They are believed to have originated from the Tibet whereby the Lhasa Apsos was crossed with the Pekingese. They are also known as the Chinese Loin Dog or the Lhasa Lion Dog. Shih Tzu means ‘Lion’ in Chinese and the date back centuries ago. They were mainly kept for aesthetic value and were greatly treasured by royal families. This dog breed was highly valued that the Chinese kept them hidden from the rest of the world. They were imported into Europe in the early 20th century, and they grew in popularity.
The Shih Tsu has a sturdy rectangular form. It has a long coat that covers its entire body. It has a small round face with a flat muzzle. It has a big black nose that is set almost level with its dark brown round eyes. Its coat on the face forms a moustache from the nose and a beard under its chin. Its ears are hidden under its long coat dropping from its head to the neck. The coat grows very long covering its legs and underbelly making the Shih Tsu look short. Its tail is also well hidden underneath the long tail hair.
These dogs were developed to provide companionship hence they express a lot of affection and warmth to their owners. They are well suited for indoor life due to their small size and will make lots of fun playing. They are not meant for vigorous exercise hence short walks will be sufficient for them. They are smart and catch on with training easily but can be stubborn. They are alert and watchful hence make good watchdogs. They need to be shown leadership by their owners. Otherwise, they will become domineering.
Shih Tzus’ are not active dogs but will need to be regularly exercised for their mental and physical well-being. They need consistent, firm training for them to submit to their trainer. They should be encouraged by rewards during training so that they can desire to learn more.
They are generally healthy however like any other breed they are prone to some diseases that include: hip dysplasia, eye conditions, ear infections, Patellar Luxation, allergies and bladder stones. They have a general lifespan of 12 – 15 years.
They should be fed on high-quality, nutritious diet. The owner should ensure that they provide the right amount of food to the dog. Avoid overfeeding as this may harm it. Feed it twice a day in the right portion and avoid sporadic feeding patterns.
Coat, Color and Grooming
Their coat is thick and long and comes in a variety of colors from white, black and white, white and various shades of brown, grey, red, orange and many others. The coat should be groomed daily and trimmed one in a while if it becomes excessive. Also, trim its nails and lookout for dewclaw.
With family and friends
They are a great family dog and will bond well with all people in the family. They accommodate children, and their playful nature enables them to be good friends. They also do well with other pets.