Top 15 Interesting and Fun Facts about Shih Tzu

This Dynasty dog originated in Tibet and lived a pampered life in the Chinese Imperial Palace. Although a friendly breed, Shih Tzu requires the attention of its owner while living with families. Its appearance gives dog lovers a good reason to love them. Even though they are stubborn, they love engaging with all the household members. 

As a wolf-like breed, Shih Tzu is often bossy around everyone. Just like wolves, they have a dominating characteristic. However, history says otherwise. You’ll be surprised to learn that they are among the friendliest breeds that emerged in Tibet. Also, their name is actually pronounced as ‘Sheed-zoo’.

Suggested: Shih Tzu Dog Breed, Temperament, Grooming, Health information

This adorable pet really has a lot to offer, starting with some interesting facts which you barely knew. Let’s learn about them!

Top 15 fun facts about Shih Tzu:

1. Their name means differently in different languages:

The meaning of the name ‘Shih Tzu’ is ‘Lion Dog’ in Chinese. However, according to the mandarin phrase, the term Shih Tzu means ‘Little Lion’. Stories claim that the God of Learning, Buddha Manjusri travelled with a small lion-like dog that would gradually transform itself into a fully grown animal. He then returned with this lion, carrying him on its back. 

Fun facts about Shih Tzu

This can be considered an interesting and fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed. Due to the Chinese translation of their name, people often get confused regarding their origin. Be sure, that this dog originated in Tibet, Asia.

2. The Communist Revolution almost wiped them out:

In the later years, this breed travelled around the world. When the Communist Revolution took place in China, it partially resulted in the extinction of this breed. 

Shih Tzu In China

However, another surprising factor in the breed’s extinction is the death of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi. She was the supervisor of a world-renowned breeding programme that took care of breeds like Shih Tzu, Pugs and Pekingese. After her death, it was almost impossible to take off so many dogs or run the programme smoothly. 

3. They were not considered purebred before the 19th century:

A fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed is that they became purebred after the Dalai Lama presented this breed to the Empress of Tzu Hsi in the mid-19th century. Gradually, this noble breed with small hair travelled from China to Europe and other parts of the world. 

Dalai Lama owned Shih Tzu

While it ceased to exist in China, on the contrary, it started to flourish in the United States during the 1930-1950s. By 1960, the population of this breed was at its peak. 

4. They are among the healthiest breed:

Dogs are latched with health problems most of the time. But a fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed is that they are a healthy breed. They have a long lifespan of 10-18 years, which is generally among the longest life spans. If bred from a good breeder, this dog can be one of the fittest dog breeds.

Suggested: Male vs Female Shih Tzu Dog Breed – Identify Easily!

The breed can be prone to health issues like renal dysplasia, Progressive retinal atrophy and patellar luxation (a slipped kneecap); but the chances are considerably less.  Regardless of everything, one of these breeds named Smokey from Florida managed to live 23 years!  

5. They have several nicknames:

Just like their names have several meanings, they are also blessed with various nicknames. This can also be considered one of the fun facts about the Shih Tzu dog breed. Although the breed originated in Tibet, it got its name from China. The name Shih Tzu is developed from the Chinese term ‘Shizigou’. There, people also call them ‘Dynasty dogs‘ because they were bred in an Imperial palace.

These dogs are also called ‘Chrysanthemum dogs’. This is because of the way their facial hair grows in every direction making them look like a chrysanthemum flower with a cute black nose at the centre. 

6. 14 dogs are the saviour of this breed:

During the Communist Revolution, this dog was gradually declining. One way to save them was to send them to England. Therefore, General Douglas and Lady Brownrigg took 14 of these dogs to the U.K in the 1930s. Out of these, the Brownrigg’s owned 4 of the Shih Tzu. Their names were Ta Chi, Shu Ssa, Yangtse and Tzu Hsi. 

Lady Brownrigg owned Shih Tzu

Out of these 14 dogs, 7 were male and 7 were female. It is believed that the 14 dogs that were imported to England laid the foundation for re-building this breed. 

7. They age for over 1000 years:

The Shih Tzu dog breed is an old breed. A fun fact about this breed is that there have been several documentation that confirms that this breed existed at least 1000 years back.

Shih Tzu exists for more than 1000 years

The ancestors of this breed were short, square and ‘under the table’ dogs who lived amongst people in 1000 B.C. This breed emerged from Tibet and was considered a gift for the Royalties. However, the modern-day Shih Tzus are developed from breeding a Shih Tzu with any look-alike breed like Pekingese, pugs and Lhasa Apso

8. They are a highly adaptable breed:

A fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed is that they are a very adaptable breed. They have an affectionate temperament and can easily adapt to families. The reason for them being so adaptable is because of their appearance and temperament. The cute face of their breed makes families fall for them more.

They encounter everybody with a warm gesture and act as perfect companions for humans as well as other pets. This dog may try to reinforce behaviours that are disliked by you. But, they will never try to be the boss of the family. Instead, they are quite the opposite. They try to maintain a low profile within the house.

9. These dogs even enacted in various films

An interesting and fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed is that they have participated in several films. One of these was a mockumentary comedy named “Best in Show” (2000) which featured a Shih Tzu as Miss Agnes. 

Shih Tzu in comedy show 'Best In Show'

There are 6 other different films where Shih Tzu has been enacted. One of them is ‘Seven Psychopaths’ which was published in 2012. It was a dark comedy film and featured a Shih Tzu named Bonny.

10. They are a breed with the largest variety:

The Shih Tzu dog breed has 8 varieties of its own. This is one of the unique fun facts about the Shih Tzu dog breed. The variety includes- American Shih Tzu, European Shih Tzu, Imperial Shih Tzu, Teacup Shih Tzu, Blue-eyed Shih Tzu, Brown Shih Tzu, Black Shih Tzu and Brindle Shih Tzu.

All these breeds have different coat colours. The Teacup Shih Tzu and the Imperial Shih Tzu are among the smallest breeds in the world. They are also well known for their ‘puppy cut’. A knot on the top of the head makes it easier for them to see as the hairs won’t fall on their eyes. 

11. Many celebrities own this breed:

One of the fun facts about Shih Tzu is that they have been owned by many celebrities. Travelling throughout the world has already made them famous. But after renowned personalities started owning this breed, they became more popular.  

Mariah Carey owned Shih Tzu

Singer Mariah Carey owned two of these dogs named Bing and Bong. Even the biggest Business philanthropist Bill Gates owned this breed. Queen Elizabeth II also adopted one of them and named it Choo-Choo.  Other celebrities like Beyoncé, Colin Farell and Nicole Richie have also owned this breed. Today, they are commonly owned by many famous cricket and film celebrities around the world.

12. They are perfect lapdogs:

A fun fact about Shih Tzu is that they are the best lap dogs. They have adorable temperaments and get along well with children. This adaptable breed has the trait of interacting with others. However, they can also be stubborn at times.

These dogs are always in search of attention. To keep them healthy and energetic, an owner must provide them with food that is rich in nutrients. Human treatment should also be given accordingly. 

13. It is also one of the star performers for Dog Shows:

A fascinating fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed is that they have participated in various dog shows and have gained popularity over time. Agility and rally championships are among their favourite sports. 

Shih Tzu participate in many dog shows

Shih Tzus all over the world has taken part in various dog competitions organised both by the Westminster Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. A Shih Tzu named Peyton Place, owned by Terri Jenkins won a title in the agility championship under the American Shih Tzu Club in 2014.  

14. They require a fairly less amount of exercise:

This dog breed is highly energetic. Yet they do not require much exercise. They are more of an indoor dogs, i.e., they like to stay next to their companion for as long as they can. Being human-oriented is one of their genetic qualities since the ancestors of these dogs lived in royal palaces.

A brisk walk on the terrace or simple and moderate indoor game-play can burn the excess energy in them. For this reason, these dogs are the best choice for people living in apartments. 

15. The American Kennel Club recognised them in 1969:

The Shih Tzu dogs created their empire in the 1930s. Even the American military that was stationed in Europe got their hands over this breed. Thus, their population o grew more during the 1940s-1950s. 

AKC recognized them in 1969

A fun fact about the Shih Tzu dog breed is that the American Kennel Club recognised this breed only after the end of World War II. On 1st Sept 1969, this breed became a registered member of the AKC. 


These fun facts about Shih Tzu dog breeds make us wanna know more about them. But, just like every other dog breed, even Shih Tzu has developed various misconceptions over time. As a result, people are unwilling to adopt this adorable dog breed.

They are a famous breed. But, the growing myths have made people doubt their popularity. Therefore, it is essential to receive complete information about a breed from a certified source. For further reference, you can also contact a genuine breeder to learn more about this dog breed.


Q. Are Shih Tzu stubborn?

Yes, Shih Tzu is considerably a stubborn dog if they are made to do the things they don’t like.

Q. Are wolves ancestors of the Shih Tzu dog breed?

The behaviour of a Shih Tzu dog breed may look like that of a wolf. But, in reality, they are not ancestors of this dog breed.   

Q. Is Shih Tzu an expensive breed?

Shih Tzu is an expensive breed. The price of a Shih Tzu puppy can rise to $3000 in the United States. 

Leave a Comment