Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Shih Tzu!
Shih Tzus are a toy dog breed, and a cute one at that! My father and mother-in-law have a Shih Tzu, named Max. They got him as a puppy and he is now 4 years old. Max is absolutely adorable and he is a playful and personable little dog! He is small and loves to hang out on everyone’s laps during family gatherings. You really couldn’t ask for a sweeter dog.
Shih Tzus are actually ornamental toy dogs and are one of the oldest small dog breeds around. Other names for these dogs are the Chinese Lion Dog, the Chinese Shih Tzu, and the Chrysanthemum Dog. They make wonderful pets and are great show dogs. Because they are small they don’t need a lot of room they make good indoor dogs (especially good for apartment dwellers). They are happy, energetic little dogs who simply love their human companions! They have long beautiful fur coats. The one initial drawback of these dogs is that they can be quite expensive to purchase up-front. They range from around $300 to $1,000 depending on the area and the breeder.
Shih Tzu Background. It is known that these dogs came from China originally, and is agreed upon that they probably date back to the 7th century. Possible ancestors for the Shih Tzu include the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. The Chinese were quite proud of this breed and they did not start exporting them to other countries until the 20th century. Many people today will create mixes with the Shih Tzu by breeding them with other dogs. Common dogs they are crossbred with include the Maltese, the Poodle, and the Bichon Frise.
These dogs only reach about 11 inches in height and weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. They are often shown at dog shows, where you can see a large variety of colors they are available in. As I said before – they are happy and generally love human companions! They can make a good childrens dogs as long as the child is responsible and knows not to be too rough. They also usually get along well with almost any other pet! Because of their long hair they do not do well in hot temperatures. This makes it essential that they be allowed indoors if you live in a hot climate.
The Shih Tzu can be a stubborn dog. Anything you want to train them will have to be done consistently and you will need patience. I remember first-hand how difficult it was for everyone during the house-training of Max. It seemed like he was always having accidents! But now, he is fully trained and a great house dog. So don’t despair! Make sure to walk your dog regularly. That can be a great time to work on training them as well.
Shih Tzu Care and Feeding. These are typical dogs and so need mostly animal fats and some protein in their diets. Purchase a good quality dog food for them or make your own with poultry, rice, and soy. Keep their teeth clean as they are prone to dental problems. Just giving them teeth cleaning chews can help out in that regard. They also have long hair that should be brushed regularly to keep it free from tangles and mats. If you have a show dog this is especially true. If you don’t plan on showing your dog feel free to have your dogs hair groomed and cut for easier care!
Health problems can be common with the Shih Tzu. They are prone to respiratory diseases, eye and ear problems, spinal disc disease, and dental problems. First of all, make sure your dog or puppy appears healthy before purchasing him. Next, make sure to give all of the recommended vaccinations on time and to give the appropriate boosters. Bring your dog to the veterinarian for yearly check-ups and this would also be a good time to have his teeth checked and cleaned if necessary. One last note. They don’t do well in dusty areas because of their proneness to respiratory problems. So just make sure to keep the area they are living in as clean and dust-free as possible!
The Shih Tzu really is a great dog. More information is available on Shih Tzus if you have any questions or would like more details!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.