Lively and lovely, the Shih Tzu (pronounced shidzoo) enjoys a good walk and a good talk with his people. Bred as a companion for at least 2,000 years, this little "lion dog" is happy and outgoing, with a friendly, trusting attitude beneath the slightly arrogant appearance.
An ancient breed with a hint of the holy, Shih Tzu were favored by Chinese royalty, and were a beloved house pet during the Ming Dynasty. During the 1920s, the first pair was brought to England. More imports followed, and the breed became well established there. Its popularity spread to continental Europe and to North America, where it now enjoys a tremendous following.
Today's Shih Tzu still displays a touch of a regal demeanor, and they excel in their "job" of being an easy and gentle companion. Shih Tzus enjoy a walk, but they don’t demand vigorous outdoor activity. Ideal for apartment dwellers, seniors, and RV travelers alike, the Shih Tzu is typically accepting of new people as well as other animals. He may bark to let you know a guest has arrived, but his protection drive is otherwise rarely evidenced. After all, he was bred to be a royal companion, not a royal guard dog.
Shih Tzus are good with older children, but supervision is always wise around young children. The breed is open to friendship, but may be unsettled by awkward or rough handling. Training a kingly or queenly Shih Tzu will require patience on the part of the (common folk!) owner; the breed may view commands with a “what’s in it for me” attitude.