Also called “little lion,” the Shih Tzu is a real lover, contrary to its nickname. They are far from being ferocious and fierce. Bred only to show compassion and loyalty to his humans, they are one of the most popular dog breeds across the globe. Learn more about this cute and cuddly lion-looking breed through this guideline.
Is The Shih Tzu A Good Family Dog?
Shih Tzu Personality
- Family companion
- Happy and sweet-natured
- Ideal for apartment living
- Suitable for family with kids
- Hard to train
The Shih Tzu is a lovable dog breed who can get along with almost everyone, including other pets. This breed is one of the best all-around dogs – they can live in both big and small-sized abodes, they can get along with both adults and children, and they make ideal companions for families or single people.
Contrary to its nickname, the “little lion,” the Shih Tzu is a lover, not a hunter. Originally bred for companionship because of their affectionate, outgoing, sweet-natured and happy temperament. Due to their small size, they are a favorite pet for apartment settlers. However, Shih Tzus can also stay in houses with wide open spaces, but they’re not that active.
In recent years, however, they have been trained for obedience and agility competitions. Regarding trainability, they are brilliant but can be hard to train. However, when they have rewards and treats, they can become obedient and become more involved in the training. You need to teach them early on because they can be hard to house train if you start late.
The good thing about Shih Tzus is, they’re affectionate and playful with children, even small ones. So, you don’t have to worry about your toddlers playing with your dog. In fact, they are sweet in nature and loving, making them an ideal breed for families.
Size & Color
- Long and silky coat
- Variety of colors
The Shih Tzu is considered a small-sized dog, but there are some who are bigger than others.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Shih Tzu as:
These popular toy dogs can weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, and stand between 8 and 11 inches at the shoulder. Shi Tzus are surprisingly sturdy and solid for a small dog. The coat is worth the time you’ll put into it—few dogs are as beautiful as a well-groomed Shih Tzu.
There are also a wide variety of Shih Tzu colors and color combinations. Their long and silky coat, when well groomed, are indeed considered their crowning glory. There are 14 colors and three markings accepted by the AKC – black, black and white, blue, blue and white, brindle, gold, liver, and silver, among others.
- Can’t tolerate heat stress
- Prone to allergies
- Respiratory issues
- Does not need regular and strenuous exercise
Being a brachycephalic or a flat-shaped dog, the Shih Tzu is prone to heat stroke because they can’t cool the air going into their lungs. During hot summer days, it’s better for Shih Tzus to stay indoors with air-conditioning units.
Because of this trait also, this dog breed is susceptible to various respiratory issues. Moreover, they are prone to food and skin allergies. Making sure they eat properly and does not consume the food they’re allergic to is important to prevent skin problems.
Solely bred for companionship, the Shih Tzu does not need much exercise. In fact, they’d rather stay indoors. However, a little walk in the park won’t hurt and would make them more active to prevent being overweight.
Feeding A Shih Tzu
A Shih Tzu, like any other dog breeds, should be fed depending on their age and energy requirements. For puppies, they are usually fed three to four times a day, while adult dogs eat twice daily. Make sure to measure the amount of food you are serving to prevent overeating. Moreover, do not leave all the food out throughout the day because Shih Tzus are prone to overfeeding and gaining too much weight.
Lifespan Of A Shih Tzu
A Shih Tzu can live for 10 to 16 years, depending on the quality of life they have. However, some diseases may negatively impact this dog’s lifespan including:
- Patellar luxation
- Respiratory diseases
- Canine hip dysplasia
- Juvenile renal dysplasia
- Bladder stones
- Eye problems
- Reverse sneezing
Shih Tzu Grooming
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— Shih Tzu Cute (@shihtzucute) August 11, 2017
- Regular brushing and combing
- Sheds less than other dogs
- Becomes a matted mess without proper grooming practices
- Proper oral care, ear cleaning and nail trimming
If you do not comb or brush your Shih Tzu’s long and silky coat, they may become a matted mess, and it’s hard to fix. Regular brushing is recommended, and you should use a soft bristled brush to remove the tangles. When it comes to bathing, you can bathe your pup as often as you like, but make sure to comb the tangles first for you not to be faced with a tangled mess at the end.
Though many are claiming that the Shih Tzu is a hypoallergenic dog, they are. However, they do not shed as much as other dogs with long hair do. For oral health, make sure you brush their teeth now and then to prevent the build up of tartar. Their ears and nails should be cleaned regularly too.
Price Of A Shih Tzu Puppy
The price of a Shih Tzu puppy greatly depends on the gender and family line. However, these puppies are more affordable than other breeds. The price ranges between $500 and $900. For puppies from the champion, lines may cost close to $1,500.
Make sure you only buy your puppy from reputable breeders to ensure that all the puppies they are selling are of good health.
History Of The Shih Tzu Breed
Tracing back to Tibet and China, the Shih Tzu breed has been present for many centuries ago. Many say that this breed was a result of the crossing of small Tibetan breeds and miniature Chinese breeds – the Lhasa Apsos and Pekingese. In fact, this dog breed is said to be 1,000 years old.
Aside from being called “little lions,” Shih Tzus are also called “Chrysanthemum-faced dogs.” This is because the hair on the dog’s face grows in every direction.
Look at this Shih Tzu grooming video by Love of Grooming, they make it look really easy:
Could the Shih Tzu be the dog you’ve been looking for? If you’re up for a dog who is loving, affectionate and clingy, this dog breed is the perfect one for you. If you’re someone who has a lot of time to spend for grooming needs, this pup is the right choice.
Have you decided on what dog breed to adopt? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!