Male vs. Female Shih Tzus: What’s the Difference?

Male VS Female Shih Tzus: What's the Difference?

It is no secret that Shih Tzus are loved and coveted by dog owners. There is an increasing number of persons want to adopt Shih Tzus because people can’t stop talking about how cute and charming Shih Tzus are. 

With an increasing number of persons interested in getting Shih Tzus for their families, so many questions and inquiries begin to pop up. People want to know just about everything concerning this unique toy breed from their history to every little habit. 

I have seen just about any question you can think about on discussion pages and the answers range from correct to wrong to downright absurd. The weirdest conversations I have witnessed are about how a Shih Tzu should be chosen based on their gender. 

The Male Vs Female debate is one that has existed for quite a while; I have heard and seen many persons claim that female Shih Tzus are the better gender among the two. Some pet owners insisting on adopting female pets or nothing else; imagine how biased that decision is. 

Actually, misconceived thoughts and ideas are what make pet owners reluctant to adopt male Shih Tzus. People are quick to assume that male Shih Tzus will be more difficult to train and housebreak and will be less likely to show affection but this is not true. 

I quite understand the school of thought behind this even though it is actually incorrect. Most pet owners actually judge male and female Shih Tzus based on human traits and expect the pets to act the way humans act. However, this is very far from the truth. 

In this article, I will answer the question many persons ask; Are female Shih Tzus sweeter and more affectionate than male Shih Tzus?

No, they are not. Male Shih Tzus are actually more affectionate and attentive than females. They have also proven to be more reliable, more accepting of kids and other pets. The reverse is almost always the case when you compare the expectations most persons have of Shih Tzus and the realities. 

Shih Tzu Gender Myths 

Many intending Shih Tzu owners have gender-based questions concerning Shih Tzus. And I will be doing my best to answer most of the questions and also corrects some common gender myths about Shih Tzus. 

Myth 1: Female Shih Tzus are easier to train than their male counterpart

It is largely believed that Male Shih Tzus are very difficult to train while females are easier to train but this is mostly untrue. 

Both male and female Shih Tzus have issues with training, although the reasons for these challenges differ. Male Shih Tzus get distracted easily and it interrupts their training. 

However, female Shih Tzus are no saints themselves. Female Shih Tzus don’t take to training easily because of the inherent stubborn nature that makes them want to resist training. 

Regardless of these issues, many persons have successfully trained their Shih Tzus and all it takes is patience and consistency. 

Myth 2: Male Shih Tzus exhibit overt sexual behaviors while females don’t

People believe that male Shih Tzus exhibit unpleasant secondary sexual behaviors and they just cannot handle such behaviors. One thing they don’t know is that male Shih Tzus who are trained and neutered nearly don’t exhibit these behaviors. 

Male Shih Tzus who have been properly trained will actually pee as every other cultured female Shih Tzu would.

Strangely enough, parents who have both male and female Shih Tzus say that female Shih Tzus are actually quick to take part in excessive behaviors and alpha tendencies when their male counterparts do the same.

Just as male Shih Tzus mark the spot where their counterparts pee and do the same, females also do the same. Female Shih Tzus will also get into fights and hump others just to show an air of superiority. 

Myth 3: Female Shih Tzus are more affectionate than their male counterpart

This is perhaps the most common myth flying around; that is why I am very interested in correcting this wrong notion. The female human affection and emotion cannot be automatically assigned to female Shih Tzus; if you do, that would be a big mistake. 

Here is the tricky thing; the female Shih Tzus tend to bond quite early but they actually do bond with an individual rather than a family. You can find a female Shih Tzu attaching herself to one family member and not care so much about the other family members.

Male Shih Tzus, on the other hand, will bond easily with as many persons in the family as possible, especially females. 

Female Shih Tzus actually tend to be more moody, cunning, and also deceptive in trying to have their way over you. 

The emotion and affection you expect from female Shih Tzus are actually more dominant in male Shih Tzus, but this is not to say that female Shih Tzus are not affectionate. 

Persons who have lived with both male and female Shih Tzus have testified to the fact that male Shih Tzus are more affectionate, more attentive, more outgoing, and exuberant.

They also bond with children faster and are wonderful family companions. So if you are looking for a family rather than an individual pet, the male Shih Tzu is actually what you need. 

Myth 4: Female Shih Tzus don’t express dominant traits

Another wrong assumption about female Shih Tzus is that they don’t possess dominant traits and are pretty easy-going. The thing is, female Shih Tzus often fight for control when they are in a group of other dogs. Two female Shih Tzus are more likely to get into fights than two make Shih Tzus are. 

Female Shih Tzus also turn out to be stubborn, territorial, and more independent than their male counterparts. As puppies, female puppies are more dominant, confident, and assertive while male puppies will be less assertive and more open to being influenced. 

Male Shih Tzus are more eager to please their owners than their female counterparts who would actually take time to decide whether or not they want to do what you say before they do it. 

Myth 5: Female Shih Tzus are easier to housebreak than male Shih Tzus

Both male and female Shih Tzus have the same issues and can be housetrained at the same pace with adequate diligence and attention. 

You can housebreak both your male and female Shih Tzus in a few weeks and it is neither easier nor more difficult for any gender. 

After squashing the myths about male and female Shih Tzus, let us put the characteristics of Male and Female Shih Tzus side by side to help you decide which Shih Tzu is the best for you. 

Characteristics of Female Shih Tzus

  • They are likely to learn tricks. They can become cunning, full of spunk, and love to do as many things as possible. 
  • They can get very attached to a single person in the family. They need to be socialized among other members of the family to prevent them from getting too protective of their favorite person. 
  • Most likely to pose difficult behaviors during housebreaking. You will need a few tricks of your own and a full dose of patience to housetrain a female Shih Tzu.
  • They can be very demanding and crave attention. Your female Shih Tzu wants to be petted and worshipped. She will want to have her way at all times and might show resistance if she doesn’t get the attention she craves. 
  • Female Shih Tzus want to be around you every time of every day, just like a loving, attentive girlfriend.
  • Female Shih Tzus are very independent and strong-willed. Some dog owners have often described their female Shih Tzus as stubborn, especially before they get properly trained. 

Characteristics of Male Shih Tzus

  • They are charmers by nature. Your male Shih Tzu is so charming that he will get your love and affection naturally. I mean, who wouldn’t love to be around a charming person, or well, animal in this case. 
  • Male Shih Tzus have more than enough love for everyone. They will love every single person they come across. Unless, of course, you’re not giving the same love in return.
  • Male Shih Tzus are very sweet and adorable. They can spend the whole day on your laps without wanting to do anything else apart from taking bathroom breaks. 
  • They love to worship you. They will give you all their love and attention.
  • Male Shih Tzus are sensitive to your action, mood, and how you respond to them. Try not to treat your male Shih Tzu harshly because he gets hurt quite easily.
  • Male Shih Tzus are very eager to please. They are easily motivated by praise, and they will do anything for you just to earn your smile and a pat on the back.  

Male vs. Female Shih Tzus: What’s the Big Deal?

The truth is, the debates surrounding Shih Tzus and their genders are mostly unnecessary. What a dog lover or owner should actually pay attention to is the individual personalities and temperaments of the puppies they plan to adopt rather than the gender. 

Many persons who have both male and female Shih Tzus will tell you that the little differences don’t really matter in the large picture because most issues can be corrected through training. 

Rather than wondering whether a pet is male or female, you should talk to your breeder about personality and health issues to look out for.

One thing about stereotypes is that there are always exceptions to every case; not every male or female Shih Tzu will fit into your expectations. With dogs, personality trumps gender every single time. 

My Final Thoughts

After you have decided to adopt Shih Tzus, the next step you should take is to choose a dog based on their personality, the chemistry between your family and the dog you are looking to adopt, as well as possible unique traits they might have. 

Don’t base your decision based on hearsay but speak to breeders who know both pets very well and parents who have both male and female Shih Tzus. 

The worst mistake you can make is to adopt a Shih Tzu based on unfounded and unconfirmed information. Don’t lose the opportunity to get a sweet cute Shih Tzu just because he is male and you think he will be difficult to manage. 

Learn how male and female Shih Tzus behave, the reasons for their behaviors, and how you can handle them. 

Regardless of gender, a Shih Tzu that fits your personality and blends properly into your family is the best Shih Tzu for you.   


Lylah Salinas February 9, 2022 - 7:39 pm

Amazing! Thank you! You really helped me and my family out!

Kathy Kinsella February 22, 2022 - 10:59 pm

My puppy follows me around the house and will wait for me to come out of the shower. I love this puppy so much. Do other Shih Tzu follow their owners around?

Donna Proffer April 17, 2022 - 12:24 pm

My friend has two female Shih Tzus that are 2 years old. She recently adopted 2 male Shih Tzus. The females have begun very aggressive fighting with each other though they are litter mates. The fighting has gotten so bad that one of the females lost an eye due to the fight. What can be done to stop this behavior?

Sarah-li June 14, 2022 - 12:58 am

I’ve been planning on getting a girl Shih Tu but now I know I want a boy. Anyway, the name I thought of (Chao Chao) can be a boy’s or girl’s name. I’ve been planning to get this breed since I was 7 or 8, I can’t remember. Thank you for this information because I don’t want another me in the family. I want a loving, affectionate, non-fighty, non-bity dog. And now I guess I know I am not getting a female, but a loving male.

E August 17, 2022 - 11:50 pm

You’re very right about personality being more important than gender when it comes to dogs. We had a sweet, gentle male Shih Tzu, incredibly cute and loveable. He always wanted to be near us but didn’t like laps or being picked up. He liked to be beside us – preferring company over touch. He was very gentle, hardly ever barked and would never bite. Now we have a female Shih Tzu who is also very sweet, cute, and lovable. She’s more spunky and assertive but she loves being in our laps. She is more energetic and does bark a bit more but also loves being touched and cuddled. She is more of a lap dog. Both dogs are near and dear to our hearts. Both are wonderful!

Sarah Arico August 28, 2022 - 4:12 am

Thank you for sharing your insights. I appreciate it.


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