(aka: Shih Tzu Kou, Chinese Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog)
Shih Tzu Description
The Shih Tzu is a small, elegant, and pretty little dog, but is nevertheless quite sturdy in build. He has a beautiful, flowing coat, with a dense undercoat. The Shih Tzu has inviting, wallowing eyes, and a very sweet expression. The coloring of the coat can vary, and he comes in a myriad of colors, including parti-colors and solid colors. The height of the Shih Tzu is around 8-11 inches, and he weighs in at around 9-16 pounds.
A lively, proud, and confident breed, the Shih Tzu is a dog that loves to play and perform tricks, but is also very loving and gentle. Some may appear to be a little on the arrogant side, but these are actually sweet natured little dogs who love to cuddle and enjoy their creature comforts. With property, early socialization the Shih Tzu boasts a stable, friendly personality and disposition, and is a peaceful creature. The Shih Tzu thrives on affection and attention, and is not the right breed for those with little time to devote to a pet. He is an excellent choice for those that cannot get around much, such as the elderly, and is intelligent and responsive, which makes him less of a challenge to train. The Shih Tzu is suited to both experienced and inexperienced dog owners, and makes a great family pet as well as a very loving companion. The popularity of these dogs has soared over the years, reflected by the Shih Tzu's top ten position in the AKC popularity listings.
Although the Shih Tzu gets along well with children, he is a small dog that cannot really handle tough handling. He is therefore best suited to families with gentle, older children. He gets along well with strangers, as well as with other animals. Housebreaking the Shih Tzu can prove problematic in some cases, and some can be a little stubborn and haughty at times. However, by and large, the Shih Tzu makes a wonderful addition to the household, and is living, gentle, peaceful, trusting, and entertaining. His exercise demands are low, and he will fare well with a safe and secure place to play and run around in. This is a dog that will love to spend cosy nights in snuggled up with his owner and receiving plenty of pampering. Although friendly, the Shih Tzu will generally bark to raise an alarm so can make an effective watchdog.
The Shih Tzu is a fairly high maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. His coat should be brushed and combed three or four times each week, and every month or two he may need to have his coat clipped or trimmed. The hair around the bottom should be trimmed for hygiene reasons, and you should check that his ears are clean and dry. When properly groomed the Shih Tzu is a low shedder, and therefore may be well suited to those with allergies. You should also check his eyes for signs of injury or infection regularly.
The 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.
Like 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.
There are a number of health issues to look out for with this breed. This includes vWD, anemia, luxating patella, kidney problems, thyroid problems, allergies, and eye problems. His eyes are large and can be more susceptible to injury and infection. The Shih Tzu can also suffer heatstroke in hot or humid conditions. The parents of the Shih Tzu puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates, and you should also ask about kidney function screening.