In the Chinese pronunciation the "ds" is pronounced the same as the "ds" at the end of the word "words." It is
Chinese Mandarin, and translates directly to "lion." That is where the term "lion dog" comes from. The moniker
"chrysanthemum dog" and "sheet-sue" are common in America, but are both inaccurate American renditions of the
The Shih Tzu is a small, sturdy dog with a body that is slightly longer than it is tall. The head is round and broad,
and wide between the eyes. The square muzzle is short, with an inch or less from the tip of the nose to the defined
stop. The nose is broad, with well-open nostrils. Nose, lips and eye rims are liver on liver colored dogs, blue on blue
dogs and black on all other colors. The teeth meet in a level or under bite. The large, round eyes are dark in color,
but lighter on blue and liver dogs. The large, pendant, low-set ears hang down and are covered in abundant hair.
The back is level. The muscular legs are straight and well-boned. The high-set tail is carried over the back and is
covered in abundant hair. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The double coat is dense and long, flowing down over
the dog. The hair above the eyes is often tied in a topknot. There is a profuse beard and mustache and the hair on
the muzzle is short. Coat comes in all colors.
The Shih Tzu is an alert, lively, little dog. It is happy and hardy, and packed with character. The gentle, loyal Shih
Tzu makes friends easily and responds well to consistent, patient training. It makes a very alert watchdog. It is
courageous and clever. Playful and spunky, this affectionate little dog likes to be with people and is generally good
with other pets. Some can be difficult to housebreak. The Shih Tzu needs all of the humans in the house to be pack
leaders, with the rules of the house made consistently clear. Owners who allow their dogs to take over may find
them to be snappish if they are surprised or peeved. Because of this dog’s small size and its adorable face, it
commonly develops Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors where the dog believes he is the boss of
humans. This causes a varying degree of behavioral issues, such as, but not limited to separation anxiety, guarding,
growling, snapping, and even biting. These dogs may become untrustworthy with children and sometimes adults, as
they try and tell the humans what THEY want THEM to do. They will be obstinate as they take their stand and
defend their top position in the pack. They may bark obsessively as they try and TELL you what they want. These
behaviors are NOT Shih Tzu traits, but rather behaviors brought on by the way they are treated by people around
them. Give this dog rules and limits as to what it is and is not allowed to do. Be its firm, stable, consistent pack
leader. Take it for daily pack walks to burn mental and physical energy. Its temperament will improve for the
better, and you will bring out the sweet, trustworthy dog in it.
Height: Up to 11 inches (28 cm)
Weight: 9 - 16 pounds (4 - 7 kg)
Prone to slipped stifle and spinal disc disease caused by a long back and short legs. Also ear infections, eye
problems such as cherry eye and early tooth loss. Tends to wheeze and snore and can have respiratory problems.
These dogs gain weight easily and should not be overfed.
The Shih Tzu is good for apartment life. These dogs are fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard. This
breed is sensitive to the heat.
The Shih Tzu needs a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of its exercise needs, however, as with all breeds, play
will not fulfill its primal instinct to walk. Dogs that do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display
behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe, open area off lead, such as a large, fenced-in yard.
Do not overfeed this breed or it will quickly become fat.
About 15 years or more
These little dogs require a good daily grooming using a bristle brush. When kept in a long coat a topknot is usually
tied to keep the hair out of the dog's eyes. Some owners prefer to have them trimmed to make the coat easier
and less time-consuming to care for. Keep the ear passages and area around the eyes clean. Shih Tzus have
sensitive eyes that need to be kept clean. There are special drops you can buy to put in them if needed. Ask your
vet what to use on your dog. This breed sheds little to no hair and is good for allergy sufferers if its coat is kept
very well groomed, due to the fact that they shed little skin dander.
Sixteenth century documents and paintings show dogs resembling the Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu is said to have
descended from crossing the Lhasa Apso or Tibetan mountain dog and Pekingese, in the city of Peking in the 17th
century. The dogs were favorites of the Chinese royals and were so prized that for years the Chinese refused to
sell, trade, or give away any of the dogs. It was not until the 1930s that the first pair was imported to England,
when it was discovered by English soldiers during World War II. The Shih Tzu was recognized in Britain in 1946.
The AKC recognized the breed in 1969.
|"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and
not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too."
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