The words “imperial” and “tiny teacup” are often used interchangeably to describe an extremely small Shih Tzu, but the truth is that there is no such breed recognized by the American Kennel Club or the American Shih Tzu Club. The terms hailed as “imperial” and “tiny teacup” makes the dog sound very unique and special, but it is important to understand the dangers associated when breeding a dog to be unnaturally tiny and underweight. While these “Imperial Shih Tzu’s” are undeniably adorable and an attractive choice for those who would love to tote a canine companion anywhere, here are a few precautions to consider before adopting one of these dogs.
-The standard Shih Tzu is known to be a sturdy, active, healthy dog for its size. However, Imperial Shih Tzu’s are known to have a lot of health issues. Not only are their bones very fragile, but they tend to have breathing and eating problems as well. Due to the extremely small organs, owners often have to monitor their food intake, introducing food slower than normal. These “too tiny” dogs also have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. Imperial Shih Tzu’s are very sensitive to cold temperatures and get overheated easily.
-The standard Shih Tzu breed is known to have periodontal, ear and eye issues, increasing the risks for the Imperial Shih Tzu. Shih Tzu’s often have misaligned and missing teeth, as well as crowding due to their small mouths. This makes them prone to periodontal disease and requires veterinary dental care on a regular basis. Shih Tzu’s are also prone to ear infections, so you must clean their ears regularly and after baths. As for their eyes, Shih Tzu’s have very small tear ducks which can get clogged and infected easily. To prevent any eye infections you must set aside time at least once a week to clean and care for your Imperial Shih Tzu’s eyes.
-Due to their extremely small size, Imperial Shih Tzu’s are very fragile and not safe for a family with small children. An average size Shih Tzu weighs is suggested to weight anywhere from 9-16 pounds, while the Imperial Shih Tzu’s are bred to weigh between 3-6 pounds, making them exceptionally easy to injure by mistake.
-Aside from the risk of health issues and fragility, Imperial Shih Tzu’s require a lot of maintenance and grooming of their coat. Imperial Shih Tzu’s are long haired dogs and must be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangling of the coat. They should also be bathed at least every couple of weeks, but their skin very sensitive so keep in mind that if they are bathed too often their hair can become dry and cause skin irritations.
-It’s important to remember this key point: In order for a dog to survive they must have the basics; food, water, and shelter. In order to live happy and healthy life, Imperial Shih Tzu’s will depend on you for all of those aspects and so much more. You must be ready to take on this huge responsibility if you choose to become an owner of this exceedingly delicate dog.