The Shih Tzu is quite the dynamic toy dog.The actual name Shih Tzu translates to ‘little lion’ which most likely derives from the fact that they have ‘manes’ around their face. Extremely popular one due to its adorable good looks and extremely good nature. In many ways, this dog is an ideal family companion, but it does require a lot of care to maintain its luxurious coat.
Dog Breed Group – Companion Dogs
Female: 4kg / 8lbs – 7.2kg / 16lbs (Adult),
Male: 4kg / 8lbs – 7.2kg / 16lbs (Adult),
Female: 20cm/ 8 inches – 28 cm / 11inches (Adult, At the Shoulder)
Male: 20cm/ 8 inches – 28 cm / 11inches (Adult, At the Shoulder)
Life Span – 10 to 16 years
Shih Tzu Temperament
- Companion – He is happiest when he is with his family, giving and receiving attention. Shih Tzus are not just lap dogs. They accompany you everywhere, even if you are in the kitchen cutting vegetables or sitting on a couch watching TV. Shih Tzu dogs are always more active indoors than outside. Most will get a burst of energy where they joyfully race around the room for a short period of time.
- Traning Needs a lot of time – Training requires a gentle approach and plenty of rewards, though the rewards do not always involve food treats. Many Shih Tzu is satisfied with a favorite toy as a reward, or even a hug and affectionate pat. Crate training can help speed the process, but some owners prefer the breeder housebreak the dog before bringing him home.
- Intolerance for Heat – Shih Tzu dogs tolerate the cold far better than the heat. They love snow and could stay out of it for extended periods of time as long as you are out there too. The Shih Tzu is sensitive to heat. He should remain indoors in an air-conditioned room (or one with fans) on hot days so he doesn’t suffer from heat exhaustion.
- Picky eaters – Don’t let your Shih Tzu get away with it. GIve him time to adapt to what he is supposed to eat
- Stubborn – Can be stubborn and won’t do anything unless they know what’s in it for them. Training should begin early, sessions should be kept short, and activities should be varied in order to keep the dog interested in what is going on. Lots of excited praise and treats can help motivate a Shih Tzu to learn new behavior.lots of barking: If the dogs are not socialized a lot or purchased from backyard breeders and pet shops probably won’t possess a quiet demeanor because they were carelessly bred for profit.
- Friendliness – Most Shih Tzu dogs are friendly, but some are more reserved. Those that are more reserved are likely to be cautious around strangers, but never mean or aggressive. All Shih Tzu dogs are friendly around the people they know and completely devoted to their owners.
- Adaptability Shih Tzus are highly adaptable. He is as well suited to apartments in the city as to live on a country farm. They generally settle in quickly to a new surrounding or with a new owner.
- Good with Children and Small Pets – Shih Tzu dogs are generally great with kids and other pets. They have little to no prey drive, so they are usually safe near smaller pets. Very young children will need to be supervised closely as most of the dogs in this breed are relatively small and can be hurt quickly, so handling them with care most is essential.
- Coprophagy (aka stool eating) is more than just a disgusting behavior in Shih Tzus and other breeds. It could put your dog’s health is at risk. If another animal’s stool is loaded with parasites, your dog could become infected with roundworms, which cause weight loss or whipworms, which may result in anemia, among other parasites. So clean the poop quite often.
- Heat stroke – When temperatures start to rise, Shih Tzus are at risk of overheating. That’s because their flat faces and short snouts restrict airflow through the upper respiratory tract, so they can’t cool themselves down as effectively through panting. Weakness, heavy panting, and frothing at the mouth are a few of the signs that a dog is too hot.
- Periodontal disease – Shih Tzus are prone to developing the painful periodontal disease because their teeth (all 42 of them!) are crowded inside those tiny mouths. Consequently, plaque accumulates faster on their teeth around the gums, and if not removed it hardens into tartar, a brownish calcified material.
- Renal dysplasia, an inherited condition in which the dog’s kidneys don’t develop normally. This is something a puppy inherits from his parents, so buy puppies only from breeders who test all their dogs for renal dysplasia.
- Shih Tzu is prone to several inherited eye diseases, including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Shih Tzus are also prone to dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca — a condition in which inadequate tear production leads to corneal dryness, pain, corneal ulcers, and other complications.
- Dogs with bulging eyes, such as the Shih Tzu, are more likely to have an injury to the eyeball that causes the eyeball to bulge out of the orbit, called proptosis. When proptosis occurs, blood flow is cut off, and the lack of oxygen can result in blindness. It is a medical emergency.
- Shih Tzus can have underbites (or “undershot jaw”) in which the lower jaw extends past the upper jaw, resulting in trauma to the gums and malocclusion of the teeth. They are also prone to periodontal disease and should have their teeth brushed daily.
How much should a Shih Tzu eat
It is very important to keep a check on how much and how often you are feeding to your dog as these dogs are prone to obesity. After six months, two meals per day will work best.
A healthy and normal Shih Tzu dog weighs anywhere between 10 to 16 pounds.
35 calories per pound of body weight are sufficient for an average adult Shih Tzu dog while 30 calories per pound of body weight are sufficient for senior dogs. Too much carbohydrate in their diet is not suggested. Like all other dogs, these dogs also require a good amount of protein for healthy growth. Chicken, turkey, and eggs are the major sources of lean protein for a Tzu. Also, add veggies to supplement minerals and vitamins.
Shih Tzu puppy, based on age
2 to 3 months: 1/2 to 3/4 cups per day
4 to 8 months: 1/2 to 1 cup per day
9 to 12 months: 3/4 to 1 and 1/4 cups per day
Shih Tzu adult, based on the weight
9 to 12 lbs. = 3/4 to 1 cup
13 to 16+ lbs. = 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup
Shih Tzu Grooming
Grooming is a sure way to make sure you’re keeping tabs on the health of your canine. Grooming doesn’t just include taking care of their coats. It also is the upkeep of their hygiene.
Their ears can harbor bacteria quite easily, and they’re prone to ear infections. Not only their ears should be examined, but their entire body too.
Check their coats, nose, ears, eyes, mouths, and paws for anything suspicious. This means inflammation, redness, rashes, parasites, infections, and anything that seems at all abnormal.
By grooming your dog consistently, you keep them cleaner and less prone to infection, and you remain aware of their physical state, meaning you can catch something early if it comes.
- Black – Solid black Shih Tzu are rare, however, full black coloring does exist. For most, black will exist within a bi such as the lovely black and white, or tri-color coat. Because liver colored dogs lack all black pigmentation, you will not see a true black dog with a liver colored nose.
- White – While you see it every now and then, white Shih Tzu without a secondary color is rare. Most are white with one or two more of the accepted colors.
- Liver – A Shih Tzu is liver based on skin pigmentation. The coat may be any color at all. The dog has brown pigmentation on the nose, paws and eye rims.
- Blue – Blue is a color given due to skin pigmentation. Only if the nose is blue, will this be the official color? Blue may also be on the eye rims and paw pads.
- Brindle – This is a combination actually, of a base coat with streaking
- Gold – A tan – yellow, found commonly among Labrador Retrievers
- Red – A very deep and dark orange
- Silver – Gray/white but with a deep shine
Shih Tzu history
Will knowing the history of Shih Tzu makes a better owner, well certainly not. But it’s better to know about your little lion. The Shih Tzu is considered one of the most ancient dog breeds. In fact, many members of ancient Chinese royalty kept the breed as pets. Today, they are also kept as companion animals.
The lamas presented the dogs as a tribute to Chinese rulers, and it was at the Chinese imperial court that they received the name, Shih Tzu, meaning “little lion” or “lion dog.” The Chinese also gave the Shih Tzu another name — chrysanthemum dog — because the hair on the face grows in all directions like the petals of the flower.
Empress T’zu Hsi had a great love for animals and carried out extensive breeding programs under the direct care of palace eunuchs. During Empress Tzu Hsi’s reign, the Dalai Lama gave her a pair of magnificent Shih Tzus, reportedly the source of the imperial palace’s little lion dogs.
After her death in 1908, the kennels were dispersed and palace breeding became haphazard. Some breeding was still practiced by private individuals and specimens were exhibited, but the dogs were almost impossible to acquire. So far as is known, the breed became extinct in China after the Communist revolution.
In 1928, the first Shih Tzus, a male and female pair, were brought to England from Peking by Lady Brownrigg, the wife of the quartermaster general of the north China command. In 1933, a Mrs. Hutchins brought a Shih Tzu from China to Ireland; this dog was eventually bred to Lady Brownrigg’s. These three dogs formed the foundation of Lady Brownrigg’s kennel.
The gene pool of all existing Shih Tzu is from fourteen Shih Tzu dogs in England in 1952. Returning military personnel brought some of the first Shih Tzu into the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s and began breeding programs. From the first day of formal AKC recognition (Sept. 1, 1969), the Shih Tzu moved suddenly from a relatively unknown breed to one of the most glamorous and popular of all canine companions.