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Other Utility Dogs include the

Lhasa ApsoLhasa Apso


Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz


and Poodle,


 to mention a few.



Shih Tzu

Phonetic Pronunciation: SHEET-zoo




The Shih Tzu (whose name means "lion"), is reputed to have been the oldest and smallest variety of the Tibetan "Holy dogs" and bears some similarity to other Tibetan breeds and it is likely that the first small Tibetan Lion Dogs from which the Shih Tzu is probably descended came to China during the Qing (Ch'ing) Dynasty (1644 - 1662).



Despite having the cutest and regal look, this dog appears to be aloof but surprisingly enough it is a very robust little dog. They are loving, loyal and will tend to bond particularly well with one member of the family. They just love human contact and companionship.  If spoilt they will act accordingly.  This breed is an intelligent dog that learns quickly and because they are such a playful and active breed they will quite often retain their puppy-like behavior until well into the later stages of life.



Height:   25cm (9in)

Weight:  5-6kg (11-13 1/21b).

The Shih Tzu has a chrysanthemum like face, abundant coat and a distinctly arrogant carriage. Their coat is long and dense, not curly, with good undercoat and slight wave permitted and their movement is arrogant and smooth flowing. All colours permissible, white blaze on forehead and white tip to tail is highly desirable in parti-colours.



If you have lots of time for the grooming and care of your Shih Tzu you can keep its naturally long, flowing coat as it is. However, it is recommended that if the dog is to be a family pet that the coat be clipped short as it will require much less grooming and care by either cutting it yourself or taking it to your local dog grooming parlour. Apart from that there is always some general care required to keep the Shih Tzu looking its best; regular bathing,  clipping of nails and daily cleaning around the eyes and moustaches is recommended. 


Life Expectancy

12-14 Years


Health Concerns

This sturdy little breed is generally a very healthy dog with few major health problems.  Luxating patellas can be a problem in the breed, and in-grown eyelashes (entropian) also can be a problem. Liver and kidney disease can also be found in this breed. Always try to feed quality dog food to ensure a healthy happy dog.



Suitable for apartment life, they make an ideal companion dog for either a single person, for older families or those families with well behaved children who do not treat the dog roughly. Small children may not mix well with this breed. They require very little exercise and love nothing more than to snuggle up on their owner's lap at any time of day.


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