The Shih Tzu is a small dog with a short muzzle and medium to large dark eyes. It has a soft and long coat, with an ideal weight of about 10 to 16lb. It has drop ears that are covered with fur. It’s tail is heavily furred tail that curls back. The coat can be of any color, although a blaze of white on the forehead and tip of the tail is most common. A very noticeable feature is the under-bite, which is expected among the breed standards. Its coat is long and silky, and if left untrimmed reaches the floor. This requires daily brushing in order to avoid dog grooming issues. Because of their long coat and fast-growing hair, regular grooming is necessary regardless, which can be costly if not preformed by the owner and should be considered considering this particular breed.
Although a Shih Tzu’s temperament varies from dog to dog, the breed has a personality and temperament that is typically loyal, affectionate, and outgoing. Training and proper socializing must start at a young age for the Shih Tzu to obey basic commands, which is not uncommon for most dog breeds. While the Shih Tzu is an reliable watch dog because of its alert and active nature, it was not specifically bred for this purpose. Obviously its small stature does not suit the breed in this regard. The Shih Tzu prefers to be close to its companions and will often offer strangers its affection. Due to its friendly nature, the Shih Tzu tends to interact well with other dogs and with children and adults.
DNA analysis placed the ancestors of today’s Shih Tzu breed in the group of ancient breeds indicating, that like all dogs, it has close ties to wolves. The breed originated in China, hence the name “Lion Dog”, in 800BC, which is also very similar to the pug. There are various theories of the origins of today’s breed.
Although the Shih Tzu is small in stature it does defecate between one to three times each day. This requires the owner to clean up the dog poop on a frequent basis. The main function of cleaning up the dog poop is to avoid harmful bacteria from building up in the Shi Tzu’s enviornment.