name “Shih Tzu” means “Little Lion” in Mandarin, and it goes by various other names, including “Tibetan Lion Dog,” “Little Lion dog”, “Chrysanthemum Dog,” and “Chinese Lion Dog.”
  • Pronouncing “Shih Tzu” can be tricky; you can also call it a “Tibetan Lion Dog.”
  • Ancient legend tells of the Tibetan Buddhist God of Learning, who always had a small lion dog by his side because it could transform into a full-sized lion when needed.
  • The name “Shih Tzu” can refer to one dog or multiple dogs.
  • In the past, this breed humorously earned the nickname “which way” dog because its long coat made its head and tail look similar.

Popularity of Shih Tzus in Ireland

Ireland’s love for dogs is diverse and deep-seated. The Shih Tzu, with its luxurious coat and gentle nature, fits seamlessly into this landscape:

  1. Compact Size: Perfect for both urban apartments and sprawling countryside homes, their small size makes them easy travel companions, be it a trip to the local market or a countryside getaway.
  2. Companionship: Known for their affectionate nature, Shih Tzus are perfect companions, forming deep bonds with their families.
  3. Aesthetics: Their distinct flowing coat and proud stance make them a standout, a factor that many Irish dog enthusiasts find irresistible.
  4. Community Connection: From dedicated breed clubs to specialized groomers, the infrastructure supporting Shih Tzu owners in Ireland has seen significant growth, reflecting the breed’s enduring popularity.

Shih Tzu Puppies

Shih Tzu puppies, with their boundless energy and curious eyes, are nothing short of enchanting. The early days are filled with playful antics, exploring their surroundings, and forming initial bonds with their human families. For potential owners, these formative weeks are crucial for training and socialization, setting the stage for a well-adjusted adult Shih Tzu.

A Shih Tzu puppy should never be removed from their mother any earlier than 8 weeks of age (at the very earliest), and leaving them until they are 10 to 16 weeks of age is preferred because this will give them the extra time they need to learn important life skills from the mother dog, including eating solid food and grooming themselves.

Also, a puppy left amongst their litter mates for a longer period of time will learn better socialization skills. For the first month of a puppy’s life they will be on a mother’s milk-only diet.

Once the puppy’s teeth begin to appear, they will start to be weaned from mother’s milk, and by the age of 8 weeks should be completely weaned and eating just puppy food.

Size and Weight

Despite their grand appearance, Shih Tzus are compact, making them ideal for a variety of living conditions:

  • Males & Females: On average, an adult Shih Tzu weighs between 4-7.2 kg and stands at a height of 20-28 cm.


While many may live longer, on average, the Shih Tzu lifespan will be around 16 years. Generally, females will live 1.4 years longer than males.

Coat & Colours

A Shih Tzu puppy coat will be darker when they are first born and soft to the touch, and although it may drastically change colour from puppy to adult (unless they are black and white), will usually remain soft or silky (although not in the case of a British Shih Tzu).

Adult coats start to grow at around 6 months of age. The complete transition to the adult coat typically takes 9 to 10 months. Neglecting regular brushing during this transition can lead to serious matting. Daily brushing with a pin brush is essential during this phase to prevent matting. Severely matted coats may require shaving and starting the coat over.

They have long, flowing coats that don’t shed and can come in a variety of colours. Standard coat colours include black, black and white, blue, brindle red, dark brown, light brown, gold, and grey. They can also display various coat colour combinations, and their coat may change shade as they age.

Shih Tzu for Sale in Ireland

As the Shih Tzu’s popularity remains consistent, prospective owners have several options to explore:

  1. Reputable Breeders: When considering a Shih Tzu, potential owners should prioritize engaging with breeders who uphold ethical breeding practices.
  2. Adoption: For those looking to give a Shih Tzu a second chance at a loving home, adoption is a heartwarming option, with several rescue groups focusing on the breed.

Pros of Shih Tzu Ownership

  • Being a non-shedding breed, the Shih Tzu is an ideal choice for individuals with allergies.
  • Shih Tzus have a relatively long lifespan, ensuring they remain loyal companions for many years.
  • Their small size makes them well-suited for apartment living without access to a yard.
  • Shih Tzus are compact enough to fit comfortably inside airline-approved, in-cabin travel bags, allowing them to travel with you on flights.
  • These dogs are known for their playful and affectionate nature, enjoying both energetic walks and cozy couch cuddles.
  • Due to their smaller size, Shih Tzus have modest appetites, making them budget-friendly in terms of treats and food.
  • Shih Tzus are incredibly loving and devoted to their families, boasting sharp hearing to alert you to approaching visitors.
  • They are intelligent and eager learners, responding well to training from a calm and caring guardian.
  • Shih Tzus can be an excellent choice for families with older children seeking a playful and resilient small dog.

Cons of Shih Tzu Ownership

  • Being a long-lived small dog, owning a Shih Tzu entails a significant and enduring commitment, potentially spanning 16 to 18 years or more.
  • Their petite size renders them vulnerable to accidental injuries, such as falls from heights, encounters with larger dogs, or the risk of being preyed upon by large birds.
  • As a non-shedding breed, regular grooming is essential. If you cannot groom them yourself, be prepared for frequent visits to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks.
  • To prevent tangles and matting, it’s soft coat should ideally be brushed or combed daily, especially when allowing it to grow long. If kept short, daily coat maintenance becomes less demanding.
  • Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues, necessitating daily teeth brushing.
  • Young Shih Tzus tend to be spirited and active, requiring ample physical and mental stimulation for their well-being.
  • Without proper training, some Shih Tzus may exhibit demanding behaviours.
  • Certain Shih Tzus can easily become overexcited when encountering new people and situations, potentially leading to reverse sneezing episodes.

Shih Tzu Mixes

Shih Tzu mixes, often referred to as designer dogs, result from crossing a Shih Tzu with another breed. These mixes can have a wide range of appearances and characteristics. Here is a list of some popular mixes:

  1. Shih Poo (Shih Tzu + Poodle): These dogs are known for their intelligence and hypoallergenic coats.
  2. Shih Tzu Bichon (Zuchon): Combining with a Bichon Frise results in a friendly and affectionate companion.
  3. Shih Tzu Maltese (Malshi): These dogs are small, playful, and have a sweet disposition.
  4. Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier (Shorkie): Shorkies are energetic and often have a mix of both parent breeds’ characteristics.
  5. Shih Tzu Chihuahua (ShiChi): These small dogs are a blend of the Shih Tzu’s charm and the Chihuahua’s feistiness.
  6. Shih Tzu Dachshund (Shiweenie): Shiweenies can have long bodies like Dachshunds and the Shih Tzu’s facial features.
  7. Shih Tzu Shiba Inu (Shiranian): Mixing a Shih Tzu with a Shiba Inu results in a dog with a fox-like appearance and a spirited personality.
  8. Shih Tzu Cocker Spaniel (Cock-A-Tzu): These dogs inherit the Shih Tzu’s friendly nature and the Cocker Spaniel’s gentle temperament.
  9. Shih Tzu Bulldog (Bull Shih): Combining a Shih Tzu with a Bulldog can result in a unique-looking dog with a calm demeanour.
  10. Shih Tzu Beagle (Bea-Tzu): Bea-Tzus may inherit the Beagle’s nose for scents and the Shih Tzu’s friendly nature.
  11. Shih Tzu Pomeranian (Shiranian): This mix combines the Shih Tzu’s affection with the Pomeranian’s spirited personality.
  12. Shih Tzu West Highland White Terrier (Westie Tzu): These dogs combine the Shih Tzu’s charm with the Westie’s spunky attitude.

Keep in mind that the appearance, temperament, and traits of Shih Tzu mixes can vary widely depending on the specific mix and the influence of each parent breed. It’s essential to research and understand the characteristics of both breeds before getting a Shih Tzu mix as a pet.

Living with a Shih Tzu in Ireland

Well-Suited for Irish Living

  • Teacup Shih Tzus adapt well to smaller living spaces, making them suitable for apartments and cosy Irish homes.
  • While they can thrive in compact settings, they truly excel when provided with ample daily exercise in Ireland’s picturesque landscapes.

The Need for Exercise

  • These lively companions require both mental and physical stimulation, especially in the lush greenery of Irish counties like Kerry and Wicklow.
  • To maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being, adult Shih Tzus should enjoy at least three daily walks lasting 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Additionally, they benefit from opportunities to run free in open spaces or engage in canine sports, such as agility or ball chasing, amidst the scenic beauty of counties like Cork or Galway.

Inclusion in Family Life

  • Intelligent, friendly, and enthusiastic, Shih Tzus thrive when included in family activities across Ireland, from Dublin to Donegal.
  • Involving them in your daily routine helps keep their minds active, preventing boredom and ensuring a happy, well-balanced dog.
  • Leaving them alone for extended hours can lead to nervousness, noise, or attempts to escape, which is not the norm for these sociable dogs.

Pack Animals in Irish Communities

  • Like all dogs, Shih Tzus are pack animals who look to their owners for guidance, and this holds true whether you reside in bustling Dublin or the serene countryside of Clare.
  • Leaving them alone for extended periods may result in unhappiness and potential behavioural issues.
  • In Ireland’s tight-knit communities, it’s important to provide your Shih Tzu with the companionship and activity they crave to keep them content and well-adjusted.