All about the playful and affectionate Shih Tzu Dog
Also known as the Chrysanthemum, this is a sturdy and playful little dog that typically weighs 10 to 19 pounds when fully grown. The origin of this breed is still largely unknown. It has however been established that the Shih Tzu Dog is among 14 of the oldest breeds.
Bones of this breed have been excavated in China and there is evidence to suggest that it been in existence since 8000BC. Most historians believe that this breed is a result of mating between a Lhasa Apso owned by the Dalai Lama which he gifted to Chinese emperors who cross-bred it with a Pekingese dog.
The Chinese royalty treasured these dogs and considered them great companions; apparently, no Shih Tzu dog was given away, sold or traded.
In Mandarin the term Shi Tzu means ‘Little Lion’. It began appearing in the United States after the Second World War because veterans brought these dogs home from overseas. Currently, this breed ranks among the most popular dogs in the United States, this is according to the American Kennel Club.
Want to know more about this lovable and lively dog? Read on….
Contrary to the name, these dogs are far from ferocious and fierce. Although these pooches are pint-sized, they have a big personality and warm up to new owners quickly. Generally, the Shih Tzu is sweet-tempered, lively and affectionate making it a great choice for a pet. It is also very energetic and playful unless it is unwell or in a completely new environment.
These ‘little lions’ are agile in nature and love going for walks. Although very active, these dogs can live in a home of any size and can also cope well with other pets. Shih Tzu dogs are excellent pets for single people, families and even senior citizens. The Shih Tzu is excellent with families and even single people and is an excellent companion for the senior citizens. They are well behaved, easy to train and are cute to look at. It is a lovely pet to have around to make friends with and hold.
2.) Ability to Learn
When it comes to mastering basic commands, it will take some time for this type of dog to catch on. Experts blame this on the Shih Tzu’s independent streak. Although it will require a lot of repetition before it masters basic skills, it is extremely obedient to commands once mastered. The key to helping these dogs learn is consistency and patience.
3.) Exercise needs
This type of dog has short adorable legs that require consistent exercising. When left dormant, there is a high likelihood that the dog will gain weight excessively, become restless and frustrated. Start by figuring out the exercises that your dog likes then create a regular exercise regimen and stick to it. Here are some great ideas that will get you started in the right direction:
- 30-minute walk daily
A 30-minute walk daily will suffice. The dog will need several breaks to pee, sniff and take in the environment so it is important to let it enjoy the outside.
- 2 walk sessions daily
Instead of a 30-minute walk, you can opt for two 15 minute walks daily preferably a morning and evening walk. It is important to remember that due to the short legs, it will tire quickly hence the need to walk at a much slower pace than you.
QUICK TIP: If you notice that your Shih Tzu dog has started to drag, pant heavily and occasionally lie on the ground or even refuse to walk. It is an indication that the walk is too long and the dog is exhausted hence needs a few minutes of rest.
- Instead of walks
A creative way of exercising these playful pooches instead of walks is to ensure they run and play around the house or yard. Alternatively, you can organize play activities that will not only ensure the dog gets enough exercise but will also serve as great bonding sessions.
- What to expect when potty training
Just like when learning basic commands, it will take repetition for this dog to master peeing and defecating at the allocated pet. They key to success is patience, consistency and keeping the defecation spot clean. Although potty training will take time, this is generally a clean and obedient dog that will always relieve itself at the right place once it has learned.
- How will this dog cope as a family pet?
As mentioned earlier, the Shih Tzu has a great temperament. Additionally, it warms up to people easily and loves children. Their lively and comical personality makes them a perfect addition to any family. It also doesn’t hurt that they can quickly adapt to both town and country life and can cope well with other pets. It is important to keep in mind that this breed needs social contact because if left alone for extended periods of time it is likely to develop antisocial tendencies including barking indoors and defecating at the wrong places even when potty trained.
Their loyalty to owners is unshaken but it is they are wary of strangers. The Shih Tzu has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years making it an ideal pet for a family since it can grow up with the kids until teenagehood.
Is the Shih Tzu breed susceptible to any health conditions?
- Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a condition that commonly affects these dogs causing detrimental breathing conditions like stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, collapsed larynx and trachea issues. The dog can still breathe on its own if it only has one of the issues. However, if it faces a slew of them at once, its health can be adversely affected.
- IVD disease is also a common ailment that this kind of dog is vulnerable to. Since Shih Tzu breed has short legs and a long back, enormous pressure can cause a disc to slip and heavily press on the spinal cord.
- Hip Dysplasia is another condition that this kind of dog is vulnerable to. This ailment occurs when the hip ball of joint slips out of its proper position. This can happen when the dog is still as young as 4 months but is more common in adult dogs.
The Shih Tzu dog is a loveable, affectionate, loyal and playful do that will be a great addition to any family as a pet.