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The meaning of Shih Tzu is a lion dog in Chinese, but that’s about where the similarities between this cuddly toy pup and the fierce animal ends. Shih Tzus were at one time bred only exclusively as apartment and companion pups, but now they are slowly finding their place in the world of obedience training and dog sports. These pups blossom in the company of humans and love getting attached to them. They have been a favourite lap dog of people since very ancient times. Shih Tzus are known for their cheerful and lively temperaments and they enjoy getting along with all kinds of people as well as other dogs.

Anatomy of a Shih Tzu Dog

Shih Tzu pups are extremely unique as they have a long and dense coat and a delicate body within. They actually have two layers of coats, an inner coat and an outer coat. They have short muzzles and due to this, they are extremely prone to heat strokes.

Shih Tzus do not require a lot of exercise, but at the same time they are very susceptible to putting on weight and therefore they require to be kept fit.

In the neck region of a Shih Tzu, some very important anatomical structures are located such as the wind pipe, the food pipe, the tracheal cartilages, the thyroid gland and the spinal cord. The wind pipe of this dog is situated very close to the skin and so choking is a very real and serious danger. Hence, these body related considerations need to be kept in mind before deciding to buy gear for your little bud.

The best type of gear for a Shih Tzu Dog

The two main types of restraint gear are a dog collar and a harness. Buying a dog collar for a Shih Tzu is almost always a bad idea.

Spinal injuries and slipped intervertebral disc injuries are extremely common when a shih tzu is walked on a leash and a collar.

Escape from a collar is much more easily possible than from a well fitted and well designed harness. A harness provides a much more safer restraint than a dog collar.

A pulling Shih Tzu can be controlled better with a harness attached to a leash using a D ring attached to its back rather than with a collar.

Therefore, a harness is clearly a better choice than a dog collar. But it must be kept in mind that a poorly fitted harness can also do as much, if not more damage than a dog collar. For these reasons, it is important to measure your Shih Tzu accurately and pay a keen attention to the size charts provided before buying a harness.

The best way to determine if your harness fits perfectly is to check if while wearing it on, it can admit two fingers between the body and the harness. A good harness will have many varied adjustment areas so every part can be expanded or shortened.

Harnesses that are chosen must be checked for weight and breathability. They must be light weight and extremely breathable, as shih tzus have a dense fur coat.

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Here we have assembled a handy list of the best harnesses one can find for a Shih Tzu dogs

Puppia Authentic Puppia Vivien Harness B

Puppia Authentic Puppia Vivien Harness B
Puppia Authentic Puppia Vivien Harness B

Main features:

  • Made of soft, lightweight, breathable polyester material.
  • Has a Design with cute frills, ribbon and buttons
  • Has a High quality buckle and an adjustable velcro
  • It is machine washable
  • Has 2 D ring attachments on the back

If you have ever wrecked your head looking for the perfect starter harness for your pup, your search ends here. This harness is extremely comfortable, light weight, and comes with a soft padding and a true to size fitting which is appreciated by all dog owners. With a secure clip closure and an adjustable velcro strap, your Shih Tzu will find it impossible to escape out of it. It comes in 7 different colours and 4 different sizes and has something for all tastes. It features a beautiful gingham piping with a frilly neck and a ribbon bow at the centre. It also has cute matching buttons. It is perfect for a pup who wants the best of both worlds, comfort and style.

Soft Mesh Small Dog Harness with Leash – Basic Plaid Padded Chest Vest for Kitties,Puppy,Small Pets

Soft Mesh Small Dog Harness with Leash - Basic Plaid Padded Chest Vest for Kitties,Puppy,Small Pets
Soft Mesh Small Dog Harness with Leash – Basic Plaid Padded Chest Vest for Kitties,Puppy,Small Pets

Main features:

  • Has a Classic plaid design
  • Made out of 100% polyester material
  • Comes with a velcro and buckle fastener
  • It is machine washable
  • It has a double D ring on the back
  • Comes with a matching plaid leash

We recommend this harness because it has an incredibly light weight and comfortable build. It comes in two colours, pink and red, both with a plaid design to keep your shih tzu casual and smart when it goes out for walks. It is made up of a polyester material and features a buckle on the back along with an adjustable velcro strap. It comes with a cute nylon leash, with a matching plaid design on one side. The metal components of both the harness and the leash are extremely durable, sturdy and rust proof. This comes with a soft padding and an inner mesh lining for ultimate comfort for your shih tzu as it plays.

Choke Free Reflective Step in Ultra Harness – Blue American River

Choke Free Reflective Step in Ultra Harness - Blue American River
Choke Free Reflective Step in Ultra Harness – Blue American River

Main features:

  • Patented Ombre design
  • Soft mesh polyester material
  • Machine wash and line dry
  • Reflective strips
  • 3 inch webbing allowing 3 inch size adjustment
  • Step in harness with Zig zag trim binding stitch
  • Sturdy and adjustable back buckle

Coming with a long list of features, this step in vest harness boasts of durability, strength, flexibility and great compliance with shih tzus. If you frequently walk your shih tzu in low light environments, this reflective harness is an ideal choice for you. With its trendy ombre design and a great range of colour selections, we are sure this harness will be a showstopper when you take your furry buddy out on the town. It comes with a massive 9 size assortment to ensure you get the best possible fitting for your pooch. It is Certified Break Strength Tested to 386 Lbs, and comes with a Patented Conforming Shape Fit Seam Technology. Which means it is extra strong and has an extra versatile fitting. This harness uniquely conforms to the puppy’s chest curve. Not only that, it also has a seat belt attachment. This has, indeed, everything we were looking for in a harness.

Handmade Dog Poncho from Mexican Serape Blanket

Handmade Dog Poncho from Mexican Serape Blanket
Handmade Dog Poncho from Mexican Serape Blanket

Main features:

  • Unique poncho hand made using authentic mexican blankets
  • Adjustable neck and chest velcro straps
  • Made with polyester and acrylic
  • Reduces dog stress and gives warmth to the puppy
  • A portion of every purchase is donated to Baja California Spay Neuter Foundation

Ever imagined you could treat your little friend but also at the same time make a difference in the world? With this lovely poncho you can! Every purchase made helps fund the Baja California Spay Neuter Foundation. This handmade poncho is made uniquely from mexican seapr blankets manufactured in Tlaxcala, Mexico. It’s interior is made with polyester material and externally it is made of polyester as well as acrylic material. If your puppy is a rescue, requires comfort, is feeling stressed out or is simply feeling cold, this coat vest is the solution. This poncho acts as an ideal portable jacket giving your pooch warmth, comfort and security. Not only that, if you want to dress up your dog for Halloween, Cinco de Mayo or even Christmas, this makes for a perfect outfit. It also comes with a convenient harness loop at the back. It comes in 7 different sizes to perfectly fit a puppy, or a cat of any size.

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats
Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats

Main features:

  • Ergonomic hands free backpack puppy carrier
  • Well ventilated, Waterproof and stain resistant
  • Comes with additional pockets and compartments for storage of personal belongings
  • TSA and airline approved
  • Comes with a carabiner clip tether inside for attachment of harness
  • Can be used as a backpack or also as a carrier on the side

We know this is not a harness, but it is an absolute worth mention. We had to add it to the list because of how wonderfully convenient it makes traveling with dogs. This backpack is made for times when you want to take your shih tzu pup out hiking to the woods but are worried that they will not be able to keep up due to their tiny legs. This backpack is resilient, yet comfortable as it is designed for commute and adventures. It comes with one compartment for your pup and one to hold all your personal belongings. It also comes with two water bottle carriers and a laptop pocket. This backpack is not only TS and airlines approved, but it also comes with a lifetime warranty. The straps of the backpack are thick to ensure weight distribution and less strain on your shoulders and arms. Complete with adjustment straps and fastening buckles, this backpack is the ultimate solution for transporting pets.