The Shih Tzu is a small, energetic toy dog whose origins likely go back to 7th-century Tibet. With its name translating to "lion dog" in Chinese, this breed requires significant attention and grooming.
Classified as a toy dog, Shih Tzus reach adult size within about 10 months. Their appearance is characterized by a large head with a short muzzle, round eyes, a curled tail and a somewhat square, stocky body. The average Shih Tzu weighs about 16 pounds.
Aside from their features, Shih Tzus are known for their long, straight double coat that requires greater-than-average upkeep.
Personality and Temperament
Many describe Shih Tzus as perky, lively and friendly, getting along with other pets, as well as people. They're moderate barkers and chewers, and they live up to their reputations as lap dogs. Due to their physical characteristics, they're primarily indoor dogs, although some outside time is essential for burning energy.
Caring for Your Shih Tzu
When it comes to caring for your Shih Tzu, we recommend the following tips:
- Get into a grooming routine that involves regular brushings. Keep your dog's hair trimmed, especially since Shih Tzus tend to overheat due to the amount of hair they have. Give your Shih Tzu weekly baths with moisturizing shampoo to help reduce matting.
- In addition to regular bathing, keep in mind that the hair on your Shih Tzu's face can get dirty quickly from everyday activities such as eating from its bowl or going for walks outside. Use a gentle facial cleanser daily like Eye Envy® Tear Stain Facial Cleanser, which is easy to apply and can be simply wiped off with a cloth. It features a lovely smell to keep your Shih Tzu's beard from getting stinky. Speaking of beards, you can also keep your Shih Tzu's beard clean with Eye Envy's Beard Stain Remover Spray, which will remove stains around your dog's mouth caused by food or saliva.
- Shih Tzus' flatter face shape increases their risks for corneal inflammation and tear staining. Get in the habit of checking your dog's eyes and monitoring any discharge. Be prepared to clean tear stains by keeping dog tear stain remover products on hand.
- Prepare to spend a significant amount of time with this relatively social dog. Take your dog for regular walks, and remember that Shih Tzus train easily and enjoy playing with and being around people.
- Because Shih Tzus are primarily indoor dogs, you should limit treats to help keep your dog's weight under control.