Exercising Your Shih TzuGood Exercises For Your Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is thought to have descended from the Pekingese and a Tibetan mountain dog or the Lhasa Apso. The name Shih Tzu comes from the Chinese word for “lion dog”. This kind of dog was bred to resemble “the lion” as depicted in traditional oriental art. The dogs were favorites of the Chinese royals and were so prized that for years the Chinese refused to sell, trade, or give away any of the dogs. It was not until the 1930’s that the first pair was imported to England and was brought to the US by soldiers during World War II.

Breed Type

Companion Dog

Physical Characteristics

  • small, sturdy dog, with a body that is slightly longer than it is tall
  • nose is broad, with well open nostrils
  • large, pendant, low-set ears hang down and are covered in abundant hair
  • high-set tail is carried over the back covered in abundant hair
  • double coat is dense and long, flowing down over the dog


  • alert, lively, playful and clever
  • friendly, trusting, full of character
  • friendly, affectionate, likes to be with people, gets along with kids, and are generally good with other pets

Best Exercises

  • Short walk (15 – 20 minutes) once or twice a day
  • Vigorous short games like Fetch or Chase (in the house or in the yard)

Suggested Exercise Plan

Despite its small size, the Shih Tzu needs activity every day, but not a whole lot. A short walk most days is good. Occasionally  give this playful dog some vigorous game time in the yard or indoors on hot or cold days.

Things To Note

  • Does not do well in humid weather.
  • These dogs gain weight easily and should not be overfed.
  • Tends have to respiratory problems due to its short nose. Do not walk or play too long or hard.
  • Prone to slipped stifle and spinal disc disease caused by a long back and short legs.
  • Prone to ear infections, eye problems.
  • Prone to hypothyroidism.