The head of the Shih-Tzu should have a circular shape, and these dogs should also have a prominent mustache and beard. The muzzle of this breed should be furry and short. While some of these dogs will have black colored noses, others will have a nose that is liver-colored. The eyes of these dogs should be large and circular, and while the color of the eyes may be dark on some, it may be blue or liver on others. The ears are shaped like pendants, and the teeth should showcase an undershot bite.
A Shih Tzu ( ST ) is a friendly dog with an engaging personality. This makes a lovable pet for children as well as other dogs. The ST is a sociable dog that thrives on the attention and love of people. It is eager to please you and cherishes your attention by deliberately acting funnily. This is why it is called a lap dog.
The ST's coat needs to be brushed very often to prevent matted hair from forming. Soft coat textures tangle and mat quicker than hard coats. Bathe your ST weekly to prevent dirt trapped into the coat which then causes matting. If you intend to make yours a show dog, you need to keep its coat at floor length and groom it daily. Buy a wire brush from your pet shop to enable you to brush your ST's coat in layers. Start brushing at the extreme ends like the feet, legs, belly and then upwards on the back. Brush gently all the way down to the skin to get rid of tangles and mats.
Change to a comb when grooming your ST's face, feet and under its ears. Pay special attention to the hairs in-between the feet pads. You can gently pull off excess hair from its ear canal to remove the risk of matted hair getting in the way.
Use a towel to wipe the face and ears. Cut your pet's toenails after its bath. The nails are softened when wet and this makes the cutting easier. Avoid cutting into the red streak ( called quick ) as this causes bleeding. If this happens, use styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
If your ST is a pup below 6 months old, it can't chew its food properly. It is better to soften dry dog food with water to help the digestion process. For a grown ST, you can feed it fresh dog food, canned or dry foods. You can combine or alternate the foods to create variety for your ST. As with all pups, a ST pup also needs at least 3 feeds daily.
A ST is of an intelligent breed and starts learning very early. You need to be firm to overcome its playfulness. Healthwise, you need to pay attention to your ST's eyes and teeth. It may get eyelash disease or dry eye disease. Help your ST by cleaning its eyes with commercial saline solution daily to prevent these problems.
Your ST's teeth is prone to plaque, calculus, gingivitis and other periodontal disease. Brush its teeth twice weekly with pet toothbrush and doggie toothpaste. Its jaw is small and teeth are often overcrowded; leading to higher probability of teeth disease. To prevent plaque, give your adult ST hard, dry dog chow to encourage chewing. Grooming your pet will make your ST a healthy and delightful companion.
The Shih-Tzu is an active dog that is joyful and cheerful. They have a dignified appearance, and their behavior is a reflection of this. However, it should be noted that the Shih-Tzu can be arrogant. This breed loves being around children that are gentle and mature. It can be trained, but owners must be consistent. This breed makes good watchdogs that are well balanced. While they will bark if they sense an intruder, they know when to keep quiet, and will not bark excessively. If they are startled, the Shih-Tzu may snap at the thing that scared them.
Some Shih-Tzu has been known to develop problems with their ears, eyes, and respiratory systems. In addition to this, this breed has been known to have problems with their spines. Their teeth will also need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Owners will want to make sure they never overfeed these dogs, as they can gain weight quickly. The Shih-Tzu has an average life expectancy of 15 years, but some have been known to live longer than this.
These dogs are active, and owners will want to take them on walks consistently. They enjoy lying around the home, and should not be overfed. Due to their size, the Shih-Tzu is a great dog for people who live in apartments. They don’t need to have a yard, and cannot tolerate weather which is unusually hot.
Special Grooming Needs
The Shih-Tzu has a coat that owners will want to groom on a consistent basis. A lot of owners choose to trim the coat, and this makes it easier for them to care for the dog. It is important to make sure the eyes of these dogs are cleaned.