Shih Tzu Dog

The shih tzu is one of the most sociable and playful pet dog breeds. That, added to its beautiful coat and sweet appearance, explain why it is one of the current favorite breeds. These types of dogs are very affectionate and intelligent and need constant attention from their owners, so they are not recommended to live outside the home or to be left alone for long periods of time.

If you want to know more about this pleasant little dog, in this AnimalExpert breed sheet we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the characteristics of the shih tzu, its origin, character, care, health and education , so that you know everything beforehand. to adopt a shih tzu dog.

Origin of the shih tzu

The story of the origin of the shih tzu shares many things with the story of the Pekingese dog. Like this other dog, the shih tzu originates from Buddhist monasteries, where it was considered a sacred dog. Although many people write it as shitzu, it was a dog exclusive to the Chinese nobility , where it was also considered a sacred dog and was given care worthy of royalty.

When the first shih tzus arrived in England in the 1930s, they were confused with the Lhasa Apso . So much so, that at that time both dogs were considered a single breed. However, in the same decade it was decided to separate both races as we know them today.

Today, the shih tzu is a highly prized dog breed for both companionship and show. His magnificent coat and small stature have made him a star in the dog show rings, while his sweet character has made him one of the most popular pets of our time.

Shih Tzu Characteristics

According to the International Cynological Federation (FCI) standard of the breed, the shih tzu has the following characteristics that we are going to comment on. Pay attention to them, as they will help you know if a shih tzu is purebred or not.

  • The height of the shih tzu dog does not exceed 26.7 centimeters : whether it is a male or a female.
  • The ideal weight of shih tzu dogs is between 4.5 and 7.3 kilograms .
  • The shih tzu is a small dog with a longer body than it is tall : the entire body is densely covered with hair, the back is straight and the chest is broad and deep.
  • The Shih Tzu breed has a wide, rounded head : it is covered with shaggy hair that falls over the eyes and forms a beard and whiskers on the muzzle. The stop is well defined and the nose is black in most dogs, but it can be liver-colored or have spots of that color. The snout is short, square and broad. The eyes, with an affectionate expression and well separated from each other, are large, round and dark.
  • The tail of the shih tzu dog is set high : in addition, it is completely covered with dense fur in the form of feathers. The shih tzu happily carries her on his back.
  • The shih tzu has curious characteristics, such as the hair on its nose growing upwards : in this way the face is shaped like a chrysanthemum.
  • Shih Tzu dogs have large, pendulous ears : this part of the body is covered with very dense fur.
  • The hair is one of the most notable characteristics of this breed of dog: it is long, very dense and has a good layer of undercoat. It is not curly and is usually straight, although a slight wave is allowed. According to the breed standard published by the International Cynological Federation (FCI), the shih tzu is one of those dog breeds that can have a coat of any color .

How do you know if a shih tzu dog is purebred?

How to tell if a shih tzu is purebred is easier by following this full feature guide. Even so, at ExpertoAnimal we want to highlight that the fact that a dog is purebred or not does not change the value and importance that we should give it. A dog is an animal that is in our care, so we are responsible for ensuring that it has the healthiest and most pleasant life possible.

Character of the shih tzu

Shih Tzu dogs are very intelligent, sociable and happy . They love being with people, are playful and active when kept fit. Shih Tzus are easier to socialize than other dog breeds, as these furry little dogs are usually very friendly and sociable by nature. When they have received proper socialization, they tend to get along well with people, dogs, and other animals. It should be noted that it is important to socialize dogs at an early age to achieve that friendly character as adults.

This is one of those dog breeds that are excellent for single people, couples, and families with children of different ages. They usually get along very well with children as long as they know how to respect the dog and do not mistreat it. Shih tzu, or shitzu, dogs are excellent companion animals for novice handlers . One of the negative characteristics of the Shih Tzu is that they do not make good pets for families and people who spend most of the day away from home, unless they can take their dogs to work. As we said, let’s see if

These two articles on How to Socialize a Dog Correctly? and Dog socialization can help you understand more the complexity and importance of a newly arrived dog, whether adult or puppy, to socialize correctly both with other animals and people.

Shih Tzu dog care

The Shih Tzu dog’s hair tends to tangle easily and needs to be brushed and combed daily . Although it does not require a dog groomer, many caregivers of these dogs prefer to keep them with shorter hair to facilitate their care.

Shih Tzu dogs require a good dose of physical exercise , but due to their small size they can exercise indoors. Even so, it is important to provide at least one daily walk and play time to exercise and socialize them. These dogs tend to gain weight easily , so it is good to provide them with enough exercise to keep them in shape. Of course, you have to take into account its size and you shouldn’t abuse exercise. Nor should they be forced to exercise in hot and humid climates, since their short snout makes it difficult for them to breathe in those environments.

The companionship needs of the Shih Tzu breed are very high. These dogs are not suitable for living in a garden or patio. On the contrary, they need to spend most of their time accompanied and must live indoors with the rest of the family. They adapt very well to life in crowded cities and to living in small apartments.

Shih Tzu Education

When it comes to dog training, Shih Tzus are a joy to their trainers. These dogs learn easily and quickly , making it easy to teach them many things. However, that is true only when positive training is carried out , as Shih Tzus do not respond well to traditional dominance-based training . Keep in mind that these dogs are easily distracted, so it is best to train them in short but fun sessions.

In general, Shih Tzus do not present major behavioral problems when they have been properly socialized and receive sufficient exercise and company. However, when left alone for long periods or do not receive enough exercise, the Shih Tzu breed can become a destructive, barking dog . They can even develop separation anxiety quite easily if they are left alone for a long time each day.

If you want to know more about Positive reinforcement in dogs or Traditional dog training, do not hesitate to take a look at these two other articles that we recommend from AnimalWised.

Shih Tzu Health

Due to the largeness of their eyes, which are always bulging, we must pay more attention to them than other areas of the body. This is a breed of dog that is prone to ear and eye infections , so it is worth doing regular veterinary check-ups. Even so, this breed does not have alarming incidences of dog diseases, but it is prone to suffering from some others such as:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Kidney cortical hypoplasia
  • Entropion
  • Trichiasis
  • External otitis
  • progressive retinal atrophy
  • Inguinal hernias

Where to adopt a shih tzu?

Adopting a dog is not an easy task and to start the process we must be very clear that we want a new member of the family. As we have mentioned many other times in ExpertoAnimal, a dog is not a toy, but rather it is an animal to which we must provide the maximum possible care and affection . In order to adopt a shih tzu, we specifically recommend going to a shelter, kennel or dog association and investigating which dogs there may be with similar characteristics to the shih tzu.

Shih Tzu

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