The Shih Tzu (whose Chinese name translates into “lion dog”) is among the most ancient of breeds that is now more commonly known for their long hair styles. The breed officially came into existence during the 17th century with origins dating back as far as 10,000 years, and was first bred for the core purpose of providing companionship to the Chinese royal family. Today, they are still a popular companionship dog breed for single owners, families or apartment dwellers and are also suitable for allergy sufferers.
Origins Of The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is among the most ancient of dog breeds that is believed to have come from China and was a favorite of the Chinese royals who refused to sell or trade the dogs – though much of their history is actually shrouded in mystery. It wasn’t until the 1930s when they were taken back to England and the breed’s modern-day foundations were formed. They are assumed to be a product of crossing some unknown Tibetan breeds with the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese.
Average Size Of The Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are classed as a toy-sized breed of dog. The recommended standard size for both Shih Tzu males and females is 8-11 inches high from paw to shoulder and a weight of 9-16 pounds.
Temperament Of The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is legendary for their playful and affectionate temperament – though sometimes they can become stubborn and develop small dog syndrome if not correctly managed. They are generally trusting with strangers, which along with their size makes them quite unsuitable as a guard dog.
The Shih Tzu is not demonstrated to be highly intelligent – placing 70th compared to other dogs based on their ability to be trained obedience instructions.
They are known to be playful with kids – which means they can be quite suitable as a family pet, though they should not be handled too roughly and are not always the best with very young children. The Shih Tzu is usually well-suited with animals such as other dogs and cats if properly socialized.
Living Requirements Of The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu thrives with a small yard to run around in, though one isn’t always necessary and they can be very suitable for living in an apartment so long as they are exercised on a regular basis. They prefer cooler temperatures, and they will be made uncomfortable if it gets too hot.
Health & Life Expectancy Of The Shih Tzu
Similar to a lot of small-sized dogs, the Shih Tzu is commonly longer-lived possessing a life expectancy of 10-15 years. The greatest health problem for Shih Tzus is commonly recognized as Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVD) due to their long back and short legs. They are also vulnerable to conditions like hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, eye problems and breathing difficulties due to the shape of their face.
Exercise Needs Of The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu enjoys leisure activities such as playing with a favorite toy or running around an off-leash dog park. They possess a low to medium amount of energy and this necessitates exercise every day in the form of short walks to avoid behavior problems that result from an excessive amount of energy.