If you are planning to adopt a Shih Tzu and want to know more about this dog breed, then you have clicked on the right article. In this article, you will discover more information about this little furry friend.
What you should know about the Shih Tzu dog breed
The name Shih Tzu means “little lion”; however, this does not mean that this dog is as fierce as a lion. They are in fact more of a lover than a hunter, as they are fond of companionship and they are bred to be a companion.
Shih Tzu dogs have a long flowing double coat and are very affectionate towards their owners. They are outgoing, happy, playful and clingy, as they love following their owners wherever they go.
Shih Tzus are a prized and valued dog breed, and they used to be considered as one of the most popular palace pets. In fact, they were part of Chinese royal families for many years.
The Shih Tzu’s general appearance. This toy dog has a round, furry head. Of course, the size depends on how big your Shih Tzu can grow.
When it comes to their facial expression, since they have a long coat all over their body, they always seem to harbor that sweet “puppy eye” expression. Shih Tzus possess a warm and sweet aura around them. They have a pleasant look and a calm expression, which is why every pet owner will find their company very relaxing.
Let us just say, being cute has always been part of every Shih Tzu’s life.
Body size. Shih Tzus are short – they do not usually grow more than 11 inches, but they have slightly longer tails. According to the American Kennel Club, or AKC, Shih Tzus usually weigh 9 to 16 pounds and grow 9 to 10.5 inches.
Life expectancy. Shih Tzus belong to the toy group type of dogs, and their life expectancy is 10 to 18 years.
Characteristics. This little furry friend is not only affectionate towards their owners, but they are also known to be really fond of children. Most families with children choose Shih Tzus as their pet because they are good with kids.
Although I have mentioned that the Shih Tzu dog breed was once a palace pet, this does not mean they cannot be part of a small group or live in tinier spaces as well. They are actually a good choice if you live in an apartment alone or with someone that has no big backyard.
Unlike other dogs that love to run around, make a mess inside the house and bark all the time, the Shih Tzu’s personality could be compared to that of a yoga instructor who loves to teach the art of relaxation. This breed’s idea of fun is way more different compared to other dogs, as they love to just sit on your lap and act adorable while you chill and watch your favorite Netflix show.
How to take care of a Shih Tzu?
Grooming. Since Shih Tzus have long hair, grooming them properly is really important. Regular brushing using a good-quality wire brush with flexible pins is one of the essential procedures that you need to make time for if you have a Shih Tzu or are planning to adopt one. Do not forget to comb their mustache and their topknot every day, too, okay?
Moreover, you should also take note that you need to bathe your furry pal every three or four weeks to keep their coat clean and healthy. Ensure that you also clean the sides of their eyes with a damp cloth.
What else should you keep in mind?
To protect your Shih Tzu’s eyes from being irritated, you should also tie up the hair on the top of their head or have them trimmed. In addition, you need to get their nails cut and ears cleaned. These are the necessary grooming routines you should do to keep them comfy and healthy.
Training. Shih Tzus know how to use their charm whenever you want to teach them something, which can be amusing and frustrating at the same time. They use their cuteness so that you let them get away with anything and do things their own way.
When training a Shih Tzu, never use an angry tone and avoid punishing your dog, because such an attitude will only make things worse. Instead of making them follow your instructions, the angry tone will only cause them stay away from you and be more stubborn. What dog trainers always advise pet owners is to have patience and use a calm tone during training or when they reprimand their furry pals for being naughty.
Since Shih Tzus are people dogs, the training strategy that works well with this dog breed is the praising-and-rewarding technique. Shih Tzus love being loved and enjoy a positive environment, so I advise you to fructify this as part of your strategy. Be patient and kind, maintain a positive attitude and you will reap the rewards.
Exercise. If you are not a big fan of exercise, then you have chosen the right dog breed, because Shih Tzus do not need extreme exercise either. They enjoy short walks, so going out with their owner for a few minutes or playing inside the house is already satisfying for them.
Food. Just like any other dogs, Shih Tzus need proper nutrition in order to grow and stay healthy. Balance their eating habits, as they might gain weight unhealthily. Make sure the diet that your dog is following is appropriate for their age, size, and type.
Remember, although receiving treats makes your dog happy and helps during training, giving too many can cause obesity, so you’d better be careful.
Health. Shih Tzus cannot tolerate heat so well because of their heavy coats. Furthermore, if you are planning to teach them how to swim, you’d better keep in mind that their coat will make them heavier when in the water and might lead to drowning.
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to have your dog checked up by a vet on a regular basis. Although this dog breed is generally healthy, they could still get sick easily given the fact that they have a long, thick coat where bacteria can linger.
Shih Tzu colors
According to Shih Tzu Time, there are different categories of Shih Tzu colors that a pet owner or breeder can choose from – the solid color, the two-color combinations, and the three-color combinations.
Solid Shih Tzu Colors
1. Black – is the most popular type of Shih Tzu color. A Shih Tzu is considered as pure black if it has no other coat color.
2. White – except for the Shih Tzu’s nose, which is black, their coat color should be pure white in order for them to belong to this category.
3. Silver – do not be confused with silver and white, because there is a difference between these two coat colors. Silver should have a certain shine that resembles the precious metal.
4. Brindle – is composed of one color and has streaks of another color that run down.
5. Blue – some of you might think that the blue coat is unusual for a Shih Tzu, because pet owners usually prefer either white or black. This coat color can be seen clearly in natural light. A Shih Tzu dog that has a solid blue coat has a blue nose, too.
6. Gold – a gold Shih Tzu has a yellowish tan look.
7. Red – A red coat does not really look red, but rather like a dark orange.
8. Liver – a Shih Tzu is considered to have a liver color if the points (not the coat itself) of the dog are either brown or liver.
Usually, pet owners would choose a Shih Tzu whose coat has a solid color, but some like to be fashionably unique, so they adopt those that have mixed colors like the following:
Two-color combinations are usually white combined with other solid colors.
- White and black
- White and blue
- White and silver
- White and brindle
- White and liver
- White and red
- White and gold
Three-color combinations are usually the most confusing of all the coat color categories. Inspection is needed to know if the dog has three-color combinations or if there are in fact only two.
- White, gold and black
- White, silver and gold
- White, silver and black
- Gold, black and silver
Different Shih Tzu coat patterns
Surprised? Shih Tzus do not only have different coat colors, but they also have different coat patterns. Shih Tzu owners might already know this information, but for those who are still considering adopting this breed, here are the coat patterns that this dog breed may have.
- Blaze – this is a strip of white hair located between the Shih Tzu’s eyes.
- Collar or Shawl – this is a marking around your Shih Tzu’s neck.
- Saddle – this is a large portion of color that looks like the saddle of a horse and can be seen on the back of a Shih Tzu.
- Tuxedo – this is when a solid-colored Shih Tzu has a white patch of hair on their chin, foot or chest.
- Flare – this is when the blaze of your Shih Tzu widens and meets the top skull.
When you own a Shih Tzu, then feeling like royalty is justifiable, because you own a dog breed that was once a palace pet in China. Although they were initially known as a royal pet, you do not have to worry about the idea that they might act like divas and frustrate you because of their stubbornness.
Shih Tzus are friendly and very affectionate. They prefer to lie with you rather than stroll around and make a mess. This breed is trustworthy and loving, so in return, as a pet owner, you should also show them that you care for them. Always be positive around them and maintain a patient attitude; just like babies, Shih Tzus also cry when they are ignored. Be mindful, attentive, and kind if you are planning to adopt one.