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Shih-Tzu : 10 Most Common Questions

The Shih-Tzu is a gentle breed of dog that can give you great companionship. This small dog will do quite well in an apartment or smaller home, though it is important that you give your pet regular exercise such as walks on a leash.

Some owners report that their Shih-Tzu is a bit arrogant and conducts itself with an air of dignity. While this is true of many Shih-Tzu, the dogs of this breed can be wonderful pets in the right home. We have put together 10 common questions about the Shih-Tzu with answers for each.

Shih-Tzu Questions


1. What is the Shih-Tzu’s background and history?

Information shows dogs of this breed, or dogs with similar appearance, as far back as the 1500s. The dogs originated in Tibet and became favorites with royalty in China.

Because the breed was so prized in that country, the Shih-Tzu was not common in the U.S. and England until about 1930.


2. What size and color is the Shih-Tzu?

Most adult Shih-Tzu will weigh from 9 pounds to 16 pounds and will stand about 11 inches at the withers. Shih-Tzu do have a tendency to gain weight and become fat if not properly fed and exercised.

The Shih-Tzu colors of gold and white were so prized in the past that other colors such as black and silver have become quite rare. However, clubs and organizations recognize most colors and color patterns.


3. I have heard that Shih-Tzu have breathing problems. Is this true?

Some Shih-Tzu will wheeze and snore because of the shape and size of the nose and head. However, the Shih-Tzu also has some problems with the eyes because of the shape of the head and the fact that the eyes are very prominent.

Talk with your veterinarian about breathing problems and eye problems with the Shih-Tzu.


4. Would a Shih-Tzu be good in a home with children?

The dogs of this breed are not necessarily the best in a home with small children. The family members around a Shih-Tzu must be gentle and patient and not expect the dog to play roughly.

With that in mind, the breed has hair rather than fur so shedding is not a great problem. The Shih-Tzu is one of the few dogs considered hypoallergenic.


5. What should I ask the breeder about when I visit?

You need to ask many questions that are appropriate for visits to the breeder if you are shopping for a Shih-Tzu puppy. For instance, you should definitely ask to see both parents of the litter you are looking at.

You should also ask about some of the common health conditions of the Shih-Tzu, such as dry eye, allergies, breathing difficulty and thyroid conditions. A good breeder will be very open to these questions and should help you get answers if he or she cannot provide them.


6. I have heard that Shih-Tzu are sensitive to heat and cold, what about this?

This breed is sensitive to extremes in temperature. It is important not to leave the dog in a hot or cold situation. In addition, after a bath, the dog should be dried thoroughly in a warm place to avoid chills.


7. I may want to show my Shih-Tzu if I get one. What should I do to get started?

Showing a Shih-Tzu presents a few extra challenges beyond having a Shih-Tzu as a pet. You may want to take a little more time in selecting the color of your puppy to begin with. In addition, you should be more selective about the bloodlines of your puppy, since this can help in making sure you get a good show dog.

You will also have to spend more time grooming and cleaning what will be a luxurious coat. It will be key to get your new dog from a breeder that offers only show dogs.


8. Are Shih-Tzu hard to train?

Yes, the dogs of this breed can be difficult to train in some cases but these dogs are intelligent, responding well to gentle and patient attention. For some new Shih-Tzu owners, the amount of time and patience is too much.

Sometimes these dogs end up being given to a rescue organization. If you are considering a Shih-Tzu, keep in mind that housebreaking/potty training can sometimes be a bit more difficult than with other breeds.


9. I have thought about getting a Shih-Tzu from a rescue group. Is this a good idea?

This can be an excellent way to add a new pet to your family. However, the challenges of getting a dog from one of these sources are different than the those relating to a puppy. You should take some time to visit several locations and talk with the staff.

Ask questions about the health and temperament of the dogs and watch closely how the staff interacts with the dogs. This can tell you a lot about how the dogs are treated and how the dogs may act when you take them home.

One basic factor that should be present in all rescue dog situations is this: the group should be very careful about matching a dog with a home. This may even extend to making a home visit before the dog is placed.


10. We live in an apartment. Will the Shih-Tzu be right for us?

The Shih-Tzu should be fine in an apartment or smaller home. You should be prepared to give your new pet some regular outdoor exercise, even if its just short walks on a leash.

You should never leave the dog alone in the apartment for long periods. Generally, this breed is good for apartment dwellers.


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