Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The Shinese is also sometimes known as the Shih-Teze and is a sweet little hybrid dog composed of the loyal Shih Tzu and the brave Pekingese. As these plucky companion dogs share a similar personality type and even a comparable look, this is a designer dog that makes a lot of sense.

Shinese dogs are small and sturdy with circular skulls and squished faces. Not particularly athletic, they live up to the name ‘lap dog’ with aplomb. These dogs are best-loved for the dedication and affection that they show for their owners and will often form an especially close bond to one owner in particular.

About & History

The Shinese dog is one of many designer dogs – a crossbreed that is created from two well established pedigrees. Unlike many other mixes, the Shinese includes two very similar dogs, meaning their physical traits are uniform even in the younger generations.

The Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is also sometimes referred to as the Lion Dog and they are a truly ancient breed that comes from Tibet. In fact, many sources state that the Pekingese (as well as the Lhasa Apso) form part of the Shih Tzu’s heritage. The Shih Tzu was respected within society and would have traditionally been kept as a companion rather than a working or guard dog.

The Pekingese

Pekingese dogs are another example of an ancient breed who have been in existence for several thousand years. They originated in China and were, at one time, unavailable to the general public, with only royalty being allowed to own a Pekingese.

When the Pekingese was exported around the world, it found its home with royal families and continued to be a well-respected pet of the elite. It is known that Queen Victoria of England was a fan. A dog that has always been a ‘pampered pooch’, the Pekingese maintains an air of aloofness and an endearing sense of entitlement to this day.


A small dog, the Shinese is not as dainty as one might expect. In fact, this dog has a wide chest and quite stocky limbs. Weighing from 4.5kg to 7.2kg and measuring only 20cm to 25cm, this is one pint-sized pooch.

The Shinese is a brachycephalic breed with the characteristic short snout and ‘bug eyes’. Their eyes are a deep brown colour and lend them an intelligent appearance. They have ears that are perched high on their head but drop elegantly to the side of their face. Their coat is long and straight and comes in a multitude of colours, including black, brown, grey and white. Most will have more than one colour and many have a dark, black muzzle.

Character & Temperament

The Shinese dog is known for its loyalty and will fearlessly defend its family from any perceived threat. They have a loud bark and a confident posture but their size means that they would not make an appropriate guard dog. While they will be loving to all family members, it is not uncommon for them to become especially attached to one person more so than the rest (often the one who feeds them and takes them for their walks).

Most Shinese dogs are playful and keen to be out and about. Their natural curiosity means that they enjoy going to new places and meeting new people. The Shinese does not have much patience or tolerance for loud or erratic behaviour, meaning they are likely not the best choice for young families with toddlers. However, they can make wonderful companions for older children.


Though there is no doubt the Shinese is a smart dog, their stubbornness means that they are not the easiest to train. While they are more than able to learn a wide range of tasks, they have little desire to ‘play along’ and won’t follow cue phrases unless they see the benefit. Due to this, owners need to reward heavily to keep the Shinese on side.

Anecdotally, this is not an easy dog to house train and this is likely due to the combination of their small bladder size and dislike of cold and wet weather. Due to their small size, many can be trained to use litter trays and puppy pads indoors, meaning they are an especially good option for apartment dwellers.


While crossbreeding dogs has the potential to improve the health of the offspring, both the Pekingese and Shih Tzu are brachycephalic dogs with a number of health conditions, meaning the Shinese suffers from similar issues.

Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome (BUAS)

The shape of the Shinese’s head means that they are prone to breathing issues as their skull is abnormally small, so their soft tissue does not have enough space. Potential problems include an under-sized trachea and an elongated soft palate. These dogs are less able to exercise and do not cope well in the heat.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

The long back of the Shinese puts the spine under pressure and can lead to prolapsed discs. Depending on the extent of the issue, signs can range from a mild discomfort and a wobbly walk to complete paralysis.

Dry Eye

The bulging eyes of the Shinese are prone to a number of issues, including dry eye. Affected dogs may have thick ocular discharge and chronic eye infections and irritation. For most, their signs can be well controlled with daily eye drops.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Shinese isn’t exactly lazy but they won’t be running any marathons any time soon! They do enjoy a wander around the park or patrolling their back yard but they do not have extensive exercise requirements.

Owners must be very cautious in humid weather as Shinese’s are not able to breathe well and are more prone to heat stroke. They should be exercised in the shade and either early or late in the day, avoiding the hot sun.


The grooming requirements of the Shinese are no joke and they require a committed owner. Neglecting their grooming can result in matted fur relatively quickly. It is vital that the Shinese is made accustomed to brushing, claw clipping and ear cleaning early in their life so they learn to accept it as part of their regular routine.

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