Shih Tzu Dog Breed: What You Need to Know

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is one of the most adorable little dogs you’ll ever encounter, and it’s actually got the most interesting name. It’s not uncommon to see vet’s with signs out front that say things like “Come in and see our vet for vaccinations, your dog will love them, we Shih Tzu not,” and then you laugh. We all do it; it’s so easy. However, did you know that the translation of the name Shih Tzu is actually Chinese Mandarin and it means lion? That’s right; this tiny little breed with its sweet personality and its very loving soul is actually named the lion dog. Why? Well, we will get to that a bit later.

Right now, we want to make sure that anyone who is in the market for a darling little dog knows all there is to know about the Shih Tzu. This is a dog that is darling and sweet, and it’s one that makes a wonderful pet. However, that does not make it the right dog breed for your family necessarily. All families and all dogs are created differently and we recommend you get to know this breed and how it will fit into your family before you make the decision to get a Shih Tzu of your own.

Personality and Temperament

The Shih Tzu is actually a delightful little dog. This is one that has a wonderful little personality that really works well with any type of family. It is active and lively, and just darling. The Shih Tzu is very happy, and it is a very gentle dog. This makes it a wonderful breed for families with children. This is a breed that makes friends very quickly and easily with its open personality and delightful temperament. The Shih Tzu is very playful and it trains very easily and well. It loves a person who is patient and firm, and it actually makes a wonderful watchdog despite the fact that it’s not scaring anyone away. The point is that you will know if someone is coming, which is what you might be looking for in a small dog.

The biggest challenge to owning a Shih Tzu is that it’s a little difficult to housebreak at times. Everyone in the house has to be very clear with the rules, enforcing them at all times or this breed will learn to quickly walk all over everyone and not do what is told of him. It’s your job to ensure that everyone in the household is a dominant human or else you will have to deal with a dog with small dog syndrome; something that happens to small dogs with no real leader who decide they are going to take over the role of leader on their own. Be careful not to allow this to happen or your Shih Tzu might decide that it is going to become snappy and mean. You do not want a dog that is snappy and mean. No one wants a dog that’s snappy and mean.

Shih Tzu

Lifestyle and Expectation

Before you make the decision to bring home a Shih Tzu to call your own, it is important that you get to know the breed and all that it has to offer your family. This is a sweet breed, but it needs to fit in with your lifestyle. The good news is that it’s a small dog. The Shih Tzy only stands around 11 inches tall and weighs between 9 and 16 pounds. It’s common for the females to weigh a bit less than the males, and they are all very sweet. They are great dogs in small homes, apartments and big homes with large yards.

Do be careful, however, that you ensure your Shih Tzu gets plenty of exercise. They are very active dogs both indoors and out, and that means you’ll want to ensure they get a walk and a little time to play each day to keep them happy. This will also prevent the breed from becoming bored and potentially destructive at home, something that you never want to deal with. A daily walk is something we cannot reiterate to you enough as very important. These dogs needs this, and they need it every single day.

As far as the health of your Shih Tzu, it’s a generally healthy little breed. However, these are dogs with an appetite bigger than their bodies, and that can cause them to gain weight very quickly. It should come as no surprise that the Shih Tzu is a dog that cannot afford any additional weight, so be very careful not to allow this dog to do much in the overeating department. The only other health issues to watch for are eye issues and breathing issues; they are prone to wheezing and ear infections.

If you take care of your Shih Tzu by keeping him fed well and exercised regularly, your new pet will live as long as 15 years. That’s a great age for a dog, and it means your kids will get to grow up with their little friend. They do have a long coat, though, so it is a good idea to brush the Shih Tzu daily and to keep him groomed every few weeks. Find a good groomer, and become friendly; you will not regret it.

Shih Tzu

Breed History

It’s though that the Shih Tzu has been around since at least the 17th century, created when someone bred a Pekingese with a Lhasa Apso. The dog was used by the Chinese royals as a favorite household pet, and they were widely revered as ‘luxury’ dogs at the time. When the 1930s rolled around, someone shipped a pair of Shih Tzu pups to England and the breed was discovered to be a very popular one. That’s when they began being noticed all over the world, and the breed became as popular as it is today. It’s a dog without any sporting qualities, but it’s a great companion, which is what many people are looking for in a Shih Tzu or other dog this size.

Photo by Getty Images

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