The Shih Tzu is a small dog that is well formed, compact and sturdy. The general length of the body of the Shih Tzu is longer than it is tall. The dog has an apple shaped head and from the eyes, there is rise of the square muzzle that is very short which comes to a sudden and well defined stop. The nose of the Shih Tzu is always black and it gives rise to two large nostrils as a result of its sudden termination and its square shaped muzzle. The nose may be liver in color in liver colored dogs. The teeth of the Shih Tzu meet in an under bite.
The Shih Tzu has large round eyes that are dark in color. The exact color is determined by the particular skin coat that the dog has. The ears are pendant shaped and hand down from the skull, being covered by a lot of hair. The Shih Tzu is well built with a very muscular chest and muscular legs as well.
The Shih Tzu has a long double coat that is comprised of a smooth and short under coat that is very dense while the overcoat is made up of long hair that is relatively soft to the touch. Common practice is to tie a knot on the hair on the face to allow the Shih Tzu see well. It also has a lot of hair on its beard. The coat of the Shih Tzu comes in all colors and tri colors are also very common. Height average should be 11 inches and the weight average should be 9 – 16 pounds.
The Shih Tzu is a happy, hardy and ever alert dog that is very energetic and ready to engage in play or exercise. It is very gentle in its actions, and this can be a pointer as to the reason why the Shih Tzu was used by the royalty. In training, it is very patient and cooperative, taking time to understand what is being taught. This dog doubles up as a great companion and a good watchdog as it can easily learn that it ought to bark when necessary. One challenge most owners face is that housebreaking is always a challenge.
The Shih Tzu is a dog that relates well with other pets, both canine and non canine as well. The dog is social and loves to meet new people whenever it can. For the best results when training this dog, you must strive to lead the dog well as with such leadership, you are seen as the pack leader by the dog. It is however not advised to allow the Small Dog Syndrome to set in where the dog thinks that they are the pack leader.
The dog is prone to spinal disease as a result of the long back but short legs. Slipped stifle is also common as are ear infection, eye problems as well as tooth decay.
The dogs enjoy a full life. Above mentioned problems may destroy the quality of life. Average lifespan is 15 years.
Daily grooming is a must to ensure that the dog has its hair coat looking great and matt of the hair does not occur.
They came up in the 16th century in China. This dog is a descendant of the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. This dog was a favorite of the royal class in China and was transported to other regions of the world during the world wars. It was officially recognized by the AKC in 1969.