The Shih Tzu is often referred to as a "small lion". They originated in Tibet, but are most associated with China where they were highly revered as a palace pet and prized companion. The Shih Tzu is an active, happy, and affectionate breed.
The Shih Tzu is small, sturdy, and intelligent. They carry themselves with a noble and proud posture befitting their aristocratic ancestry. One of their most valued characteristics is the eye, which exude warmth and a human-like quality. The Shih Tzu is the least delicate of the toy breeds.
The Shih Tzu is first and foremost a companion. They love nothing more than being indoors with their family. This breed gets along very well with older children and other pets. They are outgoing and self-assured, keen and alert. They make excellent watchdogs. They do not do well being separated from their owners and may become destructive if left alone for extended periods of time. They are docile and quiet, but
they also love to play. The Shih Tzu is spunky and can be obstinate at times. They expect to be treated as royalty and are easily spoiled.
The Shih Tzu requires extensive grooming. They need brushed daily to prevent knots, tangles, and mats. They need to be bathed monthly. They are not suited for humid climates. It is important to keep their eyes and ears cleaned. Their eyes are particularly sensitive. They are prone to kidney disease and slipping kneecaps. The Shih Tzu's short
muzzle makes it exceptionally prone to snoring and wheezing problems. Dental hygiene is crucial to prevent tooth loss. They tend to gain weight easily and must not be overfed.
The Shih Tzu has a long, dense, and abundant double-coat. The luxurious and profuse outer-coat often sweeps the ground, and may be slightly wavy. The under-coat is wooly and soft in texture. The long hair on top of the head is typically placed into a topknot to prevent eye irritation. The Shih Tzu coat varies widely in color. They are minimal shedders and are considered hypoallergenic.
The Shih Tzu may be difficult to housetrain. The crate method works best. Although they are eager to please, and quick to learn, this breed's stubborn streak requires persistence and consistency. They do not respond to harshness or punishment. The Shih Tzu does very well in obedience training provided it is low-key and motivational.
The Shih Tzu enjoys short daily walks or vigorous indoor play sessions and games. They are very well suited for apartment or condominium dwelling. However, they love to play outside, so a small fenced yard is ideal.
Help reduce the number of Shih Tzu puppies in shelters by doing your due diligence. Many puppies are often purchased with little or no knowledge of what goes into parenting one. Uneducated decisions often leave the puppy in need of adoption and in the care of rescue groups. Bringing home a puppy into your family has many benefits but we first implore you to educate yourself. An informed decision will take into account the characteristics of the breed, your lifestyle, expected veterinary care, the demands and limitations of owning one, their activity requirements and levels of companionship required.
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