The Shih Tzu breed was originally a dog of the Chinese people. Believe it or not, they were at once considered royalty to this culture. Kept inside as the palace pet; the Shih Tzu was highly valuable. Still today, this special breed carries itself in a high manner. The Shih Tzu prances with their heads held high and their tail curved upwards over their back.
Not much training is needed to instill a sense of pride in this breed. Enjoyable as pets but also very competitive in shows; the Shih Tzu has been paraded in several of the top dog show competitions. The Shih Tzu is definitely a fine pet for a small town house, or for someone looking for a small companion.
The temperament of this breed is calm yet affectionate and playful. They are not too territorial with other dog breeds and are trusting to those around. Many people define the Shih Tzu as the perfect playful animal that barks only when needed and relaxes with the best of breeds. Their sense of danger is keen and they are able to detect noise or alarm their owner if someone is at the door.
This small sized breed usually ranges between ten to twelve pounds and reaches no more than ten inches in height. They have also been bred in recent years to be anywhere from three to five pounds, known as a teacup. This small, compact dog has other special characteristics to its name.
The coat of a Shih Tzu is unique to all. This breed has a double coat and if not kept groomed can grow to great lengths. Most owners interested in keeping the coat at a medium maintenance find grooming every ten weeks to be standard. It is standard to keep the coat short or if interested in higher maintenance can be grown out to full length. If the coat is grown long, it must be kept brushed daily and somehow tied up around the face. The Shih Tzu has large eyes and often the eyes are very irritated if the hair is not kept cut and out of the face.
Trimming must also be done around the feet, belly, and anus to permit movement and allow neatness. The short snout of a Shih Tzu is comparably sizeable to their small trunks, however can, at times, cause complications to breathing. On a cold day, it may be hard for this breed to take in the brisk air and can possibly cause a form of asthma. To help calm the dog’s breathing, an owner may put their fingers on the Shih Tzu’s nose holes to force them to breath from their mouths. This will remind the dog they may use their mouths to help them breath in circumstances where air is thicker and harder to take in.
Colors of this breed vary from black, white, and brown. They may have all three colors or variations of the three colors. It is rare for a Shih Tzu to have an all black coat, but not impossible to find. Finding a good breeder is like finding any other good dog breeder. If you want a particular size or color make sure the parenting dogs are of this caliber.
Make sure you look at the parenting dogs and the environment in which they are kept before making a purchase. If you are having a puppy shipped from across the United States then ask for references. It is important not to purchase from a breeder who breeds related dogs or who over breeds their dogs; once a year for each dam is permissible. It is also important to pick a breeder who values their dogs and takes good care of them. Try to find owners who breed for the love of dogs instead of owners who breed to make a living. All in all the Shih Tzu is the perfect companion for someone looking for a dog that is affectionate, happy, somewhat playful, and very trusting.