The Shih-Tzu, or lion dog as they were affectionately referred to by their first breeders, are the 20th most popular dog in the world, and for good reason. Originally bred for Chinese royalty to be affectionate and beautiful, they weigh up to 16 pounds and live for 10 to 16 years. As these affectionate little doggos were bred specifically for Chinese royalty, the public did not know about them until the 1930s, during which time breed clubs began organizing in the city of Peking, and later spread into England where the breed was refined. Holy Shih!
Shih-tzus have naturally very long hair, which allows for the owner to really customize how their affectionate little pup looks, but in order to keep them looking their best you have to groom them. If you ever notice your bitch is getting smelly or that they look like they are crying, then it’s time for you to gently wipe their face with a wet washcloth. Shih-tzu coats are beautiful, but they require you to brush their hair every three days (be careful of knotted fur), but you should only brush your bitch after getting her hair cut or when she is exceptionally dirty from outside play, as washing more than that will dry out their skin and strip their skin of essential oils needed to maintain a healthy coat
When Chinese royal dogs would die, they would just get a new one, so this breed was never meant to be healthy, just cute and affectionate. As a result of this, Shih-tzu’s are prone to a lot of health problems, the most prevalent of which are retinal dysplasia, malocclusion, and breathing problems. Retinal dysplasia causes the retina tissue to be folded where normally it would be flat, which causes mild to complete blindness, which can not be treated. Malocclusion is a dental disease which causes the teeth of your pup to be pushed together, like a child in need of braces or the stereotypical Brit. This is not a serious problem, and to me makes the dogs even more lovable because of how silly and cute they look while looking up at you. The breathing problems present in this breed, meaning that the owner should be very cautious of overexertion or extremely hot days, as the dog could suffer from heatstroke.
Little fluffy balls of pure and unfiltered love, all that your Shih-tzu wants is to love and to be loved back. A downside to this breed is that they are stubborn, and are very hard to house break them. The name little lion is far from what this dog is, but it is also sort of accurate. While this breed does not look like a fierce protector, they do act like it sometimes. Carrying themselves like a little lion, this breed is both cautious and enthusiastic about meeting others, and make fantastic watch dogs. This breed is not aggressive in nature, so if you see an aggressive Shih-tzu it’s all on the bad owner. These dogs are loving companions for anyone who is willing to take the time to care for them and train them, and they have love equal to that of a golden retriever, just in a smaller and more condensed package.