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Golden Retriever Shih Tzu Mix: ALL You Need to Know

As a long-time Shih Tzu enthusiast, I’ve had the pleasure of raising many dogs and even seeing some interesting mixes.

One of the most fascinating combinations I’ve encountered is the Golden Retriever Shih Tzu mix, affectionately known as the “Golden Shih Tzu.”

This mixed breed is an excellent choice for those looking for a friendly, intelligent, and devoted companion. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about this unique mix.

shih tzu golden retriever mix

A Quick Introduction to the Golden Retriever Shih Tzu Mix

The Golden Shih Tzu is a hybrid dog breed, resulting from crossing a purebred Golden Retriever with a purebred Shih Tzu.

This mix inherits the best traits from both parent breeds, making it a friendly, intelligent, and loyal companion.

Key Characteristics

  • Size: The Golden Shih Tzu typically ranges in size from 20-50 pounds, depending on the dominant genes from its parents. They usually stand 12-25 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Coat: This mix often has a long, silky coat that can come in various colors, including gold, cream, white, and black. Their coat may be wavy or straight, depending on the dominant genes.
  • Temperament: The Golden Shih Tzu is known for its friendly and outgoing nature. They are intelligent, easy to train, and are great with children and other pets.
  • Life Expectancy: Golden Shih Tzus generally have a life expectancy of 10-15 years.

History and Origins

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a popular breed that originated in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s. Lord Tweedmouth bred these dogs for hunting purposes, creating a loyal and intelligent dog with a love for retrieving game. Golden Retrievers are now one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, ranking third in AKC registration statistics

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is an ancient breed that traces its roots back to China. These dogs were bred to be companions to royalty and were highly prized. The breed arrived in the United States in the late 1940s and has become increasingly popular, ranking 20th in AKC registration statistics.

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shih tzu

Price: What to Expect When Purchasing a Golden Shih Tzu

The cost of a Golden Shih Tzu can vary depending on various factors, such as the breeder’s reputation, the puppy’s lineage, location, and availability. Here’s a general overview of what you can expect when purchasing a Golden Shih Tzu:

Price Range

Golden Shih Tzu puppies typically cost between $800 and $2,500.

Puppies from reputable breeders with high-quality bloodlines and health testing can be on the higher end of this price range.

Keep in mind that the initial cost of purchasing a puppy is just the beginning.

➡️ You should also factor in additional expenses such as:

  • Veterinary care (vaccinations, spaying/neutering, regular checkups)
  • High-quality dog food
  • Training classes and socialization
  • Grooming supplies and professional grooming services
  • Dog supplies (crate, bed, toys, leash, collar, etc.)

How Are Golden Retrievers & Shih Tzus Bred?

Due to the significant size difference between the Golden Retriever and the Shih Tzu, creating a Golden Shih Tzu mix can be challenging.

Golden Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs, weighing between 55 and 75 pounds, while Shih Tzus are a small breed, weighing between 9 and 16 pounds.

This size discrepancy can pose challenges for breeders when it comes to mating the parent breeds.

➡️ Artificial Insemination

In most cases, breeders use artificial insemination to create Golden Shih Tzu puppies.

This method involves collecting sperm from the male dog (usually the larger Golden Retriever) and manually inseminating the female dog (typically the smaller Shih Tzu).

Artificial insemination is a safer and more controlled process that ensures the well-being of both parent dogs, especially the smaller Shih Tzu, which could be at risk during natural mating due to the size difference.

➡️ First-Generation vs. Multigenerational Breeding

Golden Shih Tzus are often created by breeding a purebred Golden Retriever with a purebred Shih Tzu, resulting in first-generation (F1) puppies.

However, some breeders might choose to breed two Golden Shih Tzus or breed an F1 Golden Shih Tzu back to one of the parent breeds to produce multigenerational puppies.

Multigenerational breeding can help stabilize certain desired traits, such as coat type or size, but it can also make predicting the puppies’ appearance and temperament more challenging.

golden retriever

Temperament and Behavior

The Golden Shih Tzu is known for its friendly and outgoing nature. They inherit the intelligence and loyalty of the Golden Retriever, along with the affectionate and playful nature of the Shih Tzu.

These dogs are great with children and other pets, making them an excellent choice for families.

Golden Shih Tzus are also eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. They love to learn new tricks and excel in various dog sports such as agility and obedience.

It’s essential to socialize your Golden Shih Tzu from an early age to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and confident adults. Regular exposure to new people, places, and experiences will help them develop a friendly and outgoing personality.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Golden Shih Tzus are moderately active dogs, requiring daily exercise to stay happy and healthy.

A daily walk of at least 30 minutes, along with playtime in the yard or at a dog park, will help keep your Golden Shih Tzu mentally and physically stimulated.

Due to their intelligence, these dogs also benefit from mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions will help keep their minds sharp and engaged.

Grooming and Coat Care

The coat of a Golden Shih Tzu can vary in length and texture, depending on the dominant genes from their parents.

Typically, these dogs have a long, silky coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and tangle-free.

➡️ Here are some grooming tips for your Golden Shih Tzu:

  • Brushing: Brush your dog’s coat at least 2-3 times per week to prevent matting and remove loose hair. Use a slicker brush or a comb designed for long-haired breeds.
  • Bathing: Bathe your Golden Shih Tzu every 4-6 weeks, or as needed, using a gentle dog shampoo. Ensure you rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue that might irritate their skin.
  • Trimming: Depending on the length and texture of your dog’s coat, you may need to trim it every 6-8 weeks to keep it neat and manageable. It’s recommended to consult a professional groomer if you’re inexperienced with trimming.
  • Nail Care: Trim your dog’s nails every 3-4 weeks or as needed to prevent discomfort and potential injuries.
  • Ear Care: Clean your dog’s ears once a week with a gentle ear cleaning solution and cotton balls to prevent ear infections.
  • Dental Care: Brush your dog’s teeth 2-3 times per week with a pet-safe toothpaste to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental issues.

Health Considerations

While Golden Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs, they can still be prone to certain health issues inherited from their parent breeds.

Regular veterinary checkups and preventative care are essential to ensure your dog stays healthy.

➡️ Some common health concerns for this breed include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Eye issues (such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy)
  • Ear infections
  • Dental problems

To minimize the risk of these health issues, it’s essential to provide your Golden Shih Tzu with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care.

Additionally, working with a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs for genetic health issues can also help reduce the risk.

Training and Socialization

Golden Shih Tzus are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train.

Using positive reinforcement methods, such as praise and treats, will help motivate your dog during training sessions.

It’s crucial to start training and socialization early, as this sets the foundation for a well-behaved and well-adjusted adult dog.

Enrolling your Golden Shih Tzu in a puppy socialization class can be a great way to introduce them to new experiences and other dogs in a controlled environment.

➡️ Some essential training areas to focus on include:

  • Basic obedience commands (sit, stay, come, etc.)
  • Leash training
  • Crate training
  • House training
  • Proper social behavior with other dogs and people

Is a Golden Retriever Shih Tzu Mix Right for You?

A Golden Shih Tzu can make a wonderful family pet, thanks to its friendly and affectionate nature.

If you’re looking for an intelligent, loyal, and adaptable dog that gets along well with children and other pets, the Golden Retriever Shih Tzu mix might be the perfect choice for you.

However, keep in mind that these dogs do require regular grooming and exercise to stay happy and healthy. Make sure you’re prepared to invest the time and effort into caring for your dog’s physical and mental well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

➡️ How much should I feed my Golden Shih Tzu?

The amount of food your Golden Shih Tzu requires will depend on their age, size, activity level, and individual metabolism. It’s essential to consult your veterinarian for a personalized recommendation. As a general guideline, you can start by feeding your adult Golden Shih Tzu 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food, divided into two meals per day. Adjust the quantity based on your dog’s specific needs and weight goals.

➡️ Are Golden Shih Tzus hypoallergenic?

While no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, the Golden Shih Tzu’s long, silky coat may be less likely to cause allergies compared to other breeds. However, individual reactions to dogs can vary, and it’s essential to spend time around a Golden Shih Tzu before committing to owning one if you have allergies.

➡️ Can Golden Shih Tzus adapt to apartment living?

Golden Shih Tzus can adapt to apartment living, provided they receive adequate daily exercise and mental stimulation. While they’re not as energetic as a purebred Golden Retriever, they still need regular physical activity to stay healthy and happy. Ensure you can provide enough indoor and outdoor playtime if you live in an apartment.

➡️ How can I find a reputable Golden Shih Tzu breeder?

To find a reputable Golden Shih Tzu breeder, start by researching breed-specific clubs and online forums. Ask for recommendations from local veterinarians, groomers, or dog trainers. A responsible breeder will prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs and be willing to answer any questions you have. They should also provide health testing records for both parent breeds and allow you to visit their facilities and meet the puppies and their parents.

➡️ Are Golden Shih Tzus suitable for first-time dog owners?

Golden Shih Tzus can be a good choice for first-time dog owners due to their friendly temperament, intelligence, and eagerness to please. However, first-time dog owners should be prepared to invest time and effort into training, socialization, grooming, and exercise to ensure their Golden Shih Tzu grows up to be a well-rounded and happy adult dog.

➡️ How do I know if my Golden Shih Tzu is overweight?

To determine if your Golden Shih Tzu is overweight, perform a “rib check” by placing your hands on their ribcage, with your thumbs on their spine and fingers on their sides. You should be able to feel their ribs without pressing too hard, but they shouldn’t be visible. If you’re unable to feel their ribs easily or notice a lack of a waistline when viewed from above, your Golden Shih Tzu may be overweight. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on a proper diet and exercise plan to help your dog reach a healthy weight.

To learn more about this breed and find reputable breeders, visit:


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.