Born solely for companionship, little Shih Tzus are an affectionate and charming breed of dogs. Although their name means “Lion Dog” in Chinese, there’s nothing fierce about this breed. These pint-sized pooches are sweet-tempered and were even cherished as pets by royalty. These dogs are very perky and contented, so they typically need a lot of individual attention. Even though they can be stubborn sometimes, they always make up for it with their adorable faces. They can make great family pets, as long as children know how to handle and play with them.
If you are searching for a small companion dog who will appreciate your apartment living and love you unconditionally, this may be the dog for you.
Here are the Top 10 Shih Tzu Facts That Make Them Truly Special.
1. Shih Tzus Origin and History
Shih Tzu’s origins are ancient and shrouded in mystery and controversy. If you own a Shih Tzu, you own a little bit of Chinese history. Some believe that the breed was developed by Tibetan Monks and given to Chinese royalty as a gift. It’s possible that the Shih Tzu breed came from crossing other breeds with either the Pekingnese or Lhasa Apso. Regardless of where they developed, it’s clear that they were a treasured companion from the earliest times. These dogs have lived as lap warmers throughout history. For hundreds of years, they’ve been pampered by emperors, and it is believed emperors would reward the owners of Shih Tzu with gifts since they had the most beautiful and affectionate dogs.
The Empress of China, Tzu Hsi was said to own a pair of Shih Tzus which were known for their beauty and fondness. It’s said that the Shih Tzus had their own palace and were trained to sit up and wave their front paws when the Empress visited. After the empress’ death, many royal families competed to produce these dogs of the finest coats and colors. As a result of the high competition, it was preserved as a secret practice to breed these dogs. It was around the time of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi’s death that these fancy pups were almost wiped out during the Chinese communist revolution.
The Shih Tzu breed was saved by 14 dogs. That means that every living Shih Tzu can be traced back to those 14 dogs. Later these royal dogs traveled from China to England and then to the United States. In 1969, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Toy Group.
Since then, the Shih Tzu has been one of the most popular toy dogs in both the United States and Great Britain. And they still regard their owners, whoever they might be, like royalty.
2. Shih Tzu Physical Characteristics
Shih Tzus are intelligent, spunky canines with a long, curly coat. Proud of their heritage, Shih Tzus carry themselves with dignity. These dogs have a distinct arrogant bearing, their heads held high and their tails rolled artistically over the back. Short-legged and big-headed dogs such as Shih Tzus are often slightly longer than tall, with sturdy bodies. Their muzzle is short, with an undershot bite that gives them unmistakable smiles. Their head is round and their eyes are prominent. The tip of the tail is carried over the back. Their mannerisms are swift despite their size.
They are a sturdy toy breed, which can weigh between 9-16 pounds. They’re known for their soft, silky coat that comes in 14 different colors including black, black and white, gray and white, red and white, and three different markings. Some Shih Tzus also have a small white spot on their forehead that is considered a mark of good fortune.
3. Shih Tzu’s Personality and Temperament
Shih Tzus are small dogs that typically don’t do well with activities outside of curling up with their owners. They make great companions because they’re loyal and cute. Affection is the most noticeable trait they carry, and your lap is their favorite destination. They’re happiest when they’re with their family, giving and receiving attention.
Even so, they aren’t lazy dogs. They’re playful and active, so they’ll bark at new people. Don’t fret yet; they’ll form attachments with your guests the minute they get inside. Shih Tzus are known for their cheerful, perky moods. They are lively and friendly. They get along well with people of all ages, and other dogs too.
Shih Tzus are not big chewers, but they do enjoy digging and some of them can be quite the barkers. These dogs enjoy being around people. They would often choose to lie on your lap or take a walk through the park with you.
4. Shih Tzus Are Also Called Chrysanthemum Faced Dogs
Shih Tzus are sometimes also called “chrysanthemum-faced dogs” because the hair on their faces grows in every direction. Their owners who keep their dogs clipped short know well that not much time goes by before a Shih Tzu’s hair grows up from their snout and in front of their eyes.
5. Training A Shih Tzu Isn’t The Easiest Thing to Do
Training a Shih Tzu can be both an entertaining and frustrating activity. One of the major Shih Tzu facts is that they tend to be extremely stubborn, so it is important to train these dogs from a very young age.
The breed fawns on their owner, and that can lead to a pudgy, not-completely housebroken pet. However, they still are friendly dogs, but they might not be for everyone. They’re very social and outgoing and make great companions. It’s just that their temperament determines their response to commands. Shih Tzus are quite people-oriented dogs, and as such, they respond best to training methods that use praise and rewards. Harsh corrections should not be used with this breed. Shih Tzus needs early socialization because they are small dogs that require a lot of attention. Make sure that the training methods are based on positive reinforcement.
6. Shih Tzus Are Glamorous and Athletic
Many people think of Shih Tzus as more glamorous than sporty but underneath that gorgeous coat is a muscular body that can perform well in agility. Many Shih Tzus have won agility competitions. They are quick, agile dogs with lots of energy and intelligence. In 2014, a Shih Tzu became the first of his breed to win the coveted Best in Show and Agility titles at the Westminster Dog.
7. Shih Tzus Can’t Tolerate Hot Weather
Shih Tzu’s inability to handle heat well is because they have a flat face and double coat. They are a brachycephalic breed which means they are flat-faced and shorter-nosed. If your dog has an overactive thyroid gland, they may experience respiratory distress when they exercise in warm temperatures. Please keep your Shih Tzus cool, as they are very sensitive to heat.
8. Many Celebrities Own Shih Tzus
This popular breed is the best friend of many celebrities. As the Shih Tzu is one of the most popular dog breeds, it’s no surprise that many celebrities have owned them. This list includes Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Colin Farell, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II.
9. Shih Tzus Require a Lot of Maintenance
Shih Tzus with long coats requires daily brushing. When their coats are trimmed, they can be much shorter. If it is not trimmed, nevertheless, it insists on the bulk of maintenance!
They need a lot of grooming. They have fur that tangles easily and their hair grows really fast, so daily brushing is required. Use a wire brush with flexible pins to remove hair. Use layers to ensure that the brush reaches the skin. A bath every three to four weeks contributes to the coat looking nice. Remember to brush the mustache daily, and gently wipe the corner of the eyes with a damp cloth. To keep the Shih Tzu’s eyes safe, you should trim or tie up the hair on their head. Maybe the so-called ‘puppy cup’ or ‘teddy bear cup’ is a good option for your Shih Tzu!
10. Shih Tzus Are a Generally a Healthy Breed
Shih Tzus are healthy dogs that can live for a fair 10 to 18 years. These dogs are conspicuously at risk for dental, eye, and hip problems. Also, because of their heavy coats and short faces, Shih Tzus do not tolerate heat well and are not good swimmers.
Always keep in mind that it’s difficult to predict when your pet will become injured or sick.
That ends our list on Top 10 Shih Tzu facts. Remember to learn all these facts before you decide to get one of these adorable pups.
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