Caring For Your Shih Tzu

Cutest Shih TzuSome people prefer big dogs like Great Danes and Saint Bernards, lumbering piles of dogflesh that take up quite a bit of space and which can be difficult to handle. Others prefer dogs with particular functions, like Greyhounds who race, Sheepdogs who herd, or Rotteweilers to guard and protect. Neither of these are necessary, however.

Yet you have to admit that in today’s modern lifestyle, all of the above is often not a reasonable way to go about becoming a dog-owner. Our apartments and smaller house-sizes make it difficult to own a large dog, while urban living makes it hard to own an energetic dog that needs plenty of outside-time. That probably explains why so many dog-owners are going crazy for the Shih Tzu!

Grooming Takes Precedence

Shih Tzus are beautiful dogs that can act as companions no matter where you go. Owing to their size and the fact that they have been bred to be lapdogs, they are capable of going anywhere and being held in your arms or even in a bag; meanwhile, you needn’t worry that your Shih Tzu will run off, as they are not a breed easily distracted by scents or sounds, nor are they prone to the type of aggression that can lead some dogs to go running off after another dog or cat. Yet Shih Tzus do present some challenges to an owner, and you would be wise to consider these before adopting a Shih Tzu of your own.

First, Shih Tzus have grooming issues that you will have to tend to. In order to prevent their fur from matting, you will want to bathe your dog at least once per week, though every few weeks is acceptable (while not ideal). The fact of the matter is, you should also be using a brush or comb on their fur once a day as well. This can seem like a large time investment, but once you are actually doing it, it won’t be that bad at all!

Shih Tzus also have quite a bit of hair that grows out, but for them to be cool and comfortable (especially in these hot summer climates!) you will want to regularly trim your dog’s hair. The area around their eyes, in particular can get quite long and dirty, which can lead to eye problems, including PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) that can culminate in blindness.

There’s More to a Shih Tzu Than Hair!

Beyond grooming, your dog has needs that are very similar to most other dogs. For example, Shih Tzus needs plenty of exercise; while they are small, they are also very playful, and react well to being played with regularly. They should have plenty of toys to play with, and they should go to the dog park as often as possible; don’t be afraid to let them get a little dirty, as Shih Tzus are in fact tough dogs that love a good tumble!

It should be noted, however, that Shih Tzus are not very good at being housebroken; it will take quite a bit of effort on your part to train them to behave properly, as they tend to be a little on the prideful side. Consistency and patience on your end is essential to help your Shih Tzu be all he or she can be! With a little love and a firm hand, you can make a great companion out of the breed!

+Neil Kilgore loves dogs big and small! He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.