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Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu loosely translates to ‘Little Lion’ in Mandarin. Ironically, it was named after its looks because there is absolutely no fierceness to this adorable dog breed. From the laps of emperors in ancient China to the hearts of its present-day owners, Shih Tzus have always been leaders in the hall of fame for canine companionship. Discover more about our Shih Tzu puppies for sale below!

When you own a Shih Tzu, you own a little bit of Chinese history. Imperial breeders in the palace of the Chinese emperor developed the Shih Tzu (meaning ‘lion dog’)centuries ago from Tibetan breeding stock. The breed is most likely the product of crosses of two even older Sino-Tibetan breeds, the Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese. For hundreds of years, Shih Tzu lived the life of royal lap warmers and were pampered by emperors and their families. It is said emperors would give valuable gifts to breeders of Shih Tzu who produced the most beautiful and affectionate dogs. The breed remained hidden behind palace walls, virtually unknown to the outside world, until the 1930s. Breed clubs formed in Peking and later England further refined the breed, not without much debate among fanciers as to proper type. The Shih Tzu entered the AKC Stud Book in 1969. Since then, the Shih Tzu has been one of the most popular toy dogs here and in the United Kingdom. And they still treat their owners, no matter who they might be, like royalty. Owners as diverse as Queen Elizabeth II and Miley Cyrus have succumbed to the Shih Tzu’s exotic charms.

Shih Tzus are naturally friendly dogs. However, without early socialization, they can be timorous. They are at their best around family or anyone giving them love and attention. A Shih Tzu is made to love. They don’t chase small animals or guard, but this doesn’t mean they won’t bark at strangers. They will alert you as soon as they sense something is amiss. This dog can get stubborn and requires early training so they can grow to be disciplined and healthy dogs.

If you are a small apartment owner, then the Shih Tzu is perfect for you. They do not do well in outdoor kennels but enjoy playing in yards and gardens. They love the indoors and will always warm up to you or sit on your lap. They get pretty attached – and fast!

Because of their heavy coats and short faces, Shih Tzu do not tolerate heat well and are not good swimmers.

The Shih Tzu was bred to be a house companion. As such, they require minimal exercise. Short daily walks with their owner and indoor playtime will satisfy the activity needs of this small, short-legged companion.

A Shih Tzu with a long coat requires daily brushing. Use a good-quality wire brush with flexible pins, and layer the hair to be sure you reach to the skin. A bath about every three or four weeks will help to keep the coat clean and at its best. Remember to comb the mustache and topknot daily, and gently clean the corner of the eyes with a damp cloth. To protect the Shih Tzu’s eyes from being irritated, the hair on the top of the head should be trimmed short or tied up into a topknot. If you don’t want to have to spend time on your dog’s coat, the Shih Tzu can look adorable when clipped into a “puppy trim” by a professional groomer. Trimming nails and cleaning ears should be part of the Shih Tzu’s grooming routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is true that Shih Tzu, like other dogs who have hair instead of fur, shed less (a bit every day rather than huge quantities seasonally) and have less dander than most dogs. For this reason they are often classified as “hypo-allergenic.” But no dog is non-allergenic – not even a hairless breed – because a person could be allergic to the saliva or urine of a dog as well as the dander/fur.  If you have allergy concerns please visit the store and spend some time with our Shih Tzu puppies and see how you feel.  Most people with dog allergies will not be impacted by a Shih Tzu.

The Shih Tzu is known to be especially affectionate with children.  It is important that children are supervised when they interact with a small breed puppy like a Shih Tzu.  You will be doing a dual training process of teaching the puppy manners while you are also teaching the children how to safely play with and interact with the puppy.

A Shih Tzu snorts and snores because of its short snout.

Training a Shih Tzu can be both an amusing and a frustrating experience. The breed tends to charm his owner into letting him have his own way, which can result in a chubby, less-than-completely-housebroken pet who is difficult to groom. Because Shih Tzu are such people dogs, training methods based on praise and rewards work best. Harsh corrections should not be used with this breed. Introduce desired new behaviors a bit at a time, be firm, and never give in while the dog is misbehaving. If he nips or jumps up on you, ignore him until he settles down, then praise him. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the Shih Tzu grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. When enrolling in a puppy class, be sure that the training methods used in the class are based on positive reinforcement.

Shih Tzus are pet-friendly and very accommodating of other pets.

Shih Tzu have long, straight, non shedding hair.  The non shedding nature of the breed’s coat means that owners should pick a length that makes sense for the amount of brushing they wish to perform.  Coats that are kept in a longer, show-style cut need to be brushed and combed daily to avoid knots and tangles. To protect the Shih Tzu’s eyes from being irritated, the hair on the top of the head should be trimmed short or tied up into a topknot.  Coats that are kept short in a “puppy cut” require less daily care but the coat must be trimmed more often to maintain this lower maintenance look.

Trimming nails and cleaning ears should be part of the Shih Tzu’s grooming routine.

Shih Tzu puppies are small and should be fed several times per day to ensure their calorie needs are met.  As they mature Shih Tzus will eat between 2/3 and 1 cup of dry food per day.

Due to their brachycephalic (flat snout) features, Shih Tzus will have minor difficulty breathing in poorly-ventilated environments.  These dogs should not be exposed to extreme heat or cold.

The Shih Tzu has a lifespan of ten to eighteen years.

Shih Tzus weigh 9 to 16 pounds 


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