Suppose you’re a retriever, shepherd, hound, or terrier fan. In that case, you’re probably wondering how anyone could fall in love with the Shih Tzu Breed? Quite honestly, they are not like the dogs that retrieve, protect, hunt, or work for a living. Instead, they are just companions-dogs that want to stay by your side, go where you go, and eat what you eat.
So you might ask, don’t all dogs do that? And, my answer is, yes, but.
The Shih Tzu (plural of Shih Tzu is Shih Tzu) was developed over a millennium to be a companion without a care in the world. They were never expected to hunt, retrieve, pull a wagon, protect a flock of sheep or guard a home, but with some practice, they may try to do all of that and then some.
The breed’s history is somewhat shrouded in mystery. They are likely descended from breeds such as the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso, though some other Chinese dog breeds may share their genes, as well. Still, it is thought they originated in Tibet and came to China as gifts to nobility.
They survived until the Chinese Revolution, when they were almost destroyed. Luckily a few made their way to England and Europe, where they were revived and developed into the breed we know today.
What Do People See in this Breed?
There is much to love about the Shih Tzu breed, pronounced Sheed Zoo. But what makes them so popular?
Seven Reasons Why People Fall in Love With the Shih Tzu
There is much to be said about a small dog with a round, flat face and large dark rounded eyes. Just make eye contact with a Shih Tzu, and you will feel as though their look could penetrate clear to your soul. Of course, they might not be able to understand what you are thinking or saying. Still, they do give off the appearance of being an exceptional listener. When one needs someone to talk to, what better listener could you have than a dog that hangs on intently to each word you say.
All dogs are loyal, but there is something different about dogs that have been bred for Millenium to be companions. They want to be by your side and don’t care whether you are hiking up a mountain or plopped on a comfy couch binging on your favorite show.
Loyalty and adaptability go hand in hand. Since they want to be near you, separation anxiety can become a problem for this breed. A Shih Tzu does not enjoy being by himself for long periods. Like other dogs, they are pack animals and prefer to be with their pack. You are their pack.
Shih Tzu love to take walks, they love running around in a well-fenced area, and they will follow you everywhere you go if you permit it. But as a breed, these dogs do not require as much exercise as most. A walk around the block, a playful romp in the yard, or simply following you around as you do chores is about all they need in the amount of exercise. This makes them perfect for less active individuals, folks with mobility issues, or the elderly.
Small and Portable
They may be small, but they are sturdy dogs and not as prone to injury as other tiny breeds. Still, they are small enough to be quite portable. Travel with these dogs is easy, and most airlines will allow them to ride in a carrier in the cabin of a plane. They fit comfortably in a dog car seat during road trips and even travel well if boating is part of your lifestyle.
There are other obvious advantages of small dogs, such as the Shih Tzu. Size matters when it comes to food, treats, and accessories. The large the dog, the larger the bed required. More extensive beds are always more expensive than small ones. Food is more economical when you own a small dog, and small treats will always be cheaper than oversized chews.
Every dog has a typical set of temperament traits, such as friendliness, that are breed-specific. While each dog is unique, it is possible to determine approximately what an adult dog will be like depending on his breed. The Shih Tzu is no exception. People love Shih Tzu because they are friendly, playful, and good with children. They are easy to train, though housetraining can be a problem in these dogs. Their activity level is manageable for most people, and as stated above, exercise requirements are moderate.
If one is looking for a lap dog or a fuzzy puppy, the Shih Tzu dog fits the bill. If one wants a playful dog, Tzu can be very playful. If someone wants a snuggle buddy, there’s no better breed than the Shih Tzu.
Some breeds are better than others for families and children. Their playful nature makes them ideal for families with older respectful children. Their sturdy build coupled with their good-natured temperament is perfect for families, couples, and singles.
Some breeds have tendencies to latch onto one person and ignore others in the family. However, with proper socialization and care, the Shih Tzu is likely to love everyone in her pack, adults, children, and even other pets.
Health and Longevity
Many people report that their Shih Tzu lived upwards of 17 or 18 years. While this is the exception, the Shih Tzu does enjoy a long life if cared for properly. However, like other breeds, the Shih Tzu does have particular health concerns such as ear and eye problems, allergies, and some associated with vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart. Nevertheless, with appropriate health care and routine vet visits, you can expect this breed to live a long, happy life.
You’ve seen that the breed has many redeeming characteristics and many traits that people love. But these dogs are not for everyone. There are a few drawbacks that interested buyers should be aware of before they run out to the closest breeder to buy that puppy.
Shih Tzu dogs do require a great deal of grooming. Anyone who hates to brush, comb and bathe dogs should not consider this breed.
They require patience when housebreaking. Anyone without the time and patience to devote to housetraining should consider a different breed.
Many Shih Tzu owners report that their Tzu is stubborn. There is an attitude of “what’s in it for me” that is observed repeatedly. However, rather than get angry at their stubborn nature, most owners will figure out how to deal with issues in a win-win situation for both of them.
Before looking for a specific breed to call your own, it is always advised to do your due diligence and research the breed.
Janice Jones lives with her family and pack of 12 Shih Tzu in rural Ohio. When she’s not playing with, writing about, or breeding Shih Tzu dogs, she’s reading about new products and ways to make her dogs’ lives happier.