Shih Tzus are lively small dogs with big personalities. These affectionate animals are a toy breed, but they are a lot of energy in a small package. These dogs are known for their long, soft double coat, floppy ears, and a tail that curls up and over their back. These friendly animals make good friends for families with children, as long as their owners are active in regular play.
They have a history of being a royal favorite in China, where emperors and royals refused to sell the dog outside of the country for many years. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case, and Shih Tzus have become famous around the world, even starring in movies like “Best in Show” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” They’re just as happy in your lap as that of an emperor.
They are excellent watchdogs, but they were not bred for work like other animals. The best toys for Shih Tzus play into their active and friendly nature.These funny animals are friendly and tend to bond with their owner, following them around like a very small shadow. Their name means “Lion Dog” in Chinese, which says a lot about their temperament and appearance. Shih Tzus have glamorous coats and are very active and outgoing dogs who tend to be very alert. These were bred as companion animals. The best way to be a good companion to your Shih Tzu is with high-quality toys picked out just for them.
What are the Best Toys for Shih Tzus?
- Best Overall – Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide Puzzle
- Most Affordable – Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy
- Most Popular – KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy
- Best Puppy Toy – Nylabone Teething Pacifier Puppy Chew Toy
- Best Interactive (Puzzle) Toy – Trixie Mini Mover Activity
- Best Plush Toy – KONG Floppy Knots Dog Toy
- Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy
- KONG Classic Dog Toy
- Nylabone DuraChew Textured Ring Flavor Medley
- KONG Squeezz Ball Dog Toy
- Frisco Rope with Squeaking Ball Dog Toy
- Petstages Dogwood Tough Dog Chew Toy
- Nylabone DuraChew Dental Chew Chicken Flavored
Different Kinds of Dog Toys
- Tennis Balls – You can’t beat a classic, and there’s nothing more classic than a standard tennis ball as a dog toy. Shih Tzus especially love to romp outside and play fetch. Tennis balls offer a great outlet at a bargain price for your fun-loving pet. It should be noted to pay attention to the weather, as your small, long-haired Shih Tzu can overheat in hot or humid temperatures. Sometimes it’s ok to play ball inside, especially when it’s not the best weather for your smallest friend.
- Chew Toys – All dogs love to chew, none more so than the Shih Tzu. Chew toys make for excellent self-amusement toys to play with when you’re not available. It’s important to make time for your dog to play by themselves so they don’t have too much anxiety when you’re not there. Chew toys can help keep your Shih Tzu occupied when you’re busy, but they may also like chewing on a bone in your company.
- Frisbees – Playing with your dog is one of the best benefits of canine companionship, and next to a ball, there’s no better toy for playing fetch with than a Frisbee. These discs make great interactive toys for you and your dog to spend time together. Frisbees are often easier to throw further than balls, making playtime a fun aerobic activity for your Shih Tzu.
- Squeakers – Dogs love to chew, but sometimes they like to gnaw on things that aren’t meant for them. Squeaky toys are great for rerouting your Shih Tzu’s impulse to something that captures his or her attention. If your dog tends to tear open and eat stuffing to find the squeaker, you might want to purchase non-stuffed squeaky toys for your pet.
- Interactive Puzzle Toys – Toys that offer enrichment like interactive puzzle toys are great for Shih Tzus, who are very playful. This turns mealtime or the occasional treat into a puzzle to be solved. While Shih Tzus aren’t known to be incredibly fast eaters like some larger breeds, puzzle toys where they’re required to solve a problem before they get a treat lengthens mealtime or adds a nice reward to playtime.
- Plush Toys – Plush toys are great for snuggling. Your Shih Tzu was bred to be a lapdog for nobility, meaning that he or she loves to cuddle instinctively. Plush toys provide comfort for your pet, offering them something soft to love on whenever they need a snuggle.
Best Overall Toy for Shih Tzus
|Our 2021 Picks: Best Shih Tzu Toys|
|Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide
|Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy
|KONG Cozie Marvin The Moose Plush Dog Toy
|Nylabone Teething Pacifier Puppy Chew Toy
|Trixie Mini Mover Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
|KONG Floppy Knots Dog Toy
|Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy
|AKONG Classic Dog Toy
|Nylabone DuraChew Textured Ring Flavor Medley
|KONG Squeezz Ball Dog Toy
|Frisco Rope with Squeaking Ball Dog Toy
|Petstages Dogwood Tough Dog Chew Toy
|Nylabone DuraChew Dental Chew Chicken Flavored Dinosaur
- Stimulating Puzzle Toy
- Solidly Built
- Elevated Play
- Hidden Compartments
Best Overall – The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide Puzzle Game Dog Toy is built to satisfy your dog’s need to be mentally stimulated. The puzzle provides your Shih Tzu the opportunity to solve a challenging puzzle, rewarding him or her with tasty treats. Unlike some puzzle toys that require digging the snout into the puzzle, the elevated play promoted by the company means the dog can easily use the tool without any digging behavior. This is excellent for dogs with small snouts.
The puzzle is made of wood and polypropylene, and according to the manufacturer is very sturdy. It’s not recommended to be left alone with the dog, so consider this a supervised play toy. The toy uses built-in compartments where you can hide treats for them to find, providing potentially hours of amusement.
- Elevated play is great for Shi Tzus and their small faces
- Mental Stimulation for Bored Dogs
- Challenging Puzzle Play
- Supervised play means keeping this toy up most of the time
- The puzzle may not be challenging enough
- Reviews complain that it’s easy for dogs to destroy
- Bounces extra high due to pure rubber construction
- Made for long games of fetch
- Bright color and floats in water so easy to find
- Cleaning is a breeze
Most Affordable – Your gorgeous Shih Tzu loves to have fun as much as any other dog, meaning they won’t be able to resist this brightly colored ball. The vibrant colors used help with visibility, making this a hard ball to lose. You’re in for hours of enjoyment watching your little friend chase after this toy. Make sure to order the small size for your petite pet.
The rubber material used to make the ball causes it to be extra bouncy, making for a wild time for your pet. The classic game of fetch is the best way to bond with your pet. Mix it up by taking your dog to the pool or lake with this ball. It floats on water so you can give your pet a fun time in the water.
- Options for different sizes
- Bright color
- Floats on water
- Must supervise play
- Material cracks over time
- Chewing can remove color according to reviews
- Plush toy for comfort
- Squeaker means exciting playtime
- More material for added durability
- 10 different characters for variety
Most Popular – This plush and cozy toy will keep your Shih Tzu company. The best kind of friend, Marvin the Moose is made for playtime and cuddling. The toy is made with an extra layer of material for extended durability, but if your glamorous pet is a known toy destroyer it might affect longevity.
The squeaker in the toy makes for extra excitement during playtime. Capture your dog’s attention for a game of fetch, or give him or her Marvin for nap time. Keep an eye on the toy over time, and especially if your dog is known for destroying toys.
- Different options for sizing
- Soft, plush material made with extra fabric for durability
- Minimal stuffing means less mess
- Some reviews say it’s easy to puncture the squeaker
- Reviewers suggest seam is weaker around the tail
- Tearing up can expose strings, making a choking hazard
- Teething tool for puppies
- Raised nubs for stimulating texture
- Brightly colored for entertainment
- Designed for chewing
Best Puppy Toy – All dogs like to chew, but puppies physically need to when they’re teething. Just like for a human baby, teething hurts your baby Shih Tzu unless they’re chewing on something soft. The gnawing helps teeth grow, and the raised bumps help stimulate the gums as well. Having designated toys for chewing also helps your furry friend know what to chew and what not to chew.
Make sure you keep an eye on your pet initially. This toy is made for chewing on, but over time aggressive chewing can break it apart. Keeping a fresh chew toy on hand is the best way to make sure your puppy doesn’t chew on shoes or other non-toy items.
- Great for teething puppies who need to chew
- Fun colors and cute design
- Dishwasher Safe
- Not for dogs weighing more than 25 pounds
- Can’t use with any permanent teeth
- Not for aggressive chewers
- Advanced Puzzle Toy
- Multiple combinations of features possible
- Different levels include lifting, moving, and slicing actions
- Hidden compartments for rewarding solving
Best Interactive (Puzzle) Toy – This game provides hours of challenges for small dogs, so it’s perfectly designed for your Shih Tzu. The shallow and elevated game elements mean that there’s a mixed difficulty for your smaller snouted pet. The shallow compartments aren’t so small that it’s impossible, just more challenging.
Different parts move using different actions, including sliding, lifting, pulling, and opening to access hidden compartments. This game is mentally stimulating for your small pet, providing a unique game each time with different combinations of puzzle parts.
- Challenging for mental stimulation
- Dishwasher safe in the top rack
- Non-slip rubber feet prevent sliding
- Easily removable parts present a choking hazard
- Plastic pieces may crack if chewed
- Cannot be left out unsupervised
- Squeaky and soft animal toy
- Plush, soft fabric with different textures
- Minimal stuffing to reduce mess
- Good for solo play
Best Plush Toy – The options for sizing for this toy mean that you don’t have to worry about your dog being dwarfed by their toy. This soft and floppy friend comes in small/medium and medium/large, as well as bunny or fox design. There’s soft and plush fabric for your Shih Tzu to snuggle on, and there’s also smoother chevron fabric for variety.
This toy is designed for serious playtime just as much as it is for cuddling. The knotted rope design inside the toy keeps it durable and fun to chew on, while the floppy design makes it fun to thrash around. You can also use this for an interactive game like tug of war or fetch.
- Different size and character options
- Made of internal, knotted rope for satisfying chewing
- Variation in texture keeps it interesting
- Needs supervision near the end of life or if your dog is merciless
- Strings can become a choking hazard
- Ears may be a weak point, especially for sharp teeth
7 More Top Rated Toys for Shih Tzus
Your Shih Tzu will love the challenge this little ball provides. The familiar round shape means it’s easy to bat around, but figuring out the right way to roll it to get treats is a challenge. You can also adjust the difficulty level so that it’s harder to get treats out or make it easier if your Shih Tzu is new to puzzle toys.
The toy makes for amusement for you and your pet, especially if you adjust the difficulty during a play session. Make things interesting to keep your Shih Tzu happy with their play sessions and keep them content with the mental stimulation it provides. Cleaning up after playtime is easy due to easy disassembly. Just use soap and water, and don’t pop it in the dishwasher.
This classic toy comes in sizes for every dog out there, including the petite Shih Tzu. Check the weight chart on the page to determine the best fit for your dog, but the average Shih Tzu should find the small size fits just right. It’s designed for dogs up to 20 pounds, but the medium is for dogs 15 to 35 pounds if your Shih Tzu is on the large side.
The structure of it is simple: a rubber cone with a hollow middle for inserting treats. You can use peanut butter, training treats, or an edible paste inside the KONG Classic Dog Toy. It’s also recommended to freeze if you use a paste for extended playtime. The durable rubber material for the Classic toy comes in bright red, so it’s easy to spot.
Does your Shih Tzu act like a cat sometimes? Maybe they love to chase laser pointers or pounce on a moving toy? This chicken-flavored chew toy is made for rolling around. The ring design is made of multiple textures with raised edges to help stimulate interest as well as the gum and teeth of your Shih Tzu. They can have fun while cleaning their teeth.
This toy is made of nylon, a durable material that should hold up to a lot of chewing. But as any dog owner knows, all that chewing breaks down toys over time. This durable toy should hold up until it falls apart, which won’t be for a long time, but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t develop any sharp edges over time.
This squeaky toy is built to last, with the feature that it will keep squeaking even after being punctured. The rugged rubber design means it’s durable for average chewers. Available in two different sizes, The KONG Squeezz Ball Dog Toy in large is perfect for Shih Tzu who love to roll around a ball as much as they like to gnaw on one.
The ball contains a hollow area for stuffing with treats, so you can also use this as a reward or to keep your dog busy while you’re working. KONG sells a paste you can use, but peanut butter or cheese will also work. Try putting the stuffed toy in the freezer to harden the treat for extended playtime while it thaws.
Shih Tzus love to play, especially if the toy is unique. The squeaker ball end will capture their attention with its loud squeak, but the rope side will also present fun play possibilities to your pooch. You can use it to play tug of war, fetch, or even drag it on the ground for them to stalk and pounce on.
This fun toy has a unique way of throwing it where you can spin the rope to gain momentum for throwing. Practice might be required for nailing the perfect long-distance throw, but your Shih Tzu will be thankful. You can easily tire them out with this toy at the park or in your own yard.
This toy has the most options in sizes for smaller dogs than others, going all the way down to petite. Petite or small should work for your Shih Tzu, depending on their size and weight. The toy itself is made of a blend of polypropylene and wood, blending synthetic materials with natural ingredients for a more durable toy that won’t splinter apart like real wood.
If you Shih Tzu has ever brought a stick inside, they will love this toy. It’s even flavored like wood, and it’s made to float so they can take it anywhere. Keep an eye on your small dog with this toy if it is starting to break apart, as it can present a choking hazard.
Try giving your Shih Tzu this dinosaur-shaped toy to watch them play with it. The chicken smell will prove too enticing, and they’ll be gnawing on it in no time. This nylon toy is made to be durable, advertised for extreme chewers. Sensitive or worn teeth might find it too hard to gnaw on, but for most dogs, it will be just right.
The toy comes in Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, or T-Rex shape, but which one you get isn’t optional. This makes it a nice surprise for you and your dog. The variety of senses the toy appeals to means they’ll love it no matter what.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do you clean dog toys? You can use soap, water, and a clean rag to clean just about any dog toy. Some toys are dishwasher safe, but those will always be labeled. Don’t put toys that aren’t dishwasher safe in the dishwasher unless you want to melt some plastic. The hot temperatures can warp toys that can’t take the heat.
- How do you introduce a new toy to your dog? The best way to introduce a new toy is with a treat or near mealtime. Sometimes this means after a meal, depending on how sleepy your dog gets. Every dog has a different personality, so try identifying when they’re being extra playful or when they’re very bored so you can give them their new toy at an ideal time.
- Do all toys require supervision? It really depends on the dog. Some dogs don’t chew very much, and some are very aggressive chewers that mow through toys quickly. It’s recommended you supervise the first time you let your dog play with a new toy or if the toy is falling apart. Aside from that, you can assess the need to watch on a case by case basis.
Shih Tzus love to please almost as much as they love to play, meaning they’ll like most toys offered to them, especially if it means a chance to interact with their owner. This list reviewed 13 different dog toys and discussed ways to categorize dog toys to raise the most balanced pet. We hope you found a few perfect toys for your glamorous Shih Tzu.