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Chinese Dog Breeds

The Appeal of Chinese Dog Breeds

Just like canines from any other part of the globe, Chinese dog breeds are very unique and possess individual traits that make them stand out. There are a few very popular breeds from this Asian country as well as some lesser-known that might make a great pet for your family.

The Shar Pei

Shar PeiWith its heavy wrinkles and tightly curled tail, the Shar Pei is unmistakable. Its name translates to mean “sand skin” which accurately describes the dog’s coarse, rough coat. In 1978, this breed was labeled the worlds’ rarest. It wasn’t until 1991 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Shar Pei as an official breed.

There are actually different types of Shar Pei, both of which share their trademark blue-black tongue. The western version can have a brush, horse or bear coat. The traditional Chinese Shar Pei has fewer wrinkles, stands taller and has a flatter nose and mouth. This breed requires proper socialization from a young age. They can be very strong willed and often act territorial but also show love and affection to the families who adopt them.

The Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog is another breed that is easy to identify because of its unusual appearance. This canine can be born hairless. Those that fall into the furless category actually have long hair on their paws, tail and head (which gives them the “crested” appearance) while the rest of the body is bare. A Powderpuff version also exists which is covered entirely in a long coat. A female Chinese Crested can have both types of puppy in the same litter.

Compact size makes this breed ideal for homes with less space, such as condos and apartments. The Chinese Crested does not like to be left alone for long and is a very playful and friendly companion for individuals of all ages. They are also very willing to please and respond best to positive reinforcement when training.

The Shih Tzu

shih tzuThe Shih Tzu was bred in China but has become a popular breed in many other countries. They are recognizable by their small size and flat face. A purebred Shih Tzu will have large eyes that are dark in color and a double coat. A height of less than 10.5 inches is average with a weight of between 10 to 16 pounds for an adult.

Many families have fallen in love with the Shih Tzu’s gentle personality. The dog is very loyal and personable. Although they are not intimidating to look at, they will make noise to alert the family of strangers. They are generally friendly with children, visitors and other pets.

While the Shih Tzu sounds like a great companion animal, potential owners should learn about potential health problems that are common with this breed. Immune system issues that lead to hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, hair loss and lethargy but can be treated with medication. The breed is also prone to breathing problems because of its face shape. As long as new owners adopt from reputable breeders and know the risks, the Shih Tzu can be one of the most appealing Chinese dog breeds available.

Shih Tzu Names

As one of the most popular of all dog breeds, people have come up with all kinds of Shih Tzu names. You can be as creative as you like when trying to find a name for one of these delightful dogs. They have a long, rich history, so you might refer to their Chinese origins to choose a name. Or, you might draw on their beautiful appearance. Or, you could consider their lively, playful personality. There’s really almost no limit to where you could look for names for your dog.

Tibetan and Chinese Names

With their Tibetan origins and their historical ties to China and the Ming dynasty, you could choose a name for your dog to conjure these faraway lands. From Tibet, Akar means white crystal; Amrita means ambrosia; Anil means air or wind; Boshay means amber; Ceba means “dear to hold”; Cimba means small; Diki means healthy and wealthy; Dorje means thunderbolt, indomitable; Garkan means dancer; Goba means eagles; Jalus means rainbow; Jampo means gentle; Jangbo means clever, wise; Jetsan means king; Jigme means fearless; Kalsang means good fortune; Kasa means deer; Kipu means happy; Kitsi means tickle; Lhundup means miraculous; Mida means pistol; Nima means sun; Nuba means howl; Nyima means sun; Pabu means puffball; Popo means lord; Poso means glory; Rabten means faithful; Rinchen means precious or treasure; Seba means reward; Senge means lion; Sengemo means lioness; Skamar means star; Somba means socks; Temba means good; Torma means magic stone; Wangchuk means mighty or powerful; Wangdak means protector or lordly; Wangdue means conqueror; Yeshe means wise one; Zonpa means young; and Zopa means patience.

Among Chinese names, you could choose: Bing Qing meaning ice crystal or clear; Bo meaning precious; Chang meaning prosperity or strength; Chen meaning great or vast; Cheung meaning good luck; Chong meaning clever or intelligent; Chow meaning summer; Chun meaning spring; Chung meaning the wise one; Fai meaning brilliant light; Fu meaning wealthy; Heng meaning eternal; Huan meaning a flower; Huan meaning happiness; Jia meaning beautiful; Jun meaning the truth; Liang meaning good; Lok meaning happy; Manchu meaning pure; Mee meaning beautiful; Na meaning graceful; Ning meaning rest, peace, and tranquility; Nuo meaning graceful; Quon meaning bright; Shen meaning deep-thinking or spiritual; Shing meaning victory; Shun meaning smooth; Sying meaning star; Tai meaning very big; Tao meaning long life; Ting Ting meaning graceful and slim; Ushi meaning ox; Wan meaning lovely and gentle; Wang meaning kingly; Wei meaning strong, great, valuable; Wen meaning refined, cultured; Wu meaning sorcerer or crow; Xun meaning fast; Yuan meaning the original; Zhen meaning chaste or virtuous; and Zi meaning beautiful and graceful.

Geographical Names

You could also choose a name from the peaks of the Himalayas, which include Tibet. Tibetan mountain peaks include: Changtse, Gauri Sankar, Gurla Mandhata Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Gyala Peri, Jomolhari, Kawagebo, Khumbutse, Lhotse, Makalu, Melungtse, Mount Kailash, Mount Nyainqentanglha, Mount Nyainqentanglha Namcha Barwa, Shishapangma, Yangra. Cherko la and North Col are mountain passes. Mount Gephel and Gurla Mandhata are smaller mountains.

Favorite Shih Tzu Dog Names

These are just some of the names you could choose for your Shih Tzu, based on the breed’s history. You could also consider the names of Chinese emperors or the Dalai Lamas. You could consider the names of Chinese dynasties or gods and goddesses. Mythology often provides wonderful stories with colorful characters that can give you great ideas for naming your dog.

You don’t have to use a Chinese or Tibetan name for your Shih Tzu, of course. There’s nothing wrong with naming your little dog Magnum or Angelina. As long as you choose a name that you and your dog like, that’s what’s important. You could also name your dog after characters in a popular film. (The Twilight movies are providing some popular dog names right now.)

According to VPI pet insurance company, the top 10 names for dogs in 2010 were:

1. Bella
2. Bailey
3. Max
4. Lucy
5. Molly
6. Buddy
7. Maggie
8. Daisy
9. Charlie
10. Sophie


With an old breed like the Shih Tzu it’s not hard to find Shih Tzu names. You can consider the breed’s origin in Tibet or its connection to China. You can look for historical or geographical names. The important thing is to choose a name that you like and that your dog will respond to when you use it.

Shih Tzu Grooming Styles

The Shih Tzu is considered to be an exceptionally beautiful dog. They have a long, flowing coat that has both an undercoat and an outer coat. It takes daily brushing and grooming to keep these little dogs looking their best. While some pet owners do keep their dogs trimmed in a short haircut to make it easier to care for their coats, many owners love to take care of their dog’s long coat and show it off. If you wish to show your dog at a dog show, you will need to keep the coat long. Here is some helpful advice about Shih Tzu grooming styles.

The Shih Tzu Coat

The Shih Tzu’s coat has an undercoat which keeps the dog warm and insulated against colder weather. This may not be necessary if the dog is a pet living in an apartment, but when the breed was created they lived in a colder climate and they needed this warm undercoat lying close against their skin.

The dog’s outer coat is the long, flowing hair that you see on top of their body. This coat is luxurious and dense. The hair on top of the Shih Tzu’s head is customarily tied up in a top knot and held in place with a bow.

For the show ring, which is the grooming standard for the breed where they are best groomed and presented, any excessive trimming is considered a fault. However, it is permissible to trim around the paws of the dog and along the bottom of the coat and at the dog’s anus to make the coat neat and to allow the dog to move more freely.

Shih Tzu Grooming Tips

It takes daily brushing and grooming to keep a coat in this excellent condition. To groom your Shih Tzu you should have a good boar bristle brush, preferably with a wooden handle and back. Boar bristles are considered to be gentler on the hair. Nylon bristles are more likely to break the dog’s hair which will ruin the long, flowing appearance. A wooden handle and back are desirable for the brush because they soak up the natural oils in the dog’s coat and spread them throughout the hair. This is considered to be good for the hair. A dog with healthy skin and coat will naturally produce these oils and they should be evenly distributed throughout the coat by regular brushing.

You should bathe your Shih Tzu regularly. Once a month is usually a good time table for a pet Shih Tzu who does not become excessively dirty or roll in anything smelly. You should use a good shampoo and conditioner for the coat. Do not use human products on your dog’s coat. Dogs have a different pH from humans and most, if not all, human products are too harsh for dogs. They will strip out the natural oils from the dog’s skin and coat. This includes human baby shampoos. They are too harsh for dogs. Many pet stores and online retailers sell good shampoos and conditioners for dogs. You can use a shampoo and conditioner with natural ingredients if you prefer.

When grooming your Shih Tzu, or any dog, you may wish to put some small pieces of cotton in your dog’s ears before the bath. This will help keep water out of your dog’s ears. Be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly after shampooing. Any soap residue left behind can cause your dog to itch and scratch. This is a frequent cause of hot spots and other skin problems.

You can also use a coat detangler on your dog’s coat immediately after the bath. This will keep the coat from tangling and make it easy to comb out. It usually makes grooming easier.

You can use a little conditioner, mixed with water, to spray on your dog’s coat each day before you brush. Or just spray a little water on the coat to dampen it. This will make the coat easier to brush and keep the hair from breaking.

Short Cuts

If you don’t wish to devote a lot of time to grooming your Shih Tzu, you can have him professionally trimmed every six to eight weeks so he stays in a short pet haircut. This look is cute on a Shih Tzu and it’s easy to care for.


If you intend to keep your Shih Tzu’s hair long then you will need to brush it every day. This will keep the skin and coat healthy and prevent mats and tangles from forming. Bathe your dog about once a month. Do not use human products on your dog. If you don’t wish to devote a lot of time to grooming your Shih Tzu, you can have his coat cut in a short pet haircut by a professional groomer.

The Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu  is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and in many other countries. They have a regal appearance but are actually quite playful and sweet. The Shih Tzu is a very old breed and was kept by Chinese emperors over a thousand years ago.


The Shih Tzu is thought to have been created by breeding the Pekingese to the Lhasa Apso or the Tibetan mountain dog more than a thousand years ago. It is a very old breed. The breed was very popular during the Ming Dynasty in China and royals in China continued to breed these beautiful dogs up until the end of the Imperial era. The Dowager Empress kept a kennel that included Shih Tzu but, after her death in 1908, the dogs in the kennel were spread around and breeding of the dogs mostly stopped. The breed almost became extinct following the Communist Revolution in China. During World War II British soldiers discovered the dogs in the Imperial Palace and brought some of them back to England.


The Shih Tzu is a playful, sweet dog. However, he is quite brave and he can look after himself. With his gorgeous long, flowing coat and his high head carriage, the Shih Tzu often looks quite arrogant, but these are lovable dogs. They are trusting and friendly. In the home they are alert and lively. They make wonderful apartment dogs and they usually get along well with other dogs and pets.

Shih Tzu Care

Shih Tzus are small dogs. They usually stand 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 9 to 16 pounds. Because of their small size they do have some special needs. Like many small dogs, you should feed your Shih Tzu several small meals per day instead of one large meal. They will feel the effects or cold or heat sooner than a large dog would, so you should always be careful of temperatures with your Shih Tzu. Small dogs such as the Shih Tzu will also get tired easily. They don’t require much exercise.

This breed has a beautiful coat that is much-admired but it does require brushing every day. Use a good shampoo and conditioner to bathe your dog at least once a month. Clean the dog’s ears once a week to avoid ear infections. Shih Tzus can have tear staining below the eyes so you should gently wipe the area under the eyes regularly to prevent any staining. Be sure to trim your dog’s nails each week, too.

How to Care for Shih Tzu Puppies

As with other small breeds, it’s best to wait to take your Shih Tzu puppy home with you until he’s about 12 weeks old. If you take the puppy home when he’s too young he can suffer from serious health problems. Most small breed puppies are a little slower to grow and develop than large breed puppies due to their small size.

Shih Tzu puppies and other small breed puppies can be hard to house train. You can use puppy training pads to teach your puppy where he should potty, whether you train him to potty in the house or take him outside. Remember to praise your puppy and give him a reward when he relieves himself where you want him to go. Be patient when you are house training your puppy. Harsh methods will backfire.

Your Shih Tzu puppy should start getting his vaccinations when he is about six weeks old so he should already have some of them before he comes to live with you. You should continue his vaccinations when you bring him to live with you. It is usually recommended to keep giving puppies vaccinations for diseases such as parvo and distemper until they are about 16 weeks old. Be sure to vaccinate your puppy for rabies, too. This is required by law in all 50 states in the U.S. and many other countries. Your puppy will need booster shots when he is a year old. After that, you can usually get shots every two or three years, except for rabies. Ask your vet how often rabies shots are required in your area. Some places require annual rabies shots while other places allow you to get a rabies vaccination every three years.

It’s important to socialize your Shih Tzu puppy when he’s young. Take him places with you so he can meet friendly people who will pet him. Consider signing up for a puppy preschool or puppy kindergarten class so he can socialize with other puppies and learn some basic good manners. Dogs that are properly socialized when they are young will have fewer behavior problems later in life. They are less likely to be fearful or have problems with separation anxiety, for example.


The Shih Tzu is a very popular breed with a lively, playful personality. Their beautiful long, flowing coat needs regular brushing and bathing. These are friendly dogs who usually get along well with everyone. Vaccinate your Shih Tzu puppy for common diseases and socialize him to build his confidence when he’s young.

My Shih Tzu in baggage.