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In this article, we will discuss the male and female Shih Tzu including the similarities and differences helping you decide if they are right for you.

shih tzu standing on brick street

Small, adorable, and with low exercise requirements, Shih Tzus are a great dog breed for families, single owners, or apartment living.

Before adopting a Shih Tzu, however, it’s important to decide whether the breed is the right one for you.

It’s also a good idea to look at the differences between the two genders, as each has its own personality traits.

Male vs Female Shih Tzu: How Do They Compare?

Height and Weight

Shih Tzus are small dogs. They usually weigh between 9 and 16 pounds and stand about 9 to 10.5 inches high at the shoulder.

There usually isn’t too much of a size difference between male and female Shih Tzus, although males are sometimes an inch or so taller and can weigh 2 or 3 pounds more than females.


Both male and female Shih Tzus are usually affectionate, loving, loyal, and intelligent. These dogs crave attention and can be very demanding about getting the love they need from their owners.

Males tend to be lap dogs, while female Shih Tzus enjoy frequent petting and brushing. Female Shih Tzus tend to be a bit more demanding when it comes to getting what they want.

They are also a bit more energetic and have a little more zing to their personalities.

shih tzu wearing a pink sweater

Male Shih Tzus are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions and moods.

Whereas female Shih Tzus prefer to get attention, male Shih Tzus prefer to give their affection.

They enjoy cuddling, and many owners describe male Shih Tzus as charming.

Male and female Shih Tzus are generally considered to be very gentle and friendly. They are also patient and they love endless affection, which makes them a good choice for families with children.

These little dogs are also a good option for families with other pets, including cats, as Shih Tzus tend to get along well with other animals and have few hunting instincts.

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Female Shih Tzus can become very attached to a single person. In a family setting, females usually choose a favorite person and bond with them.

Strong socialization as a puppy can curb this behavior, but most females of this dog breed are still more likely to gravitate toward one person.

Male Shih Tzus love to spread their affection around to the whole family. They will often bond well with all the members of the family, so they’re a perfect choice if you have kids.


One of the many myths about Shih Tzus is that males are more difficult to train than females.

Both genders, however, can be stubborn and willful, but they’re both eager to please and, because they’re so intelligent, they enjoy training sessions that engage their minds.

shih tzu laying on grass on a sunny day

Male Shih Tzus are very eager to please. They respond well to positive reinforcement and are generally relatively easy to train.

It’s important, however, to act gently when working with a male Shih Tzu.

These dogs do not respond well to harsh reprimands.

Female Shih Tzus are often considered to be willful and independent. They can be more difficult to housebreak. However, like their male counterparts, female Shih Tzus are eager to learn.

They excel at learning tricks. When training a female Shih Tzu, positive reinforcement works best, and it’s important to keep training fun and interesting for the dog so she doesn’t get bored.

training a shih tzu stnding on a board

Dominance and Scent Marking

Another reason that many people seek out female Shih Tzus instead of males is that some people believe male dogs display more aggressive dominance and scent marking behaviors.

However, this is generally false. Once a male dog is neutered, it no longer feels the need to mark its territory as aggressively.

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They can also be quite friendly with other dogs and aren’t generally overly territorial or protective of either their space or their owners.

Female Shih Tzus don’t mark their territory very often either, but they can sometimes be aggressive with other dogs. In a group, female Shih Tzus can display aggressive behaviors in order to assert their dominance.

Keeping a close eye on the dogs and engaging in socialization with other dogs early on can help to curb these behaviors.


Male and female Shih Tzus both have long, flowing fur. This fur requires frequent grooming. Most Shih Tzu owners spend at least a few minutes every day brushing their dogs.

Every four two six weeks, a Shih Tzu will require a full bath, grooming, and sometimes clipping to keep the fur in check and tangle-free.

In warm weather, many people clip their dogs to help them stay cool.

three shih tzu's with long hair sitting in grass


Both male and female Shih Tzus can live between 10 and 18 years. There is no noticeable difference in lifespan between the two genders.

Dogs that are well-cared for, are seen regularly by a veterinarian, and eat a healthy diet will often live well into their teenage years.

Which gender Shih Tzu should you adopt?

Both male and female Shih Tzus make excellent, loyal, loving pets. Single people often prefer female Shih Tzus, as they bond more readily with one person.

However, females can be somewhat stubborn and demanding. They have spunky personalities, though, that make up for these traits, and they’re eager to learn and to please their owners.

Male Shih Tzus are often a better choice for families, as they don’t bond to just one person but spread their affection to everyone in the family group.

If you’re concerned about unwanted dominance or territorial behaviors, having the dog neutered can solve most of these issues.

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