Shih-Tzu is a toy dog breed with Chinese origin. They were developed from the cross breeding of Pekingese and Tibetan mountain dogs. In earlier times, the Chinese royals valued the Shih-Tzu dog breed so much that they used to turn down all the offers for selling or trading these dogs.
In Chinese parlance, the name Shih-Tzu refers to a dog with lion-like appearance as well as lion-like bold temperament. These attention seeking and people oriented dogs have a friendly disposition. These small yet lively dogs love to play with older children. They are also compatible with other pets in the house.
Shih-Tzu dogs are sturdy little dogs with an air of regality. They have dark colored eyes that are large in size and round in shape. The eyes are set well apart and seem to bear a sweet and pleasant expression.
The eyes can be light colored in case of liver or blue colored dogs but light colored eyes are generally not preferred for show purposes. The color of the nose also varies with the color of the hair coat. Lips, eye rims or nose in pink color are generally not desirable.
The large, low set, pendant ears of a Shih-Tzu tend to be heavily coated. The bite should be undershot, not overshot. Shih-Tzu dogs are characterized by long flowy hair coat and a profuse beard and mustache.
Color: All colors are accepted.
Height: The ideal Shih-Tzu height ranges between 8 to 11 inches for both males as well as females.
Weight: Shih-Tzus are usually 9 to 16 pounds in weight.
Kidney problems like Renal Dysplasia and bladder stones are quite common in Shih-Tzu dog breed. They are also likely to develop spinal disc and slipped kneecap related health problems because of their long backs and short legs.
Shih-Tzu dogs have particularly short muzzles that increase the risk of developing respiratory problems. Plus, the presence of long hair around their eyes and ears increase the chances of developing skin problems and eye and ear infections.
Dry Eye Syndrome, Distichiasis, Brachycephalic Syndrome and Hypothyroidism are some of the common health issues in these dogs.
Life Expectancy: Under healthy conditions, these dogs can live up to 15 years or more.
Litter Size: The average Shih-Tzu litter size is 2 to 4 puppies.
The long and luxurious double coat of a Shih-Tzu is usually a bit wavy but not curly. The dense undercoat is soft and wooly in texture. Consequently, careful brushing and combing of the abundant hair coat forms an integral part of Shih-Tzu grooming routine. It should be done on a daily basis so as to avoid matting.
The long hair above the eyes of a Shih-Tzu dog can be tied to form a cute top knot in order to avoid the strands of hair from getting into the eyes of the dog. The hair can also be clipped to make the task of grooming easy. They shed minimally and are hence considered hypoallergic.
The activity of bathing should be conducted every month. A gentle no-tear baby shampoo can be used for this purpose. Due to the presence of long hair, Shih-Tzus are prone to eye problems and ear infections. Therefore, clean your dog’s eyes and ears properly on a regular basis. Maintenance of proper dental hygiene is also an important yet most ignored aspect of Shih-Tzu grooming.
Shih-Tzu dogs serve as delightful companion dogs because of their loyal, keen, playful, loving and trusting temperament. These gentle lap dogs love to be cuddled and appreciated. Though obedient most of the times, still they can become quite stubborn at times, thus making the task of training a bit challenging.
They can also become snappy when subjected to mistreatment and excessive teasing. But, their stubbornness and snappy behavior never goes up to the extent of aggressiveness. The alert, intelligent and highly courageous Shih-Tzu dogs make for good watchdogs.
Apartment dwellers can safely lay their hands on this breed of dogs. They are quite active indoors but the ritual of short daily walks should still be followed religiously. They are generally not considered suitable for hot and humid conditions.
Do not give in to the temptation of over feeding your pampered Shih-Tzu as these dogs are prone to obesity. The Shih-Tzu dog breed is also prone to slight snoring and wheezing problems on account of their short muzzles. Some Shih-Tzu dogs may be difficult to housebreak.