Shih Tzu history has been highly debated as with many old dog breeds. What is known is that the Shih Tzu dog breed was revered during the Tang and Ming dynasties in China, and breedings were carefully planned. The Shih Tzu breed was solely a companion dog; it was never a hunter or a guardian.
Shih Tzu is a happy little dog oozing with character. It is very friendly and can easily gain friends. It is highly alert and attentive, loves to be around people and can live well with other pets in the household. An ideal apartment dog.
The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed that stands between 8 and 11 inches tall and weighs 9 to 16 pounds. The head is round and broad, the eyes are large and very dark, and the ears are large and dropped. The body is compact and sturdy, with a tail carried in a curve over the back. The undercoat is soft, and the outer coat is long and flowing. All colours are permitted. There is only one size and no such thing as an imperial Shih Tzu or tea cup Shih Tzu; those are simply ploys to sell Shih Tzu dogs. This breed’s coat requires time and effort to keep it looking good. Show dogs may have hair that reaches and drags on the ground, but most pet owners keep the hair trimmed. Daily brushing and combing is needed, even if the hair is trimmed, because the coat can easily tangle and mat.
The Shih Tzu is a happy, playful dog breed. They will enjoy daily walks and a play session or two during the day but are not high-energy dogs. Although not demanding of exercise, daily exercise is important, as this dog breed can become fat with too many snacks and not enough exercise. Housetraining can sometimes be a challenge. Owners should be patient, follow a schedule, and supervise the Shih Tzu puppies.
Although training is not as important with this breed as with so many others, they do thrive in a training program that is fun. Shih Tzu are also easily spoiled, so training can help prevent bad behaviours. This breed was bred to be a companion, plain and simple. These dogs love people and are friendly and affectionate. The breed is also great with children, as long as the kids are not too rough. They are fine with other dogs and with smaller pets. Health concerns include allergies and eye and kidney problems.
If you are planning to get a Shih Tzu puppy do consider visiting the Lhasa Apso breed profile too – both are related, Lhasa Apso is a bit bigger and tougher.