Find out why Shih Tzu are America’s most despised dog breed!

Are you toying with the idea of adopting a Shih Tzu, but find yourself wading through whispers suggesting they might not be the best pick? As someone who’s walked many miles in dog-owning shoes and delved deep into canine research, I can confirm; this particular breed won’t suit everyone.

This article is your guiding hand through their occasional obstinance, demanding grooming routines, potential health concerns and their unrestrained zest for life. It’s crucial to gather all the facts before welcoming one of these bundles of joy into your home.

Eager to unravel why Shih Tzus have sometimes been branded “the worst dogs”? Let’s embark on this journey together!

Key Takeaways

  • Shih Tzus can be difficult to train due to their stubborn nature, which can drive owners mad. Their independent streak makes it challenging for them to follow commands.
  • High – maintenance grooming is a must for Shih Tzus. Their long coats require daily brushing and regular trips to the groomer. Neglecting their fur can lead to bad smells and skin problems.
  • Shih Tzus are prone to health issues like ear and eye infections, dental problems, and easily broken bones. This means more time spent at the vet’s office and potentially higher medical expenses.
  • Potential behavioral issues include clinginess, separation anxiety, excessive barking, and aggression if not properly trained or socialized from an early age.

The Challenges of Owning a Shih Tzu

Owning a Shih Tzu can be quite challenging due to their stubbornness, high-maintenance grooming needs, potential health concerns, behavioral issues, and difficulty in housebreaking.


Shih Tzus can be real stubborn. They like doing things their way. This can make training hard and may drive a dog owner mad. For example, if told to sit, they may just stare at you.

It’s not that they don’t know what you want them to do. They just choose not to do it right away. This is part of their nature and it can be quite tough for owners who need their dogs to follow rules.

High-maintenance grooming

Shih Tzus have long, thick hair. This means they need a lot of grooming. Their fur can get knots and tangles easily. They need to be brushed every day to keep their coat clean and healthy.

It also helps avoid shedding too much around the house. They also require regular trips to the groomer for proper haircuts. If not cared for properly, their hair may smell bad or cause skin problems too.

The time and effort put into caring for their fur is high, making them high maintenance dogs in terms of grooming.

Health concerns

Shih Tzus can have health problems. This may worry anyone thinking of getting this breed. Shih Tzus often get ear and eye infections. Their teeth can also give them trouble. Because they are small dogs, their bones break more easily than bigger dogs.

Many Shih Tzu owners spend a lot of time at the vet’s office. This is because these dogs tend to get sick more often than other breeds. These trips to the vet’s office can be hard on both your heart and your wallet!

Potential behavioral issues

Shih Tzus can have potential behavioral issues that may make them a challenging pet for some owners. One issue is their clinginess. They crave constant attention and can become anxious or upset when left alone, leading to separation anxiety.

Another problem is excessive barking. Shih Tzus are known to be vocal and may bark excessively at strangers or other animals, which can be bothersome for neighbors or in apartments.

Additionally, aggression can be an issue with this breed if they are not properly socialized and trained from an early age. Training challenges may arise due to the stubborn nature of Shih Tzus, making it important for owners to establish themselves as leaders through consistent training techniques.

Difficult to housebreak

Housebreaking a Shih Tzu can be quite challenging. They have a stubborn nature and may resist training efforts. It takes patience and consistency to teach them where to do their business.

This breed might take longer to housebreak compared to other dogs, which can be frustrating for owners. However, with proper training techniques and positive reinforcement, it is possible to successfully housebreak a Shih Tzu.


Shih Tzu Temperament Issues

Shih Tzus can be prone to clinginess, separation anxiety, excessive barking, aggression, and training challenges.


Shih Tzus are known for their clinginess and desire for constant human attention. They want to be by your side all the time, which can make it difficult to get things done or have some personal space.

They thrive on love and cuddles, always wanting to be your little buddy. While some people may appreciate this level of devotion, others may find it overwhelming or suffocating. It’s important to consider if you’re prepared for a dog that is desperate for your love and will want to be with you every minute of the day.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety can be a significant issue for Shih Tzus. They become very attached to their owners and may feel distressed when left alone. This can lead to behaviors like excessive barking, destructive chewing, and even accidents in the house.

It’s important for potential owners to understand that Shih Tzus require a lot of attention and may not be suitable for those who are away from home frequently or have busy schedules.

Proper training and gradually acclimating them to being alone can help minimize separation anxiety in Shih Tzus.


Shih Tzus have a tendency to bark a lot, which can be quite annoying. They are known for their excessive barking, especially when they feel anxious or when there are strangers around.

This constant noise may not be ideal for those who live in close proximity to neighbors or prefer a quiet living environment. Additionally, trying to train them to bark less can be quite challenging due to their stubborn nature.

So if you’re looking for a dog that is quiet and doesn’t bark much, the Shih Tzu might not be the best choice for you.


Shih Tzus have a reputation for aggression, which can be a drawback for potential owners. While not all Shih Tzus display aggressive behavior, some may show signs of possessiveness or guarding behaviors.

It’s important to socialize and train them properly from an early age to prevent any aggression issues. Additionally, their small size can make them feel more vulnerable and trigger defensive reactions.

Understanding and addressing these potential aggression concerns before bringing a Shih Tzu into your home is crucial for ensuring the safety of both the dog and your family.

Training challenges

Training a Shih Tzu can be quite challenging. They are known for their stubborn nature and may resist following commands. It can take time and patience to train them properly. Additionally, Shih Tzus have a strong need for human companionship and approval, which means they may become anxious or act out if left alone for long periods of time.

This clinginess makes training more difficult as they constantly seek attention from their owners instead of focusing on learning commands. Despite these challenges, with consistent training and positive reinforcement, Shih Tzus can still learn obedience and basic commands successfully.

Cost and Time Commitment

Shih Tzus can be quite expensive to own, with high grooming costs and potential health issues that require veterinary care. Additionally, their need for companionship means they require a significant amount of time and attention from their owners.

Ownership challenges

Owning a Shih Tzu comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is their high-maintenance grooming needs. Their long coat requires regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles, as well as frequent trips to the groomer for haircuts.

This can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, Shih Tzus are prone to health concerns such as eye and ear infections, dental issues, and allergies, which may require extra veterinary care and expenses.

Another challenge is their stubborn nature, making training difficult at times. They can also be challenging to housebreak, requiring patience and consistency. Despite these challenges, owning a Shih Tzu can bring joy and companionship when their needs are met.

Cost of care

Caring for a Shih Tzu can indeed take a monetary toll on your wallet. The expenses for their needs and maintenance can be high, but it’s part and parcel of the dog-owning experience.

Expense Cost
Puppy Purchase $500-$1,500
Yearly Vet Checks $100-$300
Vaccinations $75-$100 per year
Grooming $30-$50 per session
Food $20-$30 per month
Pet Insurance (optional) $200-$600 per year

Please note that these are estimated figures and the actual costs can vary based on location, the Shih Tzu’s specific health needs, and other factors. Health issues could potentially add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your annual pet budget. Not to mention, the time commitment in terms of training, socializing, and exercising a Shih Tzu also comes with a cost. Although they bring joy and companionship, their maintenance expenses are something you should seriously consider before welcoming a Shih Tzu into your home.

Time commitment

Owning a Shih Tzu requires significant time commitment that some people may not be able to afford.

Activity Time Required
Grooming This breed has long, thick fur that requires regular brushing and trimming, which can take up to an hour per day.
Exercise Shih Tzus are relatively active and need at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Feeding They need to be fed twice a day, so time should be allocated for preparing meals and feeding.
Training Shih Tzus can be stubborn and resist commands, which means training may take longer and demand more patience.
Health Care Regular vet visits and specific care for their common health problems require additional time commitment.
Socialization They crave human companionship and require substantial interaction time with their owners.

So, if you’re considering to adopt a Shih Tzu, ensure you’re ready to devote plenty of your time and energy. If not, it can be overwhelming and may lead to frustration or neglect towards the dog. For Shih Tzus, a happy life means having owners who can meet all their needs.


In conclusion, owning a Shih Tzu can come with its fair share of challenges. Their stubborn nature, high-maintenance grooming, potential health issues and behavioral problems make them a difficult pet to handle.

Additionally, the cost and time commitment required for their care may not be suitable for everyone. While they can bring happiness to their owners when well-cared for, it’s important to consider these factors before deciding if a Shih Tzu is the right dog for you.


1. Are Shih Tzu dogs really the worst?

No, it’s a personal opinion and some people may not prefer certain traits or behaviors of Shih Tzu dogs.

2. Do Shih Tzus require a lot of grooming?

Yes, Shih Tzus have long hair that needs regular brushing and frequent visits to professional groomers to keep them looking their best.

3. Are Shih Tzus difficult to train?

Shih Tzus can be stubborn at times, so they may require consistent and patient training techniques to achieve desired results.

4. Do Shih Tzus get along well with children?

Shih Tzus are generally friendly and good with children if properly socialized from an early age, but supervision is always recommended when interacting with any dog breed.

5. Is exercise important for a Shih Tzu’s health?

Despite their small size, regular exercise is important for maintaining the health and well-being of a Shih Tzu as it helps prevent obesity and promotes physical fitness.