The Shih Tzu is a small mix-breed between the Chinese Lhasa Apso and Pekingese dog breeds. It has a history of royalty and loyalty. It was a favorite of the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi of Tibet. In 1861, they were bred to be the ideal companions that were alert and eager to please. However, after the death of the Empress, these pets lost their appeal, and many were killed by the new regime.
In the early 1930s, they were imported to England, Scandinavia, America, and Canada. They were pampered by the Empress. Hence, they were the center of attention everywhere. They are sturdy and good apartment pets.
Shih Tzu belongs to the Toy and Herding group of dog breeds. They are small, compact, and lively. They stand up to 11 inches at the shoulders and weigh about 9 to 16 pounds.
They bark constantly on seeing a stranger, thus, making them excellent watchdogs. They are also very friendly and sociable, and can be kept along with other pets. They are good family dogs and are not suitable for very young children. They cannot tolerate teasing and mishandling.
Shih Tzu puppies can be found in various colors and color combinations, such as, black, gray and white, red and white, black and white, pure gold, etc. The ones with a white tip on the tail are highly prized varieties.
You need to take good care of its long coat, as it gets matted easily. You need to brush it regularly to avoid the tangles and mats. Firstly, hold your pet on its side in a comfortable area. Spray the coat with a detangling conditioner.
Now, brush it gently in long smooth strokes. You should start from the underside and work upwards towards the back. Remove all the knots with your fingers; you need to be patient for this work. Do not rip through them as this might hurt your dog.
After working on its side areas, start brushing the stomach area. Remove the knots from the armpits with your finger. If they are difficult to remove, you may clip them off, or you can visit a professional groomer for help. Once you finish this part, run a metal comb through its coat. Make sure all the knots are removed and then use a slicker brush.
If you have decided to keep the coat long, then you should gather up all the hair around the eyes, and tie it with a rubber band at the top of its head. Part the hair with a rat tail comb, from the eye corner and towards the ears. Then move across the head to the opposite side. Tie a knot with a rubber band; neither too tight, nor too loose.
Carefully and slowly, comb the dog's face. Brush away the hair from the eyes, and comb only his mustache and beard. Make sure you give him his favorite treat after the grooming session for his good and patient behavior.
Caring for puppies of the Shih Tzu breed is very easy. They need a lot of attention and time from their owner, or else they get depressed. They also need proper training.
You need to teach them firm commands like 'no', 'stop that', etc. It has been observed that they respond faster to the sound of 'ee'. Therefore, make sure you choose something with 'e' for their name. Their digestive system is not fully developed and they cannot get used to an abrupt change in diet. Make sure you inquire about the dog food which they eat, before you bring them home. You should provide clean water at all times to keep them hydrated. Brush their coats daily as it may get tangled, causing hot spots and irritation to their soft and sensitive skin. You should clean their face every day with a damp cloth, and also remove any food particles around the mouth. Remove any residue around the eyes as they are prone to infections.
You should give them a bath every 4 to 6 weeks. Use a shampoo for long hair, and rinse it out completely to avoid skin problems. Clip its toe nails every month. You should visit a professional groomer every 2 to 6 months for all the above activities. Take your puppies to a veterinarian regularly to avoid health problems. Make sure you give the required vaccines to avoid illnesses.
You should take your pet outdoors for exercise for at least 15 minutes every day. They are likely to suffer from some hereditary diseases of the ear, eyes, and respiratory problems. Hence, regular vet check-ups should be maintained.
The Shih Tzu is an intelligent and stubborn dog, and it needs an owner who is firm with obedience rules. With persistent, consistent, and gentle training, they learn all the tricks of the trade easily. They are an excellent choice for a first-time pet owner, and a best companion for those who wish to share love and affection.