Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix: The Ultimate Guide

Published: 11/17/22 •  10 min read

The Shih Tzu Pitbull mix is one of the most curious crosses you’re likely to encounter in your search for a mixed-breed dog. As far as physical features, they resemble a muscular ‘little lion’, having fluffy hair around their necks and face, like the Shih Tzu, while remaining true to Pittie form with adequately muscular bodies. The Pitshih was cross-bred to be a companion, blending the best genetics of both breeds.

Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix
Photo: @myloadventures

Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix – At A Glance

Weight:15 – 30 pounds
Height:10 – 25 inches
Lifespan:10 – 15 years
Coat Colors:Brown, black, white, yellow, chocolate, brindle or a combination thereof
Temperament:Social, playful, energetic, loyal and loving
Most Suitable For: Families with or without children, single individuals

What Does a Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Look Like?

Shih Tzu Pitbull
Photo: @puppymanmilo

The Shih Tzu Pitbull mix will likely borrow a healthy dose of its physical appearance from both parent breeds. Typically, the Shih Tzu genetics will be apparent in the facial features of the dog, maintaining a flatter appearance than the Pitbull’s box-shaped head. This could open it up to future health issues. You can expect your Shih Tzu Pitbull mix to be slightly rounder in the stomach and have a wider chest than your typical Shih.

The History of the Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix

As the Pitshih is a designer dog, little is known about its history, though in the U.S, designer dogs became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, so it is likely that the first instances of the Pitbull being crossed with the Shih Tzu occurred during that time frame.

The History of the Shih Tzu

The History of the Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu stems from Tibet and is thought to have been bred from a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso, both Chinese-Tibetan companion dogs of centuries ago. Because of the obscure nature of breeding back then, little information is available, though we do know that the breed was originally imported into England and Norway in 1930, and officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1969, likely after being imported by immigrants to America following the Second World War.

Shih Tzus have always been companion dogs to Chinese royalty, but also have a special in the history of the Buddhist faith – with the Mandarin translation of “Shih Tzu” being “little lion.” These dogs were said to be the guardians of the Temple of Buddha and exist in lionized statues throughout many Buddhist epithets.

How Popular Are Shih Tzus in the United States?

Despite not being in America for very long, nor being recognized as a breed for very long, Shih Tzus have become popular companion pets of many Americans, ranking 22nd in the 2021 most-popular-dog breed rankings, listed by the American Kennel Club.

Who Are Shih Tzus a Good Dog For?

Because of their size, lovable nature and calm temperament, the Shih Tzus are the perfect family pet for just about anyone, including the elderly. Though they may be energetic, they don’t overburden you with it, making them easy to care for and exercise.

How Did The Shih Tzu Come About?

The Shih Tzu’s precise origins lie somewhere between China and Tibet, though precise history is unknown – though they were bred by the Chinese/Tibetans to become companion dogs and are thought to descend from the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso dogs. 

When Did We First Cross-Breed The Shih Tzu?

The Shih Tzu’s exact crossbreeding history is unknown, as their 17th origins lie within China/Tibet, where little information exists concerning the history of crossbreeding – though, given the age of the Shih Tzu, it isn’t difficult to imagine that it indeed would have been crossbred with other dogs.

The popularity of crossbreeding in the United States, however, began in the 1960s and popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s. We can safely say that the Shih Tzu was most definitely crossbred during this period, though exact records, dates and people are unavailable.

Today, some of the most popular crossbreeds of Shih Tzus are:

The History of the Pitbull

The History of the Pitbull

The Pitbull has a rather unfortunate and cruel history. It was originally bred in the 19th century in England, stemming from the Old English Bulldog with various mastiff-type dogs. The purpose of breeding the Pitbull was to create a new type of dog that could be – and, sadly, was – used for fighting. 

They initially began as a dog bred to take part in “bull baiting”, a ‘sport’ where Pitbulls would be let loose in a field with an English bull cow. It would then be run ragged, until either the cow collapsed from exhaustion, or the Pittie was killed. In 1835, the English Parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act, which abolished the sport of bull baiting altogether. Though Pitbulls were simply turned into rat-catchers and dog fighters in the streets and factories of Industrial Revolution England, a century before they became our companion pets, a role they now play ever so well.

How Popular Are Pitbulls in the United States?

Unfortunately, all of that violence in their history has meant that they can be violent temperamentally, leading to them being outlawed in many American cities and states. This also means that Pitbulls are unrecognized by the American Kennel Club, thus, no statistics exist about their popularity.

Other stats, however, seem to tell the story of the Pitbull as a very popular dog in the United States, making up to 20% of the ‘strong dog’ ownership in the country.

Who Are Pitbulls Good Dog For?

Despite their past and currently murky legal status, Pitbulls do make wonderful companion pets for many owners. Provided the owners can handle their size and strength and take immediate action to correct destructive or violent behaviors. Pitbulls are best suited for homes without children or other pets (initially, at least), and are not well-suited for the elderly.

How Did The Pitbull Come About?

Pitbulls were bred as participant dogs in bloodsports in England in the 19th century, from “bull baiting” to dog fighting. This past has led to a damaging reputation as a violent, quick-to-anger dog. Consequently, the breed has been outlawed by many Western countries, including many American cities and states.

When Did We First Cross-Breed The Pitbull?

Given their violent history, breeders were reluctant (up until recently) to crossbreed the Pitbull. Therefore, little well-documented history exists about their mixing with other breeds.  However, crossbreeding became very popular in the U.S in the 1990s and early 2000s, so we can surmise that Pitties were crossbred plenty during this time, even if it isn’t written down.

Some of the most popular Pitbull crossbreeds of today include:

How Important Is a Dog’s Temperament to Your Family?

A dog’s temperament to your family is everything: it will dictate how the dog will fit into your family life. If you have a dog that isn’t well-suited, you may find yourself in an uphill battle to train the dog to suit your family life, or having to re-home the animal because it just isn’t working out. To prevent this, you’ll want to thoroughly research the dog(s) you’re considering adopting/purchasing, to get yourself ready to adjust or know how to help your dog adjust temperamentally to its new familial life.

What is the Temperament of the Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix?

Luckily for almost everyone who owns a Shih Tzu Pitbull mix, you’re going to find that this dog is a very friendly dog, despite its hyperactive energy levels. It’s easy-going and outgoing, loyal and loving. The Shih Tzu Pitbull may also be quite territorial, making for good guardian dogs, despite their smaller size.

Is the Shih Tzu Pitbull Friendly?

In general, you can expect your Shih Tzu Pitbull mix to be very friendly, towards both strangers and friends alike.

Are The Shih Tzu Pitbull Easy to Train?

You may find that your Shih Tzu Pitbull mix inherits a little more of its stubborn nature from its Pitbull parent than you’d like, but in general, you’ll find that the Pitshih is quite easy to train.

How Much Can The Shih Tzu Pitbull Weigh?

The Shih Tzu Pitbull mix generally weighs between 15 and 30 pounds.

How Tall Can The Shih Tzu Pitbull Get?

The Shih Tzu Pitbull mix stands between 10 and 25 inches tall.

Similar Sized Breeds

There are a few similar-sized breeds to the Shih-Tzu Pitbull mix. These include the Shih Tzu/Bulldog mix, the Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso mix, and the purebred American Pitbull Terrier.

Does the Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Shed?

There is a strong likelihood that your Shih Tzu Pitbull mix will be a moderately shedding dog, due to the length of the Shih Tzu’s coat. This will require routine brushing – generally once every 10 days or so – to mitigate the effects of shedding. Be aware that the Shih Tzu Pitbull mix sheds year-round rather than in seasonal shed-fests.

How Much Exercise Does A Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Require?

Given that the Shih Tzu and Pitbull are both fairly energetic dogs, expect to be walking your Pitshih for at least 45 minutes each day, with good free-roaming playtime on the weekends!

How Long Can a Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Live?

The average lifespan of the Shih Tzu Pitbull mix is between 10 and 15 years.

What Health Conditions Could the Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Have?

How Can You Find a Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Puppy For Sale?

While you might be tempted to jump right in and buy a Shih Tzu Pitbull mix, we first suggest that you check out your options for adopting. First, try seeing whether your local animal shelter or veterinary clinic has any Pitshihs up for adoption.

If that doesn’t work, you could try searching online at, which allows you to search for your chosen breed in your local area.

How Much Does a Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix Puppy Cost?

If, however, you’ve decided that you’re going to buy your Shih Tzu Pitbull mix, we recommend buying from a reputable breeder only. The cost of buying a Shih Tzu Pitbull mix pup will be between $600 and $1000, though prices vary by the breeder, location, etc.

If you’re going to buy from a breeder, you first need to read and familiarize yourself with the AKC’s guidance around finding reputable breeders. 

Is the Shih Tzu Pitbull Mix the Right Breed For You?

If you’re looking for a small to medium-sized dog that’s lovable, loyal and great with kids and your other pets then the Shih Tzu Pitbull mix might just be the one for you. Consider adopting first, rather than purchasing the Pitshih.

Nick Meagher

I'm Nick Meagher, a lifelong dog enthusiast and the voice behind this blog. Having grown up with dogs, I've developed a deep understanding and an unbreakable bond with these amazing companions. Through MyK9Life, I aim to share insights, tips, and heartwarming stories, celebrating the joy and journey of life with our four-legged friends.

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