Chinese Imperial Dog

4-7 lbs
Lion Dog, Tiny Toy, Micro Shih Tzu, Teacup Shih Tzu

The Chinese Imperial dog is a tiny animal barely reaching between four and seven pounds. Controversy rages over this small beauty, with two camps divided over the name and breed. The American Kennel Club and the American Shih Tzu Club claim that this small dog is just a miniature sized Shih Tzu. The Chinese Imperial camp claim the small dog has a unique Imperial gene which makes them a separate breed. They believe this dog has existed for centuries in China and has been considered a different breed all along. Regardless of what you believe, the Chinese Imperial dog is a happy, outgoing dog who fulfils their purpose perfectly, and that purpose is a companion dog. They adapt well to any setting and are perfect in an apartment. They may be small, but they have a big personality. TheĀ Chinese Imperial is so cute and sweet that it is easy to spoil them, but like any dog - they need a firm hand and a strong leader to follow in order to avoid Small Dog Syndrome. They are wonderful with children, but they are so tiny it is easy to hurt them, so teach your children to be kind and gentle. They have a moderate level of activity, are very playful, and extremely loving to their owners. Be aware that you will pay more for a smaller dog such as this, as they are harder to find.

purpose Purpose
Companion Dog
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Shih Tzu

Chinese Imperial Dog Health

Average Size
Male Chinese Imperial Dog size stats
Height: 7-8 inches Weight: 4-7 lbs
Female Chinese Imperial Dog size stats
Height: 7-8 inches Weight: 4-7 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Heart Conditions
  • Eye Problems
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • Ear Infection and Inflammation
  • Allergies which require blood tests
  • Heat Stroke
Occasional Tests
  • Internal Imaging (x-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.)
  • Blood Work and Urine Tests
  • Complete Physical Examination
  • Complete Ophthalmologic Examination
  • Skin Scraping Test for Allergies
  • Heat Stroke

Chinese Imperial Dog Breed History

In ancient times, we know that there were small companion dogs who lived with Chinese nobility and were treasured for their companionship. According to the Chinese Imperial Dog Club of America, theĀ Chinese Imperial dog has been in existence for over 2000 years, while others such as the American Kennel Club claim they only date back as far as the 1960's. The history books confirm that the Dowager Empress Cixi, who was one of China's last monarchs, was a dog fancier who had many small dogs. Foreign dignitaries were often gifted these small dogs - theĀ Chinese Imperial dog and the larger Shih Tzu. The American Kennel Club claims that during the 1960s when the Shih Tzu was rising in popularity, some dog breeders bred down their dogsĀ -Ā  a term known as 'dwarfing down' of a breed. After many generations, the smaller size becomes part of the genes. It was in the era of the 1980-1990's that the terms ' teacup', 'mini' and 'tiny toy' phrases began to emerge to describe the smaller Shih Tzu. The AKC at the time stepped in and confirmed the Shih Tzu standard height and weight requirements to penalize the 'new' small dogs; they declared dwarfing down was unethical and unhealthy for the dog. While the debate over theĀ Chinese Imperial still rages, the National Canine Association formerly recognized the Chinese Imperial, and soon others followed. In the year 2008, theĀ Chinese Imperial Dog Registry of America was formed to maintain the official studbook. While there is virtually no difference in personality between the two breeds, the Imperial have firmly established that - tiny or not - they are here to stay. There is no doubt that this tiny dog will remain a favorite companion for many years to come, regardless of the debate over their origins.

Chinese Imperial Dog Breed Appearance

Chinese Imperial dogs are compact, well muscled and yet tiny dogs with a sweet facial expression. Although it is hard to see their body shape under that glorious fluffy coat, their body is well proportioned with well developed bone structure. Short legs with large paws for their size just adds to the 'cuteness' factor. Their luxurious dense coat gives this dog the 'teddy bear' appeal, and because of their dense coat they can suffer on hot days or in hot climates. They can be clipped to ease their discomfort and still retain their fluffy appeal which is good. They have a small short muzzled face, a tiny nose and bright round eyes. Their tail is fluffy and curly. They grow no higher than 7 to 8 inches, and weigh in at a mere 9 pounds. Because of their tiny size they can be hurt easily, so caution is neededĀ  TheĀ Chinese Imperial is not only good looking, but has a lovely nature to match.Ā 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Chinese Imperial Dog eyes
amber Chinese Imperial Dog eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Chinese Imperial Dog nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Chinese Imperial Dog coat
white Chinese Imperial Dog coat
brown Chinese Imperial Dog coat
red Chinese Imperial Dog coat
silver Chinese Imperial Dog coat
pied Chinese Imperial Dog coat
fawn Chinese Imperial Dog coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Chinese Imperial Dog wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Chinese Imperial Dog Breed Maintenance

TheĀ Chinese Imperial is cute, adorable and totally captivating, but there is no denying that there is a lot of upkeep required to keep this dog looking great. They have a double coat which consists of a thick outer coat, and a soft under coat which gives them that fluffy teddy bear appearance. That coat is what makes them so prone to heat exhaustion, so in hotter climatesĀ Chinese Imperial owners keep their coats trimmed. This provides relief to the dog in hot weather and makes maintenance easier. A trim is usually required every 6 to 8 weeks. TheĀ Chinese Imperial does best in cooler climates, but can adapt to hotter climates in homes that have air conditioning. A daily brushing will prevent the coat from matting and will remove dust and debris. Misting the coat prior to brushing is both cooling and practical as it prevents the hairs from breaking. A bath about every three to four weeks is enough, using a special dog shampoo to protect the delicate oils in the skin and coat. Then, a brush of the teeth, a check of the ears and a cuddle or two, and yourĀ Chinese Imperial is ready for action.
Brushes for Chinese Imperial Dog
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Chinese Imperial Dog requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Chinese Imperial Dog Temperament

TheĀ Chinese Imperial can be described as a happy, intelligent, outgoing and trusting little dog who loves to play or cuddle. They have a vivacious and cooperative personality, yet beware the streak of independence that they can have. Because of their size, it is easy to make allowances for them and let them get away with mischief. Don't fall into this trap or you will have a battle of wits between dog and owner on your hands. Little or not, they need a firm but kind hand, and you as the owner need to be the pack leader - in other words - the boss! TheĀ Chinese Imperial makes an ideal companion. They are devoted and loyal little dogs who sense your mood and react accordingly. If you feel down, you will be smothered with love from this little munchkin. Happy and excited? Then your dog will be too. They will take their cues from your mood. Although small and active at home, they still need to get out and run about, go for a walk, or just explore their world. A daily walk is important too for socializing your dog. They are more confident and less stressed if they have a variety of outings in their life and learn there is more to the world than their apartment. Physical and mental stimulation is important for all dogs regardless of size. TheĀ Chinese Imperial is a sturdy, cheerful and affectionate dog, and possibly one of the cutest.

Chinese Imperial Dog Activity Requirements

TheĀ Chinese Imperial is known as a lap dog; they love to cuddle up on a convenient lap and chill out with their owner. But they are also quite an active dog, and often tear around the house, chasing after you wherever you go! These little guys are a ball of energy, especially when young. They are curious, enthusiastic, and quite comical at times. They will love a daily walk, as long as it is not in the full heat of the day as they can overheat easily. While they walk with you, expect to be stopped often as strangers admire your little ball of fluff. Keep your little one on a leash to remain in control and protect them from larger dogs who may intimidate them. TheĀ Chinese Imperial will play happily for hours with your children, snuggle with them as they do their homework, or just chill out following them from room to room. Ensure you have plenty of toys for this dog to keep them active and their mind stimulated, and you will have one happy pooch
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Chinese Imperial Dog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.75 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$20.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Chinese Imperial Dog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Chinese Imperial Dog size stats at six months
Height: 3.5 inches Weight: 3.5 lbs
Female Chinese Imperial Dog size stats at six months
Height: 3.5 inches Weight: 3.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Chinese Imperial Dog size stats at 12 months
Height: 5.5 inches Weight: 5.0 lbs
Female Chinese Imperial Dog size stats at 12 months
Height: 5.5 inches Weight: 5.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Chinese Imperial Dog size stats at 18 months
Height: 7.5 inches Weight: 7.0 lbs
Female Chinese Imperial Dog size stats at 18 months
Height: 7.5 inches Weight: 7.0 lbs

Chinese Imperial Dog Owner Experiences

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