If you have children and you’re looking to bring in a new family member, then the Shih Tzu is perfect!
If you have an apartment, the Shih Tzu is also a great breed to own; they are active inside and don’t always need a yard to exercise.
What’s unique about this small dog breed is that it’s known for its distinct long flowing coat and floppy ears. It can come in silver, gold and white, black and white and black, gold and white.
If groomed well, a Shih Tzu will carry elegance and command attention when walking.
There’s a lot of them combined, which brings this unique personality together.
First of all, a Shih Tzu is most well known for its happy and perky nature.
This small dog breed is not aggressive and is friendly even with strangers too! So if you’re looking for a guard dog for your home, it’s safe to say Shih Tzu’s will not be for you.
Now and again, they will bark, but they do it much less than other small dog breeds. Shih Tzu’s love to play, but they don’t need a large amount of space like a yard. When they’re not playing or eating, they will love to climb on your lap or a pillow and cuddle into it.
Do you remember we mentioned elegance earlier? This breed often adopts an aristocratic personality and can develop a stubborn nature at times.
Due to their uncompromising nature, this breed can be difficult to housebreak. Using positive reinforcement, treats, and food, you can greatly reduce this.
You don’t need to worry about your furniture in your home as Shih Tzu’s tend to chew very little. They’re more likely to dig up the ground or bark. But
But, you can bring this behavior into line if the Shih Tzu is trained from an early age, earlier than 6 months.
If you want to know more about the qualities of a Shih Tzu, we suggest speaking to a breeder first and looking at the Shih Tzu’s parents to get a better idea.
Out of the anxiety toy breeds, the Shih Tzu is one of them. This small dog originates from Tibet, and it’s believed that during the 7th century, they were referred to as the smallest type of Lhasa Apso.
Likewise, it’s thought they were bred by Tibetan Lama’s to make them look like a small version of a lion. The Shih Tzu is best known for its heavy coat and tail that fold over the back of its coat. They were also a common companion for many monks.
Plus, many spiritual beliefs surround these dogs; some thought they were incarnations of specific Gods, and others thought they housed the soles of Lama’s who had not hit Nirvana.
Later on, Tibetan Lama’s gifted this small dog breed to Chinese rulers, and it was at this time they were officially named the Shih Tzu. In English, this means “little lion dog.”
After being owned by rulers, the Shih Tzu became even more popular in China and was bred to have a fashionable image. It’s often believed that Chinese emperors gave high-value gifts to Shih Tzu breeders for the dogs with the best temperament.
During the 1930s, the breed was finally allowed out of China and became popular in other areas of the world. More breed clubs formed in Peking (Beijing) and began to be refined further.
When World War I and II occurred, the breed decreased in size. Later on, in the 1950s and 60s, the breed flourished again and entered the studbook for the American Kennel Club in 1969. Since then, the breed now ranks in 10th position by the American Kennel Club amongst the registered breeds.
Looking after a Shih Tzu requires a lot of time and effort. Their long silky double coat needs to be brushed and combed every day. You must do this to stop their fur from becoming tangled and dirty. They should be combed all over, including their mustache and top knot.
Be aware that when a Shih Tzu puppy grows into an adult, they will mat a lot but will generally calm down once they’re fully grown. The best brush to use for a Shih Tzu is a wire brush and brush layers of hairs with pins to separate.
This small dog breed you should bath them every 4-6 weeks. The Shih Tzu also has a double coat, and because of this, they can be sensitive to hot climates. Therefore, if you choose to own one and live in a hot country, you should keep it indoors with sufficient air conditioning.
Because this is not an active breed, their nails should be trimmed once a month by yourself or a professional. Likewise, their ears must be checked and cleaned each week, as they can be prone to getting dirt, becoming red and smelly.
The best way to clean their ears is by using a cotton ball with a dog-friendly PH cleaner. Alongside cleaning their ears, they can have hair prone to growing around their ear canal and should be plucked frequently, as this too can cause an infection.
Plus, the Shih Tzu can quickly get many dental problems; therefore, you should brush their teeth with dog toothpaste once a day.
On average, a healthy Shih Tu can live up to 10-16 years. If you’re prepared to own a Shih Tzu, make note they are at risk of the following health problems:
- Progressive renal atrophy: An eye disease that can slowly cause blindness.
- Hip dysplasia: The hip socket does not form properly, causing mobility problems, pain, and arthritis.
- Patellar luxation: A hereditary condition where a Shih Tzu’s patella (kneecap) does not lock into place.
Shih Tzu’s should be fed high-quality dog food, and it’s advised around 1-1.5 cups a day. However, to know more, you should consult a vet as they will tell you how much to feed them based on their weight, age, and health conditions.
Did you know?
Fun Fact #1
Shih Tzu’s are such an ancient toy breed; they’re over 1000 years old!
Fun Fact #2
The Chinese also gave them another name, the Chrysanthemum-Faced Dogs. This is because the hair on their face grows in multiple directions showing similarities between the chrysanthemum flower.
Fun Fact #3
They nearly became extinct when a Chinese empress known as Tzu Hsi passed away.
Shih Tzu’s are a fantastic breed to own if you live in a small space. They require little exercise and can often get this indoors. While they don’t need to be exercised much, they need to have frequent maintenance.
This means if you plan to own a Shih Tzu, you should brush them every day due to their double coat. As they are renowned for their long silky coat, they can be sensitive to hot temperatures and easily overheat. Therefore they should be kept in a well-controlled, cool environment, ideally indoors where there’s air conditioning.