Shih Tzus hold elite status among the modern celebrity class—from Nicole Richie to Beyoncé, from Bill Gates to Queen Elizabeth. But this is all part of their destiny. The breed’s roots are seated in the ornate, envious dwellings of Chinese royalty, dating back as far back as 800 B.C.
Shih Tzus were (and are!) prized for their companionship, and these adorable, plush canines are deeply loyal, affectionate, and always down to cuddle, which is why they’re widely loved across class lines today.
The Shih Tzu is family-friendly and adaptable, and their gorgeous locks are enchanting. But these little “lions” (as Shih Tzu translates) do have a sassy side and a distinct personality. Here’s just a sampling of reasons why they’re so popular:
1. That Magical Hair!
The Shih Tzu’s coat grows long and straight, making it a versatile styling canvas. There are three main options for a fur-do on the Shih Tzu—the puppy cut, the teddy bear, and the top-knot—with nearly endless variations of each. (Pinterest showcases a smorgasbord of Shih Tzu coifs!)
But the soft, fine hair of this breed does require regular maintenance to prevent tangles and to keep the dogs from overheating.
2. The Shih Tzu Wants to Be RIGHT THERE
Bred for companionship, the Shih Tzu is a pro snuggler and champion lap dog. They love to stay close, follow you from room to room, and quickly curl up beside you if given the chance.
They’re likely to demand the best possible spot in the nook of your arm or the lump of your lap. But it’s hard to say no to a creature that looks and feels like a living plush toy.
3. The Shih Tzu Will Let You Know
While the Shih Tzu may be a softie (literally and figuratively), the breed does have a sassy side. They’re not shy when it comes to asking for what they want, whether it’s a treat or a spot beside you. The cutie in this video is begging for attention from her owner.
Their outspokenness is both fun to watch and admirable. This breed is confident, assertive, and they know what they like (but they love their humans most of all)!
4. Who Doesn’t Love a Frisky Puff-Ball?
Shih Tzus are a good match for more sedentary humans. They don’t require long runs or tons of exercise, and they adapt well to apartment life. But they definitely need and love playtime and require regular (but small) doses of activity to connect with playmates and expend a little energy.
Watching a Shih Tzu is at play is part of the joy of owning one. Just check out these two cuties above getting adorably fierce until they collapse into a puddle of cuteness.
5. The Shih Tzu Is Always Glad to See You
When your friends come to visit, your Shih Tzu will greet them happily at your door, thinking she’s the guest of honor! This probably comes from a Shih Tzus confidence that borders on arrogance. And it’s hard not to spoil a Shih Tzu, which only reinforces their swagger. Who doesn’t want to see a blissful Shih Tzu?
But, at their core, Shih Tzus are full of love and eager to share it with anyone who passes their way. And they expect nothing but the same in return! A Shih Tzu will get prickly if they’re being teased or harassed, or if little children poke and prod. So, it’s important to show 100 percent love. But you’ll get it back in spades.