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Shih Tzu and Chinese Imperial

 All about the Shih Tzu and Chinese Imperial

The differences in the Shih Tzu and the Chinese Imperial (Imperial Shih Tzu)

Truly there is very little difference in the two as far as genetic makeup is concerned. If sent to a lab the genetics would show both are Shih Tzu puppies/dogs.  The Chinese imperial is simply a smaller sized Shih Tzu.  However over time The Chinese Imperial has started to develop their own look slightly.  Most Chinese Imperial breeders prefer the flatter faces and smaller up-turned noses with nice short legs and bodies. They generally have a smaller and lighter bone structure, however still look and act very much like a Shih Tzu.  Also you tend to see a lot more of the recessive colors in the Chinese Imperials with a lot of Solid colors vs The party look of your standard Shih Tzu.  However both Shih Tzu and Imperial can be party (two toned) or solid in any color of the rainbow :)  Most of what describes a Shih Tzu will also apply to the Chinese Imperial,  only the Chinese Imperial is in a smaller package.  A true Chinese Imperial will be just as healthy and playful and fun loving as any Standard Shih Tzu.  While it is true that a sickly Shih Tzu can be smaller due to health reasons,  this is not why the Chinese imperial's are small.  You can get an unhealthy Shih Tzu just as easily as you can get an unhealthy Chinese Imperial.  At this time AKC does not recognize the Chinese imperial or the Imperial Shih Tzu as a separate breed. The CID Club of America is working to make them a separate breed and hope to accomplish this with a lot to time, patience and persistence.  The Shih Tzu Club of America simply says they are an undersized Shih Tzu.....which by all intent and purposes is true.....but what is not true is that they are inferior in quality in any way.  I am saddened by the distastefulness of a professional organization such as the American Shih Tzu Club that attempts to put down the Chinese Imperial and their breeders.  All breeds started somewhere and it is dis-heartening to read the myths that are said about the Chinese Imperial right on the American Shih Tzu Club website.  I absolutely love the Shih Tzu and think they are Beautiful elegant dogs as well as the Chinese Imperial. Both of Which I believe deserves equal respect.  The CID Club of America has now developed their own registry to better the breed and track their progress. All dogs registered with the CIDRA is certified to be under 9 lbs and under 9" tall. As much as they hope to use this tool to one day be a part of the AKC it is also a very respectful way to be better responsible breeders.  Keeping track of your lines is a must in any breed and that is one reason I respect the CID Club as they really make an enormous effort to be responsible and encourage ethical breeding practices.

Shih Tzu and Chinese imperial Temperament

The Shih Tzu is a happy go lucky fun little dog.  I find that even though they grow up and can settle down, even the oldest Shih Tzu loves to have puppy moments and Romp and Play.  They love their toys and love to be played with, but at the same time can also entertain themselves.  They are generally a very smart dog, but can have a stubborn streak at times.  They are very loyal, playful and affectionate little dogs. the Shih Tzu is a very very friendly dog to anyone they come in contact with including other dogs, animals or people that may not appreciate their fun pouncy playful personality, so for that reason a Shih Tzu must be watch closely as not everyone will appreciate them and they just won't understand why.  By Nature the Shih Tzu is a very loving little dog, but they do need to be shown who is boss.  They require their human owners to be the “pack leader”.  As a leader you have to be firm and consistent with them.  A Shih Tzu that is allowed to be in charge or is scared can be snappy, growling, have separation anxiety and be an overzealous guard dog.  In a nutshell they can be taught to develop “small dog syndrome”.  It isn’t common nor uncommon for a puppy between 4-6 months old to test their boundaries and get growly or snappy (this can be true for just about any breed).  You must be firm with them if they start getting the idea that they are in charge.  Hold them firmly look them right in the eyes and tell them “NO!”  It is not in their nature to be this way, but can react this way without good leadership and firm rules. This is more the fault of the human parents than the dogs his or her self. I think this happens primarily because they are cute little dogs and tend to be spoiled by their human parents, and learn to get their way and this isn't healthy for the dog or his family.   There are some breeds that are considered “snappy” dogs.  The Shih Tzu IS NOT one of those breeds, but as stated must be given firm and consistent rules in a loving way.   Shih Tzu’s are good family pets, but because they are small sometimes small Children can hurt them easily and cause them to be defensive around them.  For this reason, if you have small children, I advise that they are under constant supervision when your puppy is tiny.  As with any puppy children should be advised to be very careful with their new family member..  Not every Shih Tzu is created equal and not every Shih Tzu will want to be in charge, but some will and you just have to remind them you and your kids are in charge.  If you do this you will have what a Shih Tzu was meant to be and loves to be, and that is a loving, loyal, stable, playful, affectionate and obedient baby.  

A well loved and disciplined Shih Tzu will be a true lifelong companion that provides unconditional love and hours of fun and play.  In my opinion you will not find a better breed of dog.


Shih Tzu and Chinese Imperial Life Expectancy

These little guys should give you around 12-15 years of love and affection.


Shih Tzu Exercise needs

The Shih Tzu makes perfect apartment companions as they don’t require a lot of room to run and play.  They don’t require a lot of “walking” and to be honest a lot of walking isn’t really that great for them especially in the heat.  However if they are in a small apartment and are not allowed to run outside on a regular basis a short daily walk is a good idea just to get them out side in the fresh air like every dog should be allowed to do.  A Shih Tzu can get the “zoomies” and get a lot of exercise in a very small amount of space.  My dogs will run figure 8’s as fast as they can for 30 seconds straight, my gut hurts with laughter every time they do it. What amazing little babies :)


Shih Tzu and Chinese Imperial Grooming

Contrary to popular belief Shih Tzu’s are not that hard to take care of in the grooming category.  Well at least they don’t have to be.  If you have the money to have them groomed at least once a month and keep their bodies on a very short cut, they are very simple to groom and take care of and do not take the daily brushing like so many people say they do.  I keep my dogs in what I call the Schnauzer or cocker spaniel cut.  I shave their bodies to a ˝ to 3/4" cut and keep their heads a little longer and let their legs grow out.  This way you get the best of both worlds, you get a lot of fluff from their heads and legs, but no matting in the armpits and body.  Some people even shave the legs, but personally don’t like this look.  Comb them a few times a week and bath them when they get dirty (usually every other week) and you will have a very easy to care for baby.  However if you want that beautiful long flowing coat, you will have to comb them daily and sometimes more than once a day to keep them from matting. Shih Tzu’s do not shed and are great for people with allergies as long as they are kept clean and combed regularly. Even though a Shih Tzu does not shed, they do loose hair like a human does, however some lose more than others (some do loose their undercoat more than others).  They generally do not bother allergy sufferers, however if you do not keep your Shih Tzu clean you can still develop allergies as the allergens in the air will collect in their fur.  You must keep them clean and you will have an allergy free pet :)

Not every Shih Tzu’s eyes are created equal.  Some Shih Tzu’s will require that their eyes be wiped daily with an anti-bacterial wipe because they tear a lot.  Some Shih Tzu’s don’t tear much at all, however tearing is very common in a shih Tzu and generally is expected.  two things that always need to be watched and cared for and that is wiping the eyes to prevent red yeast staining and watching the ears to make sure no red yeast ear infections are developing.  Shih Tzu's have a lot of hair so I recommend regularly clipping the hair short under the ear and keep the hair in the ear cut short so it doesn't mat in the ear canal and cause any reason for a yeast over growth.

If you are used to a dog that requires no grooming, this all may sound like a lot, but as long as you are aware and do the little things on a regular basis, you should have a well groomed nice looking Shih Tzu.



Shih Tzu and Chinese Imperial size/weight

I just wanted to touch base on a subject that tends to have a lot of confusions associated with it.  A lot of people will say they want a dog under 9 lbs or over 9 lbs (ect., ect.).  Yes their weight does have a little to do with their size, but over all you will not be able to tell what “size” your puppy or dog will be by weight alone.  The Shih Tzu is one breed than can be very deceiving ( a 4lb Shih Tzu would look smaller than a 3 lb Chihuahua as they carry more weight for their size than a Chi or a Yorkie).  Most People that ask for a 4 lb Shih Tzu have no idea what they are really asking for.

For Example:  I have 4 dogs right know that are all around the same height and length.  They are all right around 8-8.5 “ tall and 9.5 – 10.5” long.  One weighs 6.5 lbs, two weigh right around 10lbs , one weighs 11 lb.  These are all small dogs, but very different in weight.  One of them is slender and petite the other 3 are very muscley and stocky.

The standard sized Shih Tzu is 9”-11” tall.  The imperial or CID (Chinese Imperial)  is under 9” tall.  My favorite size is 8”-9” tall.  Most Shih Tzu’s will be anywhere from  1” – 2” longer than they are tall. Most males will be shorter in length than the females by design (for a good reason J ).

So… if you are looking for a dog in the 7 lb range do not neglect to check out the 9-10lb dogs as you may be still getting a smaller “sized” dog.   Ask questions about the height and length of the parents along with weight as this is very important to determine overall size. All dogs should be measured with a wicket as to get the correct height. Do you want a short stocky little dog with good substance or do you want a slender and petite baby?  I think it is very important as a buyer to be informed as some people are looking for a particular height or a particular look, not necessarily weight alone.  Weight alone will not give you any one particular "look".

NOW....  all this being said,  up until a baby is 7-8 weeks old it is nearly impossible to tell how much they will weigh as an adult and even then it's hard to tell what they will do.  I try my best to guess based on birth weight and growth patterns and parents size and past litter experience.  But most of my babies have the potential to produce a dog in the 6-12 lb range with different types of body structure.  I have had the smallest puppy in a litter wind up being one of the bigger pups by the time they are 8 weeks old.  This is true for most breeders, unless they have older dogs that they have bred numerous times and have a lot of experience with that particular pairing.

Shih Tzu and Chinese Imperial estimated Weight Chart

Below is a couple of different methods for estimating adult weights of a puppy.  I usually go off of the average weekly weight gain method until they hit about 8-10 weeks and then I will usually take their 8 week weight and times it by 3 to get the low end and by 4 to get the high end of their estimated weight.

My Basic Rule of thumb

Estimated adult weights are based on growth paterns and knowledge of the lines of the parents. Once they are eight weeks old I times their weight by 3 & 4 to get a more accurate range.

Weekly weight gain average vs estimated adult weight

2 oz per week-----------------3-5 lb est adult weight

3 oz per week-----------------4-6 lb est adult weight

4 oz per week-----------------5-7 lb est adult weight

5 oz per week------------------7-9 lb est adult weight

6 oz per week-----------------8-10 lb est adult weight

7 oz per week-----------------10-14 lb est adult weight

the only problem with estimates is the fact the puppies can have growing spurts and stop growing for a week or two, which can greatly alter the estimated weights. This usually happenst the most between 4-7 weeks of age.

Another Method of figuring adult weight.

Times their weight to get a range


4 weeks x 5 & 6 , 6 weeks x 4 & 5,  8 weeks x 3 & 4 ,  12 weeks X 2.5-3 ,  14 weeks X 2-2.5.            

Then realize you can plus or minus 1 lb due to growth patterns of individual dogs and that will give you a range of what to expect. How ever these figures should be on the upper end of the scale ( I hate  to under estimate by a significant amount).

Keep in mind that sometimes you may have a chubby baby.  I have had a puppy that was  4 lbs at 8 weeks and wind up in the 9-10 lb standard range (far from the 16 lbs predicted above), so it is hard to tell, but under most circumstances the chart above will be fairly accurate or at least give you an idea.   

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