The Shih Tzu Personality: 


When you think about the Shih Tzu personality and temperament, several words may come to mind.

Beautiful, sweet, loyal, friendly, sassy, regal, happy, needy, independent, stubborn, intuitive, proud, picky, strong, lovable, joyful, cuddly, and funny.

The typical personality of a Shih Tzu is that of a sweet natured, loyal, friendly and playful breed. They are very affectionate dogs that make wonderful companion pets yet can display a little stubbornness when training.

However, you describe them, one thing is certain...they will always warm your heart and bring a smile to your face.

Shih Tzu dog with an friendly temperament looking into camera

Shih Tzu Temperament with Kids and Other Pets

When you meet a Shih Tzu for the first time, one of the things you will notice about them is how happy and friendly they appear to be.

This is what makes them so irresistible to us dog lovers. 

Little girl holding a tan and white Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu typically get along very well with people of all ages, as well as with other dogs. 

And if you're wondering if your happy little Shih Tzu will get along with your resident cat, you'll find that this spunky little dog will likely want to be its friend as well.  

They don't care for being left alone; this is part of the reason why many people find themselves having more than one.

Another Shih Tzu personality trait that you may encounter with these sturdy little dogs may be stubbornness and pride. 

Don’t worry, although they may come across as being kind of a snob, they really do love their human companions.

They're not very keen on being outdoors all day, although they do like to run around the yard or hang out with other dogs at the park while checking in with you every once in a while to let you know they are thinking of you. 

They have a lot of energy for a small dog, but a little ball tossing in the yard and a simple walk around the block will do the trick of meeting their daily exercise requirements.

The Importance of Socializing

The typically non-aggressive Shih Tzu temperament makes this dog a perfect fit for families as they do play well with children.

However, it is very important however, to teach children how to play nice with any dog.

The Shih Tzu who hasn't been socialized well, or been mistreated, can come across as being rather aggressive like our 8 year old adopted Shih Tzu, Rocky, was.

I say "was" because with the help of training and patience, he had grown into an incredibly cuddly and loving little lap dog, who had learned to get along well with others.

Max, a liver and white Shih TzuRocky

Our other Shih Tzu, Max and Rufus are the sweetest little guys you’ll ever meet.

Although Rufus does have a aversion to the mailman and joggers.  Don't really know why, but we are working on it.

Want Companionship?  Shih Tzu are Great Companions

The Shih Tzu dog breed likes quite a bit of attention and they were actually bred to be “lap-dogs” so the more you hold them, the more they want to be held.

I am usually no more than 5 – 10 minutes out of a room before mine come searching for me.

They can take on the owner’s personalities too, and are a very smart dog breed that does well to be engaged in activity to keep their minds sharp and fit.

But if you are a bit of a couch potato yourself, then your Shih Tzu will be perfectly content to join you!

A Shih Tzu Family Watch Dog?

Black and white Shih Tzu dog looking out window

Okay when you think of a watchdog, this sweet, little hairball probably doesn’t exactly fit your idea of a typical family watchdog.

What is meant by "watchdog" is that the Shih Tzu have a sharp sense of hearing. This means when they hear someone approaching your door, they'll bark to alert you.

But they are not the yappy type like some other toy breeds. They’ll settle down to their typical quiet self once they know things are safe.

Yet once someone is inside your home, he would just as surely take them on a tour of the house.

So if you're looking for an "attack dog", you can forget about the Shih Tzu.

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