Shih Tzu Breed and Personality
Shih tzu dogs are part of a breed that was originally designed to complement the royal families in China. With China as the origin of shih tzus, it makes sense that this name of dog breed is Chinese for little lion. And if you take a look at a shih tzu, you might even agree that shih tzus look like smaller versions of the ferocious lions, too.
However, shih tzus are nothing like lions in terms of personalities and temperaments. They are royal dogs, after all. They love to hang out in close proximity to their favorite humans, and even though a reputation of being high maintenance precedes them, shih tzus are some of the sweetest, kindest, and most loving dogs in the world.
Background Information about the Shih Tzu Dog Breed
Let's talk a bit more about where the shih tzu dog breed started and how they came to be one of the most popular dogs today. On a list of the oldest dog breeds around the globe, shih tzus fall into the category of the top fifteen oldest breeds. Shih tzus are also known as Chinese lion dogs, as well as Chrysanthemum dogs.
Shih tzu characteristics, such as height and weight, make for a smaller dog. There is not much difference between male shih tzus and female shih tzus in relation to how much they weigh. Male shih tzus, when fully grown, are often anywhere between just under nine pounds and sixteen pounds. Female shih tzus, on the other hand, average between eight-point-eight pounds and fifteen-point-seven pounds. When it comes to height differences, there actually aren't any real differences between male and female shih tzu heights. Both genders grow to be an estimated seven-point-nine inches tall on the lower end of the spectrum, and the tallest the average shih tzu tends to be is about eleven inches tall.
The fur of shih tzus varies from shih tzu to shih tzu, and as shih tzu puppies age into shih tzu dogs, their fur color can change ever so slightly, too.
Coat colors tend to be...
- Dark brown
- Light brown
- Golden brown
Something else to note about shih tzu fur color is that their fur is rarely just one color. Highlights are very common for shih tzu coats, and their long, straight, silky fur creates a coat that looks like human hair almost.
On average, shih tzus live anywhere between ten and fifteen years of age. The most common age that shih tzus reach is about twelve years old, which is very comparable to the average lifespan of dogs in general. Interestingly enough, shih tzu puppies tend to be born in litters of one to eight puppies in total. It isn't common for shih tzu litters to only have one puppy in them, so this is a fun fact to know about the shih tzu dog breed.
What are the Typical Personality Traits of Shih Tzu Dogs?
The personality of a shih tzu will differ ever so slightly from one shih tzu to another. Things like how your dog tales to new squeaky toys or how your pup likes to spend most of his or her time are all influenced by your dog's personality. But one aspect of a shih tzu that owners can always count on is that they can be very hard-headed at times. As a stubborn dog by nature, shih tzus are not terribly inclined, willing, or likely to do anything you are trying to get them to do if they are not in the mood to do it.
Shih tzu personalities are also comprised of endless love and affection for their owners. When a shih tzu has a connection with a human being, it is hard to break, and you'll have a loyal companion for life with a shih tzu by your side. They are intentionally bred to be a canine companion that values the bond between an owner and a pet, but with their loyalty comes a lot of confidence and self-assured behavior. Shih tzus are not the easiest dogs to train because they know what they want and what they don't want, so convincing a shih tzu to listen to you is no easy endeavor.
Training is not impossible, but the shih tzu personality comes across as arrogant, and they are very picky about what they will and will not do. They are not trying to come across as conceited, self-important, or better than their owners, even though that might be your first impression when trying to command a shih tzu to do something. With a bit of patience and a dash of compassion, you will get your shih tzu trained to the level that you want for them. This part of their personality aside, shih tzu dogs absolutely love to be exposed to new adventures and experience their environments to the utmost degree.
Shih tzu dogs have an impressive ability of processing their environments, situations, and new scenery at a rate that not many dogs can, which is attributable to the insane intellect of shih tzus. Shih tzus will greet nearly every dog they come in contact with, which can be cute and beneficial for the social life of your dog, but keep this in mind whenever you take your shih tzu on a stroll through the neighborhood. Not all dogs are as welcoming and friendly as a shih tzu, so if your little dog walks up to a dog that has social anxiety or nervous, does not like other dogs, or just isn't as open to being greeted for whatever reason, it could end in a way that your shih tzu didn't anticipate.
To prevent your dog from being nipped at or bitten, always make sure you ask the owners of other dogs if they are friendly before your shih tzu can greet them. As friendly as they are, it can sometimes be to the point of putting themselves in harm's way unintentionally. Your shih tzu is just eager to make a friend, and the confidence shih tzus naturally possess prevents them from considering that it's not a good idea.
Shih tzu personality also entails kindness and gentleness. Shih tzu dog breeds are not bred for aggression, volatility, or defensive. If you end up adopting a shih tzu and finding that he or she is quick to jump at other people or other animals, then the breeder might not have properly bred the litter that your shih tzu was part of, which can be frustrating. Shih tzus are not meant to be attack dogs, and they are not designed for the sake of defending property, being guard dogs, or anything that requires aggressive behavior.
Of course they will bark to get your attention if someone is coming near your front door or getting too close to your shih tzu for comfort, but it should not be common for your shih tzu to bark at everyone or everything that moves. Shih tzus need downtime, just like any dog. But something you can always count on your shih tzu for is a casual walk around the neighborhood, through the park, or anywhere calm and scenic. The shih tzu personality is one that is down for anything, so there is not a lot of environment-proofing that you need to do in order for your shih tzu to be content.
They can live in cool places, as well as survive in warmer areas, though it's best not to keep your shih tzu in environments of extremity. They don't love freezing cold temperatures, nor do they appreciate high temperatures. Speaking of environments, your shih tzu will likely do just fine in homes with other pets, and they are well-behaved around children, too. Shih tzus bode well with other dogs, as we touched on earlier when discussing the ways that shih tzus interact with other dogs. Shih tzus are very loving by nature so they will feel that everyone in the house is someone they love and need to respect. Shih tzus are very compatible with families, big or small.
The Temperament of Shih Tzu Dogs
Shih tzu traits in terms of their temperament include extroversion, optimism, and quietness. Shih tzu temperament is different in shih tzu puppies and shih tzu dogs. As puppies, shih tzus are friendlier than you could ever imagine, and they will not hesitate to welcome everyone they meet with open arms. It's important to keep an eye on your shih tzu so that he or she is never in harm's way. Running up to an unfriendly person or dog can end badly for your shih tzu, so as an owner of a shih tzu puppy, you'll want to baby them for a year or two until the shift in temperament begins to take place.
Your shih tzu will likely always be very excitable, outgoing, and extroverted. It is a key point of their temperaments, after all. But over the years, your shih tzu dog will mellow out a bit and keep its friendliness at bay, only displaying its love and affection for those that your dog is closest to. One part of your dog's temperament that will remain consistent over time is the way shih tzu dogs are in a good mood naturally. They are excellent when it comes to elevating the moods of others, and shih tzus are well-known for their role as therapy dogs. If you have ever been around a dog that makes you feel uplifted and they just bring a vibe of happiness, then you practically already know what it's like to own a shih tzu.
They can raise the mood of a room just by strutting into it, which comes down to the kindness of shih tzus. Their temperament allows for them to be a bright light in everyone's lives. This contagious happiness is an attribute that shih tzus are well-known for, and even though shih tzu puppies are pretty upbeat as puppies, their energy levels start to drop as shih tzu dogs age. They are very reactive, in the best of ways, and their temperaments are all-around positive. This baseline level of temperaments in shih tzus is the reason why shih tzus respond well to just about everything.
Do Shih Tzus Get Anxious Easily and Often?
Shih tzu dogs are not naturally predisposed to anxiety. This might not sound like much of a surprise given the way shih tzus yearn for human connection, crave interactions, and love to engage with everyone around them. The extroverted nature of the shih tzu dog breed is an added bonus because it detracts from the otherwise anxiety nature of dogs. This is not to say that shih tzus cannot experience anxiety, but it's less likely that a shih tzu will suffer from anxiety disorders. However, in the rare case that your shih tzu is enduring the unlucky circumstances that anxiety inflicts, don't lose hope. There are many ways of lessening the symptoms, and eventually, you'll probably be able to find a remedy that eliminates the anxious tendencies in their entirety.
How To Help Your Anxious Shih Tzu Feel Better
When it comes to relieving anxiety in shih tzu dogs, your best bet is going the route of natural medication. Cannabidiol is an all-natural way of treating anxiety in shih tzus. Unlike prescription drugs that are intended to treat anxiety in dogs, CBD is not harsh on the body, does not contain anything man-made, and causes absolutely zero adverse reactions. There aren’t any negative side effects of CBD because you are not giving your shih tzu anything that is artificially created.
CBD is derived from cannabis plants, as well as hemp plants. There is a misconception that CBD will get your dog high. The reason for this assumption is the sole fact that CBD is derived from cannabis, which is also called marijuana and used for the person of getting high. The part of this thought process that is the most flawed is the misguided belief that cannabis itself causes people and pets to get high. This is inaccurate.
While cannabis plants are needed in order to derive the high-inducing substances, it is not the plant as a whole that creates these body- and mind-altering experiences. Instead, there are various cannabinoids in cannabis that can be extracted and used for their individual purposes. When it comes to calming anxiety, CBD is extracted. But the cannabinoid that causes psychoactive effects is THC, not CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol creates changes in the brain and in the body, whereas cannabidiol reduces stress levels, anxious behaviors, and rapid thinking in the mind of your shih tzu.
CBD Oil for the Shih Tzu Dog Breed
Calming an anxious shih tzu sounds like no easy task, but the good news that we are here to deliver to you is that anxiety in shih tzus is not necessarily a lifelong sentence. If you have not heard about CBD for dogs yet and the benefits of CBD for your dog, now's your chance to learn all about cannabidiol and how it can help relieve shih tzu anxiety! CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD that is sold by Innovet is extracted from cannabis by a highly popular process known as cold CO2 extraction process, but CBD can certainly be extracted safely and efficiently in other ways, too. The confusion that comes with talking about cannabis for pets is that the general assumption is that cannabis, as a whole, is what gets people and animals high.
The caution we advise you to take when searching for pet CBD is the ratio of THC to CBD within the branded oil. See, CBD oils and anything labeled as a CBD-dominant product must not contain more than 0.03% of THC. If there is more THC than permitted by rules and regulations, then the CBD oil has the potential to get your dog high. THC in such low doses is perfectly acceptable, but it's problematic when the contents of your dog's CBD oil surpasses the maximum THC percentage allowed in a CBD product for pets. In fact, a small amount of THC actually enhances the effects of CBD oil for dogs. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect and it explains the way that the presence of some THC as well as a few other cannabis terpenes makes the CBD you give your dog far more effect and beneficial overall.
Where Can You Buy CBD for Shih Tzu Dogs?
Innovet is a one-stop place to find CBD for shih tzus who need some calming relief. We offer hemp-based cannabidiol for dogs of all breeds, and shih tzus can surely benefit from the use of CBD oil for anxiety. We offer CBD oils, doggy treats, chewy snacks, balms, and cannabidiol capsules for shih tzus with anxiety, inflammation, and any other health concerns that CBD can improve. Feel free to look at our inventory so you can find the CBD product that will be suit your shih tzu the best!
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team
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