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10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Shih Tzu

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Adorable dog with a ferocious name. That is the best way to describe Shih Tzu. The name of the puppy means lion dog in Chinese. The name comes from a Buddhist legend that Siddhartha traveled with a little dog that could transform into a lion. And that is just one among the many Shih Tzu facts we need to talk about.

For many years, Shih Tzu has remained a prestigious dog breed among Chinese royalty. Depicted in paintings, this Chinese dog breed comes from Tibetan breeding stock. Many believe it is a cross between Pekingese and Lhasa Apso.

From 1368 to 1644, Shih Tzu was the house pet for the Ming Dynasty. Because it was only accessible to royalty for centuries, this dog spent most of its time behind palace walls. But recently, we have seen a rise in popularity of the Shih Tzu outside of China. The American Kennel Club puts the dog among the 30 most popular dog breeds.

These days, Shih Tzu dog is a household name. Celebrities like Bill Gates, Mariah Carey, and even Queen Elizabeth have owned one. Do you intend of owning one? Well, then we have to talk about some Shih Tzu facts you need to know before getting a puppy.

Shih Tzu is not a toy dog

Many wrongly mistaken the Shih Tzu as a toy dog. But while the Shih Tzu puppy has a small size and elegant features, Shih Tzu dog breed doesn’t fall into the toy dog group by the American Kennel Club. Yes, the breed makes an excellent lapdog.

But the AKC classifies it as a utility group, reflecting the dog‘s history. Remember, this small puppy played a watchdog role in the temples of Buddhist monks in Tibet.

Not a watchdog either

Yes, while the Tibetan dog once played the role of a watchdog, that is no longer the case. This pup can be vigilant about checking the boundaries of the home. Yes, it might even alert the owners if someone is approaching.

But do not expect a Shih Tzu to be a guard dog. The small size and unaggressive behavior don’t allow it.

Can make training frustrating

Shih Tzu is a stubborn dog breed. This can make dog training a frustrating experience. This puppy will kiss you and charm you trying to get its way.

The best way is to introduce new behavior slowly and firmly. Correct bad behavior immediately.

Because this puppy is a people dog, praise and rewards work much better than punishment.

What about Shih Tzu temperament?

This small dog has an outgoing and affectionate personality. We mentioned its charming personality as well. Historical paintings and documents show the dog has been a companion dog. This puppy will be your best friend.

Not as high on energy

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If you want a puppy you can have comfortable, quiet walks with, this is the breed for you. All dogs need a daily walk. And Shih Tzu is no exception. Just two short walks per day will do it.

No need for some special exercise or anything else. This puppy is happy to lay on the couch the whole day. A true couch potato.

Grooming can be challenging

Shih Tzu has a naturally long and luxurious coat. It is what makes the dog look beautiful and lovely to touch. But that long coat needs some care and grooming. A lot of daily brushing is a must. Going to the groomer regularly will keep your puppy in good condition.

If you do not visit the groomer often, your puppy‘s coat will become tangled, matted, and unkempt.

Shih Tzu Health

Generally speaking, Shih Tzu is a healthy breed. The lifespan of the pup is between 12 and 14 years. Like most dog breeds, there are some potential health issues. For example, patellar luxation, eye disease, renal dysplasia, and more.

This puppy has large eyes, so be careful to avoid eye injuries. If you suspect an eye problem, alert your vet.

Brachycephalic breed

Shih Tzu also falls into the group of brachycephalic breeds. The dog has a brachycephalic face, giving its face a slightly flattened appearance. This also results in a shorter than normal soft palate. As a prospective Shih Tzu owner, you should be aware of it.

They don’t like being left alone

The downside of Shih Tzu ownership is you have to be highly involved in their life. This breed cannot tolerate being left alone. They will make a huge fuss if they have to be alone in their company. If you do not have the time and energy to devote to your puppy, do not get a Shih Tzu. Otherwise, you might end up with a dog with a separation anxiety problem.

You can counter with crate training while you have a young puppy. But generally speaking, Shih Tzu is a dog you carry everywhere you go.

Great dog for a first-time dog owner

If you haven’t owned a dog before, the Chinese Lion Dog is a great option. It is a very easy breed to understand. There are some caveats. For starters, remember, any dog is a large commitment that you should not take on lightly.

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2 Responses

  1. My sister died a couple of months ago. She got him from someone who was very ill in the hospital. I had only seen him twice but we love him. I just don’t know if he likes us. He is definitely a lap dog. Is there anything else we need to know about this breed? He is 12 years old.

    1. I am sure you will fall in love with the breed. They are amazing and love cuddles 🙂 just give him love and affection and he will return it times 10000. The only downside is even though they are lap dogs, they cannot spend a lot of time on their own. They crave human companionship

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