Shih Tzu Temperament
Traits and Characteristics

In this article we focus on Shih Tzu Temperament and the general traits and characteristics that are common to all purebred Shih Tzus.

Please keep in mind that not all dogs of the same breed will behave in exactly the same way. 

Even though a breed may share common characteristics, each dog is an individual and will have a unique personality.

Before choosing a Shih Tzu or any dog, it is essential that you research the temperament and characteristics of the breed.

The reason for this is that each dog breed has its own specific genetic traits.  Dogs are generally bred for decades and even centuries to ensure these standardized attributes.

Typical Shih Tzu Temperament

The Shih Tzu, despite its proud and haughty appearance, is quite the friendly and charming dog. This is truly an animal that was made to be your best friend and companion. 

They are extremely inquisitive and are quick to make introductions if you are on the shy side. Shih Tzus love meeting new people and can easily become the center of attention wherever they find themselves. These animals will definitely seek you out and absolutely love to be praised and adored... maybe even a little too much!

These animals make excellent guard dogs even though they are in the toy breed category. They are actually the toughest and sturdiest dog in this category and have been used by the Chinese as guard dogs in royal palaces in history. The Shih Tzu is referred to as the “little lion” because it is proud, brave and even though tiny, its personality definitely makes up for its size. However, even though this is a friendly and “royal” dog, there can be negative sides to this temperament.

The "Other" Side Of Shih Tzu Temperament

As was previously established, Shih Tzu dogs love being the center of attention and love being praised. However, if they don’t get the attention, love and treatment they desire, their personality can definitely go to the dark side. If neglected, they can become very grouchy, irritable and may even start destructive behaviours.

Also, if you raise your voice or become aggressive towards the Shih Tzu, they will simply start to ignore you. These dogs have noble heritage and as a result, demand that you treat them like royalty. If they feel that you are not treating them as you should, they will stop listening to you and will become unresponsive. You can solve this problem by treating them better and lavishing them with praise, love and positive reinforcement while still being firm.

Shih Tzu Temperament: More
Common Characteristics

Loyal: Shih Tzus are extremely loyal companions and are accepting of everyone despite age, size or gender. These animals are great for older people or even a large family.

Protective: Shih Tzus are known to be very protective and have been guard dogs in the past. They are extra protective of female owners and will ensure that you are safe at all times which as a result, make excellent companions. They are extremely devoted and even though they like to be the center of attention, they are wonderful listeners and will always let you know that you’re the most important person in their world.


This dog once belonged in the Imperial palace, so arrogance is somewhat expected. The Shih Tzu is very proud and is confident in the way he walks, holds himself and how he expects you to treat him. However, this doesn’t get in the way of his cheerful and friendly nature and even though you may not belong to your Shih Tzu’s royal family, he will definitely make you feel as if you did!

Other "Must See" Pages

Shih Tzu Puppies

Shih Tzu Names

Shih Tzu History

The Shih Tzu Breed

Return from Shih Tzu Temperament to Shih Tzu Dogs - Home

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