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.