are shih tzus good with kids

Are Shih Tzus Good With Kids? 2023 Comprehensive Guide

Planning a family with a furry companion? Understand how are shih tzus good with kids and what to expect from this affectionate breed.


Shih Tzus are a popular breed of dog known for their affectionate personality, playful disposition, and adorable appearance. They originated in China and were bred as companion dogs for royalty. Today, Shih Tzus can be found in homes all around the world, including those with children. While Shih Tzus can make great pets for families with kids, it is important to understand their temperament around children to ensure safe and happy interactions. In this article, we will discuss the specific traits of Shih Tzus that make them well-suited for life with children, as well as some factors that can affect their behavior around young ones. We’ll also cover some benefits of owning a Shih Tzu for families with kids, as well as precautions to take when introducing a Shih Tzu to children.

Brief Overview of Shih Tzus as a Breed

Shih Tzus are small dogs that typically weigh between 9 and 16 pounds. They have long, flowing coats that require regular grooming to maintain their cute appearance. The breed is generally healthy but can be prone to certain health issues such as eye problems or respiratory issues due to their short snouts. In terms of personality, Shih Tzus are known for being extremely loyal and affectionate towards their owners. They love nothing more than spending time cuddled up next to their human pals on the couch or playing fetch in the backyard.

The Importance of Understanding Their Temperament around Children

When it comes to owning any pet around children, it is crucial to understand how the animal may behave towards young ones. This is especially true when dealing with dogs since they have been known to bite or attack when they feel threatened or afraid. For Shih Tzus, understanding their temperament around children is important because they have a playful and energetic nature that can make them great companions for kids. However, they are also sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, which can be a trigger for possible aggression. By learning about how Shih Tzus interact with children, you can ensure that your pet is safe around kids and that your family can enjoy all the benefits of having a furry friend without any of the risks or complications.

Shih Tzu Temperament Traits

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature and make great lap dogs. They crave attention and love to be around people, which makes them ideal companions for families with children. They have a gentle disposition and are known to be loyal and protective of their human family. One of the most endearing Shih Tzu temperament traits is their playful behavior. These dogs love to play and will often initiate playtime themselves by bringing toys or running around in circles. This makes them perfect playmates for children who also enjoy energetic activities. However, it’s important to note that Shih Tzus can be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements. As a result, they may become anxious or scared if there are sudden loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks. Additionally, young children who are prone to sudden movements may startle a Shih Tzu which could cause them to act defensively. Another aspect of the Shih Tzu temperament is their tendency to be stubborn or independent. This can make training challenging if not approached with patience and understanding. However, positive reinforcement training methods can work well with these dogs as they respond well to praise and rewards when learning new behaviors. Despite their stubborn tendencies, Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs who learn quickly when properly motivated. Consistent training from an early age will help establish good behavior habits that will benefit both the dog and the family over time. The affectionate nature, playful behavior, sensitivity to loud noises and sudden movements, as well as stubbornness or independence   traits all make up the unique Shih Tzu temperament that families should consider before bringing one into a household with children.

Factors Affecting Shih Tzu Behavior Around Children

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and playful nature, but like any dog breed, their behavior around children can be influenced by a variety of factors. Understanding these factors can help families with children make informed decisions about whether or not a Shih Tzu is the right pet for their household.

Age and Size of the Child

One of the most important factors to consider when introducing a Shih Tzu to children is the child’s age and size. Young children who are not yet able to understand how to interact with dogs may accidentally hurt or startle the dog, which could lead to aggressive behavior. Additionally, if a child is very small or fragile, it’s possible that even friendly interactions could cause unintentional harm. It’s important to supervise all interactions between young children and Shih Tzus closely. Teaching young children how to properly handle and interact with dogs can also help prevent accidents.

Socialization and Training of the Dog

Another important factor that can influence a Shih Tzu’s behavior around children is socialization and training. Dogs that have been well-socialized from an early age may be more comfortable around people of all ages, while dogs who have had limited exposure may be more shy or fearful. Proper training is also essential for ensuring that a dog behaves appropriately around children. Dogs should be trained not to jump on people, bite, or exhibit other undesirable behaviors that could harm a child.

Environment in Which Interactions Occur

The environment in which interactions occur between a Shih Tzu and children can also play a role in shaping the dog’s behavior. If interactions occur in an unfamiliar or stressful environment—for example, at a noisy birthday party—the dog may become anxious or overstimulated. It’s important to provide a quiet and comfortable space for a Shih Tzu to retreat to if they become overwhelmed during interactions with children. Additionally, introducing a dog to children in a gradual and controlled manner can help minimize stress for the dog.

The Shih Tzu’s Personality

While breed traits can be helpful in understanding general tendencies, it’s important to remember that every Shih Tzu is an individual with their own unique personality. Some dogs may be naturally more outgoing and friendly, while others may be more reserved or cautious. Before bringing a Shih Tzu into your household, it’s important to spend time getting to know the dog’s personality and temperament. This can help ensure that you choose a dog who is compatible with your family, particularly if you have young children.

Pre-Existing Health Issues

It’s important to consider any pre-existing health issues that may affect a Shih Tzu’s behavior around children. Dogs who are in pain or discomfort may be more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, even if they are normally friendly and affectionate. It’s essential to take care of your Shih Tzu’s physical health by providing regular veterinary check-ups and addressing any health concerns promptly. This can help ensure that your dog is healthy and happy enough to interact safely with children.

Benefits of Owning a Shih Tzu for Families with Children

Companionship for Children

Shih Tzus are known to be one of the most affectionate dog breeds, making them excellent companions for children. They thrive on human interaction and enjoy spending time with their owners. Due to their small size, they are also great indoor pets, which allows them to bond closely with the family. Shih Tzus are playful by nature and love playing games such as fetch and tug-of-war. They also enjoy cuddling on couches or beds with their owners and make great lap dogs, providing comfort and warmth to children during times of stress or anxiety.

Opportunity for Children to Learn Responsibility and Empathy

Owning a Shih Tzu can teach children valuable life skills such as responsibility, empathy, and compassion. Taking care of a pet requires daily tasks such as feeding, walking, grooming, and providing attention. By taking responsibility for these tasks, children learn about commitment and accountability. Moreover, caring for a pet also teaches empathy towards another living being that is dependent on them. This helps children develop important emotional skills like patience, kindness, and nurturing tendencies towards animals.

Low Maintenance Grooming Needs

Shih Tzus have low maintenance grooming needs which makes them an ideal choice for families with busy schedules. They have long luxurious coats that require regular brushing to prevent matting but do not require professional grooming unless desired by the owner. Their coat sheds minimally which is an added advantage in households with allergic family members. Shih Tzus also do not need excessive exercise which means parents can spend time doing other activities with their children instead of worrying about walks or outdoor playtime. Additionally, if given proper socialization training at an early age they can get along well with other pets in the household.

Shih Tzu as Therapy Dogs for Children

Due to their affectionate and gentle nature, Shih Tzus make excellent therapy dogs for children with special needs. They are known for their ability to provide comfort, emotional support, and stress relief to children struggling with anxiety, depression or any other emotional or physical condition. As therapy dogs, Shih Tzus can help boost the confidence of children who have difficulty socializing or communicating with others. Their calming presence can also help reduce stress levels in children during stressful situations such as medical treatments or therapy sessions.

A Final Word

Shih Tzus make great family pets and bring joy and companionship to households with children. They are loyal pets that are easy to care for and have unique personalities that make them a perfect fit for families looking for a small breed dog. By providing proper training, attention and love parents can ensure that their Shih Tzu will become an important part of the family dynamic while teaching valuable life lessons to their children.

Precautions to Take When Introducing a Shih Tzu to Children

Introducing a Shih Tzu to children should be done with care and caution. While the breed tends to have a gentle temperament, it is still important to take certain precautions when introducing a new dog to young children. The first and most important precaution is supervision. Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter how well-behaved or friendly they may seem. Even the most docile dogs can become agitated or nervous around children, particularly in unfamiliar situations. It is also important to teach children how to properly handle and interact with dogs. This includes teaching them not to pull on ears or tails, not to approach dogs while they are eating or sleeping, and not to scream or make sudden movements around dogs. Another precaution that can be taken is providing a safe space for the dog to retreat if needed. This can be as simple as setting up a crate or designated area where the dog can go if they feel overwhelmed or need some alone time. If your Shih Tzu has never been around children before, it may be helpful to introduce them slowly and gradually. Start by having short interactions under close supervision, and gradually increase the length of time and level of interaction as both the dog and child become more comfortable.

Supervision during Interactions

As mentioned earlier, supervision during interactions between dogs and children is crucial for safety reasons. It allows parents or caregivers to monitor both the child’s behavior and the dog’s behavior during playtime. The adult present should pay close attention to both parties’ body language throughout the interaction. Signs of fear or anxiety in either party should indicate an end of playtime immediately. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the Shih Tzu’s stress signals, including yawning, panting, and licking their lips. If the dog exhibits any of these behaviors, it may be time to end the interaction and give them some space. Supervision also includes teaching children how to approach dogs gently and avoid startling them. Children should be taught to approach from the front while speaking in a calm voice and offering an open hand for sniffing. Overall, supervision during interactions between Shih Tzus and children is absolutely necessary for safety purposes.

Teaching Children How to Properly Handle and Interact with Dogs

Teaching children how to properly handle and interact with dogs is crucial for fostering a safe and positive relationship between both parties. It can also help children develop empathy towards animals as they learn about their needs and behaviors. The first thing that should be taught is gentle handling. Children should learn to approach dogs slowly, speak softly, pet gently, avoid pulling on tails or ears, never hit or kick a dog, avoid approaching while eating or sleeping etc.. Children should also learn about dog body language so they can understand when a dog is angry or scared – signs include growling or barking excessively among others. This knowledge can help prevent potentially dangerous situations that could arise from misunderstanding the signs of an animal in distress. It’s important that children understand not all dogs are friendly by nature – even small breeds like Shih Tzus have been known to bite when provoked or scared. It’s important parents teach their kids how to stay safe around strange dogs by avoiding contact unless given permission by the owner.

Providing a Safe Space for the Dog To Retreat If Needed

Homes with young kids often have lots of excitement, noise and activity which can be stressful for dogs. It’s important to provide a safe and quiet space for your Shih Tzu to retreat when needed so they don’t get overwhelmed or anxious. One option is to set up a crate or dog bed in a quiet corner of the house. The area should be out of the way of normal household traffic and protected from any loud noises or sudden movements that could startle the dog. Make sure this area is off-limits to kids so the dog can enjoy its privacy when needed. Another option is providing a pet gate for specific areas like bedrooms, decks, or balconies where the Shih Tzu can retreat safely without being disturbed by children. This will allow your dog to take some time out when it needs to relax away from kids’ activities. Overall, having a safe space for your Shih Tzu is important for their well-being and happiness. It can also help prevent any accidents that might arise if the dog becomes overwhelmed and starts exhibiting negative behaviors towards children.


Summary of key points discussed in the article

Shih Tzus are a wonderful breed for families with children due to their affectionate and playful nature. However, it is important to understand their temperament traits and to take precautions when introducing them to children. Shih Tzus may be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, so it is important that interactions are supervised and that children are taught how to properly handle and interact with dogs. Factors such as the age and size of the child, socialization and training of the dog, and the environment in which interactions occur can also affect Shih Tzu behavior around children. It is important for families to consider these factors before bringing a Shih Tzu into their home. There are many benefits of owning a Shih Tzu for families with children, including companionship for children, an opportunity for children to learn responsibility and empathy, and low maintenance grooming needs.

Final thoughts on whether or not Shih Tzus are good with kids

Overall, Shih Tzus can be excellent companions for families with children who understand their temperament traits and take appropriate precautions during interactions. While every dog is different, proper socialization and training can help ensure that a Shih Tzu will be well-behaved around children. It is important for parents to remember that all interactions between dogs and children should be supervised. Children should be taught how to properly approach a dog, how to pet them gently, how not to startle them or crowd them unnecessarily. With proper training from puppyhood onward – along with supervision – there’s no reason why any family member shouldn’t enjoy having a loving little shihtzu as part of their family or at least have no issues being around one when visiting another household that owns one.

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