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Are Shih Tzus Lazy? Everything You Need to Know

Let’s answer a question that’s been on the minds of many Shih Tzu owners and enthusiasts: are Shih Tzus lazy?

In this article, I’ll dive into everything you need to know about this lovable breed’s energy levels, exercise needs, and how to keep your Shih Tzu happy and healthy.

So, let’s get started!

The Shih Tzu Temperament

First, let’s talk about the Shih Tzu’s overall temperament.

These adorable pups are known for their sweet, affectionate, and friendly personalities. They make excellent companions and love to be the center of attention. But, what about their energy levels?

  • Shih Tzus are generally considered a low-energy breed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lazy.
  • While they enjoy lounging around and cuddling with their favorite humans, they also have bursts of energy and playfulness.
  • However, they may not be as active as some other breeds, like the high-energy Border Collie or the tireless Labrador Retriever.

In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) describes Shih Tzus as “alert, lively, and friendly.” You can check out their full breed profile here.

Are Shih Tzus Lazy?

Shih Tzus are not considered lazy, but they are generally known to be a low-energy breed.

Things can influence how “lazy” a shih tzu might be, including their daily routine, age, health, and the way their human family interacts with them.

Depending on those things, you might have a Shih Tzu that’s extra active and energetic, or the opposite.

Exercise Needs and Playtime

Despite their low-energy reputation, Shih Tzus still need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

So, what can you do to keep your Shih Tzu active and engaged?

➡️ Daily Walks

Shih Tzus may not need hours of intense exercise, but they still benefit from daily walks. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking per day, which can be broken up into two or three shorter walks if your schedule allows.

These walks will not only help your Shih Tzu burn off energy, but they’ll also provide valuable mental stimulation from sniffing and exploring their surroundings.

➡️ Indoor Playtime

On top of daily walks, Shih Tzus love to play! Engaging in indoor playtime with your pup can help keep them active and mentally stimulated. Here are a few ideas for indoor play:

  • Playing fetch with a soft toy
  • Setting up a small agility course using household items
  • Playing hide-and-seek with treats or toys
  • Teaching your Shih Tzu new tricks or commands

Don’t forget to check out PetMD for even more fun indoor games to play with your dog on a rainy day.

The Importance of Regular Exercise

Now that we’ve established that Shih Tzus aren’t exactly lazy, let’s discuss why regular exercise is so important for their overall health and well-being.

➡️ Physical Health

Just like humans, dogs need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related health issues. Shih Tzus are prone to certain health conditions like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and heart problems, and keeping them active can help reduce the risk of these issues. For more information on common Shih Tzu health problems, visit Vetstreet.

➡️ Mental Health

Regular exercise is also crucial for your Shih Tzu’s mental health. Dogs that don’t receive enough physical activity and mental stimulation can become bored, anxious, or even depressed. Providing your Shih Tzu with regular exercise and engaging activities can help prevent these issues and keep them mentally sharp.

➡️ Socialization

Exercise and playtime also provide excellent opportunities for socialization. Meeting new people and other dogs is essential for well-rounded and confident Shih Tzus. Proper socialization can help prevent behavioral issues such as excessive barking, aggression, or fearfulness. For more tips on socializing your Shih Tzu, check out this helpful article from Cesar’s Way.

What Factors Influence “Laziness”

Several factors can influence the perceived “laziness” or energy levels of a Shih Tzu, including:

  1. Age: Puppies tend to be more energetic, while senior Shih Tzus may become less active as they age.
  2. Health: Underlying health issues or physical limitations can affect a Shih Tzu’s energy levels and activity.
  3. Temperament: Each Shih Tzu has its unique personality, which can influence how active or laid-back they are.
  4. Exercise routine: A lack of regular exercise and mental stimulation can make a Shih Tzu appear lazier or less energetic.
  5. Diet: A balanced and appropriate diet can impact a Shih Tzu’s energy levels and overall health.
  6. Environment: A Shih Tzu’s surroundings, including their living situation, the climate, and the amount of available space for activities, can influence their energy levels.

All of the above will impact just how bubbly your Shih Tzu learns to be. In most cases, a boring low-activity routine usually leads to dulled down temperaments just out of sheer boredom.


To wrap up, here are some frequently asked questions related to Shih Tzus and their energy levels:

Do Shih Tzus sleep a lot?

A: Shih Tzus may seem like they sleep a lot, but this is typical for most dogs. Adult dogs usually sleep for about 12-14 hours per day, while puppies and seniors may sleep even longer. Providing regular exercise can help ensure your Shih Tzu gets a good night’s sleep.

Can Shih Tzus be trained for more vigorous activities, such as hiking or running?

A: While Shih Tzus aren’t naturally built for high-energy activities, they can be conditioned for more vigorous exercise with proper training and conditioning. Always consult with your veterinarian before starting a new exercise routine with your Shih Tzu.

My Shih Tzu seems to be more active than others I’ve met. Is this normal?

A: Yes, every Shih Tzu is unique and may have different energy levels. As long as your Shih Tzu is healthy and not exhibiting any signs of distress or health issues, it’s perfectly normal for them to be more active than others.

Closing thoughts

So, are Shih Tzus lazy? Not exactly! While they may be lower-energy compared to other breeds, these adorable pups still need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Remember to adjust their exercise routine to their individual needs and consult with your veterinarian for guidance.

By understanding your Shih Tzu’s energy levels and providing them with the appropriate exercise and activities, you’ll ensure a happy, healthy, and well-rounded companion for years to come. Happy tails!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.