In my many years of grooming and caring for peoples wonderful dogs I have yet to see a breed who is more full of personality than the Shih-tzu. Shih-tzu's are top on my list of great companion dogs. If you are looking for lots of company this is your kind of dog. They are energetic & playful. They are very vocal & Shih-Tzu's have no problem actually telling you when they want something or when they don't want something. They do this by mumbling grumbling & barking. It is almost as if they are talking to you or yelling at you for that matter. Luckily their bark is not very ear piercing. Although, their bark is by far louder than their bite.
In fact I have found it very rare to have a biting Shih-Tzu. Shih-tzu's are very intelligent & I have known many to outsmart their owners in the department of becoming very spoiled. If you allow them to do something once you should expect it to become routine. They will demand it !! They are like precious little babies & have a very easy time getting things over on their mommies & daddies. Because they are much like children, a well taught Shih-Tzu is very well behaved, eager to please and oh so full of personality. They are just so sweet.
The Shih-Tzu's History
The Shih-tzu may have existed as early as the sixth century. Many believe this because of paintings that were found of dogs that looked like small lions. It is believed over the years that the Shih-Tzu has been a favorite of royalty, being palace dogs. Around the mid 17th century there were dogs brought from Tibet to the Chinese court. These dogs were bred in the forbidden city of Peking. In 1930 the smallest of these Tibetan holy dogs were brought to England. The result is what we know today as our loving Shih-Tzu, meaning lion.
The Shih-Tzu's Appearance
Shih-Tzu's are part of the toy group of dogs. Ideally, a Shih-Tzu's height should be 9 to 10 1/2 inches. The weight of your full grown Shih-Tzu should range anywhere from 9 to 16 pounds. A good quality shih-tzu should have legs well proportioned to its body, not to long or not to short and its tail should curl over its body. They come in a large variety of different colors and are usually multi-colored. Although if you are not looking to show your Shih-Tzu, I have met many very nice Shih-Tzu's who are not to standard.
A Shih-Tzu's grooming needs are unquestionably very demanding. A well bred Shih-Tzu will have an extremely thick coat & if kept long it will matt very easily so it is necessarily to properly brush a Shih-Tzu daily. Not to mention, Shih-tzu's are known for their pug type nose. This brings the nose eyes and mouth together in one small very hairy area. If you do not keep this area clean from tearing, nose droppings and drool it can become a smelly, crusty mess.
On top of daily maintenance, most Shih-Tzu owners find it very convenient to develop a relationship with a good dog groomer to help them maintain their Shih-Tzu's coat, nails & ears. Your Shih-Tzu will need to visit a groomer regularly. Most people get their Shih-Tzu's to the groomer every week to eight weeks depending on the length they keep their coats. Some people find it more convenient to keep their Shih-Tzu's cut short. Either way they are as adorable & as sweet as can be.
By Rose Lenk
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