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The Shih Tzu: A True Miniature Breed Dog

Physical Characteristics

The Shih Tzu is a snugly built little animal with a solid, sound structure. It stands from about 8 to 11 inches tall at the withers, and should weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. Its body length is slightly greater than its height, and it should be physically proportional all over, neither too short or too small, but a true miniature breed dog. In movement, it moves with effortless, smooth strides, showing good drive and reach, with the head and tail held high, giving away its ancient royal bloodlines.

Its hair is double layered, full, dense, and lush, and grows long and straight, past the feet. The Shih Tzu sheds very little, making it a good choice for people who have light allergies to fur, or for people who just prefer not to clean up a lot of hair. Regular grooming is a requirement with this breed because of this characteristic; the hair will get tangled and matted quickly as it gets longer. The ears and tail are full and long, with the tail hair fluffing it out in a feathery plume that curves over the back.

This breed is categorized as brachycephalic, meaning that the muzzle and nose of the Shih Tzu is flat, though not as flat as its cousin, the Pekingese. The eyes are round and wide, but in contrast to some other flat muzzled dogs, the eyes should not bulge or be too prominent. The Shih Tzu should have an innocent, wide-eyed, warm expression giving it an impression of friendliness and trustworthiness, rather than the more ferocious appearance of the Pekingese.

Personality and Temperament

The Shih Tzu is bred primarily as a domestic and family companion, so its personality should be guided by friendliness, buoyancy, tolerance, and trust. This breed showers affection on its family when it has been treated in kind, and is good and gentle with children. It should be noted that Shih Tzu can get skittish when they are mistreated, and a dog that is introduced to small children at an older age may not be as tolerant with high energy play as it would if it had been raised from the start with young children. Its resilience is impressive, but this trait can translate to stubbornness at times.

Still, the ever plucky and sweet Shih Tzu is not only a lively and playful companion, but a mild lapdog as well. It loves to romp and play, delighting everyone with its cheerful attitude, and at the end of the day it is happy to relax with the family, serene and at peace in its little world.

Care

This breed needs exercise, but not much more than a daily walk around the neighborhood, or a run though the park. It can even be suitably energized with fetching games inside when the weather does not permit outdoor activities. This is a walking dog rather than a jogging dog, but owing to its size, it can also make an enjoyable biking companion, given a comfortable bike basket from which to settle in to catch the wind in its face. Because of its short muzzle, the Shih Tzu cannot tolerate high temperatures.

Another consideration regarding its nose is the tendency for water to get into the nostrils. Some owners use water bottles (the sort used for small cage animals) for their Shih Tzu to avoid this problem. This dog gets along better as an indoor dog rather than an outdoor dog. This arrangement is highly recommended, in fact. This is not only to protect your dog from temperatures, but because the hair tends to get dirty and matted as it grows.

The plush coat requires combing or brushing on alternate days, everyday if it is kept at show length. It is essential to teach puppies to accept grooming while young so that they look forward to this activity with you. Make no mistake, if you choose to grow the hair long on your Shih Tzu, you will need to commit yourself to an intense grooming schedule; the hair can get out of hand quickly. Some owners who do not plan to show their Shih Tzu, but have the breed for companionship only, will choose to keep their pet in a teddy bear cut, or an abbreviated long style that is easier to manage.

Another option is to keep the tail, ears and “beard” long, with the feet fluffy, and the rest of the hair on the body trimmed to an inch or shorter, or to keep the hair on the undercarriage long so that it blends with the legs, giving the hair the appearance of a skirt. Whatever cut is chosen, the hair around the eyes should be kept trimmed to avoid mishaps or gunk build-up, but just long enough to keep dust from blowing into the eyes.

Another reason to keep your Shih Tzu inside is that it has a tendency to bark, sometimes for long stretches of time. Even if it is kept indoors, this breed will bark frequently, at anyone, or anything, going by. It gets bored when it is alone, and this explains its behavior to some degree, but keep in mind that the Shih Tzu was bred as a palace watchdog, and it will continue to carry that instinct if it is from a pure line. This quality makes it a particularly good choice for an alarm system, but maybe not a good option for someone who lives in an apartment and is at work all day -- although there are solutions for this type of situation. When the dog is with people it can be distracted from barking as much, but this trait must be expected and appreciated, rather than taken as an annoyance that must be trained out of the Shih Tzu. Rather than punishing the barking behavior, find response words that will work quickly to quiet your dog, or distractions that can be depended on to draw its attention away from what is going on outside the window or door.

Health

The Shih Tzu has a lifespan of 11 to 16 years. Some of the minor diseases that can affect this breed are renal dysplasia (abnormal growth of tissue), trichiasis (eyelash malformation), entropion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), otitis externa, patellar luxation, and inguinal (groin) hernia, as well as a major concern like canine hip dysplasia (CHD). This breed is also prone to cataract and dental problems. Eye, hip, and DNA tests can be good for preventive health care, or for management of non-preventive conditions.

 

History and Background

The name Shih Tzu Kou, or Shih Tzu, translates to “mini lion,” the moniker given to it in deference to its lion-like appearance. The name is likely based on the word for lion, “shishi.” The lion was highly esteemed in China for its connection with Buddhism, since it had a long tradition as guardian of the temples and palaces. The lion's strength and courage was revered, and it made its way into many of Buddha's teachings. This little dog was bred to reflect that appearance of strength, regality, and beauty, and it took the position as a practical stand in for the lion, acting as companion and guardian of the palace and temple.

It is probable that this dog was actually developed in Tibet in the 1600s, where it was considered a holy animal. It is accepted as one of the oldest dog breeds on record. The modern Shih Tzu developed in China in the late 19th Century, when the Dowager Empress Cixi ruled the kingdom.

Though the Pekingese and Shih Tzu breeds have similar backgrounds, and have often been linked over the years, the two had been long distinguished in Chinese art, where the latter is shown with a pien-ji or topknot, denoted by bumps on the head. It is worth remarking that the topknot is still the style that is used for the Shih Tzu, especially in the show ring.

When the Dowager Empress Cixi ruled during the latter part of the Qing dynasty, the Shih Tzu were held in great regard, and were kept as special house pets. She personally oversaw their breeding, and the eunuchs in charge of the palace breeding took great pride in producing the most beautiful and distinct dogs, interbreeding, without the Empress' knowledge, within the groups of Pekingese and Pugs that were also a part of the palace kennel in order to achieve those ideal. Because the dogs were also regarded as protectors of the palace, the instinct for barking at strangers was undoubtedly honed during this time. In fact, the Shih Tzu is still a highly recommended watch dog because of its quick and vocal reaction to strangers. The Empress was very jealous over her dogs and was not wont to share them with foreign dignitaries or friends. Many of the Empress' dogs were lost after her death, causing a big blow to the breed. Later, Shih Tzus were displayed in China as Tibetan Poodles or Lhassa Terriers.

In 1935, the breed was shown as the Lhassa Lion Dog, and it was then that it began to gain popularity on a wider scale. In England there was confusion between the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso, but in 1934, after the Apso was displayed, the two breeds were split into their own distinct classes. It was then that the smaller dogs with the shorter-noses and wider-skulls from Peking were given the Shih Tzu name. Just one Pekingese outcrossing was allowed, in 1952, but this cross was not permitted again. The standards for the purity of the bloodline have been strictly upheld since. In the 1960s, the U.S. saw immense growth in the breed’s popularity, paving the way for recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1969. It is among the most lovable of the toy breeds, and its popularity as a domestic companion and show dog continues to rise.

Comments  30

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  • 07/11/2013 02:12am

    Barking is a characteristic of the Shih Tzu??????
    I have a seven year old Shih/AKC and I have always marveled at his non-barking. he sneezes to communicate - if that fails, he taps your leg or a bag or whatever will make noise to get your attention, he only lets out a single yelp to let you know you have ignored all his other communications; or if another dog won't play with him; he's not the only quiet Shih Tzu i know - most all of us have laughed at our sneezing/snorting little friends. So what's the deal on yelping/barking incessently being standard amongst the breed? i recommend the shih tzu to anyone who doesn't want a yappy annoying little dog. Others with Calvin Coolidge Shih Tzus chime in. Perhaps mine is particularly silent as he has spent very little time alone - most always with me from birth and so perhaps he didn't have to bark because he had no complaints, lol.

  • 07/12/2013 01:22am

    I have to agree with you I have 2 Shih Tzu's and they rarely bark at all especially on a walk. Unless they see a bigger dog but normally they are NOT a small yapping type of a dog.

  • 03/01/2015 04:29am

    I have a Shih Tzu who I adopted. I am a 64 year old woman with four kids and this is the first dog that I ever had that does not bark and I have had many. I thought at first that there was something wrong with him because I did not hear him bark. Even today I went to a Pet Smart to an adoption fair where there were a lot of dogs, most of them were barking, my little guy did not do a thing but look at them. So this person needs to proofread the report and fix that. Every once in a while he will let out a bark or some kind of noise but barking is not what he does. If we walk and a dog stops to bark at him he just sits there and looks at them.

  • My shih tzu doesn't bark
    10/26/2013 05:19pm

    Well, he has been known to bark in excitement, while playing, and occasionally from frustration when I won't let him do something, but generally he is silent. And he has never done that irritating incessant bark that you expect from toy dogs and terriers.

    The only time he has ever been noisy was when I missed his daily walk, and the yap factor upped a few decibels.

    I have to wonder - are the people who have noisy shih tzu actually meeting their needs with enough play, exercise and romping? All that frustrated energy would have to find an outlet somewhere!

  • Great Description
    01/15/2014 04:16pm

    Ours fits this description perfectly! He is motivated by play & companionship more than anything. The neighborhood walking trail is directly behind the fence. His morning playtime in our backyard is dedicated to watching for people with dogs to walk by so he can bark loudly and joyfully while running up and down the length of our fence with them. He's not an annoying barker but is exactly as you described. He consistently barks loudly from the excitement and anticipation of companionship or an exciting event. He's the friendliest dog I've ever known. He can be stubborn but is eager to please, easy to please, and content with whatever. He is joyful and energetic but, as stated in this description, very content to be a lap dog, especially in the evenings. All our friends, family, and neighbors love him. You can't be around him without smiling, a lot. He loves everyone and every type of animal so very much. He doesn't shed. He does need to be groomed fairly often because he mats easily. He's a rescue so we're not sure of his first ten months but 6 years later he is definitely jumpy when touched unexpectedly and is fearful when scolded."Thin skinned." He's such a good boy it has been easy to accomplish good behavior without scaring or hurting him. I cannot imagine life without a shih tzu going forward. This breed is highly recommended by me!

  • My shih tzu is a giant!
    06/04/2014 07:27pm

    I have a 4 month old shih tzu who weighs 14.6 lbs. the vet says he is not over weight. I wanted a lap dog ... Pretty soon he won't fit in my lap. All I can think is ... How big will this dog get!!!

  • 08/23/2016 10:11pm

    Well its been several years since your post.. Let u know my female SHIH is 19 lbs and yes she is a registered dog just a big dog, largest in the litter.

  • Shih tzus and barking
    07/29/2014 03:16pm

    Our little male shih tzu barks about once every four months! He is the cutest little sweetie and loves everyone!! When our daughter got a terrier, the shih tzu accepted him immediately. He never tries to be "the dominant male" when in a crowd of male dogs. I am constantly amazed at his precious little personality. I have made up my mind that shih tzus are the perfect dog for our laid-back family life.

    Years ago, we had a mixed breed--part shih tzu and part poodle. Now HE was a barker! Nothing we did could stop the little guy from barking! I have wondered if it was the poodle part of his genetics, because poodles are notorious for barking!

    I have no idea where the statement came from about shih tzus being barkers because I have seen very little in the way of barking from this dog. Wish he could teach the terrier not to bark, actually! :o)

  • So quiet little thing..
    09/15/2014 07:46pm

    Well, it's pretty surprise to me(and many others) that this breed is supposed to be a noisy one. Similarly with many others, my 30-months-old male Shih Tsu also rarely barks and that's no doubt to be one of the favorite parts of his character that whoever have spent time with him will definitely fall in love at first impression. Thanks for all the interesting and useful information. I will keep in touch and come around here more often.

    "if you treat your pet as just an animal, it will be just an animal, but if you treat your pet as a true companion, it will be one of the most valuable living things that will never turn it's back against you no matter what." My own trust and belief.

  • Question
    10/13/2014 12:18pm

    I currently have a black lab/weimaraner mix dog about 8 months old. She loves to play and has a ton of energy. I have to take her for long walks to keep her from being to crazy in my little apartment. I want to get a Shi Tzu for my fiance but I'm concerned about how they will interact. Anyone have any advice for me?

  • 10/27/2014 06:39pm

    My dog don't like to play for a long time because she gets out of breath very fast but she is a Shih Tzu mix.

  • 01/20/2015 04:25pm

    I have a 10 year old Shih Tzu and a 1 year old Weim. My Weim can be a little to playful and my Shih Tzu will bark and warn her. If she gets to wild my Shih Tzu will go hide in his crate until she calms down. It really just depends on the energy level of the dogs.

  • problems breathing
    10/27/2014 06:36pm

    I was wondering if the breed has problems with breathing? My rescue Shih Tzu always gag after running and at night wake up with breathing problems. I am really worried.

  • Too much dog walking?
    01/18/2015 04:15pm

    I have a four year old male Shih Tzu, Cosmo. We take walks every day (morning) and mostly another in the evening. About 1 mile each session (25 minutes). I've lost 40 pounds in the past year doing this (with low carb eating), but Cosmo has gained 3 pounds. He's 20 pounds, medium size frame. I asked my vet if he was over weight and she went over his body and said she didn't find any excess fat on his body...and that it appears I'm turning my Shi Tzu into a Bulldog (with a laugh). His new weight is in his chest and shoulders and I think its from our 15 miles per week walking. My Walk the dog app told me the he and I walked 645 miles in 2014. We've walked over 1,800 miles in the past 3 years. He seems very healthy and has energy and loves his naps and eats twice a day (mostly high grade kibble and a little wet). He was a finiky eater until I put him on a probiotic 4 months ago...with his food each day. I would appreciate anyone feedback on whether I might be walking him too much or his huskiness is just a sign of good fitness. Thanks much...M

  • Not barkers....
    04/14/2015 12:12pm

    We adopted a 9 year old Shih Tzu about 8 months ago. She typically is NOT a barker. But our neighbors have told us about a few times where she has been outside barking "all day". They have a boston terrier and Tootsie always knows when she is outside and barks by the fence because she wants to play. She has let out a single bark to let me know something...to go out, to let me know she wants up on the couch...etc. I would definitely disagree on the this breed being barkers. Course, I have had beagles in the past who bark at the wind blowing. :)

  • New Shih Tzu
    07/18/2015 02:35pm

    We are around 70 and just recently adopted a 4-yr old shih Tzu. She is a sweet, delightful dog. Apparently had very little attention and maybe a little abuse as she was very timid of my husband at first (now she loves sitting in his lap and getting petted/scratched). My question is regarding her not pooing every day. Is this normal? Also, some days she will eat practically nothing and other days she wants to eat twice a day. Also regarding the barking, she is very, very quiet until someone comes on the property and then she alerts us with a few barks. Likes to run in circles whenever we get the leash, but then trots nicely, without pulling, as we take our walks. We have around 30 acres and she is anticipating seeing it all (she about strangled herself the first time she saw a rabbit and took off to the end of her leash). Love our Abby to pieces!

  • 07/25/2015 06:02pm

    Oh, your little Abby sounds so sweet. She's fortunate you found her, especially given her presumed past. She's super lucky to have 30 acres to explore--that's one heck of a fiefdom for a little dog! We have a Shih Tzu/toy poodle mix. She maintains a cool 7.5 pounds, primarily because she's literally addicted to ball fetching! I have to set limits on ball fetching for her, as she doesn't appear to grow tired of fetching--even when temperatures reach triple digits! I'm pretty certain that this is the Poodle in her. As active and super agile as she is outdoors, when she's indoors she's the perfect companion lap dog. I've got the best of both worlds--she can go the distance on long hikes and she's perfectly content to hang out quietly in my office at work for the day. I work on a university campus so we do walk around the campus periodically throughout the day.

  • 07/25/2015 08:42pm

    Sorry-- I meant to reply to your questions but inadvertently posted before I was done writing. First, my dog, Mochii, only barks when she smells another dog with her owner passing by the house or she senses that someone has come on our property. I think that in both cases she's responding alerting me to the possibility that a human is approaching. Mochii doesn't have much of a reaction to other dogs unless they're males in which case she's "stand-offish." I've been told by life-long dog lovers that she's an "alpha female." I was a cat-lover most of my life until I became very allergic to them in my early 30's. I moved to Davis, CA in my mid-30s and was soon "bitten" by the dog lovebug and summarily "switched sides." The only time I think it's "normal" for a dog not to poop everyday is when they've been stressed. For instance, my dog flies with us to the East coast at least twice a year. She typically doesn't poop for that entire day and night. She won't eat on those days either. Regarding her dietary habits, like your dog, Mochii occasionally won't eat much one day and seemingly makes up for it the following day. Here's the thing, she had a health scare about a 2 years ago. Long story short, we were told by our University vet that she has Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and that this was common with the Shih Tzu breed. The vet believes that the IBD was caused by allergies to common proteins, e.g., chicken & beef soooo we had to put her on an expensive prescription hydrolyzed protein diet and after a few months, slowly introduce atypical meat proteins, e.g., rabbit & lamb, watching for any signs of allergic reaction (e.g., compulsive paw licking). We know that the IBD wasn't an acute reaction to something poisonous because her cholesterol level was abnormally low which is something that occurs over time. She was also consistently a little underweight, despite the fact that she was eating normally. Prescription diets are hella expensive so I've taken to buying frozen lamb or rabbit patties, mixing this with Primal's rabbit or duck dehydrated nuggets, throwing in a little brown rice, and some chopped greens. I microwave all that, serve up a big scoop, and then store it in the fridge. The point to all of this is that you might want to have her checked for IBD because Mochii's IBD started with constipation and decreased appetite. It ended with nonstop vomiting and aspiration pneumonia. Good luck with your lucky dog!

  • 07/26/2015 05:14pm

    Abby has settled in well. She goes out each morning with my husband and does her "business" so at this point no concerns. I think she finally realizes that she is in her "forever" home. She enjoys her walks and even tried to chase a rabbit one day (did not work out well for her as she was on leash and the rabbit was probably 1-1/2 times her size). She is very inquisitive and loves to check everything out. We have a business on the property and each morning after breakfast she knows it is time to "go to work" and heads for the office with us. She barks when someone comes on the property and greets them when they come in the office. Then, when her "duties" are done, lays down and takes a nap. Quite a character.

  • BARKING?
    07/31/2015 06:58pm

    Teddy doesnt bark. at all. He did recently start because my daughter would play with him a little rough once i stop that he went back to his strong silent self.

  • Shih Tzu and barking
    11/01/2015 02:08pm

    I am fostering a 7 year old Shih Tzu and she is as quiet and sweet as they come. She lived all her 7 years of life as a breeding mom in a puppy mill until 4 weeks ago. First Shih Tzu I've had and I'm pretty impressed with how smart she is. She has only barked one time since she's been here. My 2 dogs can be barking like maniacs but Halle just looks at them and is quiet as a mouse. We have a 23 acre horse farm where she loves to run and play. She's loving life and free of living in a horrible cage as a breeding machine. She loves hanging out with my 2 dogs and she really likes watching the horses. Probably one of the best temperaments I've seen in any dog. I didn't think I would be a person who would want this type of dog, but she's so awesome and I'm now sold on this breed. Thinking very seriously that I'm going to be a foster failure on this one lol

  • 12/10/2015 07:06pm

    She is so lucky you came along. From a puppy mill to living on a farm with room to run and horses! I hope you keep her. God bless you!

  • Best dogs ever!
    12/10/2015 07:02pm

    We have a 2 year old Shih Tzu named Penny. She fits the description in the article perfectly. She is the sweetest dog we have ever had and smart as a whip! She will run and get any toy I tell her to (Monkey, pig, etc.) She loves to go on walks and play with her toys but also loves to curl up on our laps and sleep while we watch TV. She greets me at the door every day when I get home from work and jumps into my arms and licks my face for about five minutes! She plays great with the grandkids. The only time she barks is when she sees other dogs or people walking by our front window. I don't scold her because I know it is her nature. Her favorite toy is one of my old socks with a knot in it. She carries it with her everywhere. I highly recommend a Shih Tzu as a family pet.

  • 07/30/2016 03:08pm

    Yes, I tell my 16+ guy, "best boy ever" several times a day. We got him at age 12! Poor guy. He has been wonderful, does not bark (who says they bark a lot?!). He is sweet and kind to people and animals, even bunnies. Unfortunately, he became so defensive with groomers and vets that he has caused himself serious health issues related to this behavior. He needs Valium two hrs prior to these events.

  • Shih-Tzu barking
    12/28/2015 10:45am

    I have to leave my comment along with the others about the Shih-Tzu being a barking dog. I have a male rescue shih-tuz named Bubbie and he seldom barks at anything. I have a poodle mix and she is the barker she barks just for the fun of barking I think and he still never picked up her bad habit. I rescued Bubbie from my neighbors next door to me. Two years ago in the spring I was on vacation and when I came home there was changes next door. The lady that was living there was gone and there was another one moved in with the guy that lived there and there was this cute little brown & white dog on a leash outside. Well I began to notice as spring turned to summer that the little dog was always on the leash outside without any shelter from the heat or storms except for going on the porch or under it. As I would take my Josie on her daily walks we would stop and say hi to the little dog and talk to him and he always seemed scared like he wanted to come over to me but wouldn't. Then one day in the fall the guy was outside with a blue barrel when Josie & I walked by. I ask him what he was doing and his answer to me was that he was cutting the top out of the barrel and going to put a throw rug in it so he could move the dog out behind a shed they had beside their house for the winter I was dumbfounded and I know it had to show in my face how could he do that? I couldn't sleep that night from think about the little dog's fate so I did something totally out of character for me I went over to their house and knocked on the door and when he answered the door I said I'm not looking for a dog and don't really need another one (see I've had Josie since she was 6 weeks old and now she was 7 yrs and had always been the only dog ) but, I went on saying would you give me your little dog. He will never make it being outside in the winter and if you don't want him give him to me and I promise he will always be taken care of and loved, fed and kept inside out of the weather you see how I care for my Josie. He said don't ask me he is her dog looking at his girlfriend. She said well I don't know my sister gave him to me and I just stood there looking at her until finally she said well ok I guess you can have him. I'm thinking lady how could you let your little dog be treated like this. So I took him across the yard to his new home. He had not been bathed or his hair cut for so long that he was one big matted mess and stunk up the whole house but, I didn't care at least he was inside and safe. He wouldn't have any thing to do with anyone but me he would lay beside the chair I sat in and lay behind the chair when I was at work and he was really afraid of men. After three days I got him into my groomer for a bath and hair cut he was so bad I couldn't even give him a bath he could hardly walk I thought he was a older dog he could barely make it to his food dish and back. After a trip to the groomer he was a totally different dog he was not old at all he was so matted he couldn't walk she showed me his hair when she was done and I don't know which end she started with but she had to shave him down close and his matted hair came off in one big matted piece in the perfect shape of his body when I put him in the car to come home he started jumping from the front seat to the back seat up into the back window back up front and so on when we walked into the house he started at the front door and rolled clear across the front room floor and back again he just couldn't believe he could move again he was not a older dog he was really quite young don't know for sure how old he is. What I do know he has his forever home and will never be treated like he was again. It took Josie a while to adjust to sharing me but she is fine now she knows I love her just as much now as I did before Bubbie entered our lives and there is enough love for both of them and the joy this little dog has brought into our home is amazing once he over came his fear and learned how to trust people again he is such a joy to have he is cute, funny, loves to play and cuddle when the leash comes out it is for two cute dogs to take their daily walks never again will Bubbie be confined to a chain without shelter or love. Shih-Tzu's "ROCK"
    On a ending note I would like to say the day after Bubbie got his hair cut SHE seen him out playing with Josie and walked over and said to me "Oh he looks so cute with his hair cut just remember I was the one who gave him to you and if you ever breed him I get pick of the litter...The nerve of some people is really unbelievable I stood there looking at her to see if she was going to say she was kidding when I finally said well I won't be breeding him he is family and I don't sell out family and with that I took my two best buds in the house and closed the door.

  • Still quiet...
    01/11/2016 09:05pm

    I have an almost 5 yr.old Shih Tzu... She is quiet 99% of the time, and very very friendly to everyone, specially children. She doesn't bark at anyone, and on rare occasions she will bark when she senses someone or something outside our property. But very rarely. She eats twice a day, three handfuls of dry food, and on occasion she skips a meal, and when I'm sleeping, she goes to her bowl, and eats it all. She had a nervous temperament when she moved in with me, and would bark all night long because she didn't want to be alone, but that has changed, and now she is fine sleeping alone outside my room, enjoying that she can go eat, or come back to her bed (s) as she pleases. She did scratch my furniture in the past, and had to cover the hole so that she wouldn't go back to it and continue scratching it... my daughter thinks that she is stressed or anxious... I have given her toys, and things to chew on, but on occasion she would go back to scratching a carpet corner... is that common for any of your dogs?
    Other than that, she is an adorable companion, and has a wonderful personality that everyone appreciates.

  • Incessant barking
    06/08/2016 03:23am

    Well this article explains a lot. We adopted Kia after her mommy went into assisted living. She'd bought her as a 1 year old about a year before and wasn't able to really give her the care she needed and was not house trained when we brought her home. With crate training and much patience she is pretty good about going when she goes out. We have a German Shepherd and a Maltese both 7 years old neither of them have been big barkers. This little Shih has become a trigger for constant barking at everything - she barks when we leave , when we come home, when its time to eat, go out , come in , pretty much anything that she thinks will be exciting. She's a beautiful wonderful intelligent companion otherwise and gets along with the rest of the pack as well as visitors and grandchildren. We have been treating the barking as nuisance barking because she gets the rest of them going and it's like having a kennel at times. Now that I know this is a breed trait we will start handling it differently and teach her a quiet word and reassure her that everything is fine rather than yelling quiet and using a spray bottle. We will have to try and teach the other two not to jump on the bandwagon because im sure our neighbors find it as annoying as we do to have this barking chorus every time we make a move lol

  • Shih Tuz
    06/11/2016 03:59pm

    Previous dogs 2 females have had big bug eyes and smashed in nose. The male we now have has all the colors but nose is more pointed and eyes are very black small and not much white showing. Would this indicate a blood line of another dog and this is really a mixed breed?

  • Home alone
    08/07/2016 07:13am

    I have a 12 week old Shih Tzu 'Lady' and am wondering how long is it ok to leave her in the house on her own, without her getting distressed?

  • my shih ztue is 4 to 5 lb
    11/01/2016 10:48am

    my shih tzue is 8 yrs old she is a pickie eater she did eat acana for a while then wouldnt eat i got her some freeze dried she will eat it but gets tired of it. so i will boil her chicken but a time or 2 of that shes tired of it. i have to let her go a day or two before she will eat her food. she weighs 4 to 5 lbs. shes 8yrs old. she will not let me groom her. i did when she was tiny i have two pair of clippers so when one gets to warm i can pick up the other one. i have tried sissors she wont let me so i have to pay 40 every 6 weeks i keep her short. but im on fixed income and i need to do this my self.any suggestions?she doesnt like treats.and i was wondering what u brush their teeth with? now she is a barker especially if some one is a the door. she will jump off my lap or off the bed and wont stop until i let them in. she loves kids and people.i keep her in so she dont get fleas. she has bumps on her just this yr. they r like a pimple but does not come to a head,i dont know what it is. vet didnt say.a person told me they were oil glans.i do take her in the car when i can but most places dont let dogs in.i take her thru the bank and drive thru fast food.we dont have a pet smart here. thanks

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