The extraordinary beauty of shih tzu, though dedicated and faithful, resembles a little cat walking its own paths and decides when it wants confidentiality. This is a small, elegant companion dog with a short muzzle and impressive, long, requiring regular hair care.
Shih tzu has a moderate temperament, is balanced and distinguished. His cheerful disposition will put everyone in a good mood. He likes to sleep, so when he is alone at home he will not be bored and destroy things. This does not mean, however, that it can be condemned to loneliness – like any dog needs close contact with the owner.
Although shih tzu is devoted and faithful, he does not completely submit to the will of man. It’s a bit like a cat walking its own path. He likes to sit on his lap, likes to be petted and cuddled, but usually decides for himself when it is time to caress. Let’s not be fooled by his small stature and let us not succumb to everything because he will quickly wrap us around his finger.
As a gentle dog, friendly to people and always willing to play, he is a great companion for an older child. However, it must be protected against the softness of toddlers who are several years old.
The representative of this breed does not cause conflicts, gets along well with kinsmen and other domestic animals. Can share a flat with a quiet dog, cat or rabbit.
He can adapt to all conditions. Suitable for both a house with a garden and a studio apartment. He likes movement and playing outdoors, but does not require intensive walks. He can also use energy when he runs in an apartment.
From the beginning, shih tzu was decorative companion dogs and they still play this role today. They can be taught basic obedience and many tricks. Although the breed was not created for sports, some individuals do quite well on the agility track.
Training and education
Shih tzu is intelligent but independent, so it’s a good practice to teach a little puppy how to breed well. You have to show firmness and patience, because these little dogs can be stubborn. You cannot use physical coercion during training. Only praise and delicacies will encourage your pet to learn.
The correct socialization of the toddler is important. Up to the 12th week of life, you need to provide him with as many stimuli as possible – he should visit new places, meet strangers, children of all ages, dogs and other pets. During this time, the pooch also acquires anxiety reflexes, so be careful not to get scared. If this happens, we do not caress or comfort him, but we ignore the situation.
Teaching cleanliness takes some time and requires a lot of commitment from the owner – a puppy needs to be taken outside every time he wakes up, eats or drinks a lot of water. Up to 6.-8. months dogs of this breed should not walk up the stairs so that they do not strain the joints and the spine.
Do not put metal clips on them (they cut the hair), and puppies should not wear frog type clips (risk of injury or swallowing). To avoid other hazards, you need to properly secure the balcony and terrace and seal the fence. We must also prevent the dog from accessing poisonous plants at home and in the garden.
Who is this race for?
Shih tzu is suitable for families with children as well as for older people. It easily adapts to different living conditions, does not require much experience in raising dogs or too much movement. The future owner, however, must remember about the time-consuming and systematic care of the pet.
Advantages and disadvantages
requires systematic and thorough care
sensitive to heat
very attached to the owner
calm and balanced
an excellent friend for older children
gentle to people
gets along well with dogs and other animals
Shih tzu generally enjoys good health, is immune and long-lived. The most common ailments are skin allergies and narrowing of the tear ducts, which causes constant watery eyes and brown patches. Large, fairly convex eyes can be susceptible to injury, so you must remember to tie your hair in a ponytail so that they do not restrict the dog’s field of vision and do not irritate the eyeballs.
The breed has a tendency to slip out of the disk and dislocate the knee patella. The weaker side of shih tzu is also teeth. It happens that dogs a few years old have large cavities, so you should take care of hygiene and systematically remove scale deposits. In newborn pups, a cleft palate occurs, and in older ones – persistent milk teeth, which should be removed in a timely manner so as not to lead to malocclusion.
Shih tzu is medium weather resistant. Due to the shortened muzzle, it does not tolerate high temperatures well and is exposed to heat strokes. Therefore, in hot weather, you must provide him with a shaded and airy place to rest and cool water to drink. You should also limit walks in the middle of the day and reduce their intensity. On the other hand, these dogs tolerate low temperatures quite well, if they are not cut too short (in which case you have to put on clothes).
Shih tzu has a tendency to gain weight, which is why the amount of food you need to strictly control and refrain from giving treats between meals. The most convenient is to use dry, well-balanced feeds from reputable companies. This way of eating also makes it easier to care for, because while eating mustache and beard are not dirty. It is necessary to remember that the dog always has constant access to water, which for hygienic reasons can be given in a drinker for large rodents instead of in a bowl.
If we decide to prepare meals ourselves, we must supplement them with appropriate mineral and vitamin preparations. After eating, you need to wash and dry the hair in the mouth.
Good quality dry food for puppies up to about three months of age should be soaked and set aside for several minutes to swell before eating. We feed the little ones first four and then three times a day. The daily portion intended for an adult dog can be divided into two smaller ones or left at one meal.
Shih tzu exchanges puppy hair for an adult around eight months old. This is the only time he molts, but his long coat always requires systematic care. If we use cosmetics of good companies, it is enough to comb the dog daily with a wooden brush with metal wires, and comb the individual strands of hair from the roots to the ends thoroughly with a metal comb two to three times a week. During the hair change period, you have to do it every day, because smelt will form.
Before treatment, spray the coat with a preparation that facilitates combing or a heavily diluted conditioner. Do not use powder brushes because they damage silky hair.
Every day you need to tie a ponytail on your head and wash your eyes with a cotton swab moistened with boiled water. A few times a week you should brush your pet’s teeth with a paste intended for dogs. Every two weeks, we carefully cut the hair between the tips, under the tail and in the intimate area, trim the nails and pluck hair growing inside the ear.
We bathe shih tzu with long hair every week (cut as needed) in shampoos from reputable companies for long-haired dogs with a dense undercoat. Do not use cosmetics for people, because they can cause skin irritation. Dogs that do not go to exhibitions can be groomed regularly, exhibitions must wear curlers every day.
For walks in the rain or snow, long-haired dogs have to wear orthotic clothes with long sleeves and legs. Short-cut quadrupeds can wear fleece cups that protect them from the cold. We should also remember to always dry a wet dog, otherwise, the fur will be tangled.
Preparation of a shih tzu for an exhibition involves regular care from a puppy, because only then will the coat be of the right quality. Apply a special oil between the baths, and then secure the strands of hair with paper or foil curlers, which must be changed every two days.
The day before the show we have to bathe the animal twice in a suitable shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Then apply the conditioner, which after a few minutes gently rinse. We press out the hair (do not wipe it) with a towel and dry it with a dryer, combine them with a brush. We tie a pony on our head, make a parting on the back along the spine and perform basic care procedures. Do not use oil before the exhibition, because the coat will be greasy.
Shih tzu is presented on a thin ring adapted to the coat, possibly contrasting, e.g. matched to the color of the bow or the owner’s outfit. From a puppy you have to teach a dog how to behave in the ring.
Shih tzu is not absolutely obedient, so they should always be under control when walking. It’s best to take them out in braces or rounded collars (you need to take them off at home so that they do not tangle the fur) and on a long leash.
An important element of raising a puppy is a play, which not only stimulates his mental and physical development, but also strengthens the bond with the owner. Shih tzu will take care of cat toys, balls or squeaking mascots. They must be large enough so that the dog does not swallow them. It is also worth getting your pet used to the transport cage.
The origin of shih tzu is shrouded in mystery. One account says that this breed was founded 2000 years ago in a valley that was separated from the rest of the world by a powerful earthquake. For centuries, two types of quadrupeds were bred in Tibet: large mastiff type dogs used for protection and guarding, and small long-haired dogs whose task was to make time pleasant for man. The latter were kept in monasteries, where they accompanied the monks during meditation – they moved prayer mills and deter evil spirits.
According to legend, shih tzu was a symbol and companion of the Buddha on his journey through the world. At the moment of danger, this inconspicuous little dog transformed into a mighty lion. His images in a special harness appear in numerous sculptures and paintings from the Far East.
The history of shih tzu probably began in 17th-century China, although these quadrupeds may have appeared at the court in Beijing much earlier. In 1644, the emperor of the Qing dynasty (also called the Manchurian dynasty) ascended the throne, who soon received a gift of several temple dogs from the Dalai Lama. They were supposedly crossed with Pekingese, thanks to which they gained a look similar to the modern one.
The peak of worship and popularity of the breed in China falls in the first half of the 19th century. Small dogs were most valued at that time, which easily fit into the wide sleeves of their robes. Apparently, to achieve this, they even went so far as to keep quadrupeds in cramped cages.
Only during the reign of Empress Tzu Hsi began to breed more professional breeding. The dogs were drawn on tablets, which also recorded the history of their lives. The animals had a staff of servants at their disposal, but the choice of breeding pairs was decided by the empress, to whom we owe today’s shih tzu appearance and name. When she died, in 1908 her son Pu-Yi took over. The breed was still bred, but the mating was unfortunately rather accidental than well-thought-out.
In 1934, shih tzu enthusiasts established the Dog Breeders Association in Beijing and organized several shows modeled on Western exhibitions. Four years later, the Chinese breed standard was established. When the empire collapsed in 1939 and the communists came to power, most of the palace dogs met a tragic fate.
In China, shih tzu was considered sacred – they were treated as a national treasure. Although many of them fell into the hands of Western diplomats living in Beijing, none of the quadrupeds could leave the territory of the Empire, because the Chinese jealously guarded their heritage.
The first shih tzu officially appeared in Europe in the 1930s, when Miss Hutchins, and then Lord and Lady Brownrigg brought several of them from Beijing to Great Britain. In 1935 a shih tzu club was founded in England. Duchess d’Anjou was a great lover and propagator of the breed in France. After World War II, as a result of crossing with lhasa apso, the breed lost its original type.
The breakthrough came in the early 1950s, when the owner of the well-known English breeding Elffan associated her black bitch with a black and white Pekingese.
Shih tzu – group IX FCI, section 5, reference number 208
Country of origin: Tibet ( patronage: Great Britain)
Size: height at the withers about 28 cm; weight 4-8 kg; the type and characteristics of the breed are the most important, therefore the assessment of the dog can not depend on the dimensions
Coat: long and thick, straight or slightly wavy, but not curly; profuse undercoat; it is recommended to tie the head hair in a ponytail
Ointment: acceptable in all colors – uniform or with white markings; the white arrow on the head and the white tip of the tail are highly valued in spotted individuals
Maturity: 2-3 years
Lifespan: 12-16 years
Weather resistance: medium
Shih tzu is extremely popular in the United States – they have been in the top twenty of the most popular breeds for many years according to the AKC (American Kennel Club) data.