Shih Tzu… This small thoroughbred dog is sometimes called the Chrysanthemum Dog, a lion dog, a dog bringing harmony and happiness into the house, a pet of Buddha. All these nicknames describe the breed very well.
There are a large number of legends about this animal. The history of the origin of the breed dates back to more than one millennium. Few people will remain indifferent when they see such cuteness in front of them. The breed is characterized by a long mustache and a beard decorated with a bow in the form of a button-nose, long silk fur, and a neat tail thrown behind the back.
Shih Tzu is considered to be the oldest dog breed. The origin of this pet’s name comes from Chinese. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the breed was unobtainable for ordinary families. Dogs could only live in the courtyards of the Chinese emperor. The name “Shih Tzu” is translated from Chinese as “Little Lion”.
According to existing hypotheses, it is assumed that the dog was bred by crossing the Pekingese with Lhasa. There are other speculations about the origin of the Shih Tzu but they are less credible.
Shih Tzu’s coat comes in many colors but white, black, grey, and brown prevail. The rarest variation of Shih Tzu coloring is full black. White color with a touch of light vanilla is also very rare.
Oftentimes, because of the coat color, inexperienced dog breeders tend to confuse the Chinese with the Maltese lapdog.
Character of Shih Tzu
This breed has a unique character. The miniature pooch has a true lion’s heart. He is brave and good-natured at the same time. It may seem to many that Shih Tzu is an arrogant and posh dog but this assumption isn’t correct. A small pet simply does not like it when no one is paying attention to him so he may even resent the owner. With that being said, the dog will never be intrusive.
He understands when it is a good time to approach the owners and when it is better not to disturb them. However, the moment you look in his direction, he will begin to affably wag his tail. The dog can look into the owner’s eyes and after getting the message that it is time for him to do other things, he will walk away leaving you alone. How Shih Tzu does it is a mystery.
The pets of this breed are very clean and tidy. This can be explained by the past aristocratic life of Shih Tzu. They do not bark just for the sake of barking and their voice is quiet and even melodic.
Parenting and training
Before getting Shih Tzu, you need to assign the places where the dog will eat and rest. Arriving at his new home, the pet needs to learn straight away where he will eat and sleep.
You should not encourage the puppy’s desire to bite or chew on things in the house. The dog needs to be taught such a command as “Off”. Make sure that you treat a pet with patience. Avoid shouting at your dog, swinging at him, and especially beating. Otherwise, your pet may turn into a frightened but aggressive animal.
A small dog is very smart and he is always happy to learn and remember all the commands of the owner. Yet, be prepared that it will take some time for your puppy to get trained.
For Shih Tzu’s education, try using encouragement elements. For example, when a puppy lies on his bed for the first time, it would be good to praise and appease him with a treat such as cheese or biscuits.
Pet must be weaned to jump on the owners when they get back home. First, you should undress, wash your hands, and only when you decide to get a rest, you can call the dog to hug and stroke him.
In addition, if you have firmly decided that the dog should not sleep close to you, do not let him fall asleep with you even once. Such behavior can result in your dog whining constantly and asking to stay in your bed.
Shih Tzu is a proud owner of a gorgeous “mane”. However, long hair can be a challenge in terms of grooming so this breed will suit patient owners only. Shih Tzu needs constant combing and bathing.
You can do haircuts and experiment with his hairstyles. The animal’s hair has the same peculiarity as the Yorks have and it is quite similar to human hair.
For this reason, dog hair is not so noticeable on carpets and the floor. It does not stick to clothes or clog the carpet. Besides, it does not cause allergies and this is extremely important for many dog owners.
Dry and dirty fur should not be combed. You can damage the dog’s curls and the skin of the pet.
When bathing Shih Tzu, you need to use high-quality shampoos specifically designed for this breed. The procedure is performed when the coat gets dirty (1-2 times a week). Make sure to finish with the conditioner after you rinse the hair of the pet after shampooing.
After washing, wipe the dog with a towel and dry his hair with a hairdryer and a smoothing comb. The hair in the ears of the Shih Tzu needs to be trimmed.
Shih Tzu does not tolerate fatty pork and river fish. The following products are also unacceptable to the dog:
- bakery products;
Sweets, as well as smoked and fried foods, are strictly forbidden for these dogs.
- Shih Tzu needs meat. He can have boiled turkey, veal, beef, rabbit, or chicken.
- Boiled offal such as heart, liver, lung, tongue can be added to the pet’s daily diet.
- As for the fish, Shih Tzu can be fed with salmon fillet or low-fat marine fish without bones.
- For dogs of this breed, cereals such as buckwheat or rice are recommended. Yet, here’s an important thing to remember – light fur of pets may turn pink if they consume buckwheat.
- For the correct metabolism, Shih Tzu is given fermented milk products such as yogurt or cottage cheese.
- You can add vegetables to the diet. For example, carrots, zucchini, or cabbage.
- You will also need to buy high-quality food rich in micronutrients.
Diseases of Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu is often listed as long-lived dogs because they have a strong immune system. However, this breed is predisposed to developing diseases of the eyes and gums.
These dogs require preventive eye treatment such as wiping eyes with the help of soft disks moistened with purified water, special solutions, or chamomile tincture.
When the dental calculus is formed on Shih Tzu teeth, it needs to be removed at a veterinary clinic.
Besides, the lion breed has problems with the auricles. This is due to the fact that the hair actively grows in the ears of these dogs. With the untimely removal of it, the pet may get into a state of confusion. The air circulation slows down and this may result in the development of the inflammation.
Shih Tzu Characteristics
|Breed name||Shih Tzu|
|Country of origin||China|
|Breed origin time||Thousands of years ago|
|Type||Decorative dog, companion|
|Weight range||4 – 7.2 kg|
|Height at withers||up to 20-28 cm|
|Lifespan||10-18 years old|
Shih Tzu is a great friend and companion for large families with children and for single elderly people. He can easily be the best medicine in a stressful situation. This pet is a true friend who will understand and amuse his owner. It is easy for Shih Tzu to guess what the person wants so he can lift anyone’s mood.
In addition, dogs of this breed are very friendly with other animals. They are happy to make friends with cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, or other dogs.