Sweet and tiny Shih Tzu puppies make wonderful pets.
They are small and do not require a lot of exercise; making them suitable for almost any home. The Shih Tzu is a member of the toy group. Unlike a working breed, Shih Tzu dogs were not bred for a specific job, but rather are simply meant to be companions.
Before adding any pet to your life, it is important to educate yourself about the breed. What follows are some Shih Tzu facts to help you decide if the Shih Tzu is right for you.
Shih Tzu History
The name Shih Tzu means “lion”. It is believed that the Shih Tzu breed came about as the result of breeding between Tibetan “lion dogs” and Pugs and Pekingese in China during the Qing dynasty. After hundreds of years of breeding by rulers in China, the breed eventually became extinct in China. The breed as it is known today can be traced back to just seven males and seven females bred in Europe, including Pekingese dogs and Shih Tzus from China.
These little dogs eventually reached the United States in the 1900’s when military personnel began bringing Shih Tzu dogs home with them. In 1969, after years of breeding and work by Shih Tzu lovers and Shih Tzu clubs, the breed was recognized by the AKC, and AKC standards were established.
Shih Tzu Standards and Characteristics
The Shih Tzu is a small dog that belongs to the toy group. According to AKC standards, the Shih Tzu should range in height from eight to eleven inches tall and weigh between nine and sixteen pounds. All colors are permissible for AKC registered Shih Tzu puppies and the coat should be a long, double layer coat. Although this is a small dog, AKC standards state that Shih Tzu should be a solid dog of good weight. AKC standards also state that the dog should be lively and have a good personality.
Shih Tzu Personality, Temperament and Behavior
The Shih Tzu became popular because it is friendly, lively and makes a great house pet. The Shih Tzu is playful and fun and will love to play with you or any children in your home. But unlike a more active breed such as a Boxer or a Golden Retriever; if you do not have time to play or walk your dog on a particular day, your dog will be fine with that, too.
The Shih Tzu personality traits of being friendly, easy going and loving towards people make them a great candidate for family dogs; but potential owners with very young children are cautioned to be very careful should they choose to bring Shih Tzu puppy home. This is more for the safety and well being of the dog than anything else. Shih Tzu pups are very small and somewhat fragile, and it would not take much for an excited young child to accidentally hurt the puppy.
If an unsupervised young child plays too rough with or scares a young Shih Tzu puppy, these early experiences can have a lasting effect on the dog’s temperament; potentially creating a fearful and aggressive puppy. Parents of young children should absolutely consider this great little dog as a pet for their family, but children should always be supervised around a puppy to ensure the safety of the child and the puppy.
Finding Suitable Shih Tzu Pups
If you have decided this is the breed for you, you are ready to being meeting Shih Tzu puppies. You might look at a local animal shelter, a Shih Tzu breed rescue or a reputable breeder. If you have any friends with Shih Tzus, begin by asking them for referrals to good breeders or rescues.
In order to end up with a puppy with the best health and temperament, it is important to carefully select a breeder with AKC registered Shih Tzu puppies to purchase your puppy from. Responsible breeders will only breed Shih Tzus with sound health and temperaments. After you have found the perfect puppy, it is time to begin preparing your home for the arrival of an adorable puppy.
Bringing Your Shih Tzu Home
Many times after meeting your Shih Tzu puppy there is a waiting period before he or she is ready to leave mom and come home with you. Similar to the way one must prepare a home for a baby by baby proofing, new dog owners must puppy proof their home.
Be sure you have removed anything from the puppy’s environment they could potentially chew on and provide appropriate chew toys. A crate is a must for containing your Shih Tzu puppy and keeping him or her safe when you can’t be home. Be prepared with both the time and money to bring your new puppy to the veterinarian for all necessary vaccinations and examinations. Also plan to spend time training your puppy.
Shih Tzu lovers warn that the cute and playful nature of Shih Tzu pups can make it hard to be firm in training, but be consistent and your home and your dog will thank you for it. Although the Shih Tzu is low maintenance in terms of exercise needs, this breed does require a fair amount of grooming. Daily brushing of that long flowing hair is recommended to avoid painful and unsightly matting.
Take advantage of this daily contact by checking your dog for fleas or ticks to help keep him or her healthy and comfortable. Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a large home with a yard, Shih Tzu dogs might be the perfect pet for you. If you have the time, love and financial resources to care for a dog, a Shih Tzu puppy will add love, affection and fun to your life. So if you have taken the time to do your homework, now is the time for fun.
Enjoy meeting tiny, adorable Shih Tzu puppies!