Shih Tzu Info & Shih Tzu Breeders
A Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed with long silky hair. The breed originated in China. The name is both singular and plural.
Although a Shih Tzu's temperament varies from dog to dog, the breed has a personality and temperament that is loyal, affectionate, outgoing, and alert. Training and proper socializing must start at a young age for the Shih Tzu to obey basic commands. While the Shih Tzu is an excellent watch dog because of its alert and active nature, it was not specifically bred for this purpose. Unlike the Lhasa Apso, which was bred to be a sentinel dog that enjoys high perches and is wary of strangers, the Shih Tzu prefers to be close to its companions and will often offer strangers its affection. Due to its friendly nature, the Shih Tzu tends to interact well with other dogs and with children and adults. Shih Tzu dogs have been observed to get peevish if provoked, so an owner should be mindful when the dog is in the presence of children. Overall, they are friendly and outgoing companions.
The Shih Tzu is a small dog with a short muzzle and large dark eyes. With a soft and long double coat, it stands no more than 26.7 cm at the withers and with an ideal weight of 4.5 to 7.3 kg. Drop ears are covered with long fur, and the heavily furred tail is carried curled over the back. The coat may be of any colour, though a blaze of white on the forehead and tip of the tail is frequently seen. The Shih Tzu is slightly longer than tall, and dogs ideally should carry themselves "with distinctly arrogant carriage". A very noticeable feature is the under-bite, which is required in the breed standard.
The traditional long silky coat, which reaches the floor, requires daily brushing to avoid tangles. Because of their long coat and fast-growing hair, regular grooming is necessary, which may be costly and should be considered when looking at this breed. Often the coat is clipped short to simplify care. For conformation showing the coat must be left in its natural state, though trimming for neatness around the feet and anus is allowed.
Potential health issues in Shih Tzu's
Responsible breeders have eliminated many of the health problems in Shih Tzu's, so many health issues relate to the general care. Ears, eyes and teeth must be kept clean, otherwise problems can develop which may require veterinary attention.
Both umbilical and inguinal hernias are no longer a major problem in the breed, but they do exist. Luxating patellas and hip dysplasia have been found in the breed. Responsible breeders have eliminated those breeding lines.
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