Small dog Shih Tzu brings wonders in your life. These little long haired dogs were royal guests in the Chinese courts since ancient times. Shih Tzu means ‘lion dog’ in Chinese. Contrary to a lion, he comes with lots of mischief and happiness.
In fact, he is a hunter of your affection and love. Affection and immaculate social gestures are natural Shih Tzu things.
Shih Tzu personality:
Shih Tzu has sole purpose of accompanying you and he belongs to the list of small dogs for family. He is a fine mixture of an affectionate lap dog and majestic companion.
Centuries of royal touch has bestowed him with solid confidence. This unique blend of qualities will help you forget about his small size. His round personality well compensates for his dwarf size. This dog is content to stay with both your actions and recluse at home.
But he is unlikely to spend all day on the couch. Shih Tzu guarantees liveliness and eagerness. He is not your hunting partner or retriever or guard. But this an alert watchdog. He will likely warn you of a stranger as he is a tremendous barker.
Measure Shih Tzu smartness:
Shih tzu captures 70th spot out of 137 breeds on dog intelligence ranking. So, they can be portrayed as average intelligent dogs in overall estimation.
But a Shih Tzu lover seeks for only companionship from the dog. So, the question is how does he fare in this parameter? Well to speak the truth, they are almost incomparable in this regard. He will follow your footsteps as you walk. Your activity will bring out his actions.
On the other hand, if you start taking rest, Shih Tzu will toe your line. He is the best friend of your kids. Other pets are also safe at his vicinity. This dog is highly playful and will not miss any sports session.
Hence, you have your best companion dog in him. Shih Tzu is always smart in social occasions.
What & how to feed:
Experts suggest ½ to 1 cup of daily intake for a Shih Tzu. Food amount really depends on activity level, age and health of your dog.
So, the amount may vary within this set limit based on his physical condition. Food quality also determine the amount he needs. Quality meals will ensure healthy relationship between you and the dog. A well fed dog is a happy one.
So, you can handle him easily. Puppies under 3 months of age require frequent meals. Because young toy dogs are often susceptible to hypoglycemia. In such a situation, puppy blood sugar suddenly slides downwards. Frequent food supply can prevent it from happening. Puppies, aged 3-12 months, will need 3 meals a day.
From then on, an adult dog is fine with either 2 or 3 meals depending on the situation. Both wet and dry food goes well with this dog. But dry items are good for teeth and stool. Do not free feed a puppy in any situation. It will lead to a lot of bad practices. As a small dog, he has a tendency to gain fat.
At least, 18-20 percent of proteins in each meal will provide him with ample energy. Beef, chicken, fish,eggs, dairy items and lamb are excellent sources of proteins. Barley, cereals, vegetables and oats will give him some plant proteins.
On the other hand, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, olive oil and fish oil are going to supply the dog with necessary fat. Fat repels an injury by protecting the internal organs by creating a protective layer. Bone and joint strength also derives from it.
So, you should not provide him organ meat more than five percent of total meal. His teeth are not parallel to each other. As a result, Shih Tzu may experience a tough time munching on the bones. You can grind the bones for proper feeding. It happens because Shih Tzus are brachycephalic dogs.
Escape a few health issues:
Heat and water are two of their weaknesses. Long coat allows no comfort in a hot weather. They are not good at swimming in anyway.
They also have bad tooth structure giving way into dental diseases. Misalignment and missing teeth are common defects. Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation (popped out kneecap) are two of the major diseases that might affect Shih Tzus.
Hip dysplasia is not restricted to large dogs only and can happen to any size dogs. Their large eyes are prone to progressive retinal atrophy, keratitis and distichiasis. Ocular problems range from inflammation to blindness. Protruding eyes may easily get injured by something. Long hair is a concern for ear infection.
Regularly check their ears so that ear wax, yeast and bacteria cannot get a hold there. You should clean and dry their ears after bath. Dampness inside of the ears brings no good outcome.
Sometimes, underdeveloped kidneys cause renal dysplasia which is a parental contribution. Most of these major diseases can be screened out with proper health clearances from the breeder.
You should ask for the health certificates from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) once you make up your mind for a Shih Tzu.
Insightful care program:
This is a small delicate dog who needs your supervision while outing. You have to protect him from bigger threats. He does not want too much exercise and so fits well in an apartment. He is just content to be with you. A Shih Tzu must not be kept outside as he is a home dog.
However, the largest chunk of your time will go into polishing his lustrous coat. His coat will mop up the floor if left all by itself. For grooming, you can take help from professional groomers to learn the techniques of its upkeep.
A busy person may have it clipped for easier maintenance. It requires daily brushing. You will need a wire brush to do that. Reaching up to his skin is vital.
Otherwise, the coat will have tangled appearance. Long coat is likely to invite a lot of debris. So, the situation might demand a monthly bath. Cleaning the corners of his eyes is a mandatory task.
Use a damp cloth for this. Shih Tzus tend to jump from a formidable height. This tendency often leads to injuries. They may feel content at sitting on your lap all day.
Moreover, clean his undercover ears to keep away from health hazards.
Proper exercise method:
Your Shih Tzu is not looking forward to a ton of physical exercise. A daily short walk can do him plenty good. If we add indoor playtime with it, he is going to be fine both physically and mentally.
This is why a Shih Tzu never needs a conjoined backyard. They are your best apartment dogs. Shih Tzu is a barking dog. He must release his energy in positive ways.
So, ‘little exercise’ requirement does not mean ‘no exercise’. Regular workouts will check bad behavior issues such as excessive barking. He is more than content with a 20 minute brisk walk.
Shih Tzu training cues:
Friendliness and indoor activity is the core of a Shih Tzu. So, training him should be an easy job. But their charming appearance seldom fails to deceive his owner into a trap.
In this manner, he will silently have his own way. Beware of his honey traps and only then you can have a well trained dog. Fundamentally, these dogs will try their best to please you. You will end up training them easily in this respect. Appreciation at his performance always works best. Rewards are also recommended.
But you have to be careful so that it does not turn into a bribe. These companion dogs score poorly in training lessons if they face harsh treatment. Basic dog training commands such as sit, come, stay, etc should be taught first. It will cement his capacity for complex orders.
Housebreaking is a vital issue for a Shih Tzu. You have to introduce crate at a young age. It will keep this problem under control.
Furthermore, the crate will get his separation anxiety under control.
Early socialization is a must. His behavioral modification needs your firm handling. Wrong moves should not be praised for the sake of a beautiful face. You can also enroll him in a puppy training class for better performance.
Shih Tzu origin:
Tibetan lamaseries gifted the world with the Shih Tzus. These ancient Tibetan dogs underwent much development with the help of the lamas.
Then, Chinese emperors grew a taste for this dog. They received this dog as a gift from the lamas. Its name and fame spread everywhere by the grace of Chinese regal patronage. The name Shih Tzu means ‘Little Lion’ in Mandarin.
But with the fall of Chinese empire, this breed almost reached its termination point. As a reminder of the much hated empire, nobody in China was willing to pet them anymore.
Hundreds of years of training and shaping was going to astray when General Douglas and Lady Brownrigg intervened to assist in its survival. They brought several dogs to England as fanciers of this breed. The first specimen arrived in England in 1928.
From England, they were shipped to the nephews of Lady Brownrigg in the USA. The AKC recognized this breed in 1969. The Shih Tzu also made it to the AKC Stud Book in the same year.