The royal shih tzu its origins and characteristics
The Shih Tzu (pronounced “Sheet-sue”) has a lot of spunk and is a very alert and resilient dog. Like all dogs in the Toy dog group, Shih Tzus have a lot of character and are courageous for their size. Throughout history they were raised as pampered pooches in the Imperial Chinese Court. Bred in the forbidden city of Peking, the Shih Tzu didn’t leave China until the early 20th century when they first appeared in Britain. Today they are a popular breed worldwide.
Shih Tzus are good watchdogs and eagerly alert their owners to the approach of strangers. He does enjoy barking, but rarely does so without reason. He is very clever and responds well to persistent training. Without training the Shih Tzu will become extremely overprotective of their owner and aggressive towards other people.
Children and Shih Tzus get along famously as long as the child understands how to play with the dog. A Shih Tzu will not tolerate teasing young children and will snap at them. The Shih doesn’t mind the presence of other family pets, but his true joy is when he is in the company of his human family.
One of the aspects about Shih Tzus that surprise many owners is the fact that this breed is very active despite his small size. At his tallest, the Shih Tzu only stands 11 inches, and weighs no more than 16 pounds. Nevertheless, although this breed can be really active when it wants to be, they can also be quite lazy and will lie in their favorite spots whenever they have the chance. Therefore, it is important that the Shih Tzu receives the exercise he needs to make sure he doesn’t become overweight.
Due to the fact that Shih Tzus are small dogs and they are relatively inactive indoors, they make fantastic apartment dogs and wonderful dogs for seniors. Furthermore, the Shih Tzu is an ideal dog for anyone who has allergies as his coat does not shed. Of course, the down side to most non shedding dog is the required daily grooming of their coat – the Shih Tzu is no exception.
The Shihs coat is available in almost every color and bi-color combination. If kept long, the coat will need to be brushed a few times a day to keep it free from mats. His eyes will need to be cleaned to discourage the build up of discharge that can lead to eye infections. The owner will also need to make sure the hair on top of the Shih Tzus head is kept tied up and out of the dog’s eyes to avoid aggravating them. The Shih Tzu should have a bath every month, and should be trimmed every few months to keep the desired look.
As with any pet, owning a dog is a huge commitment that must be met for the entire life of a dog. The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu is 15 years or more. Considering he has a decent life expectancy for a canine, it should come as no surprise that this breed does not suffer any major hereditary health defects. Nevertheless, no dog is perfect. The Shih Tzu is still susceptible to illnesses. The health issues that appear to be the most common in the breed include ear, eye, respiratory, back and teeth problems.
The Shih Tzu will bring plenty of joy and happiness to anyone willing to share their life and affection with this regal and loving dog.