Shih tzus have a regal history. These little dogs originated from China and were bred for companionship. In ancient times, eunuchs reared shih tzus to be part of the royal court. Back then, only those of royal blood were permitted to have a shih tzu. They were rarely seen outside of the palace. Apart from being a beloved pet, members of the royal family also used shih tzus as foot warmers. In modern times, the shih tzu now finds itself among the top 20 most popular toy dog breeds for pet owners in the world.
Shih tzus are easily recognizable. Being a toy dog breed, they grow only roughly 9-11 inches in height and 9-16 pounds in weight. These dogs often have flat facial features and wide, shiny eyes. A distinctive feature for dogs of this breed is their underbite, which, although varying in prominence, can be seen in mostl shih tzus. They are known for having a long, silky coat and often come in shades of black, brown, white, and gray.
Their name might translate to “little lion”, but these pooches are extremely lovable and affectionate towards their humans. They love nothing more than to be petted and pampered. They enjoy playtime, being cuddled, and are content with spending an entire afternoon on their human’s lap. Shih tzus are prone to stubbornness, so it would be better for them to get housebroken at a young age. They are family-friendly and are extremely loyal to their humans. Because they are used to staying indoors, they make great household pets- especially for people who don’t have the luxury of space in their homes.
Health and Care
These dogs make amazing house pets but also need patience and understanding. It can take a while for them to get trained and while they can play rough, they turn irritable if it becomes too much for them. Because their coats also tend to grow thick and long, shih tzus are finicky about the heat. It would be best to keep them in cool places and only walk them when it is not too hot out. Their coats also need to be brushed daily in order to avoid tangles. For those with allergies, a shih tzu would make a fine pet as they are considered to be hypoallergenic.
Some of the common health issues are hypothyroidism, cataracts, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and breathing problems. All of these could be monitored and controlled with frequent check-ups and trips to the vet.