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Shih Tzu

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The Shih Tzu is a Chinese dog breed that was very popular in royal courts in China. The Shih Tzu is regarded as one of the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs.

The Shih Tzu’s lion-like appearance has been said to look like the Tibetan snow lion. The dog breed features a long flowing double coat and a hardy build for a small dog. The Shih Tzu has a lively, friendly and energetic expression.

Character and behavior
The Shih Tzu is packed with character and is a brave and social dog. The Shih Tzu is considered to have an average intelligence compared to other dog breeds. A Shih Tzu is trainable but does not excel at performing dog tricks or other tasks.

The Shih Tzu is a social, friendly and energetic little dog that loves company and gets along with kids and other pets. It can be difficult to house break a Shih Tzu.

History of the breed
The dogs were favorites of the Chinese royals. Many believe that the Shih Tzu was developed from a cross between Pekingese and a Tibetan dog called the Lhasa Apso.

Dogs during ancient times were selectively bred and seen in Chinese paintings. The first dogs of the breed were imported into Europe in 1930. The breed spread throughout Europe, and was brought to the United States after World War II, when returning members of the US military brought back dogs from Europe.

Appearance, grooming and health
The Shih Tzu has a short muzzle, large eyes and an almost palm-like tail that is carried over the back. The Shih Tzu sheds less than you might think despite the dog’s thick coat. The coat can have many colors and all are permitted in breeding of the Shih Tzu.

You can trim the dog if you prefer a shorter coat but a long coat is mandatory at Shih Tzu shows. The average life span of a Shih Tzu is 13 to 15 years. The Shih Tzu can reach a height of 11 inches and a weight between 9 to 16 pounds.

The Shih Tzu doesn’t do well in a hot climate like other dogs with a short muzzle (Pugs, Boxer, Bulldog etc. that are all brachycephalic). Many airlines will not transport a Shih Tzu if the temperature reaches above 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit during the trip.

If you want your Shih Tzu to keep a long coat you should be prepared to do a lot of brushing and grooming but you can also trim the coat to a shorter length and limit the need for maintenance of the coat. The dog’s coat will need a trim once in a while.

The Shih Tzu has two coats and the inner coat sheds mostly into the longer outer coat so the hairs doesn’t fall of the dog. Because of this the Shih Tzu will not shed much if you brush it often. This makes the Shih Tzu a good dog breed for people with allergies (a hypoallergenic dog).

Over the years different dog breeds have been mixed with the Shih Tzu to create new designer toy dogs. An example of this is the Shih-Poo (mix with a Toy Poodle), Shichon (mix with a Bichon Frisé), Pom Shih (mix with a Pomeranian), Malshi (mix with a Maltese), ShiChi (mix with a Chihuahua) and the Shorkie (Mix with a Yorkshire Terrier).

What you should know about the Shih Tzu dog breed:

  • The Shih Tzu is a small dog that is easy to transport
  • This dog breed doesn’t need a lot of exercise and can live in an apartment
  • Is more calm and relaxed than many of the other toy dog breeds
  • Is friendly towards strangers and other pets
  • Is hypoallergenic and sheds less than most breeds
  • Can be hard to train and house break
  • Needs grooming and a trim on a regular basis

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