The Guide to Shih Tzus

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Friendly, loving, and good-natured, Shih Tzus are a great pet whether you live all alone or in a big family.

With big, bright eyes and a tiny pink tongue poking out, Shih Tzus are undoubtedly a super cute dog breed—but they’re so much more than their precious looks. Although the name for the breed comes from the word “lion”, there’s absolutely nothing fierce about Shih Tzus.

They’re equally happy in the heart of the city or out in the country, as long as they’re giving—and getting—plenty of snuggles.

All Love, Baby

Shih Tzus were bred to be loving companions—it is literally in their genes. Playful, cuddly, and oh-so-affectionate, the Shih Tzu has all the makings of a perfect family pet.

Shih Tzus tend to be outgoing and are friendly towards just about everybody, including strangers, other dogs, and even cats. They love to romp around, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out when they’re playing with kids to make sure they don’t get stomped on!

shih tzu

istockphoto/gollykim

There’s Substance, Too!

More than just good looks and big hearts, Shih Tzus are smart pups—but training them can be a bit tricky. The breed tends towards the stubborn side, so be persistent and consistent in teaching them obedience. Housebreaking Shih Tzus can take a little longer than with other breeds: patience is the name of the game.

A little hard work in the training department early on will save you some headaches in the long run. If you skip the training, there’s a chance your Shih Tzu will become overly possessive—not a good look!

Keep ‘em Happy and Healthy

While Shih Tzus are always down to play, they aren’t a highly active dog. They don’t need a ton of exercise and, accordingly, they should be fed relatively small meals.

Shih Tzus are very sweet and it’s natural to want to spoil them with treats, but avoid this temptation or else they risk gaining too much weight, which can cause health issues. If you want to treat them, consider sprinkling our dry toppers on their food for a little special something.

shih tzu

istockphoto/chaoss

Adaptable and Adorable

Their small size—Shih Tzus clock in anywhere from 9 to 16 pounds—suggests that Shih Tzus are the perfect breed for apartment dwellers who haven’t got much space. That’s true, but Shih Tzus are quite adaptable and are just as happy to romp in a big backyard or even out in the country.

Whether you live in a tiny condo downtown or on a huge farm in the middle of nowhere, the most common place you’ll find your Shih Tzu is cuddled up next to you on the couch.

The one type of environment that Shih Tzus don’t fare so well in is in extreme heat. The breed is susceptible to heatstroke, so when the mercury rises, keep them indoors in air-conditioned spaces.

Cute, Cute, Cute

In two words, Shih Tzus are tiny and adorable. The breed is known for large, sparkling eyes and a slight underbite. Shih Tzus also have lots of hair: some people prefer to give them haircuts for a soft and scruffy teddy-bear look, while others allow to let the silky hair grow out, even adding bows for the perfect half-ponytail.

The latter look obviously requires more diligence when it comes to grooming, but the former requires regular trims. Whichever look you prefer, expect to spend extra time (and money) on grooming.

Even though they’ve got lots of hair, Shih Tzus actually aren’t big shedders. That means you can spend a little less time cleaning up after them and a little more time giving chin scratches. That’s a win-win, as far as we’re concerned.

Meet the Author: Magee Walker

Magee Walker was a late bloomer to the snowboard scene, but thankfully discovered the joys of the sport after moving to Vancouver and spending weekends in Whistler. She’s now lucky enough to call Whistler her full-time home, and spends her days conquering the mountain, by foot in the summer and by snowboard boot in the winter.

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