The Shih Tzu dog is a toy breed whose origins stem from Southeast Asia. The name “Shih Tzu”, which can seem amusing to pronounce (SHEET-zoo), comes from the Chinese “Lion Dog” or “Chrysanthemum Dog”. They received that name because their fur grows very long and straight like a lion’s mane. Or, they may sport cropped short and curly faces which resemble the flower’s bloom.
The Shih Tzus are royalty, and are quite aware of it. They make perfect lap dogs, and they were once bred solely for that purpose. In Ancient Tibet and China, the Shih Tzu was a companion to kings and queens, and would travel with them as an equal member of the party receiving the highest quality treatment from hand feedings to luxurious grooming.
Not much has changed over hundreds of years for The Shih Tzu in regards to their personality and need for attention. Although they are small dogs, their grand presence still warrants an ovation at every entrance. They love to have a fuss made over them, and if they feel ignored they will make the fuss of their own. They have a snapping bark and will use it freely to express just about any emotion.
As babies, Shih Tzus are tiny and very clumsy. They are top heavy as their heads are bigger than their bodies. They tend to lose balance and fall often when they are learning to run and play. When combined with their flattened snouts, this poses a hazard when eating wet foods or drinking water.
As they grow, the Shih Tzu becomes comfortable in their body. They learn balance and can be very active, energetic and sharp witted playmates. Because they are light weight and easily entertained, exercise is easy for them. They do not require a lot of space and thrive well in apartment living. They enjoy the indoors and controlled climates and are not tolerating of the heat.
They will run (not walk) everywhere. Their little legs will rapidly scurry to send them flying across a room to chase just about anything, including you, if you leave the room. They can jump to very high points due to their muscular hind legs, and burrow into the tiniest hiding spaces. But their favorite place will be on your lap as they devour affection and praise.
The Shih Tzu can make a very good therapy pet. They are the loyal types, and they can assist with alerting their patient of knocks at the door, ringing phones or trespassers. Shih Tzus offer patients unconditional love, but also a purpose to care for low maintenance family member.
Senior Shih Tzus may slow down physically, but their wit does not fade. When they can no longer go on walks, they will love being carried around so they can continue to be an equal in the group.
Adopting a Shih Tzu as a pet is a great choice if you are looking for a beautifully glamorous, cuddly and playful dog for all ages.