Thinking of getting a Shih Tzu puppy as a pet.
I will share with you some essential Shih Tzu dog information what is vital for the Shih Tzu and yourself the owner. Before you buy a Shih Tzu dog please look at your local shelter or a Shih Tzu rescue centre near you.
Yes, even those Shih Tzus are expensive they end up in a shelter either rescued or the owner gave them up. Please adopt first before you buy. Thank you.
The Shih Tzu dog, in general, is a loyal and adorable dog breed. This cute and adorable Shih Tzu dog will become an essential part of your treasurable family.
“I will walk you through the following sections to help you to better understand your Shih Tzu dog.
The Shih Tzu dog breed
If you look at a Shih Tzu dog, the first thing that comes to mind is what an adorable cute little dog. Especially the Shih Tzu puppies look like a toy. Characterised by its impressive, sturdy and miniature stature, the Shih Tzu dog is labelled as a toy dog. It is one of the most popular breeds of the smaller dogs. Do you know that initially this dog breed was meant to look like a lion?
Characteristics of a Shih Tzu dog
The Shih Tzu is also called the little lion, but this cutely adorable dog breed is not fierce. The Shih Tzu is a lover, not a hunter. His characteristics are friendly, loyal, outgoing, affectionate, clever, alert, spunky, playful and intelligent the list can go on. The Shih Tzu is a happy dog bred solely to be a companion. It loves to follow his people around from room to room. In general an intelligent and happy lapdog.
Over the last couple of years, owners started to let their Shih Tzus participate in sports, training the Shih Tzu for agility and obedient competitions. The Shi Tzu is no longer just a lapdog.
The Shih Tzu’s regal attitude is a result of its distinguished and long history.
Researchers suspected that the Shih Tzu is one the oldest breed of dogs. Recent DNA testing has confirmed this.
Where does the name come from?
The name comes from Xi Shi who is regarded as one of the most beautiful women in ancient China.
The Shih Tzu breed history
The origins of the Shih Tzu are ancient. A recent study reveals that the Shih Tzu is one of the 14th oldest dog breeds. Dog bones have been found in China and it has been proven that dogs were present there as early as the 8.000 BC. It is believed that the Buddhist monks bred what is now believed a cross between the Tibetan dog breed called Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.
Commonly known is that the Buddhist monks have been breeding special temple dogs and they been given as gifts to Chinese royalty. They called them “palace dogs”. Various emperors used the Buddhist monks to breed their special “palace dogs” As a custom, they sent the so-called TibetanShih Tzu Kou or Tibetan Lion Dogs to the Tzu Hsi- the empress of the Manchu Dynasty.
When she fell in love with her little dogs from then on they became common around the palace. Now you can understand why Shih Tzu dogs want to be pampered like a princess. For a long time, the Shih Tzu dogs were kept along with some other toy dog breeds.
The Shih Tzus and the other dogs where strictly hold separate.
It is believed that when the empress died the Shih Tzu’s where crossbred with other smaller dogs.
There was a competition going on between the different palaces to produce the best-looking dogs with the most beautiful coats and colouring. All these breeding practices were secretly guarded sadly the records of the Shi Tzu’s
Normally the females are 9 to 10 1/2 inches tall and weigh between 9 to 16 pounds.
Males are the same as female Shi Tzu’s. Tall between 9 to 10 1/2 inches, and weigh between 9pounds to 16 pounds.
For your Shih Tzu dog it does not really worry where he lives, as long you are with your Shih Tzu dog.
Small or big city it does not matter a Shih Tzu is very adaptable.
A big house with a garden or a small apartment. One thing you have to understand your Shih Tzu is a housedog and is not a kennel dog for outside.
It will break it’s little heart if he has to be in a kennel outside. Don’t get me wrong your Shih Tzu dog enjoys the backyard no question but it wants to be with you.
For walking your Shih Tzu should have short walks each day.
It is not overly active remember it is a lapdog. Your Shih Tzu is happy to follow you around the house and play with its toys or greets your visitors by running to the door. Your Shih Tzu is a short face breed and as all short face breeds, they are sensitive to heat.
When it is hot outside your Shih Tzu dog should remain indoors where it is cool either with a fan or with airconditioning. If you ask why? because it can suffer from heat exhaustion like all short faced dogs.
Be aware of one thing about your Shih Tzu they have a habit of thinking they can fly. I can tell you that your Shih Tzu can definitely not fly even if your Shih Tzu thinks so.
Please be aware when carrying your Shih Tzu as it can easily jump out of your arms, onto a chair or a bed. This is not unusual for your Shih Tzu to jump fearlessly from some higher furniture.
Even if it seems not too high for you, these heights are like towers to the small Shih Tzu. Unfortunately, these jumps often end up in injury for your Shih Tzu.
Because the Shih Tzu breed is heavy at the front so it will crash forward causing mainly injury to the head.
The Shih Tzu breed is naturally docile and friendly but it will need early socialization and training.
As with any dog if you do not train and socialize them they become a problem. A Shih Tzu can become quickly timid when not properly socialized when young.
A Shih Tzu and any dog, when trained and socialized early, helps to have a well-rounded dog.
Some Shih Tzus are considered difficult to housebreak. It is important to avoid giving opportunities for pee or poo accidents inside to your Shih Tzu puppy.
Your Shih Tzu puppy can quickly become accustomed to using the floor or the carpet. ( Teaching your Shih Tzu using a doggie litter box might be a good idea especially when it is hot outside or the weather is bad like rain.
Smaller dogs have a smaller bladder and they will need to go more often and more frequent to the toilet than a bigger dog. Potty training is important.
Carefully supervise your Shih Tzu puppy inside the house or apartment for at least 4 weeks to 8 weeks depends on your Shih Tzu puppy.
I would always recommend crate training as it is helpful for housetraining and provides your Shih Tzu with a place that is quiet and safe and it helps him to relax and withdraw itself from time to time.
Dog Crates are useful for boarding or travelling.
What and how often should I feed my ShihTzu.
How much your Shih Tzu eats depends on the size, age, how active it is, on the metabolism, how it is built, and how often your Shih Tzu eats.
The normal recommendation is 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry food ( kibbles) wet food best is high quality or homemade dog food.
Make sure there is always water around so your Shih Tzu has enough water to drink. Clean the bowl of water and change it daily. Dogs are individuals and are like us we don’t need all the same amount of food, and we change through the years, that is the same for dogs.
Food intake depends on the activity level if it is an active dog it needs more food. If it is a couch potato it will need less food when you do not want him to become obese.
Please note the better and higher quality you feed your Shih Tzu the longer it will live and the healthier your Shih Tzu is. For more information on dog food read our blog ” what is the best dog food for dogs” and ” homemade dog food recipes”
How to groom my Shih Tzu, Coat and Colour
The Shih Tzu has a beautiful gorgeous coat. It comes in different colours like white and grey, black, black and white, brownish and white or just white.
Some Shih Tzu dogs have beautiful colour combinations. The highly prized ones are the white tip on the tail and a white blaze on the forehead.
It is a must that you keep the coat of your Shih Tzu clean and shiny. It is demanding and involves work. Frequent bathing ( once a week at least), daily brushing and combing to prevent the tangles in the coat of your Shih Tzu.
If you do not want to do that work you can hire a groomer or bring your Shih Tzu daily to a groomer. The groomer will also be able to cut off those long locks that will tangle easily but then some of the Shih Tzus beauty is gone.
If you want to keep the coat short because you don’t want to do the grooming each day than make sure that your Shih Tzu goes to the groomer at least every 6 weeks.
If you decide to groom your Shih Tzu than please make it as pleasant as possible for you and your Shih Tzu. Start grooming early when your Shih Tzu is still a puppy as it will get used to it and you will be doing it a lot.
When you look at groomers you can see that the groomers will brush the Shi Tzu all the way down to the skin. Experienced groomers will teach your Shih Tzu to lie on his side while brushing the coat in sections. That way it is easier to brush and more comfortable for your Shih Tzu.
The coat of your Shih Tzu puppy will change around the 10th and 12th month of age, it changes from fluffy to a silky, shiny, adult coat.
During that stage, you can see that the coat mats faster than you can brush. There is no need to give up, that will pass it is only temporarily. Normally it will last around 3 months. When the adult coats come in full the brushing will become so much easier.
Trimming of the nails
The Shih Tzu nails need to be trimmed regularly on a monthly base.
Checking the ears
Your Ears of your Shih Tzu needs to be checked once a week for redness, dirt or bad odour as this can indicate an infection.
Best way to wipe them out with a dampened cotton pad sprinkled with a gentle pH-balanced ear cleaner to prevent infections and redness.
One important thing is if your Shih Tzu has a lot of ear infection than look for ingrown hairs on the ear canal. You have to plug them to avoid the ear infections. If you are not able to do so than ask the groomer to do it also.
Make sure your groomer is professional and know how to handle and groom Shih Tzu dogs.
You also have to pay attention to your Shih Tzus face. If your Shih Tzu likes to sabre and gets dirty after his food you need to clean his face to avoid that the eyes tear up or get infected. Yes, I know what you think your Shih Tzu needs the attention like a small child.
Wipe your Shih Tzus face regularly with a soft cloth damped with warm water.
As the Shih Tzu is a small breed there might be problems with its teeth.
All smaller breeds are prone to teeth problems.
Take good care of your Shih Tzus teeth. Brush the teeth on a regular base with a soft toothbrush and a dog toothpaste. This will ensure the gums and teeth of your Shih Tzu are healthy and it will spare you the trips to the vet. Any Shih Tzu and any dog should have their regular check-ups.
A Shih Tzu dog needs toys of different kinds also the interactive ones are great to keep your Shih Tzu busy.
Shih Tzu’s are known for a few health issues. It is important to understand them so you can look out for the symptoms and keep your Shih Tzu puppy until the adult fit and healthy.
Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea which can eventually result in an ulcer. Unfortunately, your Shih Tzu will often need to undergo surgery.
This is another eye-related disorder, and it occurs when the eyeball actually dislodges from the socket and the eyelid shuts behind it.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
That happens when the photoreceptors in the back of the eye begin to fail.
can also occur in Shih Tzu but also appears in all kind of dogs. This is when the body of a dog grows to fast. In Shih Tzu’s it can happen because as I mention before they love to jump around, particularly in their youth. When they overestimate their capabilities and land too hard, that can cause an injury that might develop into Hip Dysplasia years later.
Smaller dogs are more affected than bigger dogs. For the Shih Tzu, it is more common due to his short face.
Infections of the ears
Ears need cleaning on a weekly basis.
That is one condition that is more often found in smaller dogs. It is due to the structure of there faces. The Trachea ( windpipe is composed of cartilage. When the cartilage gets weaker the structure will automatically flatten and the breathing for your Shih Tzu will become difficult and it is a painful process for your Shih Tzu dog.
I mention here only a few most common health problems for Shih Tzus.
Children, pets and your Shih Tzu can they get along
I think the Shih Tzu is a wonderful family pet. It is like you have another small child. A Shih Tzu gets along with other dogs or cats in general. The personality of a Shih Tzu is docile and it makes it a great and pleasant companion for children.
Be aware that children should sit on the floor and play with your Shih Tzu puppy to avoid carrying or dropping your Shih Tzu.
Teach your kids that they should not touch the eyes of your Shih Tzu as they can be easily injured.
All in all a Shih Tzu is a great family pet.
Shih Tzus are great pets, but they also need a lot of attention. If you do not have the time and care for a Shih Tzu than don’t get one. A Shih Tzu is totally attached to you and will follow you everywhere you go, even to the restroom. There is no restriction as they need to be treated like a princess/ prince and pampered like a princess or prince.
Today’s Shih Tzu’s are a popular breed which is widely loved and make a great loyal companion.
You can go to the Shih Tzu rescue organisation and find out if they have a Shih Tzu to adopt. Please consider adopting a Shih Tzu before you buy one.
Every Dog deserves a good home. Help an animal in need. Your kindness will go a long way.
Do you have a Shih Tzu post your pictures and give us your experience with a Shih Tzu dog? Do you have some more Information about Shih Tzu dogs please share with us. Thank you with Gratitude.
All yours Melanie
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