Breed Type: Toy
Country of Origin: Tibet / China
Other Names: Chinese Lion Dog – Chrysanthemum Dog
Size: Small
Males: Weight 4-8 kg Height 20-28cm
Females: Weight 3.75 -7 kg Height 20-28cm
Best suited as: Family Pet
Exercsie Requirements: Minimal
Grooming Requirements: High – Long coat that need daily brushing and regular trimming
Lifespan: Average 15+ Years

With their expressive faces and funloving, alert up for anything natures has ensured the Shih-Tzu has quickly established itself as one of the world’s most popular breeds of dog.

a toy breed, they stand a little under 30 cm tall on average weight can vary between 4 to 8 kg. The toy in size, they are remarkably sturdy with a body slightly longer than tall to have around, broad head with wide set eyes which keep them are somewhat plush toy appearance. They have a short square muzzle with less than two a half centimetres from those tipped to their defined stock. The teeth meet in a level or sometimes in under bite to have large low set pendant years which hang down and are well covered in their soft silky hair. The Withers and shoulders are equal in height on the back is straight. A small dog to have muscular and straight legs. Tail is high set and carried over the back. The coat continually grows training show dog is is left naturally flowing to the ground over the dog though most often when they are kept as a pet fur is trimmed more closely. Commonly the hair above their highs is tied in a topknot. Both males and females have a generous and profuse beard and moustache. The coat can come in almost any colour.

Shih Tzu is Mandarin for lion. It is possible to Shih Tzu won its name from its generous lionlike facial hair and main or perhaps it is attributed to its somewhat “ferocious” demeanour. They will often greet strangers or newcomers with ferocious barking and instilling fear a level that only a dog of 28 cm in height can instill. They are probably the result of a crossbreeding between the Lhasa Apso and perhaps the Pekinese dog breeds. Both the Shih Tzu and the last Lhasa Apso were kept by realty in China for over 1000 years and both breeds were prided for their regal temperaments and appearances but more importantly the qualities as a watchdog alerting the Royal owners to anything amiss.

The Communist revolution in China saw the destruction of many of the symbols of opulence and oppression linked to the former ruling classes and many of these royal dogs were killed during this period. The breed seemed destined for extinction at one point the entire Tibetan population had diminished to only 14 dogs. Rather than invigorate the breed by crossbreeding with other breeds these 14 dogs were used to rebuild the breed and indeed every Shih Tzu today traces its heritage back to these 14 dogs.

This just prior to world War two the dogs were imported into England’s where a small breeding program began.  At the conclusion of World War II to go out exported to the US in 1954 they made their way to Australia. Their suitability as a pet has seen them explode in popularity.

Care / Grooming
if you intend to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat is naturally long flowing appearance you are in for a great deal of work. It will require constant brushing and grooming. If you intend to keep your Shih Tzu as a family pets its recommend that the coat be clipped short. This is especially so in areas where paralysis ticks are found as any dog with a long coat that trails on the ground is more susceptible to picking up ticks and in such small dog paralysis tick can be fatal quickly.

Whether the fur is Short or long it will look better with regular bathing, say at least once a week. Always use a pet approve shampoo as their further is like hair and will tend to get overly orderly is strong detergents are used to clean it. Sure your clean around their eyes and moustache carefully when bathing your Shih Tzu.

for a dog breed whose numbers came so perilously close to 0 and were then built up with no infusion of foreign dog genetics they are remarkably healthy breed. They are not without any known health problems, like luxatting patellas are somewhat more common than in other breeds and they are a breed that is noted to suffer from entropion – a condition which causes malformation of the eyelids but the eyelashes rubbing against the eyelids causing irritation infection and sometimes blindness.

As with many of the smaller breeds they tend to be very long-lived with 15 years quite normal in several years longer than this is far from rare.

As with all of the popular breeds they have been puppy mills and crossbred to create designer dogs. These dogs should be avoided as the breeders of such dogs at profit rather than the well-being of the puppy closest to their heart.

Temperament and Suitability as a Pet
They are small and fun loving, not fragile or timid. Though are equally at home lying resplendent on their masters lap as playing a gentle game of wrestling with the family children and some soft toys. They are generally good with other pets and unlike the small terriers that do not have much hunting instinct so they are especially suitable in a home that has other small animals such as rabbits.

Though very expressive and will certainly no when they are unhappy about something in their environment. They can be very sensitive and easily offended. They can be trained to do so using a wagon load of carrots and no sticks at all. They require little exercise and thus suited to apartment living.

They are wonderful little dogs and faithful companions.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.