Shih Tzu was one of the most popular dog breeds in East Asia, but now it is also loved by the people in the United States. Though the name ‘Shih Tzu’ means little lion, it does not fit this breed as there is nothing fierce about this breed. Instead, this dog breed is a lover.
They are wonderful companions and are extremely happy, energetic, loyal, and affectionate. Shih Tzu may have a little stubborn streak, but he loves everyone in the house and even other people and dogs around him. Long silky hair and teddy-like face make this dog breed one of the beloved pets.
This dog breed is unique because of its glamorous and athletic characteristics. There are several reasons that make pet lovers take Shih Tzu in their homes and train them for obedience. This breed is a great family pet than other dogs. Even kids are able to handle them gently and play with their small pup.
If you are living in an apartment and looking for a small best buddy, Shih Tzu can be the best dog for you to shower your unconditional love.
Some Cool Facts that You Must Know
A Little Palace History
Let’s have a look at the origins of this dog breed. Many historians believe that this dog was the result of mating between a Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. He was a Tibetan dog who was given by the Dalai Lama to Chinese emperors during the 17th century. The Chinese royals loved these dogs so much that no dog of this breed was sold, traded, or gifted to anyone.
In 1930, somehow, this dog breed reached England and Norway. After this, Shih Tzu was spread to various European countries and later made its way to the United States after World War II. In 1969, this dog breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
This dog breed is a small companion having a notable long and silky coat. The average weight of this dog range from 9-16 pounds and has a height of around 9-10 inches. This dog breed is both small and sturdy. The short nose and big dark-colored eyes enhance his look. He has dropped ears and they are covered with long hair.
The tail of this dog has thick hair and has heavy thick curls that move backward over the whole body. He is opposite to the name, thus a breed with an air of arrogance and distinction.
No matter what the history is, this dog breed always has one purpose in life i.e., to get love and to be cherished as a small house pet. The standards of the breed describe its nature along with behaviors, such as happy, affectionate, friendly, and loyal.
If we compare Shih Tzu with other Asian breeds, he comes out to be a stubborn streak like them. It means you have to start making him socializing and training at a young age. He is so lovable that an owner usually forgives his mischief. It is quite confident that this dog breed loves all and also enhances the pleasure of living with one.
Read More: Potty Training Tips For Puppy.
Hairs of Shih Tzu
Every dog lover falls for this dog breed with a luxurious, long, and flowing coat. The double coat of this dog is the hallmark of this breed. Moreover, the signature topknot that can tie his head coat makes him one of the most fashionable breeds with a pretty silk bow. In reality, maintaining the long hair coat of this dog is a challenging job. It means you need to spend some time every day nurturing the hair.
It is very important to keep a floor-length coat in the product and make sure that it should always be clean. If you want to create a topknot, it is an art in itself. If you see on any dog shows along with champion Shih Tzu, most of the dog owners prefer to keep their dog’s coat short and easy to maintain cuts.
A Rainbow of Colors
We all have seen that many dog breeds have only one color. But if we talk about Shih Tzu, this dog breed has a rainbow of glamorous shades and combinations. They are the combinations of solid colors and parti-color. Here, solid colors include darkest black, charcoal gray, silver, cream, red, and palest gold.
Parti-color, which means two-toned dog, includes white with black, gold, or silver. The parti-colored dogs are more popular among dog lovers. Some of the dogs also come in stripes, which mean a combination of parti-color and solid.
This dog breed has long silky hair and an undercoat, which means this dog needs to be brushed every day to prevent hair from getting tangled and knotted. You must also know that Shih Tzu hair grows faster, so they require grooming and maintaining properly. You must also consider this factor when going to buy this dog because it can be expensive afterward.
Some owners choose to keep their dog’s haircut a bit shorter. When your dog has a puppy cut on the body and also around the face, he will look like a teddy bear, a cuddly stuffed animal.
As we said earlier, Shih Tzu is a great small pet. If we talk about the temperament of these dogs, it varies from one to another. But most of these dogs are affectionate and loyal. They are typically outgoing and alert; this can be one of the good qualities of watch dogs. Though Shih Tzu loves his main companion, he is also adaptable to people other than his owner.
This dog breed loves to spend time with all people, such as children, adults, other dogs, and even strangers. They get easily interacting with others. Another common temperament of this dog is stubbornness. They usually show this behavior during training sessions. So, early training and socialization help a lot in making this dog obey commands.
If you want to know the ideal environment of this dog, it will be the place wherever their favorite people are. If you provide a safe place for your dog, he will be happy to stay with you. Originally, this dog breed used to spend most of the time in the royal palaces. So, they become habitual of living in a place without a yard, such as in an apartment. Due to this, they have to do exercise, like going for a walk and 1-2 play sessions in a day.
This dog breed is also known for spending quality time with kids, which makes him one of the great family dogs. The dog is people-oriented and playful and loves to grab the attention of others around him. Just make sure to make your kids learn how to treat dogs respectfully.
Also Read: Halloween Safety Tips For Pets.
Just like other dog breeds, Shih Tzu is also likely to have some health problems. This dog breed is prone to Hypothyroidism that further impacts their metabolism and immune system. The prime time to get affected with this disease is at middle age, and as a result of this, they experience weight gain, hair loss, tiredness, and muscle loss. If you notice any of these symptoms, you have to consult the vet for the prescribed medication.
Another health issue with Shih Tzu is Intervertebral disk disease. In this disease, your dog experiences chronic back pain, muscular weakness, as well as loss of coordination.
Shih Tzu has a short nose, which makes him prone to respiratory problems. This dog breed can also get affected with eye irritations as per the age. Allergies can result in increased discharge. The vet will prescribe eye drops to treat eye problems. If this eye issue is left untreated, it can lead to the development of cataracts that further need to be treated through surgery.
This dog breed is also prone to heatstroke. Due to this health problem, it is advised not to keep your dog for too much time outdoors in hot weather. During periods of extreme heat, the best suggestion is to keep your dog inside. The other health problems that can affect your dog are hip ear infections, anemia, and epilepsy.
In addition to regular grooming, it is very important to maintain regular health care for your dog. Just like other pets, you must consult a vet for the annual examinations. It will help to let you know the health status of your dog. In addition to this, ensure that your dog should get all vaccinations and preventive medication on time.
The dog must also get nutritional food, and don’t forget to place a bowl of fresh water always. Shih Tzu requires around half to one cup of high nutrient dry food every day. You can also give treats and human food, but keep in mind that they should be rare.
You must give special attention to the food that can be given to the dog. Best Dog Food Brands that you must try. At the same time, you must also know that certain foods are not good for Shih Tzu’s health and can cause serious health issues. Though this dog is a lap dog, it is important to make the dog do some exercise on a daily basis, such as short walks and indoor play.
Due to their stubborn behavior, this dog breed may be hard to housebreak. This dog is known for ignoring all training. These breed dogs are more likely to eat their own waste than other breeds. So, it is recommended to give early training to the dog to housebreak him.
If you want to get the best results, you must keep your pet contained in his crate before he is properly housebroken and reaches the age of maturity. It is required; else, your home will become a disaster.
14 Dogs Saved the Breed
The advancement of this dog breed is owned by 14 dogs. The number of these dogs decreased down to nothing during the middle of the 20th century. We can say that every Shih Tzu alive today can trace its ancestry to one of these 14 dogs, where seven are males and seven are females. They were used to rebuild the breed.
Glamorous and Athletic
Due to the long flowing coat, we usually think of this dog breed as more glamorous than athletic. But under this fabulous coat, they have a muscular body that has the power to perform well in agility. Do you know that many of these dogs have also won agility competitions?
In 2014, one of these dogs won both a champion and agility titles.
Shih Tzu is a wonderful iconic dog breed that has an amazing history. These dogs are truly remarkable and full of personality. Once you get the one in your home, he becomes the reason for bringing joy to your family. Along with stubborn behavior, this dog breed is a loving, loyal, and fun pet. The word class fits perfectly into this dog’s life.