Shih Tzu 101

History of the Shih Tzu

  • Shih Tzu’s have a long history that dates all the way back to 2,000 years ago. The name Shih Tzu means something similar to ‘Little Lion’ in Mandarin. These little lions are said to have been initially bred in Tibet and are related to both the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese. Chinese emperors would receive them as gifts to be companions and lapdogs.
  • Some historians believe that not only were they companions dogs, but they also served as security in the palace. While large dogs were placed outside to patrol the exterior, Shih Tzu’s would remain inside to serve as a secondary warning system.
  • Tzu His, the Chinese Dowager empress, was a very big fan of these dogs. She would breed them and pay close attention to their bloodlines and coloring. Because of her taken interest in the breed and social standing, Shih Tzu’s were considered a Chinese breed rather than a Tibetan breed.
  • Today, Shih Tzu’s remain one of the most popular toy dog breeds in the world!

What is the Average Size of a Shih Tzu?

  • The Shih Tzu is considered a toy dog breed, which makes it the perfect dog for those looking for a smaller dog to bring into their home.
  • Both male and female fully grown Shih Tzu’s stand at roughly 10 inches and their weight can vary from 8 to 16 pounds.

Shih Tzu Temperament

  • Shih Tzu’s are very happy, friendly dogs. They love to be around their family and are mostly very good with other animals. They are also good with children, so long as the children are taught to handle them gently with care.
  • Puppies can weigh less than a pound, in which case children must be taught to handle them gently.
  • A possible downside to this breed is their stubbornness, which can create conflict when working on training. If you have patience, time, commitment, and love, you will be able to work through those moments of struggle and both you and your Shih Tzu will benefit.
  • They are not known to be aggressive but will be there to alert you of danger when necessary.
  • Past puppyhood, this breed is not known to be extremely playful. So long as they can participate in car rides and strolls around the neighborhood, they will be happy and content.

Shih Tzu Training

  • Shih Tzu’s need early socialization and training.
  • They do not respond well to harsh training methods and do much better with consistent, reward-based training. They also respond very well to praise.
  • If they are shouted at or treated unfairly, they can become very difficult.
  • Because Shih Tzu’s can be stubborn and sometimes manipulative, it can sometimes lead to them becoming spoiled adult dogs if not trained properly from puppyhood.

Shih Tzu Grooming

  • This breed needs a LOT of grooming and maintenance. Their long hair requires regular brushing.
  • Facial hair needs daily brushing due to its length, and the eyes should be regularly wiped. Additionally, the ears need cleaning out regularly as well as teeth brushing.
  • Bathing them once a week is suggested, and an oil coat may be applied if you like. Oiling is a lifetime commitment, however, because stopping the treatment can cause mats and hair breakage. The positive to oiling their coat is an improved appearance and softness, especially for show dogs.

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