Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix 101

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Shih Tzu And German Shepherd Mix 101When we talk about the German Shepherd breed, we often think about a loyal and protective companion who can spring into action if they sense a threat. But when it comes to the Shih Tzu, we immediately think about small, sassy, and spunky dogs that will follow everywhere you go. So what do you get when you combine the two together? The Shih Tzu and German Shepherd mix is a brave, affectionate, and devoted family dog; here’s everything you need to know.     

What is the Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix? 

The German Shepherd is often referred to as an all-purpose worker and is a large, muscular, and agile dog with high intelligence and a noble character. Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature towards children and will fit right into smaller apartments or homes with small backyards. When they produce offspring, they can take up traits from both parents such as the steadiness, courage, and confidence of the German Shepherd along with the royalty, and cuteness of the Shih Tzu. 

According to the American Kennel Club, both dogs are among the most popular dog breeds; the German Shepherd is the 4th most popular while the Shih Tzu is the 20th most popular. When these two get together to make offspring, you can expect them to be steadfast guardians, offering plenty of entertainment for the whole family. If the puppy takes after its Shih Tzu parent, it will be happy to be your lap dog or may prefer to chase after cats.  

History of the Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix 

Not much is known about the union of these two breeds or when they first appeared, but we do know a lot about their parents, which we discuss below. 

History of the Shih Tzu       

The name Shih Tzu translates to “Lion Dog”; imperial breeders developed the breed centuries ago inside the palace of a Chinese emperor and is believed to be a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso, which are even older breeds. These dogs remained hidden from the world for hundreds of years until the 1930s when they were introduced to England, where the breed was further refined. In 1969, the Shih Tzu was entered into the AKC Stud Book and has since been one of the most popular toy breeds in the United States.

History of the German Shepherd       

Known as “Deutshe SSchäferhund” in their native Germany, the German Shepherd hails from a family of herding dogs that have varied in type from one district to another until the late 19th century. However, the dogs we know today were first developed by Captain Max von Stephanitz, a German cavalry officer on a mission to create the best German herder. After spending 35 years refining and promoting the breed, he was able to create the first club devoted to these dogs. 

Because of their versatility, these dogs are able to perform a wide range of tasks that make it so easy to forget that they were originally made for herding sheep. We now know them to have high intelligence, speed, stealth, and agility that give them the air of authority worthy of police work, military work, and more. Since the 1900s, these canines have steadily climbed in popularity and have earned a reputation as the ideal companion in all kinds of settings and environments.  

Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix Appearance

The German Shepherd and Shih Tzu mix will be bigger than its Shih Tzu parent and a little smaller than its German Shepherd parent, despite the Shih Tzu being such a small dog. Standing between 14 to 25 inches, these dogs also weigh less than their GSD parent, coming in between 15 to 50 pounds — they will also have faces that contain traits from both parents, making them look cute yet serious. Much like their parents, this mixed breed will come with beautiful curves instead of angles and males will usually be larger than females. 

They will often come with a shaggy coat type and can come in a wide range of colors such as brown, tan, black, grey, gold, and white. These hybrid dogs will often inherit a Shih Tzu coat, as well as their floppy ears but will have the free trot of the German Shepherd that allows them to reach fast speeds when running.      

Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix Temperament 

Because they’re such energetic and active dogs, the Shih Tzu and German Shepherd mix will do well inside homes with owners who love to exercise and stay healthy. When given early socialization and puppy training classes, these pups can thrive in homes with young children as well as other pets. These intelligent dogs are easy to train and will love to learn new tricks; with time and patience, you can mold them into well-rounded and capable pets. 

Because the GSD is one of their parent breeds, these pups will also come with a protective instinct that will make them good watchdogs. 

Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix Care

Now that you know about these dogs, it’s time to talk about how prospective owners can prepare to give them a good home. 


We already know that the Shih Tzu and German Shepherd mix can greatly vary in size, so it can be a little guy like the Shih Tzu or get the large frame of the German Shepherd. Either way, be sure to feed your dog a high-quality diet that can cater to its age, size, and level of activity. You can feed these canines around 2 to 3 ½ cups of kibble every day divided into two portions; it’s also essential that they always have access to fresh, clean water.  


Your Shih Tzu and German Shepherd mix can have short coarse hair like a GSD or a long, lush coat like the Shih Tzu, so its grooming needs will rely upon its coat type. Daily brushings and occasional baths are highly recommended, and you will need to trim its nails as necessary. Make sure to clean its eyes and ears regularly and brush its teeth 2 to 3 times a week to keep infections away and to maintain good dental hygiene. 


These dogs have high energy levels; they need to be exercised for an hour every day, so you’ll want to keep up with their activity level by taking them on long walks, playing in the backyard, or going on trips to the dog park. You will also need to give them plenty of mental stimulation in the form of obedience training, or interactive toys. 


These smart dogs will be able to learn basic commands and complex tricks easily, but you will need to implement positive reinforcement such as treats and praise to motivate them. Unfortunately, both parents can have stubborn streaks, so you will need firm and consistent training combined with patience to help them become well-behaved puppies. 

Shih Tzu and German Shepherd Mix Health Issues

While they’re generally healthy, the Shih Tzu and German Shepherd mix will still be prone to health issues in their later years. Potential health concerns for this breed include the following: 

  • Eye problems
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Gum Disease
  • Bladder stones
  • Allergies
  • Patellar luxation

Speaking to reputable breeders who can provide you with health tests on both parents before you commit to buying one of these dogs can go a long way to ensuring that you’re getting a healthy puppy. Routine visits with your veterinarian, lots of exercise, and a balanced diet can help once you have your dog at home and will ensure that it leads a long and happy life. 


Giving the right dog a new home can be done if you do research into a good breeder before making a purchase on Craigslist. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend too much money, it’s a good idea to look through shelters where you only need to pay a small adoption fee. While this won’t get you a free dog, you can be sure it has been well taken care of.