Unveiling the Shih Tzu: Beyond the Adorable Fluff Ball

With their regal gait and expressive eyes, Shih Tzus have graced the laps of emperors and charmed countless families for centuries. Their silky fur, playful personalities, and undeniable cuteness make them irresistible to many.

However, beneath the adorable facade lies a breed with unique needs and potential challenges that might surprise some prospective owners.

Here at DoggiPro.com, we believe in informed pet ownership, which includes understanding the sunshine and the rain when choosing a canine companion.

While we cherish all breeds, we recognize that “worst dog” can be a loaded term, often stemming from unmet expectations or incompatibility with a particular lifestyle.

This article isn’t about putting down Shih Tzus but shedding light on why they might not be the perfect fit for everyone, especially first-time pet owners.

Imagine scrolling through endless pictures of fluffy Shih Tzus, their playful antics melting your heart. You envision cuddling on the couch, taking leisurely walks, and having a devoted furry friend by your side. But what if the reality involves daily brushing marathons, expensive vet bills, and persistent barking? This disconnect between expectation and reality can lead to frustration and even regret for both owner and dog.

So, before you succumb to the allure of those captivating puppy-dog eyes, let’s embark on a journey to unveil the true Shih Tzu: their grooming demands, potential health concerns, and sometimes quirky behaviors.

We’ll explore why training might require patience and understanding and delve into their emotional needs to combat separation anxiety.

We’ll also discuss their social dynamics with children and other pets and the financial considerations involved in providing them with a happy and healthy life.

Knowledge is power! By understanding the potential challenges of Shih Tzu ownership, you can decide whether this breed truly aligns with your lifestyle and capabilities. After all, a happy dog starts with a well-prepared owner, and sometimes, love isn’t enough.

Beyond the Fluff: Unveiling the Grooming Demands of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are renowned for their luxurious, flowing coats, often likened to silky waterfalls cascading down their little bodies. However, this captivating feature comes with a significant responsibilityextensive grooming.

Before welcoming a Shih Tzu into your life, it’s crucial to understand the dedication and effort required to maintain their glamorous appearance and overall well-being.

Are Shih Tzus high maintenance? 

In short, yes. The long, fine fur of these dogs are prone to matting and tangling if not brushed daily. Imagine the frustration of a Shih Tzu with a matted coat, looking uncomfortable and experiencing skin irritation and pain. Regular brushing isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s essential for their physical health and comfort.

But brushing is just the beginning. Baths every 4-6 weeks are also necessary to keep their coat clean and allergens-free.

This might seem manageable, but factor in the time it takes to blow-dry their thick fur thoroughly, preventing moisture buildup and potential skin issues. 

Remember the trimming: professional groomer visits every 6-8 weeks are recommended to maintain a stylish cut and prevent overgrown fur from obscuring their vision or affecting their gait.

For some, this level of commitment might be a joyful bonding experience. For others, it could feel like a never-ending chore.

So, before you envision daily cuddle sessions amidst a sea of shed fur, be honest: are you prepared to dedicate time, effort, and possibly some financial resources to maintaining your Shih Tzu’s glamorous look? Neglecting their grooming needs can lead to serious health problems and discomfort for your furry friend.

Beyond the Cuteness: Unveiling the Shih Tzu’s Health Landscape

While their playful antics and fluffy appearances can melt hearts, Shih Tzus, like all breeds, are prone to specific health concerns. Understanding these potential challenges is crucial for responsible pet ownership, ensuring you can provide care and support for your furry friend throughout their life.

Respiratory issues

One key factor to consider is their brachycephalic nature. While undeniably adorable, their flat faces can lead to respiratory issues like reverse sneezing and difficulty breathing, especially in hot weather or during exercise. Be aware of signs like labored breathing, snoring, and excessive panting, and keep your Shih Tzu cool and hydrated, especially during warmer months.

Eye issues

Another area of concern is their eyes. Their large, prominent eyes are susceptible to scratches, corneal ulcers, and cataracts. Regular veterinary checkups and preventive measures like avoiding rough play or using barriers during walks can help mitigate these risks.


Joint problems 

These are also common in Shih Tzus, particularly hip dysplasia. This painful condition can affect their mobility and quality of life. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding jumping off high surfaces, and providing orthopedic bedding can help manage this issue.

Additionally, Shih Tzus are predisposed to allergies, both environmental and food-related. These allergies can manifest as skin irritation, itching, and digestive problems. Working with your veterinarian to identify the allergens and implement proper dietary adjustments can alleviate these discomforts.

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Portosystemic shunt (PSS) is another potential concern. This liver malformation can impact growth, development, and overall health. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for managing this condition.

It’s important to remember that not all Shih Tzus will experience these health issues. However, awareness is key. Regular veterinary checkups, preventive care, and a healthy lifestyle are essential for promoting your Shih Tzu’s well-being and catching any potential problems early on.

Beyond the Cuddle Factor: Unveiling the Quirky Behaviors of Shih Tzus

why shih tzu are the worst dog - quirky behavior

Shih Tzus may captivate us with their playful antics and affectionate personalities, but beneath the charming facade lies a breed with distinct behavioral quirks that can surprise even the most prepared pet owner. Let’s delve into the world of Shih Tzu behavior, addressing questions like “Why are Shih Tzus so stubborn?” and “Are they really dumb?” and exploring the challenges and rewards of training these unique companions.

Why are Shih Tzus so stubborn?

Firstly, the infamous “stubbornness” label is often attributed to Shih Tzus. While sometimes true, it’s crucial to understand the nuances behind this perceived difficulty in training. With their independent spirit and selective hearing, Shih Tzus require training methods beyond forceful commands and harsh corrections. Positive reinforcement, patience, and consistency are key to unlocking their potential. Remember, they’re not “dumb” or refusing to please you. They learn and respond differently.

Are they really dumb?

Now, for the myth of “dumbness.” Shih Tzus possesses intelligence but manifests differently than, say, a Border Collie. They excel at reading human emotions and can be incredibly manipulative when they want something. Their intelligence lies in their emotional awareness and ability to get their way (sometimes through sheer persistence!).

Are Shih Tzus difficult to train? 

It depends. Traditional “drill sergeant” methods rarely work. However, they can learn commands and tricks with patience, positive reinforcement, and an understanding of their unique motivations. Remember, their training journey is more about building a rewarding partnership than achieving robotic obedience.

Here are some key considerations for training your Shih Tzu:

  • Positive reinforcement: Reward desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime.
  • Short, engaging sessions: Keep training sessions short and fun to maintain their focus.
  • Consistency is key: Stick to your training plan and use consistent commands.
  • Understanding their motivations: What truly motivates your Shih Tzu? Use their desires to your advantage during training.
  • Professional help: If you encounter major challenges, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer experienced with Shih Tzus.

Patience and understanding are essential when navigating the world of Shih Tzu behavior. While their independent nature and unique learning style might require different training approaches, their intelligence, and affection are waiting to be unlocked with the right methods. Embrace their quirks, celebrate their successes, and enjoy the journey of training your Shih Tzu to be a happy and well-mannered companion.

Beyond the Playful Exterior: The Emotional Landscape of Shih Tzus

why shih tzu are the worst dog - emotional

With their expressive eyes and constant desire for attention, Shih Tzus might seem like the epitome of cuddly companions. But their emotional needs go beyond just snuggles on the couch. Understanding their inherent social nature and addressing potential separation anxiety is crucial for ensuring their well-being and building a strong, lasting bond.

Do Shih Tzus like to cuddle? 

Absolutely! Bred for centuries as lapdogs, they crave physical affection and thrive on human interaction. Cuddling provides them warmth and comfort and strengthens their emotional connection with their humans. However, their need for companionship extends beyond cuddles.

Shih Tzus are highly social creatures

Shih Tzus can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. This anxiety can manifest in destructive behaviors like chewing, excessive barking, or even depression. Suppose you work long hours or anticipate leaving your Shih Tzu alone frequently. In that case, it’s crucial to implement strategies to mitigate separation anxiety.

Here are some tips for managing Shih Tzu separation anxiety:

  • Start small: Gradually increase the duration you leave them alone, ensuring they feel comfortable with your absence.
  • Create a safe space: Provide a designated area with comfy bedding, familiar toys, and calming music.
  • Tire them out before leaving: A good dose of exercise can help expend energy and promote calmness.
  • Use interactive toys: Food puzzles or treat-dispensing toys can keep them occupied and mentally stimulated while you’re gone.
  • Consider alternative care: If prolonged absences are unavoidable, explore options like doggy daycare, pet sitters, or dog walkers.

A happy Shih Tzu is a well-accompanied Shih Tzu. By understanding their need for companionship, proactively addressing separation anxiety, and showering them affectionately, you can build a fulfilling and loving relationship that benefits you and your furry friend.

Navigating Social Circles: Understanding Shih Tzu Interactions with Humans and Pets

Shih Tzus can bring joy to various social settings with their playful personalities and charming demeanors. However, it’s crucial to understand their specific social dynamics to ensure happy and harmonious interactions with both humans and other pets. Let’s explore their compatibility with children, address potential aggression concerns, and navigate the world of multi-pet households with Shih Tzus.

Shih Tzus and Children

Compatibility: While generally known for their affectionate nature, Shih Tzus and young children might only sometimes be a perfect match. Their small size makes them vulnerable to unintentional roughhousing, and their independent personalities might not appreciate constant handling.


  • Supervision is key: Always supervise interactions between young children and Shih Tzus to prevent accidental injuries.
  • Teach gentle handling: Educate children about respecting the dog’s boundaries and interacting safely.
  • Choose older children: Older children who understand responsible pet care might be better.

Shih Tzu Aggression

Understanding the source: While aggression isn’t a defining characteristic, some Shih Tzus might exhibit possessive behavior toward their owners or resources, bark at strangers, or display territorial tendencies.

Addressing aggression:

  • Early socialization: Expose your Shih Tzu to different people, environments, and animals from a young age.
  • Positive reinforcement: Reward calm and friendly behavior rather than punishing aggression.
  • Seek professional help: Consult a certified dog trainer or behaviorist if aggression escalates.

Shih Tzus and Other Pets

Generally adaptable: Shih Tzus can cohabitate peacefully with other pets, especially calm and gentle animals, with proper introductions and socialization.

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  • Manage introductions carefully: Introduce animals slowly and supervise their interactions closely.
  • Match personalities: Consider adopting a pet with a similar energy level and temperament.
  • Provide individual attention: Ensure each pet receives enough personal attention and playtime.

Every dog is an individual. While these considerations offer general insights, understanding your specific Shih Tzu’s personality and unique needs is paramount. By socializing them early, practicing positive reinforcement, and providing a harmonious environment, you can foster happy and respectful interactions with humans and other pets, allowing your Shih Tzu to thrive within their social circles.

The Adorable Fluff: The Financial Investment of Owning a Shih Tzu

why shih tzu are the worst dog - the financial investment

Shih Tzus may captivate us with their fluffy charm, but let’s be honest, dog ownership involves financial responsibility. Before welcoming this delightful breed into your life, it’s crucial to understand the costs associated with their care. From their meticulous grooming needs to potential health concerns, here’s a breakdown of the financial considerations involved in owning a Shih Tzu.


  • Professional grooming: Expect regular visits every 6-8 weeks, ranging from $50-$150 per session, depending on location and desired style.
  • Grooming supplies: Brushes, shampoos, conditioners, and ear-cleaning solutions add up. Budget $50-$100 annually.


  • High-quality kibble: Shih Tzus requires nutritious food. Expect to spend $40-$80 monthly, depending on brand and size.
  • Treats: Factor in additional costs for training treats and occasional indulgences.


  • Routine vet checkups: Annual checkups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention can cost $200-$500 yearly.
  • Pet insurance: While optional, it can provide financial security in case of unexpected illnesses or accidents. Costs vary depending on coverage and provider.
  • Potential health concerns: Some Shih Tzus might require additional treatments for allergies, joint problems, or other health issues, which could increase vet bills.

Other expenses

  • Toys and bedding: Provide comfort and entertainment with durable toys and cozy beds. Budget $50-$100 initially and additional costs for replacements.
  • Travel and boarding: If you travel frequently, factor in boarding or pet sitter costs, ranging from $30 to $75 per day.
  • Miscellaneous: Leashes, collars, waste bags, and other miscellaneous items add to the overall expense.

These are estimated costs, and individual needs might vary. Be honest: can you comfortably afford the ongoing financial investment required for a Shih Tzu’s well-being? Rushing into pet ownership without considering the financial commitment can lead to stress and potentially compromise your furry friend’s care.

The Training & Intelligence of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus can melt hearts faster than a puppy dog parade with their playful antics and expressive eyes. But let’s be honest, the internet whispers often paint a different picture, asking, “Why are Shih Tzus so annoying?” Before we dismiss them as mischievous troublemakers, let’s delve deeper into their training capabilities and intelligence, exploring why misunderstandings and unmet needs might lead to frustration for both owners and dogs.

Firstly, the “annoying” label often stems from unfulfilled expectations. Expecting a Shih Tzu to behave like a Labrador Retriever or Border Collie sets yourself and your furry friend up for disappointment. They possess unique intelligence, excelling at reading human emotions and using their charm to get what they want. This “stubbornness” isn’t malicious. It’s their clever way of communicating their desires.

Are Shih Tzus Difficult to Train?

So, are Shih Tzus difficult to train? Not necessarily. Traditional methods relying on dominance and harsh corrections backfire with these sensitive souls. Positive reinforcement, patience, and understanding of their motivations are key. Think of training as a fun collaboration, rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime. Results might take time, but consistency and respect go a long way.

Are Shih Tzus “Dumb”?

Now, let’s address the myth of “dumbness.” Shih Tzus might not excel in traditional obedience drills, but their intelligence shines in other ways. They possess remarkable social awareness, understanding human emotions and using them to their advantage (think puppy-dog eyes!). They learn tricks quickly when motivated and can excel in agility or rally obedience, where their independent spirit thrives.

Why, then, might they seem “annoying?” Often, it’s a communication breakdown. Their barking might express boredom, fear, or separation anxiety, not just a desire to annoy. Chewing might stem from a lack of stimulation or improper chewing outlets. Destructive behaviors are rarely “malicious” but rather cries for attention, understanding, and fulfilling needs.

A “problematic” Shih Tzu is often misunderstood. You can unlock their true potential and build a harmonious relationship by decoding their behavior, addressing their emotional needs, and using positive training methods. Don’t let the “annoying” label deter you. With the right approach, your Shih Tzu can become a loving, well-behaved companion, ready to shower you with affection and playful antics (hopefully of the non-destructive kind!).

Embrace their unique intelligence, unlock their potential with positive reinforcement, and remember, a happy and fulfilled Shih Tzu is rarely an “annoying” one. Invest in understanding their needs, and you’ll be rewarded with years of companionship and a bond built on mutual respect and love.

Ensuring a Healthy Lifestyle for Your Shih Tzu

With their compact size and adorable fluff, Shih Tzus might lead you to envision lazy days spent cuddling on the couch. However, beneath the cuddly exterior lies a breed with specific exercise and dietary needs crucial for their overall health and well-being. Let’s explore their activity level, delve into potential allergies, and provide tips on crafting a lifestyle that keeps your Shih Tzu happy, healthy, and ready for playful adventures.

Shih Tzu Exercise Needs

  • Moderate activity: While not marathon runners, Shih Tzus requires daily walks and playtime to stay physically and mentally stimulated. Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise spread throughout the day.
  • Variety is key: Short walks combined with indoor playtime, puzzle toys, or agility training provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom.
  • Respect their limits: Short legs and flat faces mean overexertion can be dangerous. Avoid strenuous activities, especially in hot weather.

Shih Tzu Diet and Allergies

  • Sensitive stomachs: Shih Tzus are prone to digestive sensitivities. Choose high-quality, easily digestible food formulated for small breeds.
  • Portion control is key: Their small size means they don’t require large meals. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, a risk factor for various health problems.
  • Beware of allergies: Food and environmental allergies are common in Shih Tzus. Please consult your veterinarian to identify potential allergens and adjust their diet accordingly.
  • Fresh water is essential: Ensure they can constantly access clean water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
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Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Routine is key: Establish a consistent feeding and exercise schedule to promote digestive health and prevent boredom.
  • Mental stimulation is crucial: Puzzle toys, agility training, or even scent work keep their minds active and prevent destructive behaviors.
  • Weight management is important: Monitor their weight regularly and adjust their diet or exercise as needed.
  • Regular vet checkups are essential: Early detection and treatment of health problems can significantly improve their quality of life.

A healthy Shih Tzu is a happy Shih Tzu. You can ensure their physical and emotional well-being by understanding their exercise needs, providing a nutritious diet, and incorporating mental stimulation into their daily routine. Their playful spirit and affectionate nature will shine when their needs are met, turning your home into a haven of happiness and furry companionship.

why shih tzu are the worst dog - happy means healthy

The Misconceptions: The True Happiness of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus often capture hearts at first glance with their endearing personalities and fluffy coats. However, misconceptions and internet whispers can paint a misleading picture, leading to questions like “Why are Shih Tzus so annoying?” Before dismissing them based on these myths, let’s debunk common stereotypes and explore what makes these charming companions happy.

Myth #1: Shih Tzus are Dumb

This couldn’t be further from the truth! While they might not excel in traditional obedience training, their intelligence shines in different ways. They possess remarkable social awareness, understanding human emotions and using them to their advantage (think puppy-dog eyes!). They readily learn tricks when motivated and can excel in agility or rally obedience, where their independent spirit thrives.

Myth #2: Shih Tzus are High Maintenance

Their luxurious coats require regular brushing and occasional professional grooming. But with dedication and practice, even first-time pet owners can master the art of Shih Tzu grooming. Remember, neglecting their grooming can lead to health problems, so consider the commitment before welcoming one into your life.

Myth #3: Shih Tzus are Yappy and Annoying

This often results from unmet needs or misunderstandings. Barking can express boredom, fear, separation anxiety, or even excitement. Chewing might stem from a lack of stimulation or improper chewing outlets. Addressing their emotional needs, providing engaging activities, and using positive reinforcement training can drastically reduce unwanted behaviors.

Myth #4: Shih Tzus are Lazy Couch Potatoes

While they enjoy cuddling, they also possess moderate energy levels and require daily exercise for physical and mental stimulation. Short walks, indoor playtime, and puzzle toys keep them happy and prevent boredom-induced mischief.

Myth #5: Shih Tzus Don’t Like to Cuddle

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Bred for centuries as lapdogs, they crave physical affection and thrive on human interaction. Cuddling provides warmth and comfort and strengthens the bond between them and their humans.

What truly makes Shih Tzus happy?

  • Feeling loved and valued: Show them affection, attention, and positive reinforcement.
  • Having their needs met: Provide proper grooming, nutritious food, regular exercise, and mental stimulation.
  • Living in a stable and predictable environment: Routine and consistency offer comfort and security.
  • Learning and exploring: Encourage their intelligence with positive training, fun activities, and new experiences.
  • Being part of the family: Include them in family activities and make them feel like cherished members of your pack.

A happy Shih Tzu is a well-understood and cared-for Shih Tzu. By debunking myths, addressing their needs, and showering them with love, you can unlock their true potential and build a fulfilling relationship filled with mutual respect, affection, and countless moments of joy. So, say goodbye to the “annoying” label and embrace the true essence of the happy, loving, and intelligent Shih Tzu!

Conclusion: Making an Informed Choice About Shih Tzu Ownership

With their captivating fluff and playful personalities, Shih Tzus can easily steal hearts and spark dreams of cuddly companionship. However, as we’ve explored, this breed comes with unique challenges that deserve honest consideration before making a lifelong commitment.

From extensive grooming demands to potential health concerns, their needs extend far beyond adorable appearances and playful antics. Training requires patience and understanding, and their social anxieties must be addressed to ensure their well-being. Owning a Shih Tzu is not just about acquiring a furry accessory. It’s about welcoming a sensitive, intelligent companion with specific needs and vulnerabilities.

But alongside the challenges lie immense joys. Their unwavering loyalty, affectionate nature, and intelligence can bring countless moments of laughter and heartwarming companionship. Witnessing their playful antics, soft fur against your skin, and experiencing their unwavering love can be incredibly rewarding.

Ultimately, welcoming a Shih Tzu into your life requires careful consideration. Do you have the time, dedication, and financial resources to fulfill their grooming, healthcare, and emotional needs? Can you provide a loving and stable environment where they can thrive? If you answered yes and are prepared to embrace their quirks and challenges with patience and understanding, the joys of Shih Tzu ownership can be truly enriching.

Informed pet ownership starts with honesty and self-awareness. Choose a breed that aligns with your lifestyle and capabilities, ensuring a happy and fulfilling life for you and your furry friend. If a Shih Tzu seems like the perfect match, welcome them with open arms and an open heart, prepared to embark on a journey of mutual love, understanding, and countless playful adventures.