Recognized as purebred by the American Kennel Club ( AKC ), the Shih Tzu is a popular pet choice. But, the problem is who will win the fight: male vs. female Shih Tzu? There’s no doubt that both genders are special in their own way, but is one of them slightly better than the other?
The truth is, no gender is better than the other. Each one has its flaws and traits to love. It’s up to you to decide which gender suits your lifestyle better. Or simply, which dog is cuter for you!
The Origin Of The Breed
The Chinese call it Shi-Tzu Kou, which literally translates to Lion Dog. The breed’s lion-like features were respected in imperial courts because the legend said that Buddha got to Earth riding on a lion’s back.
The Ming and Qing Dynasties bred these lion dogs and considered them the exclusive property of the royal court. They were rarely seen outside the palaces, and only royalty could own one.
Interestingly enough, Shih Tzus were not only beloved pets; they had another unusual role. Since they had a rather thick coat, noblewomen used to carry them around inside their robes and used them as bed warmers to be placed at the feet of the emperors and empresses.
Historians believe that after Empress Tzu-Hsi took the throne in the 1860s, the Dalai Lama at the time gifted her a breeding pair of excellent Shih Tzus. It was the start of her pure line.
Eventually, these dogs were given as gifts to English and Dutch nobility. The standard of the breed was set by 1938.
Shih Tzus finally arrived in America in the 1930s and achieved enormous popularity by the 1960s.
General Characteristic Of Shih Tzu Dogs: Size & Personality
As you can already tell, Shih Tzus are small dogs. Both males and females stand at nine to ten and a half inches tall and weigh nine to sixteen pounds.
Related: Shih Tzu Growth Chart: How Big Will My Shih Tzu Be?
Many toy breeds tend to show off how possessive they are of their owners. Not Shih Tzus. These dogs weren’t bred to hunt, act as guard dogs, or retrieve. They were always used as companion dogs.
Affection is their dominant characteristic. They’re happiest when their family is around. But don’t let this fool you that Shih Tzus are lazy dogs. They’re very lively and bark at newcomers, but they’re not hostile at all.
Coat Features And Grooming Info
The Shih Tzu is a breed with a gorgeous, hypoallergenic coat. It’s long, silky, and comes in many color variations: black, black and white, gray and white, red, red and white, blue, white, silver, brindle, liver, gold, etc. When the dog has a white tip on the tail and a white blaze on the forehead, it’s highly regarded.
Such a beautiful coat means grooming it will be a bit demanding. Daily brushing and combing is a must to prevent tangles and excessive shedding. Weekly bathing is also mandatory.
Don’t feel bad if you think you can’t keep up with the rigorous grooming schedule. Many Shih Tzu owners look for a professional groomer’s help. Keeping that coat pawfect is a hard job.
The long coat is easier to maintain but prepare yourself for a four to six-week hair clipping schedule if you want short locks.
Every professional groomer will know how to handle your Shih Tzu puppy, but you will need some practice if you decide you want to groom him yourself. It’s important to start as early as possible, puppyhood being the best-case scenario.
Brushing should be done thoroughly, all the way down the skin. Experienced groomers say it’s easier to brush sections of the coat while the dog is lying on its side. It’s much more comfortable for the dog.
The Shih Tzu’s coat changes at around ten to twelve months of age. It goes from fluffy to a silky adult coat. You will notice this is the time when the coat tangles faster than before. Don’t give up, even if you think all you’re doing is brushing and brushing. This stage only lasts for three months, and the brushing becomes easier with the adult coat.
Photo from @marshthepup
Besides keeping the coat nice and tidy, it’s important to keep the Shih Tzu’s nails short and trimmed monthly, as well as checking their ears weekly for redness, dirt, or bad odor. A cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleaner should prevent possible ear problems.
In addition, hair grows inside the Shih Tzu’s ear canal, so occasional plucking is another must if the dog is ear infection-prone.
Since Shih Tzus are brachycephalic dogs, they will need some help with keeping their face clean and tidy. Wipe off mess after meals and those tear stains. You will get a nicely groomed pooch!
Finally, we can’t forget about dental hygiene. Using a soft toothbrush with a doggy toothpaste will keep their pearly whites white and their gums gummy.
Male Shih Tzu Vs. Female Shih Tzu: Who Is Healthier?
Gender isn’t something that affects the Shih Tzus’ health status. Males can get ill as easily as females. There is no rule here.
But still, Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs. However, there are no dog breeds completely risk-free. Shih Tzus, like many others, are prone to certain conditions. Let’s take a look at what your Shih Tzu might face.
Allergies. A common ailment in dogs of any breed. There are three main types of allergies (food, contact, and inhalant). Treatment includes finding the allergy trigger and keeping the dog away from it, using medications, or dietary or environmental changes.
Canine hip dysplasia. This is a condition that causes abnormal formation of the hip socket. It causes pain and lameness and requires an operation.
Patellar luxation means the dislocation of the kneecap. The knee joint (usually in one of the hind legs) slides in and out of place, causing crippling pain. It’s another health condition that requires an operation.
Juvenile renal dysplasia (JRD) is a genetic defect of the kidneys that affects young dogs. The main symptoms include the dog being excessively thirsty and frequent urination. Such dogs lose weight quickly, vomit, and become lethargic.
The only definitive test for now that can detect this condition is a wide-wedge biopsy of the kidney, which is quite invasive and risky.
Bladder stones and bladder infections. These conditions can be caused by many factors – excessive protein, magnesium, and phosphorus in the diet or long intervals between urinations are just some of them.
Bladder infections can be caused by bacterial or viral infections. Frequent urination, blood in the urine, and loss of appetite are warning signs that need to be checked out at the vet.
Eye problems are not uncommon among Shih Tzus. Their large, bulging eyes are the reason behind it. Eye disorders include keratitis (inflammation of the cornea that leads to corneal ulcers and blindness), proptosis (dislodged eyeball from the socket and the eyelids clamping behind the eyeball), distichiasis (abnormal eyelash growth which rubs against the eyeball), ectopia cilia, progressive retinal atrophy, dry eye, etc.
Retained baby teeth and tooth and gum problems are not rare because the Shih Tzu’s baby teeth may stay intact when the permanent teeth start growing. Some cases require veterinary assistance to remove baby teeth. Shih Tzus can have missing or misaligned teeth because of their undershot jaws.
Umbilical hernia. This is another common condition that affects Shih Tzus. It’s caused by delayed closure of the abdominal midline. Small hernias might go away as the puppy grows, but sometimes surgery is the only option, usually when you decide to spay or neuter your Shih.
A portosystemic liver shunt is a congenital abnormality in which blood vessels allow blood to bypass the liver. The liver doesn’t cleanse the blood as it should. The usual treatment for this condition is surgery.
Snuffles may strike the Shih Tzu because teething tends to be difficult. Around the four-month milestone, the gums swell and push against the already pushed-in nose. Puppies may snort, snuffle, or snore during this time and even have clear nasal discharge.
Reverse sneezing happens when the dog is overly excited, gulps food or water too fast, or has allergic reactions. Nasal secretions drop onto the soft palate causing it to close over the windpipe. The dog makes wheezing sounds and gets scared.
The only known way, for now, to stop reverse sneezing is to pinch the dog’s nostrils so the dog is forced to breathe through its mouth.
Female Shih Tzu Heat Cycle
The Shih Tzu is a small breed, and small breeds get their heat cycle earlier than other dog sizes. The heat cycle starts at around four to seven months. It’s always confusing for new owners because they still consider their Shih Tzus puppies.
The cycle usually lasts around 23 days and repeats twice a year.
Changes happen to both males and females as their reproductive organs mature and they become ready for puppies of their own.
You can find more information about Shih Tzu pregnancy in this article.
Male Vs Female Dogs Shih Tzu: Taking Care After Them
The Shih Tzu isn’t that picky when it comes to where it lives. Whether it’s a house or a tiny apartment, the only thing that matters to these dogs is that they’re with their owners. This is a very adaptable breed, but they’re strictly house dogs. You should never kennel them outside, no matter how much they love spending time in the backyard.
The Shih Tzu is perfectly fine with short walks each day. They prefer wandering around the house, playing with toys, or spending quality time with family members.
Like all other brachycephalic dog breeds, they’re sensitive to heat and thus should be kept indoors in an air-conditioned environment.
Don’t be surprised or afraid if you see your Shih jumping off elevated surfaces like a bed or chair. However, do be careful how they land. They find climbing and jumping amusing, but the landing is what causes injuries. They’re heavy at the front, so they crash forward.
This dog breed is calm and friendly, but they do need socialization and training, like any other dog. If not socialized correctly, they might become timid. Start working on those skills at an early age so you can ensure you have a well-rounded dog in the future.
Since this is a toy breed, many dog owners try to teach them to use litter boxes, so they don’t need to walk them in bad weather. Pay attention when litter box training; they need at least four to eight accident-free weeks.
Read Also: Shih Tzu Food To Avoid: 30 Foods Not To Feed Your Dog
Which Is Better With Kids: Female Vs. Male Shih Tzu?
You can try to find a better family pet than the Shih Tzu, but you’ll see this dog breed is one of the best! They get along perfectly fine with other dogs or animals, but their relationship with kids is something special.
However, little children shouldn’t be left alone with Shih Tzu puppies to avoid the risk of carrying them incorrectly or dropping them. Also, make sure their little fingers are away from the dog’s eyes, which can also be injured easily.
All in all, there isn’t a single reason why your family doesn’t need a Shih Tzu.
Differences Between Male And Female Shih-Tzu
Some dog breeds have distinguished differences between genders. Shih Tzu females and males also have some differences you should know about. Each Shih Tzu has its own individual personality. The differences aren’t as noticeable, but they’re still important.
|Female Shih Tzu||Male Shih Tzu|
|more docile||less docile|
|easier to train||not so easy to train|
|independent||relies on you|
|stubborn||eager to please|
|no alpha behavior ( humping, marking)||show off alpha/ secondary sexual behavior|
|bond to men||bond to women|
|controls her affection||more affectionate|
|bonds slowly with kids and pets||bonds quickly with kids and pets|
Both male and female Shih Tzus are generally nice dogs who love their humans more than anything in the world. There’s really no point in picking out which gender is better. It’s an apples and oranges situation here.
Still, let’s discuss the differences between genders a bit more.
Many people avoid getting a male dog because of the misconception they will hump their legs or mark their territory. This is absolutely false. Neutered males around five months of age will not have the urge to hump. And if the dog gets fixed even earlier, he might even squat like a girl.
There are no differences between housebreaking Shih Tzus, even though the myth says female dogs are easier to house train. Both genders can master potty training within a few weeks as long as you’re diligent.
However, females do tend to show off their stubborn side more than males. The males are just too anxious to please.
The males are usually much more forgiving and accommodating than females. The girls are just being girls, trying to get their way as often as possible.
Many dog owners consider male Shih Tzus to be better pets for families with children. No wonder – they’re so happy and love to play with both kids and toys. Don’t get this wrong – females like to play too, but they get bored of chasing a ball much sooner than males.
Both genders are very smart and affectionate. These are loyal dogs that will never leave their owners. Yes, they’re the ultimate version of a lap dog since they’re so compact and not aggressive at all!
Read Also: 13 Reasons Why Shih Tzus Are The Worst Dogs
Male Or Female Shih Tzu, Which Is The Better Guard Dog?
Neither one of them is a good guard dog.
Sure, every dog will act defensive when danger is close. But, chances are, a burglar will find your Shih Tzu sound asleep and not on all fours, guarding carefully.
Shih Tzus were always used as lapdogs and were good companions. It’s in their DNA to be friendly.
Want a watchdog? Get a Rottweiler!
Should I Get A Male Or Female Shih Tzu?
The answer is very simple: get any gender you want!
There’s really no point in discussing which gender is the best when you have such an awesome dog by your side. They will stick around for a while because Shih Tzus have a long lifespan of 10 to 16 years! Shih Tzus are always open to cuddles, no matter how low their energy level.
Whether you’re getting yours from a reliable Shih Tzu breeder or you’ve stumbled upon one in the local rescue group, the Shih Tzu will be your new best friend.
Many female puppies and male puppies are looking for new homes, so always try to adopt before you shop.
Cost: Shih Tzu Puppies Male Vs. Female
When we compare prices on the market, we can conclude that female Shih Tzu puppies tend to cost more than male puppies.
The lowest price for female Shih Tzus is around $1,300, while males cost slightly less, around $1,200.
Many factors like age, gender, color, bloodline, location, AKC recognition, etc., affect the final price. That’s why the most expensive female Shih Tzus in the States go for around $4,000, while males sell for $3,000.
That being said, Shih Tzus are an expensive breed. But, are they worth It? Absolutely, every penny!
To Sum Up…
Male vs. female Shih Tzu is a battle of giants. These two tiny lapdogs are, in fact, huge-hearted doggos you’re gonna love, no matter the gender. Choosing the one for you is purely individual and something you should decide without listening to what others say.