Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

White Shih Tzu: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

close up of a white shih tzu dog

White Shih Tzu: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Are you looking for an adorable and loyal companion? Then the white Shih Tzu might be the perfect breed for you! This breed of small dogs has been around since ancient times, but they still remain popular today. They’re known for their intelligence, loving nature, and distinctive coats that come in a variety of shades. Read on to learn more about the origins and facts of the white Shih Tzu!

Breed Overview


8–11 inches


9–16 pounds


10–18 years


White, gold, silver, black, red, etc.

Suitable for:

Families with children


Tolerant and patient

The white Shih Tzu comes in various colors, which can include blue, brown, and gray. However, white is the most popular and sought-after color in the breed. They have a thick, double coat that consists of long silky hair.

This breed is known for its intelligence and loyal temperament, making them perfect family dogs. White Shih Tzus require minimal grooming and are considered to be quite low maintenance.

White Shih Tzus Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


The Earliest Records of White Shih Tzus in History

white shih tzu dog lying on the bed
Image Credit: The Creative Circle, Pixabay

The white Shih Tzu originated in Tibet and was bred by Tibetan monks. They were considered sacred dogs and were often given as gifts to Chinese emperors. The breed was later brought to China and was known throughout as “lion dogs” because of how much they resembled Chinese guardian lions. The breed was first introduced to the Western world in the 1930s.

Over the years, the breed has become increasingly popular and is now a beloved companion for many families. They are intelligent and loyal dogs that make perfect cuddle buddies.

And it’s really little wonder why the white Shih Tzu has become so popular in recent years. Its beautiful coat and pleasant temperament make it an ideal pet for families looking for a loyal companion.

How the White Shih Tzu Gained Popularity

White Shih Tzus really started their climb in popularity in the east when China’s Empress Tzu-Hsi fell in love with the breed after receiving one as a gift from the Dalai Lama. At that point, nobles started breeding their own white Shih Tzu in the royal palaces, and eventually, they were introduced to the western world in the 1930s.

But the white Shih Tzu became more widely recognized in the 1940s when they were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. They quickly gained popularity for their remarkable looks and personality, not to mention their low maintenance needs. The breed has since become a favorite amongst many dog owners due to its intelligence and gentle nature.

Formal Recognition of the White Shih Tzu

white shih tzu dog playing and running outside in the green grass
Image Credit: Jayne Klein, Shutterstock

The white Shih Tzu was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1943. Since then, they have become increasingly popular and are now one of the most popular breeds in the United States.


Top 4 Unique Facts About White Shih Tzus

1. White Shih Tzus Are Popular Among Celebrities

White Shih Tzus have long been popular among celebrities, including the likes of Paris Hilton, Betty White, and Geri Halliwell.

2. Communist China Almost Reduced Their Entire Population

Communist China almost wiped out the entire white Shih Tzu population, reducing their number to just 14. Thankfully, white Shih Tzus thrive today, as they’ve become one of the most sought-after pups.

Sad Shih Tzu
Image Credit: Lindsay Helms, Shutterstock

3. They Are Hypoallergenic Dogs

While they have long coats that need regular grooming, white Shih Tzus are considered hypoallergenic dogs and don’t shed much.

4. White Shih Tzu Have Life Spans of Up to 18 Years

White Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 12 years. However, they can live up to 18 years if given proper care.

divider-dog paw

Does the White Shih Tzu Make a Good Pet?

Yes, white Shih Tzus make excellent pets! They’re known to be affectionate, loyal, and always up for a cuddle. Not only are they great family pets, but their small size makes them ideal apartment dwellers, as well. White Shih Tzus have a winning combination of brains, beauty, and personality that make them the perfect pet companion!

Plus, with their long life expectancy of up to 18 years, you can enjoy their company for a long time. They may require some extra grooming to maintain their luxurious white coat, but with regular brushing and occasional trips to the groomer, your white Shih Tzu will be happy and healthy for years to come!



White Shih Tzus are a fantastic breed of dog and make great pets for families looking for a loving, loyal companion. With their long life expectancy, smarts, and beautiful coats, they’re sure to bring joy to your family for many years!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Julia Barrantes, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.