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Complete guide to the Shih Tzu dog breed


Cheerful, happy, playful and very friendly. This is the calling card of the Shih Tzu dog breed, a toy dog with a spectacular coat that, curiously enough, never sheds!

Its name, Shih Tzu, is a bit strange and complicated, isn’t it? It means “lion dog” in Chinese. It is curious this nickname for a small breed dog, however, being such an independent dog, you will see that this nickname is not exaggerated at all.

If you want to know all its care and characteristics, keep reading our complete guide to the Shih Tzu dog breed. In Las Almenas we breed responsibly this and 6 other breeds of the so called mini, toy or dwarf dogs, and we are going to discover all their secrets, from the time they are puppies.

What we can tell you is that it is an excellent companion dog with which you will have a lot of fun, whether you live in a country house or in a small apartment.


What are the characteristics of the Shih Tzu dog breed?

Despite being considered a small breed dog, the Shih Tzu can be quite large, reaching 7.5 kg in weight and a height of 30 cm. It is usually a little longer than tall and, when you see it run, you will see that its steps are very long and fast for a small dog.

In addition, they are usually quite robust dogs that can live up to 14 or 15 years.

Undoubtedly, the most surprising aspect of the Shih Tzu dog breed is its coat. Have you noticed its lush fur? Below we will tell you how to take care of its double coat, which can be multi-colored or single-colored, although dark pigment around the eyes and on the nose is usually preferred.

You will find that the Shih Tzu dog breed has a very pretty face with a very graceful nose. The breed standard describes it as a “chrysanthemum-like face” and you really can’t deny that the Shih Tzu has an expression that everyone loves.

His eyes are usually dark in color, his furry ears hang down gracefully and his tail is curled over his back like a pom-pom.

Does the Shih Tzu have negative characteristics?

Many people who come to our breeder in Las Almenas ask us about the negative characteristics of the Shih Tzu dog breed. We believe that before acquiring a dog, you should know its positive and negative qualities. It is our responsibility, as a Shih Tzu dog breeder, to inform you about all its characteristics so that you know how to take care of it in the best possible way.


1- He snores a lot.

During the night you are very likely to hear him snoring. Yes, yes, the Shih Tzu dog breed is not at all quiet at night. This is due to the fact that it has a rather short muzzle, which can cause nasal obstruction.

Do not worry because this fact does not usually represent a real problem, although it is normal that, if you do not know him, you can get scared with so much snorting.


2-Fattening easily

The Shih Tzu dog breed can put on weight very easily, so we recommend that you provide him with a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid giving him too many treats and take him for walks to keep him in shape.


3-He suffers from high temperatures

Be careful with exercise in hot and humid weather conditions, since with its short muzzle it is a breed prone to heat stroke. So in summer, or when it is too hot, it is best not to take him out for a walk in the hottest hours because he is a dog that suffers with high temperatures.


4 – Unprotected eyes

Beware of the Shih Tzu’s eyes! Keep in mind that they have no protection when the dog’s hair is tied in a bow on its head. In addition, the Shih Tzu dog breed has relatively protruding eyes and this makes them more easily damaged than other breeds. Therefore, daily eye cleaning is a fundamental task to avoid possible eye pathologies.

Watch their eyes frequently because a simple scratch can cause an eye ulcer that should be treated by the veterinarian.

Shih Tzu puppies, how should they be cared for?

If you are going to acquire a puppy of the Shih Tzu dog breed, from Las Almenas we recommend you to start its socialization and training as soon as possible. This intelligent and friendly dog has an independent character and a somewhat stubborn temperament.

Therefore, the Shih Tzu dog breed requires some dedication and discipline since they are puppies so that they can develop in a balanced way.

As with most companion breeds, the Shih Tzu matures and grows rapidly, reaching adulthood at approximately ten months of age.

Shih Tzu puppies are very sweet, playful and friendly, and get along well with people, other dogs and even other pets, such as cats. Yes, you read that right. Even cats can be friends with your Shih Tzu.

What food can you feed a Shih Tzu?

As with other small or mini breed dogs, the metabolism of the Shih Tzu dog breed is very fast, as its stomach is small. This makes it necessary to give him food every few days, since he burns calories at a very high rate.

It is best to divide his daily intake into 2 or 3 meals a day, in the adult stage. Check that the food you give to the Shih Tzu dog breed, besides providing the necessary nutrients, has the shape and size appropriate to the dimensions of his mouth, so that he does not choke.

Another thing you have to take into account is that we are talking about a dog with a delicate stomach. It is advisable to feed him dry food so that he tolerates it well. You can also consult your veterinarian about the convenience of giving your Shih Tzu puppy lactose-free milk, since many dogs of this breed are intolerant.


What exercise is best for the Shih Tzu dog breed?

Your Shih Tzu dog probably loves to stay indoors with you and has no intention of going outside for exercise. But it is imperative that you take him out for walks twice a day, even if they are short walks. Especially since he could put on weight if he becomes a sedentary dog.

However, remember that the Shih Tzu dog breed is quite robust and therefore perfectly capable of long walks.

How to care for your Shih Tzu dog to show off its great coat

Think the Shih Tzu’s lush, long, sleek coat is self-sustaining? Well, if you want to own a Shih Tzu, keep in mind that it needs daily care to groom its double coat, especially if you leave it long.

One of the curiosities of this breed is that its hair never falls out. It has no shedding season, so if you have any kind of allergy, it is an ideal dog for you.

If you don’t know how to brush it, you can read our 10 tips to brush your dog’s coat. In addition, you will have to buy the most suitable brushes for his coat. There are countless models on the market, but from Las Almenas we want to make it easy for you with our article Dog brush, which one is the most suitable?

Choose a good brush because the hair of the Shih Tzu dog breed gets tangled very easily, and its fringe usually falls over its eyes. To avoid this discomfort, you can tie the bangs into a ponytail. It is also a good idea to visit a groomer from time to time to check the growth of their hair.

Brushing time!

Do you know how often to bathe your Shih Tzu dog? The recommended frequency for bathing is once a week. When you do it, take the opportunity to do a good brushing before the bath and then a complete drying.

As for the nails, you should keep in mind that the Shih Tzu dog breed is an indoor dog and does not usually wear them out playing. Therefore, it is advisable to cut them frequently to prevent them from hurting him.

Another important hygiene issue is the cleanliness of their teeth. The Shih Tzu dog breed, like other small or mini dog breeds, is more exposed to the presence of bacteria in the gums. Its jaw is very small and its 42 teeth are very close together, which facilitates the accumulation of bacteria. To prevent dental disease, it is best to brush your baby’s teeth from the seventh month of life.

And from one year of age, you can combine tooth brushing with a daily dental snack. These snacks encourage chewing, even in the back of his mouth, which is a difficult area to access, where plaque and tartar accumulate.

The Shih Tzu’s character: Is it the dog for you?

If you are looking for a dog that will protect your home from burglars, the Shih Tzu dog breed is clearly not for you. Instead, if you are looking for a companion dog that is playful and fun and enjoys your company at home, here is a dog breed with an affectionate but independent temperament.

Remember that this is a type of dog that needs and enjoys training. Therefore, it is advisable that you acquire your new furry friend in a breeder where he has learned to socialize before taking him home.

In Las Almenas we develop a responsible breeding of the Shih Tzu dog breed and other toy or mini breeds. We know what needs these puppies have and we like to explain the characteristics of each of our puppies before delivering them to their new families.

We also want to help you to select your puppy and to take care of him with tips and useful information. And to continue offering you this help, we need you to rate this article with up to five stars.

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