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Breed Profile | Shih Tzu

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The Shih Tzu

These adorable ‘little lions’ are great for companionship because of their love for people. They may be tiny in size, but are big on personality, wanting nothing more than to be your best friend. These plucky dogs will most certainly follow their pet parents from room to room. The Shih Tzu are well known for being affectionate house dogs with a lively but sweet-tempered nature.

History

Shih Tzu’s originated from Tibet. These little dogs were originally bred to look like a tiny lion, and are closely associated with Buddhist mythology. The Shih Tzu served as companions and watchdogs to the monks. Shrouded by myths, these happy, entertaining dogs considered incarnations of mischievous household gods. Others have through they carried the souls of monks who had not yet achieved nirvana.

 

Care and Characteristics

Whatever you do, a Shih Tzu is willing to be there with you, he’s up for anything and isn’t demanding. They are very playful and, on occasion, a little mischievous. It’s advised to start training your  puppy the day you bring them home. But beware, if your Shih Tzu gets bored , they can develop habits such as barking, chewing and other undesirable behaviors.

Characteristics

  • Small Sturdy body
  • Short Muzzle
  • Large dark eyes
  • Droopy furry ears
  • Fluffy curly tail
  • Coat of any colour

It’s advised to comb their mustache and topknot daily and bathe as often as you like, but ensuring you comb out any tangles beforehand. A puppy will have enough hair for a topknot when they are about 5 months old.

 

Health Issues

Shih Tzu’s are generally healthy, but like all breeds of dogs, they are prone to certain conditions and diseases:

The Shih Tzu’s short face and big eyes mean that several different eye problems can develop including:

  • Infection
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Cataracts in older dogs
  • Entropion: When one or both of the eyelids turn inwards, causing the eyelashes to irritate the eye
  • Epiphoria: Referred to as “wet eye” or an overflow of tears or excessive tearing
  • Some dogs have allergies which causes excess discharge around the eye

Breathing problems may develop due to the Shih Tzu’s short face. Because of this, they are more susceptible to heatstroke in the summer and may suffer from reverse sneezing, snorting and labored breathing.

Other conditions include:

  • Ear infections
  • Hypoallergenic and can suffer various allergies
  • Hypothyroidism – A thyroid issue resulting in hair loss, weight gain, muscle loss and lethargy
  • Back problems including including vertebral disc disease

Shih TzuBreed Profile: Shih Tzu

Dog Breed Group: Toy

Height: Male 20-28cm – Female 20-28 cm

Weight: Male 4–7.2 kg – Female 4–7.2 kg

Life Span: 10-16 years

Exercise: A short walk daily

Colour: Various shades of gold, white, brown, and black.

 Breed Traits:

Playful | Lively | Affectionate |Loyal | Independent | Friendly |Clever |Happy

Avoid expensive vet bills if your Shih Tzu encounters any health issues and get them insures from puppyhood. Compare our dog insurance to find the best policy to suit your dog and family, and ensure your dog is covered for illness and accidents.

By Jennifer Nash

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