Sheltie Tzu

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
fast facts

About Sheltie Tzu

15-25 lb
10-16 inches
12-15 years
Not Applicable
Best Suited For
families with kids and other pets, first-time dog owners, those prepared to devote time to grooming
intelligent, headstrong, affectionate, playful
Comparable Breeds
Shetland Sheepdog, Shih Tzu
Sheltie Tzu Basics

The playful little Sheltie Tzu is a feisty combination of the super alert Shetland Sheepdog and the often headstrong Shih Tzu. This energetic pooch gets along with everyone including kids, other animals and even strangers, for a great family pet. Because he doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety this little guy is comfortable being left on his own for longer periods of time.

The playful Sheltie Tzu is a feisty combo of the alert Shetland Sheepdog and the cute Shih Tzu.


The Sheltie Tzu is a combo of the Shetland Sheepdog that originated in the Scottish Highlands around the turn of the last century and the Shih Tzu that dates back to Tibet around the year 800. Although he comes from an impressive background, the Sheltie Tzu himself first appeared in the 1980s when breeders began crossing pure-bred dogs to create pups that were free of the health issues that impacted their pure-bred parents. These dogs are also often bred to be gentler, smaller and hypo-allergenic.


Coming from 2 different purebreds means the Designer Dog Sheltie Tzu doesn’t qualify for membership to the coveted American Kennel Club (AKC) however both of his parent breeds are members. The Shetland Sheepdog became a member of the “herding” group in 1911 while the Shih Tzu joined AKC’s “toy” group in 1969.


The Sheltie Tzu needs a nutrient-rich kibble that is specifically designed to meet his age, size and activity levels – whether that be the energetic Shetland Sheepdog or the less active Shih Tzu. As he can be prone to joint issues its important his weight be controlled so choose a food that is low in fillers that may cause him to overeat. Plan to feed him 2 to 3 small meals daily versus free-feeding.


The Sheltie Tzu comes from two intelligent breeds that are quick to pick up commands but a stubborn streak may mean he is slow to obey. Patience will be needed when training this dog, particularly since the Shih Tzu is known to be difficult to housebreak. Always take a rewards-based approach with treats and verbal praise offered for a job well done. Because of his tendency to be headstrong, be firm, consistent and establish pack leadership early on.


Once grown, the Sheltie Tzu will weigh between 15 to 25 pounds.


Smart, feisty, but generally good-natured, this is a wonderful family pooch who does well with kids, other dogs and pets including cats. While he can be prone to herding and chasing other animals, socialization will help with this. This bright boy does require mental stimulation in the form of interactive games and play to keep him from becoming bored however he does well when left on his own for longer periods with little in the way of destructive behaviors; so ideal for busy working families.

Common Health Problems

Although the Sheltie Tzu is considered a healthy dog, it’s always a good idea to understand the history of your new pup and what he may inherit. For this pooch it can include joint issues such as patellar luxation and Von Willebrand’s disease as well as respiratory issues if he inherits the shorter nose / flatter face of the Shih Tzu.

Life Expectancy

The Sheltie Tzu will live a good long life of between 12 to 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

The Sheltie Tzu will likely inherit the Shetland Sheepdog’s love of activity and need for mental stimulation which means that in addition to a good daily walk, interactive playtime and a visit to the dog park will be a great addition to his exercise regimen. Because of strong herding instincts that may come from the Sheepdog, this boy can be prone to chasing others so ensure any off-leash zone is fully fenced and that he is properly socialized so knows to play nice with others.

The playful Sheltie Tzu gets along well with kids, other dogs and smaller pets.

Recognized Clubs

The Sheltie Tzu doesn’t qualify to be a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC) because of his mixed breed lineage however he is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).


The Sheltie Tzu has a medium- to long-haired coat that is typically straight and silky. In spite of his full, plush double-coat he is considered a low-shedding dog, however that doesn’t mean he is low-maintenance. He will require daily brushing to prevent his coat from becoming matted and tangling and may even need regular visits to the groomers to help in the process. As a floppy eared dog, he can be prone to infections so plan to inspect and clean his ears weekly. Brushing his teeth a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week will help prevent periodontal disease.


This little guy can grow into a stubborn pooch if not socialized early on. His inherited urge to herd may make him unpopular with your other pets and at the dog park so learning to obey commands and play nice will be important. Because he may inherit joint issues later in life, be careful not to over-exert tiny limbs in play and exercise activities.

Photo credit: Ina Pandora/Shutterstock; Laura Cruise/Shutterstock; Mary Swift/Shutterstock

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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