Do Shih Tzus Like to Cuddle?


Shih Tzus hold a very high status in the celebrity class of dogs. Most celebrities own this dog, and that is because it is part of their destiny.

The Shih Tzu was bred from royalty in China, which is why they are loved so much.

So, do Shih Tzus like to cuddle?

Yes, the Shih Tzu is affectionate, cuddly, and great at providing companionship and loyalty. 

The Shih Tzu is an amiable and adaptive dog, not forgetting its gorgeous looks. It costs on average $1,200 – $3,000 to buy a Shih Tzu puppy.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about Shih Tzu and whether they like to cuddle.

Why is Shih Tzu famous?

Below are some of the reasons Shih Tzu owners love their dogs:

Provide companionship 

Shih Tzu is a professional champion lap dog and snuggler. They will stay very close to you and even follow you around from one room to another.

They will curl up next to you on the couch when they have a chance.

These dogs will be the perfect little dog for your elderly parents, especially if they do not get out of bed much. They are very caring, loyal, and affectionate.

Be protective over their family

The Shih Tzu does not like it when new people or animals come around without an introduction, and they do need to get used to new people.

If you do not allow them to do this, they might become very protective and bark at strangers.

Be environmentally aware of their owner’s concerns

When it comes to dogs that are easily trained and do not tire of learning new tricks, then Shih Tzus will be your best choice. You can teach them tricks with ease.

They do not tire of learning, which means they are up for anything, including cuddling.


Shih Tzus do not need constant attention or human contact to be happy. Generally, they do not like being held most of the time.

While some love to cuddle, the majority do not prefer it as their primary form of contact.

As well as this, a typical Shih Tzu personality would indicate that it does not like to be around too many other animals and instead prefers the company of humans.


They always want the best position on your arm or your lap. It is tough to say no to them because of how cute they look and how fluffy they feel.

Shih Tzus do not have that strong, stubborn streak which means you do not have to worry about obedience training.

Exercise Requirements

Most Shih Tzus like to have an hour of exercise every day, and it’s one of the most important parts of keeping up with a Shih Tzu’s health.

If they do not get it, they will become very hyperactive and begin acting out in ways such as barking excessively or chewing valuables.

How to know if your Shih Tzu like cuddling

With most Shih Tzu dogs, cuddling is not a problem at all, and it is something that most of them love, unlike some other breeds of dogs.

For this specific reason, you will recognize if they love being cuddled and where they want to be cuddled. Below are signs that will show you if your Shih Tzu loved being cuddled.

Cuddles you back

If your Shih Tzu loves being cuddled, they will willingly cuddle back, and it will do that by putting its paw on your arm or leg.

If your dog does this, it means affectionate, trusting, and very close to you. Therefore, your Shih Tzu loves cuddling, and you can pet it anytime. 

Falls asleep in your arms

While holding your dog, it will do its best to get comfortable. If it falls asleep, it means that it loves being held and cuddled by you.

Female Shih Tzus actually tend to do this more, so it’s an accurate sign of their love for being cuddled by you.

Loves to doze off on your lap

Shih Tzus, like most dogs, do not like getting cold, so if they doze off with you, you must be pretty warm or comfortable for them.

It is also a sign that your dog loves being cuddled by you. You do not have to do anything unique or different; just be yourself.

However, do not get offended if they doze off while you are watching TV because, for them, it’s very comfortable and relaxing. They will sleep anywhere, so do not fire them up.

Loves to doze off next to you on the couch

The best and most comfortable sleeping position for a Shih Tzu is next to its owner.

If it dozes off while sitting or lying next to you, do not move it because it means that your dog will sleep where it’s the most comfortable and warm.

Nuzzles against your arms or legs

Shih Tzus do love being cuddled, and they do it without forcing themselves onto anyone. They want to be close to the people they love.

When doing this, they do not do it in a way that will hurt you or make you feel uncomfortable.

Cuddles in a doggie bed near you

Shih Tzus do not like to sleep alone, and they prefer the company of others. If it sleeps in your room, it will do so near you and never too far away from you.

This is something that they do not do unless it trusts you and loves you.

Seeking attention and cuddling

Whenever they feel the need to do so, the Shih Tzu personality is to seek attention and cuddling. They do it by climbing onto your lap or touching you with their paws.

If you do it, they will be ready for more action because they have a lot of energy. Shih Tzus do love being cuddled, and it is an effortless way to do so.

Moreover, do not feel afraid or uncomfortable when your dog cuddles you because they do not do it in any other way than loving and caring.

Licking you and wagging its tail

When a dog licks you or wags its tail, it is a sign of joy, and it means your dog is happy and loves being cuddled.

Your Shih Tzu is always pleased if it wags its tail after seeing you and then start licking you. That is a big sign that your Shih Tzu likes cuddling. 

Relaxes near you

Group of People Sitting on White Mat on Grass Field

If your dog relaxes near you and even falls asleep on your side or lap, it loves cuddles. Shih Tzu is a breed of dogs that needs trust for them to trust you fully. 

If your dog can sleep beside you, it is a sign that it is happy, and you can pet it after sleeping. You do not need to do anything at all besides sleep.

Curling up in your arms or on the couch

Shih Tzu is a small breed of dog, which means it can fit perfectly in your arms. If you do not like tight hugs, do not worry because Shih Tzus do not like that either, and they love light and soft hugs.

They do not do this to show dominance or pack leader, and they do it because they want to be close to you. If your Shih Tzu dog can do all of these signs, you have a cuddle bug on your hands!

Reasons why your Shih Tzus don’t like to cuddle

Most people think that all Shih Tzus love to cuddle, but that is not true. Some of them don’t like cuddling at all, and below are some of the reasons why:

It is not their way of showing affection

If you keenly observe dogs, they don’t show each other affection by cuddling. Humans only use cuddling, and we force it on our pets.

Some Shih Tzus accept cuddling and give in more quickly, but some don’t. Some do it for just a few seconds, and some don’t entirely.

Dogs have their ways of showing you affection, and they include leaning against you, long sighs when they lay down, licking you, and always jumping when you are around.

Therefore, if yours does not like to cuddle, don’t take it personally. It is not doggy’s way of showing affection, so do not force it.

It isn’t the right size

Another reason why Shih Tzus do not cuddle is because of their small size. They are very tiny dogs, and their paws do not have an inch to spare.

So when you cuddle them, do it gently and do not squeeze them hard.

They do not like human touch

Shih Tzus tend to love their humans, and it’s normal for the Shih Tzu personality to hate being touched by strangers. If your dog does not like to be touched, do not force it to cuddle with you.

Shih Tzus are very protective and do not easily trust strangers. So do not be offended if they do not cuddle immediately after meeting you. It is because they do not know you yet.

They can get sick

Another reason why Shih Tzu dogs do not like to cuddle is because of their fur. They do not groom themselves, which means they get dirty very fast.

If your dog loves spending time on the couch or your bed, it might get sick from all the build-up grime and dirt after a few days. That is why Shih Tzus do not like cuddling.

They do not feel safe

Lastly, some Shih Tzus do not do cuddling because they do not feel safe. If you have been forcing your dog to cuddle with you, it will start avoiding you.

It might even get aggressive if it does not do well with your cuddling.

So do you have a Shih Tzu dog that is self-conscious? Does it do all of the signs but do not cuddle? Then do not force it because it might get aggressive, or they do not feel safe around humans in general.

It’s simply not doggy’s way of showing affection

Some dogs do not like cuddling at all, and some do. It depends on the breed of the dog, and it depends on how you handle your pet.

The Shih Tzu breed has their way of showing affection to their owners but do not include cuddling in that list.

If yours does not like to cuddle, do not take it personally because there is nothing wrong with it, and it simply does not cuddle as other dogs do.

Past abuse

If your Shih Tzu is a rescue dog, there is a very high chance that their former owners abused them. That being said, they may hate cuddling forever, and that is not your fault or theirs. 

Being treated poorly makes them afraid of people even if you treat them well. It’s not only abuse that can make Shih Tzu hate cuddling but also inadequate training.

They do not like being hugged or squeezed because it reminds them of the harsh treatment.

Do not take it personally if your Shih Tzu does not like cuddling.

They do not do it to show scorn; they only do it because that is their way of showing affection! Their small size gives them no room for cuddling.

Lastly, please do not force Shih Tzu dogs to do it because they do not like being touched. If you do that, your dog will become aggressive in the future!

Petting in the wrong place

If you pet your Shih Tzu every time it is near you, it may be expected, but not to all Shih Tzu.

There is a very high chance that you are petting them in the wrong place. It is like being too rough, mainly because Shih Tzu is too small, making them not enjoy cuddling. 

If you think your pet does not like cuddling, you should back off a bit. You can also try different areas to determine which part it likes to be touched. 

Most Shih Tzus hate hugging

A recent study showed many dogs, including Shih Tzus, don’t like to be hugged. Most of them feel claustrophobic when they are hugged because they feel trapped.

Feeling trapped makes them feel stressed and anxious, which may be why they hate cuddling. 

According to a study, more than 82% of dogs feel stressed and anxious when hugged.

Dogs are mainly designed for running, and when it comes to any stress, they respond by running away and not using their teeth. 

To know if your dog likes being hugged, you should pay more attention to how it responds to hugging. If it does not like hugging, you should figure out another way to do it. 


If, in any instance, you Shih Tzu enjoyed cuddling before and now it does not, then there is a very high chance that it is in pain. They may have an injury that you don’t know about or a health issue. 

An old dog may have arthritis or maybe joint problems if it is an old dog. When you pet them, they could be feeling pain, which is why they are trying to avoid it. 

A growth spurt can also cause pain, and that can also make them hate petting. If it used to like petting and now it does not, you should make an appointment with your vet.


Sometimes Shih Tzu dogs don’t like cuddling because it is their personality. Like people, Shih Tzus also have their preferences, and some don’t like being touched. 

White Little Dog Sleeping

Your dog may not want you all over them because they prefer their space. If your dog enjoys their independence, it may not like physical contact. 

How do you get your Shih Tzu puppy to be cuddlier?

If you’re one of the Shih Tzu lovers that wants your dog to be cuddlier, then there are some things that you can try:

Give them a bribe

Your dog may love you very much, but I’m guessing there is something your Shih Tzu loves more – food. You can start bribing it next to you or on your lap. 

If you keep doing this, they will eventually associate cuddles with treats. That way, they may end up cuddling all day, which will be worth it to you.

Soothe it

Shih Tzus do not like being left alone for a long time, mainly because they do not like solitude. When your dog is sad or anxious, you can give them attention.

Just petting them and talking to them will calm their nerves, and that way, they do not mind getting cuddled.

You can do this by giving them a neck massage. In addition, you should rub the special oil for your Shih Tzu on their neck before cuddling.

By doing this, it will have your scent and also feel comfortable with being cuddled.

Sleep with them

Research shows that when you sleep with your dog in the same bed, it will cuddle more during the day. 

Sleeping near them will make them used to you, and they will start enjoying being around you during the day.

Cuddle them from a young age

If you start showing your Shih Tzu affection from a young age, they will be cuddlier. You can talk to them, brush their hair, and even pet them.

That will make them feel wonderful about being near you, and they will want to be near you forever.


Most Shih Tzu love to cuddle their owners, but some don’t like it. Many things may cause your Shih Tzu not to love cuddling. 

Knowing why they don’t love cuddling is the first step to changing that. 

If they are in pain, you should immediately take them to a vet to look at them. If they were abused in the past, you have to be patient with them.

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