Bolo Tzu

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
fast facts

About Bolo Tzu

9-15 lb
9-11 inches
11-15 years
Not Applicable
Best Suited For
first time dog owners, active families with older kids and other pets, apartment dwellers, those looking for a companion dog
active, friendly, affectionate, intelligent
Comparable Breeds
Shih Tzu, Bolognese
Bolo Tzu Basics

The affectionate Bolo Tzu is the result of crossing the loving and spirited little Shih Tzu with the quintessential lapdog; the Bolognese, for a truly wonderful companion animal. The Bolo Tzu gets along with everyone and everything, making him a less than ideal watchdog but great for those living in apartments.

The sweet little Bolo Tzu brings the spirited Shih Tzu together with the easy-going Bolognese.


Although the Bolognese is known to have existed in the 13th century Middle East and the Shih Tzu dates back to ancient China, the two combined as a Bolo Tzu probably go back only 30 years to when breeders began to cross pure-bred dogs to create Designer Dogs. These dogs are typically bred to produce pups that carry desirable traits such as gentler personalities, smaller sizes and hypo-allergenic qualities. All without the health issues that plague their parent breeds.


The Bolo Tzu is a Designer Dog and doesn’t qualify to join the American Kennel Club (AKC) roster of pure-breeds however the Shih Tzu became a member of their “toy” group in 1969 while the Bolognese is a member of AKC’s Foundation Stock Service which tracks and records breeds while they continue to develop.


The Bolo Tzu is a small or toy-sized dog that can be quite energetic so needs a top-quality kibble specifically designed for his size, age and activity level. Because this breed can be prone to periodontal disease, treats and food should be hard versus soft variety. Plan to feed him 2 to 3 smaller meals each day versus free-feeding to maintain a healthy weight and prevent joint issues later in life. As flat-faced dogs can be challenged by regular-shaped food dishes you should investigate some of the bowls specially shaped to allow him easier access to his food and a cleaner meal period.

The affectionate little Bolo Tzu bonds quickly and closely to his family.


Both of the Bolo Tzu parent breeds are known to be a challenge to house-break so patience will be needed and the services of a professional trainer if you aren’t getting results. Take a firm, consistent approach that is rewards-based and offers him loads of praise (often more effective than treats for this dog) to keep him motivated and on track


The Bolo Tzu will weigh between 9 and 15 pounds once he reaches adulthood.


The clever little Bolo Tzu is a social, affectionate dog that gets along well with kids, other pets and even strangers – so not much of a watchdog but great for apartment living. This little guy bonds quickly and closely with his family and because he loves nothing more than spending time with his human-pack, he can suffer from separation anxiety if left on his own for too long. While the Bolognese side of this dog is known to have an easy-going nature, the Shih Tzu side can be a bit headstrong so establishing the pack leader early on will be important.

Common Health Problems

The Bolo Tzu is a Designer Dog and as such will typically be healthier than either of his parent breeds. That said, its important to know what your new pup could one day inherit and with the Bolo Tzu that can include joint issues including Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, respiratory ailments and periodontal issues.

Life Expectancy

You can expect to enjoy your Bolo Tzu for between 11 and 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

The Bolo Tzu comes from two high energy breeds so regular daily walks will be needed to keep him both calm and fit. His small size means that walks can be shorter and ideally augmented with some active indoor or outdoor playtime. A tossed ball will keep him this boy happy, stimulated and connected to his owner.

The clever little Bolo Tzu is a social dog that gets along well with kids.

Recognized Clubs

While the Bolo Tzu’s Designer Dog status means he doesn’t qualify to be a member of the coveted American Kennel Club (AKC) but is recognized by Designer Breed Registry (DBR), American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC) and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).


The Bolo Tzu is considered hypo-allergenic and in spite of the fluffy coat, he is a low- to non-shedding dog. That doesn’t mean low maintenance however as he will require frequent if not daily brushing to help prevent his coat from matting and tangling. Professional grooming will be needed every few months to maintain coat shape and because dental issues can be a challenge for small dogs, brush his teeth 3 to 4 times weekly. Ear inspection and cleaning can be done weekly to help prevent infections that can come with floppy-eared dogs.


The Bolo Tzu puppy is tiny and because he is prone to joint issues later in life, handling should be done with care. Children should be supervised and any activity – including play and leash training – needs to be done with an eye to not over-exerting his tiny limbs. Because his Shih Tzu lineage may result in a stubborn, headstrong little dog, early socialization and obedience training to establish the pack leader is recommended.

Photo credit: Laura Cruise/Shutterstock; Eric Isselee/Shutterstock; Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and two felines who prefer to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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