Though "Shih Tzu" means little lion in Mandarin, there is nothing wild about this breed. This pooch is a happy, easy going house dogs who love nothing other than following their humans from room to room.
With its cute dark eyes and child-like innocence, Shih Tzus are one of the most loved small breed dogs across the globe. Their soft and loving personality, coupled with their small size, makes them the ideal dogs for people living in small apartments.Shih Tzus are always ready to receive affection, and they are very docile and friendly with children and even with other dogs. They are definitely indoor dogs and adapt very well to apartments, as they are small and do not need much space to move around. However, this does not exclude the need for regular physical exercise in any way.Shih Tzus adapt very well to different “types of owners”, and are perfect dogs to those who are owning a pet for the first time. When you want to walk they will be by your side, or when you want to take a nap, they will be there too, as they have always done since they emerged.
The coat of the Shih Tzu is characterized by long and abundant hair, which may be slightly wavy, especially in length. Though, there are several colour variations, they generally have a white stripe on the front of the head and white fur on the tail.Despite Shih Tzu's thick coat, you may not notice loose hairs around the house, but they do shed at certain times of the year. Knots can often happen when not brushed properly, so many owners end up opting for baby grooming, which in addition to giving adults a puppy-like appearance,makes it easier for you to maintain as well. Regular bath is essential for Shih Tzus in order to maintain excellent skin and coat health. Owners should know that a bad coat in these dogs can expose them to hair problems like matting and tangling, which eventually leads to its breakage. Hence, keeping Shih Tzu's coat neat and clean is immensely important for maintaining the sheen and luxury of their double coat.
Shih Tzu's dietary needs include a healthy, balanced nutrition designed to avoid obesity and also essential vitamins and minerals to keep up healthy skin and coat. When it comes to Puppy Shih Tzus, they eat a lot due to their high activity level and hence, they need a diet having high protein and fats, with low carbohydrates. Adult Shih Tzus thrive on a diet that consists of at least 50% protein content, as it helps them in maintaining healthy muscles and bones. An adequate amount of vital minerals are also suggested in their diet for ensuring speedy metabolism. Regarding Senior Shih Tzus, their dietary requirements is distinct to that of puppies and adults, mainly because of their sedentary life-style. Older Shih Tzus only need a low-calorie diet just so that they don't become obese. Foods having fish oil is healthy for them as they are rich in omega fatty acids and it will also make their skin shiny and supple.
For maintaining beautiful sheen of their long hair and also to keep a healthy skin, they do need routinely grooming. Also, their coat need to be trimmed every month as the hairs around their eyes grow pretty quickly. If you are not able to groom your Shih Tzus as per your expectations, you can hire the services of a professional groomer. They will also be suggesting you some excellent hair styles for your lovely Shih Tzus. When it comes to hair shedding, they generally don't lose a huge amount of hair, and therefore are considered low shedders. But they do shed a fair amount, even though it's minimal. You may have to use a Slicker Brush for combing them, because of their long hair and thick coat. It would be good if you can use a dematting tool too, as it will help prevent tangling and matting of their hair. Regarding bathing, it is recommended to bathe them once in every three weeks for keeping them neat and clean. However, puppies need to be bathed more often, since they can soil their bottoms when they defecate.
As we mentioned, Shih Tzus have a long and thin coat, which can tangle and make knots that hurt the animal's skin. Therefore, frequent brushing is important, as well as a monthly clipping especially in the eye region, to prevent the hair from preventing your puppy's good vision. Weekly or biweekly baths are important and remember: you have to be careful not to get water in the ear, as it can cause otitis. If the natural wear and tear of nails from walking on rough floors does not occur, nail clipping should be arranged every 45 days, on average. Bet on steaks, bones, cookies and lots of toys to make your Shih Tzu happy and busy.
It is believed that Shih Tzus descended from a cross between Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese dogs. The story is such that the Chinese emperors treated these dogs like royalty and hence refused to sell and trade them. Also, these dogs served as good companions and as watchdogs to the monks in the monasteries. At the end of the Chinese imperial rule, these dogs are said to have disappeared, although fortunately, some of them were brought to England. It is astonishing to know that all modern Shih Tzus descended from just only 14 dogs!. Today, they are one of the most loved small breed dogs among pet lovers.