Male vs Female Shih Tzu


Male vs Female Shih Tzu: Which One is Better and Why?

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on November 5, 2022.

Discover the distinct characteristics and behaviors of Male vs Female Shih Tzus.  Perfect for potential Shih Tzu owners and enthusiasts

This article will shed some light on Shih Tzu’s temperament, Shih Tzu personality, and the Shih Tzu male vs. female debate. So, you can choose which tiny sweetheart best fits your lifestyle. Dive in to learn all the Shih Tzu benefits!

Shih Tzu (commonly pronounced as sheed zoo) is an affectionate and outgoing house dog. The term Shih Tzu means little lion. But this doesn’t mean this dog breed is a fierce fellow. The majestic pooch is nothing but loving and adores sitting in his favorite person’s lap.

This dog breed’s obedience, agility, and elegance have established a separate fan base. People from all walks of life wish to have them as snuggle buddies. And to be honest, who can ignore the adorableness and charm of this little face?

However, with its increasing popularity, many questions and inquiries and Shih Tzu male vs. female myths also pop up. People interested in this toy breed want to know facts regarding their temperament and more.

The Chinese royals cherished the dog breed as a prized pet for well over 1000 years. His ancestors include the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. As explained earlier, Shih Tzu means “lion,” and despite his size, this dog is courageous and will stand up for himself when necessary. He was a much-loved and adored house pet for most of the Ming Dynasty.

Shih Tzu Dog Appearance

He’s a solid, compact dog with a flowing double coat. He’s among the most popular dogs in the US. His coat can be any color. His tail curves over his back, and he has an arrogant carriage.

Today, his main purpose is to be a pet, and he’s lively, trusting, and loving. He doesn’t need much exercise. He does need lots of brushing and maintenance each day. He’s 9-10.5 inches high.

Shih Tzu Male VS Female
Shih Tzu Male VS Female

Shih Tzu Male vs. Female: What’s the Difference?

Pet lovers often ask if I should get a male or female Shih Tzu dog.

Well, whether you choose a male Shih Tzu or a female, it doesn’t really matter. However, experienced Shih Tzu owners and breeders explain a slight variance between Shih Tzu puppies of both genders.

Their personality traits may differ. Therefore, before selecting a pet, it’s better to talk to the breeder and tell him what you expect from your male or female Shih Tzu. Both genders have some slight differences and may display some unique personality traits. Whether male or female Shih Tzu is better is hard to win.

Shih Tzus, often referred to as “lion dogs” due to their luxurious mane and noble demeanor, are a popular breed cherished by pet owners worldwide. These little dogs require a lot of love, daily brushing, and proper care to maintain their health and well-being.

Both genders make excellent therapy dogs and are known for their ability to spend quality time on their owner’s lap, truly embodying the essence of a lap dog. However, potential new owners should be aware of the health issues affecting this breed. Females, in particular, may face risks during pregnancy, including the need for a cesarean section, which can contribute to the final price of purchasing one of these dogs, making the most expensive female Shih Tzus those with a history of requiring such medical interventions.

Early training and socialization are crucial for both genders to ensure they grow into well-adjusted adult Shih Tzus. While males can sometimes mark their territory more frequently, both sexes are equally capable of offering unconditional affection and becoming a person’s best friend. For those looking to add a Shih Tzu to their family, it’s a good idea to consider these factors and how they align with your lifestyle.

Regardless of gender, individual dogs will have their unique personalities. With the right care and attention, any Shih Tzu can thrive and bring endless joy and companionship to their human companions.

But some obvious Shih Tzu boy or girl qualities are listed below. Just don’t forget that not all dogs fit into every stereotype.

Shih Tzu Male vs. Female: What's the Difference?
Shih Tzu Male vs. Female: What’s the Difference?

Important Shih Tzu Facts

Stats Description
Dog Breed Group Toy group
Purpose Companion dogs
Temperament Affectionate, Playful, Outgoing
Average Height 9-10.5 inches high tall at the shoulder
Weight Range 9-16 pounds
Energy level Moderate
Exercise requirements Low; 20-30 minutes per day
Grooming Requirements High
AKC Breed Popularity Ranks 20 of 197
Life Expectancy 10 to 18 years

Female Shih Tzu Temperament Facts

  • Female dogs includes Shih Tzus, are usually very confident and independent. This elegant little lady has a pretty strong will.
  • The bright-eyed lady needs constant attention. She thinks of herself as an in-charge who loves to run things. You can’t say no to this face!
  • Like dogs of any other breed or gender, female Shih Tzu must be properly socialized. It helps her avoid being too protective over her dearest toy or human.
  • No dog is impossible to train. Some breeds require additional training and special sessions to follow the instructions. Female puppies often find potty training a bit difficult. You may need some patience for that. Plus, she is likely to have more staying power.
  • Females are great at learning tricks. They love to do as many things as possible and are very intelligent.
  • You female Shih Tzu can get too attached to one person in the whole family. So proper socialization among the other members is way more important.
  • A female Shih Tzu demands and craves attention. They love to be petted or, in other words, worshipped.
  • Female Shih Tzus are attention seekers. They love to be around you all day long. You may have to face some resistance if she is not getting enough attention.
  • Both genders are extremely affectionate, whether you have a male or female Shih Tzu. Their loyalty to their family is unquestionable. This elegant dog breed is not aggressive. You may feel a female is exercising her dominance, but that is just how they are. They love to do what they like. Females are also great at outsmarting you.
  • This breed falls in the category of great companion dogs. One can never get bored of their company. We bet you will enjoy every minute of it.
Shih Tzu Male VS Female
Male Shih Tzu Puppy

Male Shih Tzu Temperament Facts

  • Males are sweet and affectionate and will likely stay in your lap all day. You cannot help giving this fellow all your attention due to its attractive personality. This lovely pooch will stare at you, sit on your lap, eat treats, have a potty break, and snuggle with you again. Who wouldn’t shower affection on such a naturally charming pet?
  • Male Shih Tzu dogs are a ray of love and joy. They love unconditionally but are very sensitive to your mood and tone. This canine’s life revolves around its favorite person. You better not raise your voice at him, or the fella may get hurt.
  • A male Shih Tzu tends to exhibit secondary sexual behaviors. Neutering at an early age can help reduce testosterone levels.
  • They can spend the whole day cuddling with you without wanting to do another thing. Male Shih Tzu dogs are the sweetest little thing who loves to worship their owner. This behavior is not very common in their female equivalents.
  • Regardless of gender, Shih Tzu puppies need adequate training and socializing. Pet lovers need to be patient and consistent with the breed.
  • Shih Tzu’s male vs female size is also distinct. Male Shih Tzus are a little taller and massive (on average, 2-3 pounds more) than females.
  • These companions are very eager to please. A soothing voice, a little pat on the pack, a smile, and praise can easily motivate them to do anything.

Shih Tzu Male vs. Female Personality

Shih Tzu are famous for their happy temperaments and joyful nature. Their friendly nature and tendency to get along well with different species and people of all ages make them ideal for any household. It’s very rare to find a short-tempered Shih Tzu. Usually, they are the cutest little creatures you will ever meet, and the sugariness has nothing to do with their gender!

Female Shih Tzu
Female Shih Tzu

Due to their short snout, they are not heavy chewers. However, both males and females indulge in nuisance barking and digging. They desire to be with you, whether you are sitting on your garden chair or taking a hike through a rough trail.

The differences, as mentioned earlier, are not more than generalities. It’s up to you to decide whether you want a male or female Shih Tzu.

Both genders have their own personality with some novel characteristics. No single statement can describe every dog of a particular breed or gender. You must choose one by considering the chemistry between your family and the pet you are willing to take home.

Are Male Shih Tzu’s Aggressive Than Females?

Shih Tzu is undoubtedly a loyal and loving companion; who can say this energetic personality may have an aggressive side? Well, in most cases, you are right. Shih Tzu is not an aggressive dog breed. Both males and females are super affectionate and caring. There are, however, rare chances that males may develop an aggressive streak.

The severity of this aggression can vary depending on several factors. It is important to correct the destructive tendencies before the aggression could cause some difficult situations for the dog himself, the people around him, and other pets.

Shih Tzu Male VS Female
Male Shih Tzu

Why My Shih Tzu is So Aggressive?

Shih Tzu can display aggression due to many reasons. Occasionally, aggression is due to some immediate causes. However, in most cases, pet lovers are the ones who should carry the burden of blame.

You are probably thinking about how this comes true. Well, frankly speaking, by adorning your fur baby a bit too much.

Pet lovers often make this mistake: They start cuddling and petting whenever their four-legged friend makes a mistake instead of teaching him some morals. This activity lets the puppy think that this is the right thing to do. The situation can worsen if you let his good behavior pass by unappreciated.

Some other causes are listed below:

The Pack Leader

We all adore our small and fun-loving Shih Tzu. However, too much affection can lead to a problem called small dog syndrome aggression. Small dog syndrome occurs when an owner gives in his pet’s demands all the time. This freedom lets the dog think he is the pack’s leader, AKA the Alpha of the house.

Small dog syndrome requires adequate attention before it gets out of control. You must demonstrate to your Shih Tzu that you are the leader here and not him; small dogs must accept this reality.

Dealing with your Shih Tzu’s aggression by shouting at him won’t benefit you or the dog. It will make him more aggressive.

Any unpleasant behavior, including jumping at or on people and other animals, aggressive barking, chewing, and climbing up on furniture, needs a well-thought-out approach. Instead of using force, owners should isolate their puppy in a separate room or gated area where he can see that he is being ignored.

Male Shih Tzu
Male Shih Tzu

Keep your Shih Tzu isolated for a few minutes and let him back when he calms down. Repeat this process whenever your Shih Tzu shows some aggressiveness.

Eventually, the Shih Tzu puppy will know that misbehaving and aggression do not help him get what he wants, and only good behavior is rewarded. Perhaps this is not the only reason behind Shih Tzu’s aggression.

Shih Tzu Energy Level

Aggression can be your dog’s way of expressing his frustration and boredom. If your dog is not exercising enough, he needs to release his energy. If this is the reason behind your Shih Tzu aggression, then the obvious solution is to take your pup out more on walks.

Shih Tzu Male VS Female
Shih Tzu Male Puppy

Puppy Mouthing

Puppies naturally tend to have a biting and nipping contest with their little siblings. It is nature’s way of preparing the dog for future conflicts. However, if this habit continues into adulthood, it can become severe full-scale biting.

You will be glad to know its cure is quite simple. There is no need to shout commands at your four-legged sensitive fellow. Neither do you have to hold his snout closed. (Suggested by some trainers).

For this, your Shih Tzu needs to be on a harness with a short leash. While walking, don’t let the puppy walk in front of you. Make sure he is by your side all the time. If the dog tries to pull the leash, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. If he attempts to mouth you, bend your back and step on his leash so he cannot nibble you. Wait until the dog calms down. Repeat the process whenever the puppy tries to mouth. Plus, do not forget to make any good behavior rewarding through petting, cuddling, and treats.

Aggression Due to Traumatic Experiences

If your Shih Tzu is a rescued puppy, then the causes behind his aggression may be fear, past abuse, and traumatic experiences. Dogs with such heartbreaking histories feel trapped and concerned, which makes them panic. The past experiences are etched into their minds. Being a responsible pet owner, you should avoid any situation triggering his aggressive tendencies. To make headway, you can also consult a dog behavior specialist.

Regardless of gender, if your Shih Tzu shows aggressive traits, you must immediately prevent unwanted situations. Start working while your dog is still a puppy. If your canine gets older, you have to work even harder, or else there can be some pressing consequences.

Anger issues are not related to a specific gender. Males are as affectionate as their female counterparts. Their smart but stubborn streak makes them difficult to understand. It has absolutely nothing to do with the gender of this particular breed. The best approach is to decide what’s causing the aggression and take appropriate remedial actions. With persistence, you can beat the problem.

Shih Tzu Male VS Female
Male Shih Tzus

Conclusion to Male or Female Shih Tzu: Which is Better?

Male Shih Tzu and female Shih Tzu both genders possess some unique attributes. Adopting a Shih Tzu should never be based on unconfirmed information. Instead, you should speak to breeders about the parental history of male and female Shih Tzu dog breeds. Don’t quit on a sweet and adorable Shih Tzu by thinking he will be challenging to manage.

Try to understand how males and females behave in different situations and why they behave. It will help you in understanding how you can handle them.

Always remember, the best Shih Tzu is the one that fits your lifestyle and blends into your family regardless of gender.

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References and Further Reading:

[1] American Kennel Club, Shih Tzu Information.

Male vs Female Shih Tzu
Male vs Female Shih Tzu


  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page