The Shih Tzu is a lively, proud and very lovable dog as owners will testify. The Shih Tzu is one of the most popular dog breeds on earth for good reason. In 1994 the Shih Tzu was the 12th most popular dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club.
They are generally friendly and self-assured. The Shih Tzu is the kind of dog that expects to be treated like a king, and wants you to know it. It is for this reason that often Shih Tzu’s are not a good choice of dog if you have babies or toddlers in the house. They can become jealous easily.
Shih Tzu’s make excellent watchdogs. Their alert and active nature means they are excellent good mannered companions. Poorly bred Shih Tzu’s can be noisy and snappy.
If you want a Shih Tzu it’s best to take a few precautions to avoid half-bred or genetically faulty Shih Tzu breeds. Rather spend some time making a good decision than have to regret it later. Unethical breeding practices are common and you will need to be an informed buyer if you are going to choose the best Shih Tzu for you.
Choosing a good breeder is very important. You don’t want to end up buying a puppy from one of the notorious puppy mills. Cross bred varieties can produce all kinds of health and behavioral problems. If you want to be certain that you are getting a genuine Shih Tzu it’s wise to check the breed standards before buying.
This means careful attention to the look and temperament of a Shih Tzu. Ask your breeder to show you the parents of the dog before you commit to buying the puppy. Check the parents of the puppy carefully for any of the faults outlined. This is just a guideline; it is not an absolute standard for pet quality.
If you intend on showing your dog at competitions and shows then an even more careful reading of the breed standards are important. You will also want to choose a more confident puppy – look for the puppy in the litter that seems poised and friendly – and of course good looking!
Some general points to look for
Color, age and size are the most important and immediate things you can check. The puppies will tend to look like their parents however this is not fool proof.
Shih Tzu’s do not have gender related temperament differences and both male and female are equally loving.
Teacup varieties are not officially recognized for good reason. People who breed these minute dogs do not do so improve the breed; ethical breeders breed for that reason. Teacups, the ones that will be under three pounds as adults, have many problems and usually do not live beyond the Shih Tzu’s that weigh a little more.
Caring for your Shih Tzu
Usually the major grooming has to do with care of the coat. If you do not have time to groom your Shih Tzu at least every other day then you will need to consider another breed. Neglect of the Shih Tzu’s coat will lead to skin problems as well as a host of other horrifying conditions, Painful matting, skin infections and even maggot infestations can occur if you leave the coat for too long.
The Shih Tzu is also prone to renal dysplasia (kidney disease) and slipped kneecaps. Because of the shape of the Shih Tzu’s face the eyes are more prone to injury. The short muzzle can mean breathing problems.
Spend some time learning about the Shih Tzu breed before you commit to a puppy. They can make a very nice pet for your family. Well looked after Shih Tzu’s can expect to live a long and healthy life, by your side.