Up to 11 inches
The name “Shih Tzu” means lion dog in Chinese, it received the name because of its long, flowing mane-like coat. It is a sturdy, lively, toy dog with long flowing double coat. This dog has a distinctively arrogant carriage with head well up and tail curved over the back. It may display an arrogant personality, but is actually playful and gentle. This dog adapts well to any family situation and will enjoy a cuddle in your lap, doing tricks, or fetching a tennis ball.
The Shih-Tzu is a happy, hardy, alert, and spunky little dog. It is dignified, courageous and sometimes arrogant. This dog does well with polite, careful children. It is gentle and affectionate. It can get snappish if it is surprised or peeved. It makes friends easily and although obstinate can respond well to consistent patient training. This dog makes a very alert watchdog. It likes to bark, but is usually quiet inside the house. Socialization at an early age is a must. It is generally good with other pets. Some can be difficult to housebreak. It is a naturally active dog but if it is allowed it will lie around in its favorite spots. Daily walks are a good idea. Do not over feed this dog or it will quickly become fat.
Long, dense, not curly with a good undercoat. This dog requires a good daily grooming using a bristle brush. A topknot is usually tied with a bow so that the dog can see properly. Some owners prefer to have them trimmed to make the coat easier and less time consuming to care for. This breed sheds little to no hair and is good for allergy suffers if the coat is kept very well groomed.
Documents and paintings dating from the sixteenth century show dogs resembling a small lion (which the Shih-Tzu is sometimes called). In the seventeenth century, dogs were brought from Tibet and bred in the forbidden City of Peking, probably by crossing the Tibetan Lhasa Apso and the native Pekingese. The Shih-Tzu became a favorite of the Imperial Chinese court. The breed was so revered that for many years after the Chinese began trading with the West, they refused to sell, or even give away, any of the little dogs. It was not until 1930 that the first pair was imported to England. The Shih-Tzu was recognized in Britain in 1946 and by the AKC in the United States in 1969. Today the breed is very popular, both as a companion and as a glamorous show dog.