Pros and Cons of Adopting a Shih Tzu – Best 12 Reasons

Before adopting a Shih Tzu dog, you must have done some research depending on your family’s living style and place. In case you are searching for a small pup to make up for the space in your home, the name ‘Shih Tzu’ must have popped up on your screen.  This dog is considered to be among the expensive dog breeds. But what you must be concerned about is how adaptable the dog is with families.

The Shih Tzu dog breed is a gentle dog with an easy-going temperament. The name ‘Shih Tzu’ means ‘Lion dog’ in Chinese. Does that mean they originated in China? Not exactly. These dogs are mostly from Tibet. They are a curious breed and have a playful nature. But, they are not fragile like other small dog breeds. However, if you are thinking of owning them, you must learn about the pros and cons of adopting Shih Tzu. 

Why you should have a Shih Tzu – Top 6 Reason:

Every dog has certain advantages and disadvantages. It’s the owner’s responsibility to co-operate with these pros and cons of a dog breed if they want to own one. The pros for adopting a Shih Tzu include:

1. It is a perfect breed for small apartments.

There are very few dog breeds that can live in small spaces. Shih Tzu is one of them. This owner-oriented breed is quite friendly in situations where he gets proper attention. Although they can adapt to any home type, they prefer condominiums and apartments. This can be considered as a pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu.  

However, they are patients of anxiety. They can develop social anxiety if left alone for a considerable amount of time. Also, these dogs are no barkers, i.e., they remain silent most of the time (even during playing).

2. They are no outdoor dogs.

Unlike bigger dog breeds, Shih Tzu does not require a regular workout. These are active dogs, but their size makes it unnecessary for them to exercise daily. Yet, they are perfect dogs for taking part in agility championships. A pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu are that, they prefer their owner’s lap more than the outdoor activities.

(Source: Insight)

To entertain your pup, you might wanna buy him some toys. However, these dogs have certain bad potty habits. You are therefore recommended to take him to the bathroom for proper disposal. Some indoor devices can also keep this habit of theirs in check.

3. They are the best companions.

Be it family or other pets, Shih Tzus are great companions. They are a constant provider of love and affection. Even for those living in a stressful situation, the Shih Tzu dog breed can put them at ease. This can surely be considered as a pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu.


Some dogs tend to prove themselves as the ‘Alpha’ while living with other pets. Sometimes, this is more in smaller dog breeds. But Shih Tzu is hardly anything like that. This breed prefers to live its life it’s way without interfering in other’s business. 

4. They do not shed that often.

A pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu are that they do not shed. They have a long, and dense double-coat.  Characteristically, these dogs have a lesser shedding factor than any other dog breed. Thus, shedding is not a severe problem for them. 

(Source: The Happy puppy Site)

By brushing their coat regularly and trimming them at intervals, the shedding can be kept in control. These pets have a beautiful coats and can be found in a variety of colours. Some breeds of this dog can also have unique blue eyes which is a rare characteristic in dogs.

5. They are not what they appear.

The Shih Tzu dog breed might look like a cute, delicate and small lap dog, but in reality, it is one of the most sturdy dog breeds. These dogs are very strong, compared to their size. With time, they can also become protective of their owner, and be ready to protect them from any danger. 

They present themselves in an aristocratic demeanour. A pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu are that they may not be very obedient and like to do things their way. However, in crucial times, they know how to protect themselves.

6. They are friendly towards strangers and children.

One of the pros and cons of adopting a Shih Tzu is that they are not fit to be guard dogs. The reason being, they are very friendly with strangers. They wag their tail or might even bark in a friendly manner when a stranger is around. 

(Source: Indian Trail Animal Hospital)

They can also act as therapy dogs for children. The charming personality of this dog breed makes them perfect for kids. However, it is important to socialize them while they are still young. Without proper socialization, these dogs can become aggressive.

6 Things you should consider before considering Shih Tzu as a pet

These were the advantages of adopting a Shih Tzu. But, there are also certain disadvantages to owning this breed. The cons for adopting a Shih Tzu are:

1. Grooming them can be costly.

One of the pros and cons of adopting Shih Tzu is that they are very expensive dogs. To keep them at their best, you might have to spend a lot of extra pence. These dogs have silky hairs all over their body. Just brushing them is not enough. You will also need to bathe them at least once in three weeks with a hair product designed especially for this breed.

(Source: Everything Shih Tzu)

To reduce some of your cost, you can cut short their hair into a Schnauzer cut or a Cocker cut. You can even pull up its bangs and tie it into a topknot using a body clip or a kennel clip. 

2. They are a stubborn breed.

Shih Tzu dog breed is comparatively head-strong than the rest of the dog breeds. A pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu are that they can be very stubborn compared to their size. These sweet-tempered dogs can become obstinate over time, if not provided with proper attention.

(Source: Miracle Shih Tzu)

The only thing that can motivate these dogs is food. They might become obedient if they are provided with their proper choice of food. However, while training them, they should also be taught the word ‘no’ so that they don’t become arrogant and greedy. 

3. They are difficult to housetrain.

Being stubborn dogs, it is difficult to train these dog breeds. A Shih Tzu dog breed likes to live inside the house more than the outside. Therefore, training them becomes the topmost priority for the owners. What is more challenging, is taking them to the bathroom. 

The potty training of this dog breed is longer compared to other dog breeds. They might behave stubbornly for particular habits. To reduce these problems, an owner must improvise early socialization and training for this dog breed. A pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu are they can develop destructive behaviour if not socialized at the correct time. 

4. They might require suits on cold and rainy days.

The long double-coat of Shih Tzu is good only till you have not trimmed it short. The long coats will protect them from rain and winter. But once they are cut short, you might need to put a sweater on them to prevent them from snow. 

Suggested Article: Raincoat for Dogs – List of Dog’s Raincoats for the Rainy season

The same applies to the breed during the rainy season. One of the pros and cons of adopting a Shih Tzu is that they might need time to dry up. Once their coat is wet, you are recommended to blow-dry the hair or wipe it with a dry towel. 

5. They require good quality food.

One of the pros and cons of adopting a Shih Tzu is that they need food of high quality. As small pups, they need a proper nutritional diet to keep up their energy. Food containing a sufficient amount of nutrients is perfect for a Shih Tzu.

(Source: Perfect Dog Breed)

However, owners are recommended to buy special dog food for Shih Tzu. Home-made food may have the nutrients required by the dog but still can cause imbalances. 

6. They can have some serious health issues.

Shih Tzu dog breed is prone to several concerning health issues. Problems like hip dysplasia, eye anomalies and patellar luxation are some of the common problems of this breed. 

This breed is also toxic to the smell of tobacco. Therefore, your prime responsibility before adopting this dog breed is to quit smoking. A pro and con of adopting a Shih Tzu are that they should be kept indoors most of the time during the summer season. This breed is incapable of adjusting to hot and humid climates. Thus, if you live in a place with such a climate, adopting a Shih Tzu might not be the best idea.


Owning a Shih Tzu dog breed can be a challenging job. It requires you to own a good bank balance. These furry little companions can also be troublesome in certain situations. As an owner, you must ensure that your dog doesn’t suffer through any problems. Keep them in a comfortable environment and provide them with nutritious food for their better development. 

Also, keep in mind your living conditions before adopting such an expensive dog breed. They can be good family dogs, but you will need to invest a good time in training and socializing them.


Are Shih Tzu fond of water?

Shih Tzu is not so fond of water. Also, their fur takes longer hours to dry.

How long does a Shih Tzu live?

A Shih Tzu lives for about 10-18 years.

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