The Pekingese Shih Tzu mix is a fascinating little dog.
With the dignified Pekingese and playful Shih Tzu as parents, it can be hard to predict the character of these puppies.
So what do we know about the Pekingese Shih Tzu mix? What can you expect in terms of temperament, size, health and training.
And how well would one of these loveable pups fit into your family?
Where Does the Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Come From?
While the Pekingese Shih Tzu is a relatively new mix, we do have the history of both parent breeds.
The Pekingese breed comes from Asia—more specifically, China. And these highly valued dogs were not allowed to leave the palace.
Because of this, they weren’t “discovered” by the rest of the world until 1860 but have become increasingly valued ever since.
Shih Tzus have a very similar history. They come from Tibet, where Buddhist monks kept and raised them as companions and watchdogs.
Interestingly, all Shih Tzus today are bred from just 14 of those original dogs.
Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Appearance
Mix breed pups can take after either parent, so your Pekingese Shih Tzu mix could have a variety of appearances.
As a general rule, expect your dog to be about 10 to 16 lbs in weight. They will usually have a long, dense and wavy coat, and be around 8 to 12 inches in height.
Your pup could end up with either a brown, white, red, black or fawn coat. They also may have some color variations in their coat.
They will most likely have a brown nose and brown eyes. Although sometimes the Pekingese Shih Tzu mix can have a black nose.
Finally, as both the Shih Tzu and the Pekingese are brachycephalic dogs, their pups’ faces will be quite flat. Pekingese have flatter faces than Shih Tzu in general, so the muzzle length of a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix will vary.
We’ll take a look at the effect of that short muzzle and flat face on Pekingese Shih Tzu mix health, shortly.
But first, now that we have an idea about their looks, what kind of temperament does this mix generally have?
Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Temperament
The Pekingese and Shih Tzu both share similar temperaments. So it is likely that their puppies will have similar temperaments too. Both parents are commonly described as loyal, affectionate but also independent or even ‘stubborn’.
Proper training will go a long way of preventing any mischievous behavior in these characterful pups.
Training Your Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix
It can be hard to feel motivated to train a small breed dog, when he can simply be picked up whenever he heads for mischief.
But you can get a lot of pleasure and enjoyment out of training your Pekingese Shih Tzu mix using positive training techniques. And they will enjoy it too!
Keep your training ‘positive only’ for best results.
Potty and crate training may be a bit of a challenge with a tiny dog, so do read up on advice on this before bringing a puppy home.
Both the Pekingese and the Shih Tzu can tend to be a little aloof with strangers. This means socialization is very important for a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix.
Good socialization in the first few months will help your pup to be comfortable with strangers. And will reduce the chance of later aggression problems.
Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Health
Sadly both the Pekingese and the Shih Tzu have a number of hereditary health problems. These are mostly related to their conformation (shape), especially their flat faces.
You may have heard that that mix breed dogs are healthier than purebred ones. And in some ways this is true, as introducing diversity and variation into bloodlines does decrease the likelihood of certain inherited problems.
However, a mix breed pup is at risk of inheriting any of the problems common to either of the parent breeds. So lets take a look at those problems here.
Pekingese Health Problems
The Pekingese breed is severely brachycephalic. That is to say, their faces are extremely flat.
And while this gives them a distinctive look that many people find very cute, put simply, dogs need muzzles.
The ‘squashed’ pekingese face makes it difficult for these dogs to increase their air intake when they exercise. It also makes it hard for them to cool themselves down.
Pekingese can usually only take gentle exercise and should not exercise in the heat… no matter how much they want to. Their compressed faces also cause eye problems including corneal ulcers.
Their disproportionately long backs and short legs make them prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease, a painful spinal condition that can cause paralysis.
Shih Tzu Health Problems
Shih Tzu dogs are also brachycephalic. And while this tends to be less extreme than it is in Pekingese, it can cause the same problems with over heating and inability to exercise.
In addition, brachycephalia in Shih Tzu causes problems such as nostrils too narrow to comfortably breathe through, blockages at the back of the throat, and collapsed airways. These conditions can be serious enough to require surgery.
Like the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu’s stature means it is prone to painful and damaging spinal problems such as intervertebral disc disease.
Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Health Problems
In general, when creating a mix breed pup, it is advisable to try to pick a pair that complement each other. Parents that may offset each other’s weaknesses.
If you have your heart set on a brachycephalic parent for your pup, they should ideally be paired with a dog from a breed with a healthy facial structure and nice long muzzle.
This can help produce pups with a longer muzzle than their flat faced parent. And this is likely to help offset (but not necessarily eliminate) the breathing, cooling, airway and eye problems associated with flat faces.
Pekingese Shih Tzu mix pups have two parents that are brachycephalic, with short legs and long backs. So they are likely to have the same features, and suffer any (or all) of the health problems above as a result.
Because these problems prevent the dog from leading a full life, and often cause severe discomfort and pain, we cannot recommend choosing a puppy from this mix of breeds.
Alternative to a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix
If you are very keen to bring home a Shih Tzu mix breed, or a Pekingese mix breed, in particular, we would suggest considering some of these other mixes.
If you do decide to bring home a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix, make sure your vet is involved in their care. Your vet can advise you as to how much exercise they need, and how much they can cope with. And help you to keep an eye out for other problems.
Part of this will involve having a good routine of daily care.
Grooming and Caring for the Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix
The Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix requires daily brushing and exercising.
These pups need a short walk every day. And a fenced in yard is best, as this will allow your pup to romp around freely to their heart’s content.
You should also check their eyes and skin each day to remove any irritants and to discover any issues that may arise before they become full-blown problems.
Does the Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Make a Good Family Dog?
The Pekingese Shih Tzu mix has the right temperament for a good family dog.
They are loyal and loving, and respond well to positive training methods.
However their small size makes them vulnerable to injury from small children. And they are prone to serious and painful health problem. So sadly we cannot recommend getting a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix puppy.
If your heart is set on this breed, why not consider rescuing or adopting an adult dog from this mix instead?
This option will work best if your family doesn’t have small children at home, and you don’t need your dog to carry out a high level of exercise to fit into with lifestyle.
Rescuing a Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix
A great place to start is by contacting local adoption centers and shelters.
You may not find your new pup straight away, but this will you will put you in touch with the wider community.
These organizations may also have information on whether this mix is even available close to your area.
Because of the high value placed on these pups, another great place to start is by calling up organizations or breeders of both parent breeds and explaining your situation.
You may get lucky and find someone looking to find a new home for a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix.
Making the decision to rescue or adopt your new pup might take longer and make it harder to find what you want, but it is doable.
Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Rescues
While rescue organizations for this particular mix do not exist, both parent breeds have groups and organizations devoted to them.
In the US:
- Shih Tzu Rescue is a good resource
- New Beginnings group are also dedicated to Shih Tzu rescue
- Pekingese Rescue Network may be able to help you out as well.
There may be others closer to you depending on where you’re located.
Finding a Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix puppy
If you still have your heart set on a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix puppy, there are some steps you can take to make sure you bring home a healthy and happy pup.
Unfortunately, a lot of designer dogs are vulnerable to exploitation by unethical breeders.
Therefore, no matter how badly you want one, avoiding puppy mills and pet shops should be your top priority.
How can you tell the difference between a reputable breeder and a puppy mill, especially online?
The short answer is that you may not be able to tell the difference from their online presence alone. Your best bet is to call them and then visit a potential breeder.
Look for happy, healthy parents, caring owners, and good living quarters. A completely booked up schedule can be a good sign of a popular reputable breeder.
Don’t be discouraged by this, just be aware that it may take some time. If you feel a bit lost and don’t know where to begin, our puppy search guide can give you a great start.
Pros and Cons of Getting A Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix
In summary, what are some of the pros and cons of getting a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix?
- A loving lapdog
- Affectionate and caring
- An amazing history on both sides of their family.
- Predisposition to painful back problems and paralysis
- At risk of eye problems, airway collapse and blockage
- Unlikely to be able to cope with heat, or ever do much exercise
- May need surgery to correct problems caused by their flat face
Is a Pekingese Shih Tzu Mix Right For Me?
At the end of the day, only you can make the decision as to whether a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix is right for you and your family.
These sweet little dogs are loyal and affectionate, but likely to suffer discomfort and pain due to their face shape and stature.
Whatever you decide, best of luck happy hunting and best of luck with your newest family member!
Your ideal pup is out there waiting for you!
Do you have a Pekingese Shih Tzu mix? We’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments below.
References and Further Reading
Priester W. 1976. Canine intervertebral disc disease – Occurrence by age, breed, and sex among 8,117 cases. Theriogenology. DOI: 10.1016/0093-691X(76)90021-2
Ohara K et al. 2001. Renal dysplasia in a Shih Tzu dog in Japan. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.63.1127
Hoppe A et al. Progressive nephropathy due to renal dysplasia in shih tzu dogs in Sweden: A clinical pathological and genetic study. Journal of Small Animal Practice. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.1990.tb00728.x