Choosing a shih tzu puppy breeder

The reader will learn how to choose a Shih Tzu puppy breeder by looking using guidelines in the article.


Choosing a Shih Tzu Puppy Breeder

In order to choose a Shih Tzu puppy breeder, you must follow guidelines that apply to any pure bred dog breeder.  There are some warning signs to look for in breeders.  If the breeder fits any of the listed examples these signs, do not deal with them.  Along with the guidelines that apply to any breed, there are guidelines specific to the Shih Tzu breed.  Use these guidelines to choose a Shih Tzu puppy breeder.  Remember, just as you have conducted research which has assured you that a Shih Tzu puppy is a good fit for you and your family, so you must now continue your information quest.  Research is essential, whether it’s books, the internet or talking with knowledgeable people.  The more information you have, the better decision you will be able to make.

To start narrowing your search for a Shih Tzu puppy breeder, stay away, or walk away, from any breeder who shows you any of these--


1.  Breeder has lots of litters of puppies available at the same time or no waiting for puppies.  A reputable breeder may have several litters, but most small breeders are interested in quality, not quantity, and will breed only one litter at a time so that they can give the best care to each litter of puppies. They will not have a constant supply of puppies and will often need to put potential owners on a waiting list.

2.  Breeder does not allow visiting of adult dogs or any other puppies.  A breeder should at the least allow you to visit the mother of the puppies.  They should also allow you to visit the kennels or the area where the dogs spend most of their time.

3.  Breeder has no pedigree for the dog and no documentation.  Many great dogs come “without papers.”  But we are discussing pure bred Shih Tzus.  The parents of the puppy must be registered. The breeder should provide the paperwork necessary for your puppy to become AKC registered, and should also be able to provide lineage information.

4.  Breeder denies any genetic defects or is not informed about the possibilities.  A good breeder knows Shih Tzus well and will have no problem giving you the details of the breed’s problems. (These will be discussed in the next section.)

5.  Breeder is not a member of a local dog club and/or does not participate in dog shows or other dog sports.  The only way for a breeder to be sure their puppies are being bred to the best standard of Shih Tzus is to be involved with others in the dog world.  Dog shows for conformation give the breeder an idea of how well their dogs fit the Shih Tzu standard.
6.  Breeder has not socialized the puppies.  This is a very important factor in raising puppies.  If they haven’t grown up around people, there will be signs of their lack of contact.  These signs differ with each puppy, but could be characteristics such as:  easily startled, frightened by loud noises, aggression, etc.
7.  Breeder lacks knowledge of the breed.  Each breed of dog has its own set of characteristics, known genetic problems, life span, temperament, etc.  A Shih Tzu breeder should be able to give you these details.  (Shih Tzu’s details will be discussed in the next sections of the article.)

8.  Breeder asks no questions (or very few) of you.  Any reputable dog breeder will be concerned about the person/family who will be taking their puppy.  It is not an insult to be asked how much you know about Shih Tzus, whether you live in the city or the country, and who in the family will be primarily responsible for the care of the puppy.  If the breeder isn’t concerned about you, then you may want to go elsewhere for a puppy.

There are guidelines for choosing a good Shih Tzu puppy breeder that also apply to choosing any dog breeder.  Included in these guidelines are tips that are specific to Shih Tzu puppy breeders.  Use the following to help you decide on a good breeder:


1.  Breeder has dogs that are happy, healthy and are receptive to visitors.  The breeder will also be happy to show you any of their dogs, but especially the mother of the puppies you are considering buying.  Many times, the father of the litter is unavailable because it is owned by another breeder.  In order to get the best characteristics of a breed, good breeders look for lineages that will be an asset to the lineage of their dog.

2.  Breeder will provide you with references of other people/families who have bought puppies from them.  This may seem unnecessary, and it may well be if you’ve done your homework word of mouth is a great selling tool and should give you confidence as well.  You may be interested in this particular breeder because a friend already owns an adorable Shih Tzu from this breeder who is perfectly content to sit on your lap for hours.

3.  Are knowledgeable about the Shih Tzu and its breed standards.  They will know that a mature Shih Tzu should weigh between 9 and 16 pounds and not be less than 8 or more than 11 inches in height at the withers (top of the shoulder.)  They will also be aware that although Shih Tzus are in the toy class, they should have a solid, compact frame that is neither too leggy nor too squatty.  They will also know that the standard for Shih Tzus allows all of the Shih Tzus colors as well as all types of markings and that all these differences are acceptable, but the coat itself is important.  It should be dense, long and flowing, and double-coated.  As far as temperament goes, a good breeder will also know that since the Shih Tzu’s only purpose is as a companion, this dog should be outgoing, affectionate, and friendly to everyone.

4.  Breeder knows both the positive and negative sides to the breed in terms of temperament, care, etc.  They know that Shih Tzus are less ”yappy” than other toy breeds, don’t need as much exercise as many other breeds, and are friendly with most people.  But they also know that their coat requires brushing, combing and/or cutting, that they don’t like to be alone for long periods of time, and that they do a lot of snuffing and snoring.

5..  Breeder is also knowledgeable (and willing to explain) the potential health problems and/or genetic defects specific to Shih Tzus.  A good breeder knows that Shih Tzus may develop entropion, which is the turning inward of the border of the eyelid against the eyeball.  They may also develop kidney disorders.  A good breeder will tell you that your Shih Tzu may have breathing difficulties due to their upturned nose and short face.  And that these breathing problems also make them a risk to anesthetize.  A good Shih Tzu breeder also knows that these dogs may develop joint or skin problems.

6.  Breeder will have documentation.  Good Shih Tzu breeders have pedigrees for you to look at, will provide all the paperwork necessary for you to register your Shih Tzu puppy with the American Kennel Club, will have shot records and instructions for you about what your puppy needs next in the way of vaccinations, and lastly, will expect you to sign a contract that requires you to spay or neuter your puppy if you do not plan to show it.

7.  Breeder will encourage continued communication.  A good breeder wants to know of any problems and will be willing to help with a referral to a good trainer, veterinarian, etc.  They will also guarantee that the puppy is in good health with no defects, and if that is not the case, will take the puppy back.  A good Shih Tzu breeder will also assure you that they will take the puppy back for ANY reason because their primary interest in the puppy’s welfare.

8.  Breeder will ask you LOTS of questions.  A good breeder will not “grill” you, but will show concern for their puppy and its placement in your home.  Placing a Shih Tzu puppy in a good home is a priority, and goes without saying, for a good breeder.  A good breeder will ask you why you chose a Shih Tzu because your answers help them decide if you and your family will be a good match not just for the Shih Tzu breed, but perhaps, for a particular puppy in a litter.  There are laid-back and frisky puppies in every litter, aside from the usual breed temperament.  So, these questions are important to both you and the breeder.

Choosing a Shih Tzu puppy breeder is a matter of research, common sense, and knowing about Shih Tzus before choosing a breeder.  By keeping the warning signs in mind, and using the guidelines to help you make a decision, you will be able to choose a Shih Tzu puppy breeder with confidence, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying your adorable Shih Tzu puppy.