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Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

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The Shih Tzu dog breed has been cherished by Chinese royalty as prized house pets for over a thousand years.  It is believed that the Shih Tzu descended from crossing the Lhasa Apso or Tibetan mountain dog, with the Pekingese. The Shih Tzu was the prominent house pet for most of the Ming Dynasty and was first introduced to the West by English soldiers during World War II.

A compact and solidly built dog, among his most distinctive feature is his long, flowing double coat. The word Shih Tzu means “lion” and although this dog breed is generally gentle and playful, he will not hesitate to stand up for himself when feeling threatened. One of the most popular dogs in the United States, the Shi Tzu has a distinctively regal carriage with head up and tail curved over the back.   Shih Tzus come in a variety of colors and patterns.

The Shih Tzu is within the Toy Group classification, ranging in size from 8 – 12 inches tall and 10 – 17 pounds.  The sole purpose of the Shih Tzu is as a companion, house pet; a trusting, playful and loyal addition to a household.

Shih Tzus require minimal exercise and work well as apartment dogs or in in small houses with minimal yard space.  Their highest maintenance area is their long, flowing hair coat, which requires frequent (at least every other day) brushing and monthly professional grooming.

Caution should be exercised with small children.  Not afraid to defend himself when felt threatened, the Shih Tzu may be prone to nipping at small children when handled roughly or having his personal space invaded abruptly.  The ideal situation in a home with small children would be to introduce the dog into the home as a puppy so that he is accustomed to life with small children from the outset and as he grows into adulthood.  An adult Shih Tzu with unknown or no history of being housed with small children may not be a good fit for a family with small children.

Roger L. Welton, DVM
Founder and Chief Editor,
President, Maybeck Animal Hospital




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