The Shih Tzu is a proud toy breed of noble bearing and arrogant carriage whose long, silky, flowing coat, distinctive facial features, top knot, and tail plume over his back assure his unquestionably pure Chinese lineage. He has a compact, sturdy body with short legs, a blunt muzzle, and large ears that are heavily coated. The hair on his head is tied up and a lion-like mane radiates around the face. The Shih Tzu is a hardy, playful, feisty, alert, and very intelligent, little breed. Few dogs are as unconditionally loving to their owners as the Shih Tzu. He loves to be carried around, yet he does not become rotten and obnoxious like some other toy dogs. He is an attractive, curious, and happy dog who loves to be around people and hates to be neglected. He is initially reserved with strangers but warms up to them quickly. He is a little stubborn though not nearly as difficult as the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. Training should be consistent and patient. This is an intelligent breed and can be a good obedient dog if trained properly. Spoiling him could result in a pushy, nippy behavior as well as timidity. Socialization increases his confidence and should start early in puppy hood. The Shih Tzu may be difficult to housebreak and can be a picky eater. He can suffer from respiratory problems and may snore and wheeze. In addition, his protruding eyes are susceptible to injury.
Size: This Shih Tzu stands 8-11in at the shoulder and weighs between 10 and 16lb.
History and origin: Developed in China, this ancient breed may date back to the 7th century Tang dynasty. Many believe that the Chinese may have crossed the Lhasa Apso with the Pekingese to develop the Shih Tzu. Similar to the Imperial Pekingese, the export of Shih Tzu from China was forbidden. It was not until the death of the Empress Tzu-his in 1908 that the toy breed was smuggled out to Europe. The Shih Tzu has always been a companion dog.
Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Shih Tzu is ½ – 1 can (13.3oz size) of high-quality meat product with biscuit added in equal amount or 1 ½ cupfuls of a complete, dry food.
Exercise: An apartment is fine for this toy breed provided he is walked several times a day.
Grooming: His long, silky shedding coat requires a daily brushing with a pure bristle brush. Do not neglect this task to avoid the painful combing out of tangles. Keep the topknot from getting into the eyes and make sure that the ears are free of matted hair. Periodic clipping is also necessary. His coat can be kept in a shorter clip to reduce the grooming maintenance.