Shih Tzu Puppies:  What's So Special About this Breed?

Shih Tzu Puppies     By Janice A. Jones, M.A.     |Last Updated 07-07-2021

Shih Tzu puppies are just fantastic!  Then again, I'm a little biased because I breed them and have been doing so for many years now. 

Each litter is unique and each puppy in the litter is distinctive in their own way. 

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Shih Tzu Puppies:  Personalities and Quirks

Shih Tzu Puppies Personality Traits

Colors always vary, but what is paramount is how each puppy has their own personal way of relating to their world--their temperament or personality.

Even though their little personalities are not immediately observable, you can always find the little one who can wag their tail at four-days old while nursing on their mother.  Or, the five-day old puppy who has figured out how to climb out of the whelping box, then cries because he can’t find his way back.  These small differences tell me a lot about the puppy. 

Even without any environmental influences, traits are present at birth persist throughout their life.  For example, I can almost predict that the puppy who is wagging a tail will turn out to be a rather happy-go-lucky adult, or an escape artist will be more outgoing and curious about his world. 

These features can change, of course, depending on environmental influences, but some remain constant such as the puppy's preferred sleeping position.

With all those differences, can we paint a picture of a typical Shih Tzu Puppy?

The answer is yes, because the Shih Tzu is a purebred dog and individual characteristics are likely to be present in most puppies.  Shih Tzu dogs are so popular because of their flexibility and ability to adapt to whatever situation they find themselves in at the moment.  So comparing two puppies, you might find that their temperaments vary widely.

Shih Tzu Puppies:  PersonalityShih Tzu Puppies Personalities

Shih Tzu Puppy Personality Characteristics

Curious and playful, yet laid-back and mellow

Sweet and loving, yet stubborn and arrogant

Charming and friendly, yet cautious and alert

Devoted and passionate, yet flexible and easy-going

A Shih Tzu puppy can be curious, exploring and sampling everything he sees, yet minutes later, all he wants to do is rest comfortably on your lap. 

We get many puppy kisses here and we believe that kisses are one way the puppy shows love and affection.  Shih Tzu dogs are always so fast to greet their special person.  They might be in a sound sleep, yet alert and eager to see you within a split second. 

Four Week old Shih Tzu PuppyShih Tzu Puppies Temperament and Personality Traits

Devoted and passionate about their owners could be considered an understatement.  They follow you everywhere, hence the nickname, Velcro Dog.  They crave your attention, but if you can’t give in at the moment, they are equally happy to rest by your feet or at least nearby. 

Some Shih Tzu puppies are extremely outgoing and friendly to everyone they meet.  Others are a little more cautions.  Some might even be considered shy.  The environment plays a large part in shaping these behaviors but don't underestimate genetics as well.

The most striking part of the Shih Tzu Puppy’s make-up is his ability to mold himself to the needs of his special person.  Active people end up with a Shih Tzu, who enjoys neighborhood walks. 

Shih Tzu become the perfect lap dog for seniors and people that are more sedentary.  When placed in a house full of children, the Shih Tzu demonstrates just how playful he can be.  These dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to know what we want even before we know.

With such amazing personalities, why isn’t there a Shih Tzu puppy in every household.  Well, for starters, they require some upkeep.  Daily Brushing and combing might not be your cup of tea. 

They have a reputation for being stubborn.  You will notice this if you ask them to do something that, they do not particularly want to do.  Housebreaking is a little harder with Shih Tzu dogs and training can be more challenging. 

Read more about the temperament of the Shih Tzu.

Preparing for Shih Tzu Puppies' Adoptions

Prepare For the new Shih Tzu Puppy.Prepare for Shih Tzu Puppies Arrival at Your Home

Planning for a new puppy can be a fun experience for the entire family. 

  • What to name that puppy?  You will use that name for a very long time.  Check our our Shih Tzu dog names.

  • Where will the puppy sleep?  Or, spend his time when he's not playing with your?  Every puppy needs a place of his own that is safe, comfortable and secure.  Your home  can survive the addition of a small puppy with a little puppy-proofing on your part.

  • What supplies will I need?  The sky is the limit depending on your budget, but don't feel like you need to go out and break the bank.  There are some specific supplies that all new puppies will need, but you may want to budget your shopping spree.  Some items are more important than others.

  • What veterinarian will I choose?  Groomer?  Dog Day Care?  You will likely want to use the services of a variety of professionals as your puppy grows.  The veterinarian is the most important but if you are not planning to groom at home, a professional groomer will be important to you as Shih Tzu dogs need grooming about every two months. If you work full time away from home, you might want to consider a dog day care center for your puppy. 

  • That first night can be difficult.  Consider this.  A young puppy who is accustomed to sleeping with his siblings and mom is now faced with a new environment with no one nearby to cuddle up to.  No matter how much he seems to love you, he is still frightened at the thought of sleeping by himself for the first time in his life.  How can you help calm your new puppy?  Read Your Puppy's First Night.

Developmental Stages of Shih Tzu Puppies

Developmental Stages of Shih Tzu Puppies

Ever wonder how your puppy develops from the first day of life throughout early development, adolescence and into adulthood?  Development in dogs, like in humans proceeds at a predictable way but what does it even look like? 

I have a few articles that you might enjoy reading

Developmental Stages of Shih Tzu Puppies

Shih Tzu Adolescents

Shih Tzu Puppies Health Issues

Shih Tzu Puppy Health Issues

It would be wonderful if every puppy was born health with no problems to worry about?  Of course that is not the case.  Shih Tzu dogs are no more or less healthy than any other breed.  They have common problems such as umbilical hernias, pinched nostrils, or even heart murmurs. 

Luckily, surgery can repair umbilical hernias and pinched nostrils (stenotic nares).  Most heart murmurs disappear by the time the puppy is old enough to get spayed or neutered.  There are many options available to avoid infectious diseases or treat parasitic outbreaks.  The best way to have a healthy pup is to develop a good relationship with a veterinarian, provide an excellent diet, allow them to get plenty of exercise, and maintaining a stress free,

Training and Socializing Shih Tzu Puppies

Training and socializing Shih Tzu Puppies

They do have some health issues that plague some dogs and many suffer from separation anxiety if not adequately socialized when they are young. 

So, if you can tolerate these somewhat negative traits, you are likely to have a pal who will be wholly devoted to you.  Luckily, many of these negative characteristics can be changed with training, which is something new owners need to initiate the day the puppy goes home. This training will include not only house training (potty-training) but also basic house rules and dog commands such as comesitstay, and how to walk on a leash.

You may also want to teach more skills such as "leave it" or how to lie "down" or enroll your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class.  

Puppy Sizes

Shih Tzu Puppies

The American Kennel Club breed standard calls for an adult dog that is between 9 and 16 pounds and a height of between 8 and 11 inches.  Height is measured at the withers meaning the ridge between the shoulder blades.  

Not all puppies fall within the standard so you may see dogs that have long legs and are too tall or those that have short legs and too short.   But most standard size Shih Tzu are going feel solid and compact.  

If you end up getting a Shih Tzu that is below the standard size, he is not only going to feel light-weight, but the bones and muscular will not feel solid.

You can often estimate the adult weight of a puppy by looking at his parents and grandparents if possible.  You can also calculate an estimate of the adult size by know how much he weighs at any given time frame.  These are just estimates, but if you want to check it out we have a puppy weight chart that might help.

Feeding Puppies

Feeding Shih Tzu Puppies

Most Shih Tzu puppies are good eaters and will look forward to mealtime, but there are some picky eaters that cause some owners a great deal of stress.  It is important to become an informed consumer of dog foods as there is a lot of hype and fancy advertising that brands will use just to get your attention.  Learning a little bit about reading dog food labels will also help you decide what is right for your puppy.

Eight week old puppies will need to eat 3 times a day and then by the time they are six months, you can reduce those meals to two a day.  Puppies love treats, and you will want to purchase or make some very tasty treats for use during your training sessions. Remember that you can make your own treats or use bits of vegetables, fruits or tiny bites of meat or fish.

Very tiny puppies may need to have food available all of the time because if they go without food for too long, they can go into what is called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.  This is a serious problem that needs immediate attention.  Most standard size Shih Tzu Puppies don't have this problem.

Grooming Shih Tzu Puppies

Grooming Shih Tzu Puppies

If you get a Shih Tzu puppy that loves to lay down and accept brushing, combing, and getting baths, consider yourself lucky.  Most puppies are so busy that they don't have time for lengthy brushing sessions, but alas, Shih Tzu puppies will require a tremendous amount of grooming over their lifetime. That is for the pet Tzu. 

If you are planning to show your dog, you'll likely set apart up to two hours a day to keep your Shih Tzu looking his best.  Training a puppy for grooming takes some time and should not be rushed.  Grooming is an excellent way to bond with your puppy.  Giving a puppy a bath doesn't need to be traumatic even with a strong, squirmy puppy.  You can even learn to put in a puppy top knot if you want to do so.

You  may also want to check out these additional grooming resources even when your puppy is young.  

How to clip dog nails

How to manage your Puppy's Paw Pads

How to manage your puppy's dental needs

What do Shih Tzu Puppies Need to be Healthy and Happy?

What does Shih Tzu Puppies Need.

Just what should we be doing to help our puppies grow and develop become well adjusted, well-trained adults? It is actually easy.  If you haven't read our what puppies need, we recommend you do so.

Shih Tzu Puppies Video

Pin for Future Reference

A Shih Tzu puppy on the wrong side of the gate.FAQ: Shih Tzu Puppies

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.

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