DescriptionThe Shih Tzu is a small dog whose lavish coat can be almost any color. It is considered prized to have the white blaze on the forehead and white tip to the tail. Its coat is long on top and dense underneath. When the dog is full-grown the undercoat helps give an overall graceful appearance to the coat. Their head and tail are carried high, which brings a feeling a confidence in this breed. The body is compact and slightly longer than it is tall. It has a very sturdy body structure hidden beneath its mantle of luxurious hair. The hair on the bridge of the nose grows upwards giving the distinctive "chrysanthemum" look. The head is rounded with a beard and mustache look covering a short, squared shaped, hairy muzzle. It has large, wide-rounded eyes that express the impression of trust and friendliness. The ears are covered in long straight hair extending to the front legs. The teeth usually form an undershot bite. The tail is long but carried high and curled over the back. It is common to have the hair on top done up with bows or clips to be able to have the face show. They shed little to no hair and make is a great choice for allergy suffers.
Coat DescriptionThe Shih Tuz\'s coat has a long, straight flowing, elegant look. The top is usually done up in a topknot with a bow, keeping hair out of its face. They shed little to no hair and their skin dander makes their coat due well with allergy sufferers.
HistoryThe best information indicates that the Shih Tzu originated in Tibet, where it was kept in temples as a scared dog. It is known that they were occasionally given to the emperors of China during the 17th century as a tribute of great honor. There are paintings dating back as early as the 16th century showing dogs resembling a small lion. If translated the Shih Tzu\'s name means lion. In the early 1930\'s a Shih Tzu puppy was presented to Queen Elizabeth and this really started the breeds start in England. The breed\'s popularity didn\'t pick up into the United States until the late 1960\'s to early 1970\'s.
TemperamentShih Tzus are sturdy, bouncy extroverts that make delightful family pet. The spunky but sweet dog is both a gentle lapdog and a vivacious companion. They have an upbeat attitude and love to play and romp. They are affectionate to their family and good with children. They are surprisingly tough and can have a stubborn streak to them. They are a lively watchdog and bark to alert any new circumstances. Because of their fun loving personality, they are usually a great companion not only for people but other animals as well. Introductions should always be supervised but they tend to get along well with everyone. It is important that this breed it kept active in games or just being loved. They like to have a lot if attention and be in the middle of everything. They will be happy to follow you anywhere but with all the hair can be a lot of work to clean up afterwards. It can be quite a sight to watch them romping around with their coat flowing in all directions as they play. Being a people-oriented dog, they cherish being loved and will sit and cuddle on your lap for hours at a time.
Health ProblemsThey can have respiratory problems from snoring, wheezing, or infection. They can be prone to ear infections if not cleaned accordingly. Spinal disc disease is something to watch out for since they have such short legs and a long back. This breed can grow to be overweight if not taken care of. It is important to keep up with teeth cleaning in order to prevent periodontal disease.
The Shih Tzu makes an ideal dog for both city and country living. In the city these dogs become easily accustomed to the noises and apartment style living. They never feel more proud then when strutting on their leash through crowds of people. They are also at home romping in the country. Due to their size and need for companionship they should be kept as an inside dog.
GroomingMuch of the elegance of the Shih Tzu is owed to its beautiful flowing coat. In order to maintain this elegant trademark, grooming needs to be done each day. Although 15 minutes a day can sound like a lot of work, if your Shih Tzu learns at a young age it can be easily done and just part of their daily routine. Brushing the hair will keep mats from easily forming. Usually there is a topknot done up with a bow or clip to keep hair out of their eyes and face. Some owners keep their dogs cut shorter to maintain an easier up keep on matting and brushing. The nails need to be kept trimmed to prevent curling over. The ears need to be kept clean and dry. It is a good idea to check them daily but your vet can always give you more advice on ways to keep ear infections to a minimum. Shih Tzu\'s eyes can be very sensitive. It is important to keep them clean and healthy. Vets can suggest any preventive measures you might need to keep them from getting dirty or inflamed. They will usually need a weekly bath. Cutting can be less frequent if keeping the coat long but it is important to keep it clean and brushed. Because their coats can be so acceptable to matting some owners use a conditioning spray on the hair. Before deciding what brand to use it is important to ask your groomer or vet what is right for your individual dog.
ExerciseThis breed is an up beat playful dogs. Short walks around the block, is a great way to keep them fit. They love to play games and can be kept inside for activates. They can tend to lie around a lot and it is a good idea to keep them fit and active. Given a sock or other convenient "enemy" your pet Shih Tzu will stalk his prey and quickly run with the prize to another area, often to lie on his back with a sock between his front legs, snatching playfully at the prey with his small jaws. They are great dogs to play fetch with and other dog games.
TrainingLike housebreaking, training should begin as soon as your Shih Tzu enters the new house. The training sessions should be short but frequent, for example, ten to fifteen minute periods three times a day. This breed can have a short attention span, which makes quick lessons a more enjoyable experience. They are a highly intelligent dog and can be stubborn at times. With patience and a fun atmosphere these dogs are easy to obedience-train. They respond well to praise and treats for rewards on doing a good job.
It is important to keep them on a leash or in a closed in area where they can be under supervision.