If you would like an alert active little dog with lots of character too, perhaps the Shih Tzu is the perfect dog for you.
The Shih Tzu is classed by the AKC in the toy class. Being a small dog Shih Tzu’s will not need a lot of food but they can require a lot of grooming. They make excellent guard dogs as their alert nature will have them barking at the slightest sign of intruders.
The Shih Tzu is a sturdy dog, with a double layered coat; long and flowing on the outer layer, but wooly on the layer below. Although the history of the Shih Tzu is vague, it is believed to have originated in Tibet. As the lion was a strong symbol in Buddhism, the Chinese and Tibetan lamas were thought to have bred the dog to resemble a small lion. Throughout history, Chinese imperial rulers bred the Shih Tzu to keep as members of the imperial courts. This ‘royal’ heritage can be seen in their somewhat arrogant character.
The Shih Tzu is usually good around well-behaved children and other people. The Shih Tzu will not tolerate being teased or taunted and being such a clever dog, housebreaking can sometimes be difficult. They will often see straight through any attempts at bribery (like a treat) as a training method!
You could expect a fully grown Shih Tzu to be around the 11 inches (28 cm) region. They would weigh approximately 9 to 16 lbs in adulthood. Health problems you may expect to find are respiratory in nature such as snoring or wheezing. Ear and eye problems can also occur.
Your Shih Tzu should be exercised daily. They will happily go out for walks but will just as easily spend an afternoon lying in their favorite place if allowed. Their size lends well to the apartment lifestyle but they can quickly gain weight if not exercised properly.
Grooming your Shih Tzu should be a daily occurrence. Their coats need a daily brush to remove tangles etc. Owners often tie the dog’s hair up from the face to give the dog better vision. An alternative option is to have the facial hair trimmed. Ears and eyes should be kept clean and also around the rear end of the dog.
The Shih Tzu is a loyal, alert dog with lots of character. They can be a great companion and a valuable addition to any family.