Shih Tzu Information Center

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Shih Tzu Information Center

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Shih Tzu Information – Welcome!
Your 1-Stop Shih Tzu Information Center

Thinking about having a Shih Tzu? Already have 1, 2, 3 or more?

  • Detailed information on every topic you need to know
  • Enjoy a new topic each month, with our Topic of the Month !
  • Find new information in our Shih Tzu Question & Answer advice section.
  • Know exactly who to trust, with our exclusive list of Chosen breeders.

Breed Stats

Pronunciation: SHEET-sue
Original Pronunciation: Sure-ds
Current Translation: Lion dog
Original Meaning: Lion
Common Misspellings: Shihtzu, Shihju, Sheetzu, Shitzu, Sheetzo
Origin of the Shih Tzu: Tibet & China
Date of Origin: Arguably the Shih Tzu dates back to the 17th century
Weight: 9-16 lbs (4.08-7.26 kg)
Height: 8-11 inches(20.3-27.9 cm)
Group: Herding, AKC Toy Class
Life Expectancy: 16 years
Purpose: Companion dog and Show dog

Shih Tzu Health Issu

Each type of breed has their own set of red flag health issues. The Shih Tzu is prone to have certain medical problems more than other breeds. This does not mean that your dog is sure to have an illness or health issue; we will help you know what signs to keep an eye on.

This breed, with a long back and short legs may have back problems at some point. Regular preventive care is always necessary to keep your pet in good health. Special care must be taken in regard to dental issues. Keeping your dog healthy involves many aspects.
See Health

New Shih Tzu Information

Dedicated to this breed, we are constantly updating and adding new Shih Tzu information. Our Topics of the Month are a wonderful method to always be learning about your Tzu. These range from amusing traits to serious health issues and advice on various topics of care, grooming, training and more. Check our our newest information!

As an AllShihTzu Member, you will receive reminders to check back to read our new information. If you have a certain issue that you wish to know more about, you may also submit your suggestion. We will choose subjects recommended by our readers.

One Smart Dog!

We offer detailed information regarding the training process of your Shih Tzu. Known for not only their intelligent but also for a bit of a stubborn streak, we address the topics of the stages of learning and also a step-by-step guide that examines the appropriate age for teaching your Shih Tzu various commands. You will also learn if your dog is at the average intelligence level for his or her age.
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Learn What Imperial, Miniature and Tea Cup Shih Tzu Dogs Are!

Are you wondering about the terms of  Imperial, Miniature and Tea Cup Shih Tzu dogs? The trend is growing and does not seem to be stopping for the demand of these dogs.  Are these separate dog breeds?  Why are these terms so popular?  Is an Imperial Shih Tzu really different than a “regular” Shih Tzu?  Do they have royal bloodlines?  Learn the facts..whether you already have a Shih Tzu or are planning on bringing one into your home!
Imperial, Teacup & Miniature Shih Tzus

The Show Dog

Entering the world of dog shows can be a wonderfully rewarding experience. Learn the ropes of how to enter your dog, what to do in order to prepare and how to help your dog win a ribbon. Learn about Matches, grooming and what elements are present at an agility event. Whether you plan to enter into a conformation show or an performance venue make sure that you and your dog are ready.
See Shows – Preparing

Exercise Requirements

While some dog breeds, such as the Basset Hound are perfectly content lazing around near your feet, the Shih Tzu is an active dog that requires a brisk walk. This is needed daily. Our exercise section will show you how much is needed and how often. Since this dog is an inside dog, learn some great methods of providing much needed indoor activity as well.
Exercise Requirements

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Yummy Home Cooking
for the Shih Tzu

Find out the difference between manufactured dog food and home cooked food.  Learn how this directly impacts your Tzu…More

Shih Tzu Temperament

The Shih Tzu is a noble dog and very lively. This breed makes a wonderful family pet.  Others wish for a Shih Tzu to have one of the most beautiful dogs, to enter into shows.  In either case, having your dog well-trained is a must.  Behavior analysis shows that this dog will interact well with children, given that attention is paid to proper training. They have animated and amusing personalities. Learn detailed information regarding behavior and temperament.
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Housebreaking Overview

The Shih Tzu is a very intelligent dog; therefore they can be trained just as an owner wishes. However, since this dog has a bit of a inbred stubborn streak, detailed and thorough training is necessary. Find out excellent training techniques to keep both Shih Tzu and owner happy.
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Some owners find themselves feeling helpless when their Shih Tzu displays odd health symptoms. Many times this can be attributed to allergies. Almost 25% of dogs will have an allergic reaction to either an outside source or an internal one. Arm yourself with knowledge regarding canine allergic reactions. As a responsible owner, you must know what to do if an allergic reaction suddenly strikes and how to help your dog is he or she is suffering from this
See Allergies

Our Shih Tzu Topic of the Month is:
Excitment and Submissive Urniation

Unique Shih Tzu Grooming

Grooming techniques are certainly unique to this breed. A properly groomed Shih Tzu will have a beautiful “topknot” to hold its hair above its eyes. This is used for both male and female dogs and is considered to be an appropriate method to controlling and keeping neat the long fur that would otherwise impair the dog’s vision. Alternatively, one may have the fur clipped. There are many other elements involved in grooming, such as nail care, eyes, ears, bathing, brushing and more.

Grooming – Getting Ready
The first step to preparing to
groom your Shih Tzu

Heat & Pregnancy

Do you have any questions regarding the Shih Tzu heat cycle?  Learn all aspects of female cycle to become well informed regarding your pet.  Are you planning on breeding your dog?  Or perhaps you suspect your Shih Tzu may be pregnant?  Find out the early signs, how long it will be until you have little puppies running around and important health information specific to Shih Tzu pregnancy.

Resources | Topic of the Month | Maltese Information | Question & Answer – AdviceThe AllShihTzu Book |


Top 10 Dog Poisons

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Top 10 Dog Poisons

Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.

Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.

Top 10 Dog Poisons

Dog poison No. 1: Medications for people. Drugs that might be beneficial, or even life-saving, for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.

Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.
  • Antidepressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
  • Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.

Dog poison No. 2: Flea and tick products. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts.

Dog poison No. 3: People food. Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs.

  • Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
  • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
  • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
  • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.

WebMD Veterinary Reference


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Winter Pet Safety – 7 Risks to Avoid

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Winter Pet Safety – 7 Risks to Avoid

by Mary Kearl (Subscribe to Mary Kearl’s posts)
Dec 20th 2010 @ 11:00AM Filed Under: Cats, Pet Health

dog play snow winter photoPhilipp Guelland, AFP / Getty Images

“Winter is actually a pretty good time for animals,” says Dr. Jacob Cohen of Chicago’s Animal Ark Veterinary Clinic. “They’re out less — which means less injuries and less illness.” But there are still serious incidents of cold-weather-related health problems in pets that can and should be avoided, adds Cohen.

1. Space heaters. As with any electronic appliance, take care where you place these in your home. You want to prevent your pet from chewing cords. And either make sure your cat isn’t tempted — or able — to jump on the heater, your cat or dog can’t brush up against it, or that the temperature doesn’t get too hot. Coming into contact with the heater could cause serious burns, says Cohen.

2. Temperatures below 45 degrees.
“Frostbite is rare, but you really want to watch out for too much exposure to cold,” says Cohen. “We start to get concerned below 45 degrees when a pet is in the cold for extended periods of time. Below freezing we have to be even more aware.” Your pet’s feet, ears, nose and tail are likely to be affected. “You may not see the clinical signs for a couple of days, but if the areas are severely affected, the tissue starts to die, it changes to blue-black color, and your pet will get severe infections. You may see limping or pain and licking at the area.” Hypothermia is also a risk. Symptoms include weakness, shivering and lack of mental alertness, according to PetMD. Learn about dressing your pet for cold weather from Paw Nation.

3. Leaving pets alone outside, in the car or in the garage. Leaving pets by themselves, even in a vehicle, is “strongly not recommended. Especially if they’re not used to cold temperatures,” says Cohen. If pets do need to be left alone in cooler temperatures, short periods of time are acceptable. “Longer than 20 minutes,” is when it gets to be risky, says Cohen. The ASPCA reminds us that outdoor cats like to sleep under cars, so take caution before starting your engine. The ASPCA also advises against leaving outdoor cats outside all winter long, as doing so increases their risk of freezing, theft, injury and death.

4. Salty sidewalks and driveways. “It’s not toxic, but salt on the ground can irritate your pet’s paws,” says Cohen. Particularly sensitive animals might limp after exposure. Dress feet in booties or consider buying pet-safe ice melters, suggests Cohen. The ASPCA recommends massaging petroleum jelly into your pet’s foot pads before going outside and toweling off the feet and applying moisturizer once everyone’s back inside. Read more about winter pet skin care from Paw Nation.

5. Antifreeze. It is estimated that 90,000 animals die each year from antifreeze poisoning. As little as 1/2 teaspoon can be toxic to a cat and just 1/4 cup can kill a medium-size dog, according to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA). “The ethylene glycol in antifreeze is sweet-tasting and appealing to cats and dogs,” according to OVMA’s website. “Do not leave antifreeze unattended or allow it to spill onto the garage floor or into the street. Consider using nontoxic antifreeze with a bittering agent to discourage pet consumption. If you see your pet drinking any amount of antifreeze, take it to a veterinarian immediately.”

6. Bodies of water. “If your dog is a swimmer, keep him on a leash around open water or unstable ice,” cautions New York State’s Office of Emergency Management. “Hypothermia can set in quickly, and the dog may be unable to get out of the water.”

7. Going off-leash in the snow. “Canines often lose their scent in cold weather and can become lost,” according to the West Lafayette, Ind., animal control. “Dogs also can panic in snow storms and run away. The decreased daylight does not help either. More dogs are reported lost during the winter than any other season, so always keep dogs on-leash when outside a fully fenced yard and make sure yours always wears proper identification.”

Want to learn more ways to keep your pets safe this season? Read about the 10 worst holiday health hazards for your pets and how to avoid them.


Bo’s White (House) Christmas

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy


Bo’s White (House) Christmas

The First Dog gets into the holiday spirit with cookies, trees, family and friends


Credit: Leslie Kossoff/Polaris

2 of 13

Dec 14 2010


As part of an annual tradition, Michelle Obama stopped by the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. this week. Like she did last year, Mrs. Obama came with her trusty assistant, Bo.

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VIP pets

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy


Stars & Their Pets: Michelle & Bo’s Holiday Cheer

The First Lady and presidential pup join Santa Claus in D.C. Plus: Michael Douglas’s wintry walk and more


Credit: Leslie Kossoff/Polaris

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Dec 16 2010


Ho, ho, Bo! First Lady Michelle Obama and her cuddly companion, Bo, greet patients at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on Monday with the help of Santa Claus.

See more of Bo’s Christmas fun here!

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Do You – and Should You – Kiss Your Dog?

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Do You – and Should You – Kiss Your Dog?

by Rose Martelli (Subscribe to Rose Martelli’s posts)
Dec 10th 2010 @ 11:00AM Filed Under: Dogs, Pet Health

man kiss dog pictureGetty Images

Kristin Chenoweth did it a couple of months ago on “Ellen.” You may have even done it yourself. Kissing your dog: OK or not OK?

We’re not talking about a quick peck atop the head; we mean actually giving your dog a smooch on the lips (or in Chenoweth’s case, an unabashed tongue duel). It’s an issue that divides dog owners; a 2009 study showed that just about half allow and indulge in such behavior.

The debate continues: Is it sweet? Gross? More importantly, is it tantamount to germ warfare? How much interaction might be too much? We asked readers and veterinarians alike to tell us what they think.

“Fifi’s Just Showing Affection”
Personal preference, of course, dictates a Fido-phile’s decision to kiss or not to kiss. And what many dog owners prefer is letting the pet set the rules. “They show you unconditional love. It is only right to show them the same in return,” says Tina Ballash Blair of Ocala, Fla. “Hugs, kisses, love — they deserve all that and more.”

Some veterinarians happily condone kissing and admit to the habit themselves. “As long as you’ve got a close relationship with your dog and you want to suck face, I’m OK with that,” says Dr. William H. Craig, a former president of the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice’s board of directors and co-founder of the Ingram Park Animal Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

But not everyone agrees.

“I Think It’s Disgusting”
Whether due to etiquette or hygiene, a number of dog owners adopt a Lucy Van Pelt-like stance against dog germs. Pet owner Erin Watzek-Valenti of Charlotte, N.C., declares, “Kiss your dog if you must, but let’s kiss them on the head or a peck on the cheek. Kisses on the mouth are gross!”

Susan Alexander, a dog owner in New York admits that even though she dotes on her pet, she’s completely “skeeved out” by the whole subject. “I’m not a casual lip kisser with humans, much less with my dog. Why do people have to do this? Seriously? What’s wrong with a little nuzzle on the top of the dog’s head? That’s sweet and a way of showing affection without going too far.”

Even some vets set limits when it comes to crossing the line into too much doggie slobber. In her book “It’s a Dog’s Life, but It’s Your Carpet,” Dr. Justine Lee writes, “Just because I’m a vet doesn’t mean that I like to be open-mouth kissed by dogs.”

Germs: The Good, Bad and the Ugly
You’ve probably heard the myth that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’. Dogs tend to lick their wounds, and their wounds rarely get infected. So dog saliva must be like antiseptic, right?

Wrong. Dog spit isn’t chemically cleansing. It turns out that it’s the dog’s rough tongue that helps to physically remove contaminants from an open wound. As for the relative cleanliness of canine kissers, Dr. Craig points out that “people tend to brush their teeth regularly and rinse with mouthwash. Dogs tend to lick themselves and eat things off the ground.” You do the math.

But if that’s the case, why too is it that, as Dr. Craig puts it, “thousands, if not millions, of owners engage in dog-licking every day, and you don’t hear about problems related to it”?

“Humans and dogs have different bacteria in their mouths,” explains Nelle Wyatt, a Licensed Veterinary Medical Technician at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center. “Not all of the bacteria are capable of causing disease in the other species.” Take, for example, the common cold. “Most upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses instead of bacteria,” says Dr. Craig, “and viruses most of the time tend to be species specific. Cats have theirs, dogs have theirs, and generally, those are not shared.”

Even if your puckering pooch does pass along a bit of nasty stuff, the bond behind those very kisses may deliver an immune-system boost that’ll help you combat infection. “We see more and more things about the human-animal companion bond,” Dr. Craig says, including “studies measuring how levels of cortisol [often called “the stress hormone”] are lessened by a bond with a pet or physical affection with a pet. That’s going to reduce blood pressure, and those are the kinds of factors that could have a positive effect on an immune system.”

How to Kiss Without Catching Something
Should doggie smooches come your way, whether by choice or accident, there is an easy method of infection prevention that anyone can do: Wash. Not your slobbered-upon face (though that couldn’t hurt) but your hands. Research done by Dr. Kate Stenske, a clinical assistant professor at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and reported by E! Science News, suggests that failure to wash your hands puts you at greater risk for contracting something than sleeping in the same bed as your dog.

And, yes, we know it’s gross to think about, but consider such common-sense protections as keeping your dog on a deworming program and monitoring his fecal exposure. A dog who’s left to play in a fenced yard, for example, may be more likely to eat its own leavings when you’re not around than a dog who’s taken on leashed walks and observed for such behavior. And remember that young children, the elderly and pregnant women are often immunosuppressed, so their exposure should be restricted or closely monitored.

Whatever side you fall on in the kissing debate, consider what Dr. Stenske said to E! Science News: More research is needed to better understand how germs are shared between pets and humans, but, “in the meantime, we should continue to own and love our pets because they provide a source of companionship. We also need to make sure we are washing our hands often.”

Tell us Paw Nation: Do you kiss your dog on the lips? Is this a sweet gesture of affection or just too much? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Australian Man Marries His Yellow Lab

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Australian Man Marries His Yellow Lab

by Josh Loposer (Subscribe to Josh Loposer’s posts)
Dec 3rd 2010 @ 5:00PM Filed Under: Dogs

yellow labrador dog picturejupiterimages

We’re committed to our pets and all, but this? It’s a bit much.

Twenty-year-old education student Joseph Guiso and his yellow Lab, Honey, are now joined by the sacred bonds of matrimony, or so they say. We’re not so sure the union is legal.

According to the Daily Mail, the wedding took place during a glorious sunset ceremony in Toowoomba, Australia’s Laurel Bank Park, where 30 friends and family members looked on. Joseph and Honey even sealed the deal with a big, wet smooch.

Don’t get the wrong idea, folks, Guiso assured his guests that “It’s not sexual.”

Well, that’s a relief.

As you might imagine, the couple skipped the traditional “’til death do us part” vow, opting for a more heartfelt, species-appropriate exchange. “You’re my best friend and you make every part of my day better,” Guiso said to his bride.

Dress at the wedding was semiformal, with Guiso in a suit and tie and the Labrador in a white cape. The pair has been together since Guiso rescued his bride five years ago. According to the newspaper’s website, Guiso describes himself as a “religious guy” and simply felt guilty living with Honey out of wedlock.

Look, we’ve heard of having dogs in your wedding and even doggie summer camps offering ceremonies joining two pooches in canine matrimony, but this is something completely different.


The Shih Tzu

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

All About The Shih Tzu

Don’t let the origin of the name fool you. The Shih Tzu, or “lion dog,” is really a sweetheart. A revered dog (almost religiously so) in China, the Shih Tzu is a lively dog that possesses character and spirit. With a luxurious, flowing coat, the Shih Tzu carries a regal presence but is in reality a happy-go-lucky pet that bonds with the entire family.

Physically: What a Shih Tzu Looks Like

First and foremost when describing a Shih Tzu is discussion of its long, flowing hair. The dense double coat often sweeps the ground when properly groomed and is usually tied into a topknot on the top of its head to prevent the long hair from irritating the eyes. Yet despite this abundance of hair, Shih Tzus are very light shedder and are considered to be hypoallergenic. The color of the Shih Tzu can vary. A Shih Tzu puppy can grow to between 9 and 10 ½ inches and achieve a weight of between 9 and 16 pounds. It is a compact, solid dog that carries its head proud and erect. The Shih Tzu’s body is a bit longer than the animal is tall, with a round, broad head and wide-set eyes. The Shih Tzu’s muzzle is squared off and short and has an abundance of hair. A Shih Tzu puppy will develop large, low ears that are covered in hair and hang down. Its back is even and its legs are straight and muscular.

Temperament: How a Shih Tzu Behaves

A Shih Tzu puppy is an alert and lively pet that possess a lot of personality. Gentle and loyal, Shih Tzus is friendly and responsive to patient training methods. Most are extremely playful and enjoy the company of family, however they respond best when each family member takes a leadership role. They be a bit feisty and snap if they are surprised or not in the mood for play. They can also become slightly aggressive if they are left alone for long periods of time, but this is not a natural state, but one brought on by human influence. Shih Tzu puppies can grow into what is known as Small Dog Syndrome, in which they believe they are the leaders of the family pack.

Strengths and Skills: What Shih Tzus Do Best

Familiar as temple dogs and the favorite pet of Chinese royalty, Shih Tzus have been heralded in paintings and documents for centuries. They are reportedly descendants of the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese, developing around the 17th century. So revered by the Chinese royals were Shih Tzu puppies that they refused to give them away. It took until the 1930s for the Shih Tzu to venture out of China,  when British soldiers brought them back to England after World War II.

Care and Training: The Best Environment for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzu puppies do well in apartments and can be find enough activity indoors to sustain them, but will still need to be walked every day. They will also enjoy a run in a park (on leash) or a fenced-in area. Exercise is important for Shih Tzus because they gain weight easily and owners should be careful not to overfeed them. Shih Tzus can be prone to respiratory problems and can wheeze and snore, so owners should be mindful of this. Because of their luxurious hair, Shih Tzu puppies may need grooming daily. Their hair can be trimmed or tied in a  topknot at the top of their head to keep it out of their eyes. Also, the areas around their eyes should be cleaned on a regular basis, since Shih Tzus have sensitive eyes.

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