Shih Tzu

With my lush mane, diminutive size, and surprising toughness, my nickname should be Baby Lion. I may look pampered and delicate with my topknot bow, but I’m a bundle of energy and confidence. Sweet and vivacious, my charms can be hard to resist; the Chinese bred me to be a friend. I’m very affectionate and friendly with everyone, though like most very small breeds I can easily be hurt by children.

I’m generally pretty vocal. I’m bright but can be a bit stubborn when it comes to training. Lounging in a studio apartment will suit me fine, though I do need an indoor game or short outdoor walk every day to keep me exercised. Please keep me out of hot weather, though!

At 9 to 16 pounds and 8 to 11 inches tall, I’m an ideal size for warming laps. My coat coloring may be solid black or black and white, gray and white, or red and white. The coat is fluffy for the first year then takes on its trademark silkiness. To avoid tangles and mats, be prepared to brush and comb me daily! Frequent baths, often weekly, are also necessary. Finding a trusted professional groomer may be a good option. Do wipe my face after eating and to avoid tear staining.

With loving care—and a big collection of hair ribbons—I’ll be snuggled at your feet for 11 to 14 years. I am vulnerable to a number of minor health issues, including hip dysplasia, ear inflammation, liver and kidney problems, inguinal hernia, and eye problems.