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Shih Tzu

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu has a long, heavy double coat draping over the entire body and reaching the floor. All colors are accepted when showing this breed. The narrow head has a flat skull with a moderate stop. The hair above the nose grows upward. They usually have a profuse beard and mustache. The medium-sized eyes are oval and dark. The long, pendant ears fall over the head and blend to the body. The nose is black and the teeth should meet in a level or undershot bite. The well-arched neck should be strong merging into well laid back shoulders. The topline should be level and the body should be longer than the height at the withers. The muscular legs are short and the round feet should be well feathered. Dewclaw removal is optional. The plumed tail is set high and is carried over the back.

Temperament The Shih Tzu is a fine companion dog. Less suspicious of strangers than his cousin, the Lhasa, he is vivacious and athletic for his small size and very people-oriented. Full of confidence and self-importance, his arrogant carriage is described in the standard. This breed gets along well with older, more considerate children. They make friends easily. They love to bark, making them good watchdogs, but are usually quiet indoors. They can snap if surprised or peeved. This breed needs to be with his family and are good with other pets. They can be difficult to housebreak.
Height, Weight Height: Up to 11" ; Weight: 9-16 lbs.
Health Problems As with most flat-faced breeds, they tend to snore, wheeze and have breathing problems. Some are prone to ear and eye problems and spinal disc disease. Make sure your Vet checks its teeth often as they are prone to fall out. Do not overfeed this breed as they gain weight easily.
Living Conditions Shih Tzus do great living in an apartment. They are active indoors and will do fine without a yard. They are sensitive to heat.
Exercise Shih Tzus have a tendency to lay around the house all day and gain weight. Do not overfeed this breed. Encourage them to get up and move and provide them with daily walks.
Life Expectancy 15 or more years
Grooming The beautiful, flowing coat of this breed should be brushed daily to keep it from matting. The topknot is usually tied up so that the dog can see. Because of its length, the pads should be checked for matting and foreign objects. Pay close attention to the sensitive eyes and ears and keep them clean. This breed sheds little or no hair if it is properly groomed.
Origin Although the Shih Tzu's roots are in Tibet, his perfection occurred in China. If the Lhasa is a mildly dwarfed Tibetan Terrier, the Shih Tzu is a slightly more exaggerated dwarf from these breeds. The Chinese prized the smaller individuals from the Lhasas sent to China and preferred the very short face. Although some writers feel crossing of the Pekingese occurred, simple selection for the most dwarfed forms of the Lhasas could easily have created this little charmer. They are recognized by the AKC and the UKC.
Group AKC Toy, UKC Companion Dog