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Shih-Tzu

Throughout the year Little Rascals UK often have Shih-Tzu puppies for sale. So, if you are looking into buying a Shih-Tzu please speak to us. We will be able to help you find your new Shih-Tzu puppy. If you have a long journey and are looking for a Shih-Tzu puppy near you “don’t worry”, why not use our delivery service.

Key Breed Facts

The Shih-Tzu breed is also commonly known by the names Chinese Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog.

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Pedigree Breed Status: KC Recognised in the Utility Group 

Height
Males 20 – 28 cm
Females 20 – 28 cm

Weight
Males 4 – 7 kg
Females 4 – 7 kg

Breed Characteristics

Size

?
small (4/10)

Exercise

?
medium (6/10)

Training

?
moderate (5/10)

Shedding

?
low (2/10)

Grooming

?
low (3/10)

Children

?
very good (9/10)

Health

?
average (6/10)

Cost to Keep

?
Average (5/10)

Being Alone

?
moderate periods (5/10)

Intelligence

?
below average (4/10)

Introduction

Shih-Tzu’s are energetic, lively little dogs that thrive on human company and for decades they have been among the most popular family pets and companions. They are Bright, alert, smart and loyal to their owners, sharing a home with a Shih-Tzu is a real pleasure. Known for their boldness and longevity, these little dogs are also highly adaptable by nature. Ideally suited to happy living in an apartment as they are in a house.

One of the most endearing physical features of the Shih-Tzu is the charming shape of their head and the way the hair on their faces grows upwards on the bridge their nose. For centuries, these little dogs have been giving their owners pleasure with their delightfully charming looks and endearing personalities.

The Shih-Tzu is a lively little dog that was first bred in China where they were highly prized by Emperors. Today, they are classed as Utility dogs by The Kennel Club. They are also very popular in the show ring both with spectators and judges alike.

History

The Shih-Tzu originates from Tibet where they were highly prized for thousands of years by Tibetan monks. From time to time, these little dogs called Tibetan Lion Dogs were sent as gifts to Chinese Emperors where they were kept in the Imperial Palace. Over time, they were to become firm favourites with Manchu Emperors.

One of the breeds biggest fans at the time was the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi who set about establishing a successful breeding programme the results of which is why the breed is recognised as originating in China rather than Tibet.

They also arrived on British shores in 1928 when Lady Brownrigg, who bought two Shih-Tzu’s back with her. The names of the dogs were Hibou and Shu-ssa and both had black and white coats with the female, Shu-ssa, closely resembling Shih-Tzu puppies we see today.

In 1949, the Shih-Tzu was recognised as a breed in its own right by The Kennel Club.

Appearance

The Shih-Tzu is a sturdy little dog that has a silky, luxurious long coat. They are known to have a bit of an arrogant look about them which often makes these little dogs even more endearing. They have a “chrysanthemum face”, their heads are broad and round with a lot of width between their eyes.  They also have a nice beard and full whiskers with the hair growing upright on their muzzles, hence their “chrysanthemum” shaped appearance.

Their muzzle is square, short and wide without any wrinkles and dogs have black noses.  Their noses are level or slightly tilted with nostrils being nice and wide.  Eyes are round and large, being dark in colour.

Ears are nice and large with long leathers which dogs carry drooping down.  Their mouth is slightly undershot although it can be level too.  Necks are nicely proportioned which dogs carry well arched adding to their proud and arrogant look.  Their shoulders are well laid back with front legs being short and well-muscled showing lots of bone.

Shih-Tzu’s have a long, dense outer coat and a moderate undercoat that should never be woolly in texture.  Some dogs have a slight wave in their coats.  It is worth noting that the length of a Shih-Tzu’s coat should never be that long that it interferes with their movement nor should it affect a dog’s vision.  So, in the very best of pedigree Shih-Tzu’s it is common practice for the hair to be prepared in a top knot.

They come in just about any colour and colour combination with parti-coloured Shih-Tzu’s having a white blaze on their foreheads and white tips to their tails.

Any colour is acceptable with white blazes on a dog’s forehead and a white tip to their tails being very desirable in dogs that have parti-coloured coats.

It is normal for sizes to vary within the breed.

Temperament

The Shih-Tzu is known to be a lively, confident, outgoing little dog and a character that boasts a really extrovert side to their natures.  There is nothing they like more than to be part of a family and just love being loved which is why they have consistently been a popular choice as family pets and companion dogs.  They thrive on human contact and are never happier than when they are around the people.

They are a great choice for first time owners because they are intelligent and are always willing and eager to please.  A big consideration is they are quite high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats looking good which is always something new owners should keep in mind.

What about playfulness?

They can also be a little stubborn at times and often give owners the impression that it is beneath them to do certain things asked of them.  A lot of patience and consistency are needed when training and educating a Shih-Tzu to be obedient.  They do tend to always have a mind of their own and will often choose to ignore a command because they think they know better.

Teaching a Shih-Tzu the basic commands from the word go does pay dividends.  Including

Sit, Stay, Come, Wait, Leave, Quiet, Bed

Children and Other Pets

Although an affectionate and friendly dog by nature.  Ideally Your Shih-Tzu will have grown up with the kids.  In such circumstances, they can be very loving.  However, any interaction between children and dogs should be supervised by an adult to make sure things don’t get too boisterous for your dog and children alike.

Care always must be taken when they meet a dog they don’t know because a Shih-Tzu can be feisty when the mood takes them.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Shih-Tzu is between 10 and 12 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.  We would always recommend “Royal Canin” Breed tailored foods.

The Shih-Tzu is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues sometimes.  The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most although not all dogs will develop them include the following: Hip Dysplasia, Breathing issues – pinched nostrils and soft palate, Hernias, Bladder Stones.

These tests are undertaken by Little Rascals Pets for the improvement of the breed.

More about hernias

Shih-Tzu’s sometimes have 2 main types of hernia with the two main ones being Inguinal and Umbilical.

Often a hernia can be quickly and easily corrected by a vet who would simply push the protrusion back to where it should be.  The most commonly seen hernia in Shih-Tzu’s are umbilical hernias where a bulge has developed right in the middle of a dog’s stomach on the site of their umbilical cord and in most cases, they correct themselves.  If they don’t, a vet would typically surgically correct the problem when they spay or neuter a dog.

Fortunately, inguinal hernias are less commonly seen in the breed, but most require surgical correction of the problem if they don’t resolve themselves as puppies.

What about vaccinations?

Shih-Tzu puppies would have had their first vaccination prior to being sold.  After this, they need to be vaccinated again following the guidelines below:

10 -12 weeks old, bearing in mind that a puppy would not have full protection straight away, but would be fully protected approximately 2 weeks after they have had their second vaccination.

Caring for a Shih-Tzu

As with any other breed, Shih-Tzu’s need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition, bearing in mind that their coats are very high maintenance.  They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy.  On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives and that treats should be kept to a minimum.

Caring for a Shih-Tzu puppy

Shih-Tzu puppies are incredibly cute and when they have been well socialised from a young age which is when they are still with their mothers and litter mates, they adapt well and quite quickly to.

Puppies are sent to their new homes with a feeding schedule detailing what they have been fed and the frequency of their meals which is typically twice a day.

Shih-Tzu puppies need lots of sleep which can be anything up to 12 hours a day.  Because Shih-Tzu puppies are so cute, it is all too easy to spoil them which is often the case. It’s essential to lay down ground rules right from the word go. Puppies need to be taught limits and boundaries although, some Shih-Tzu’s will always test how far they can go.

A new puppy should never be left on their own so it’s crucial to time their arrival when there will be people around for the first few days.  It takes puppies a while to get used to a strange environment and they need housetraining which should start as soon as they arrive.  In short, it’s a good idea to take a few days off work to help settle them in.

Your puppy would have been wormed by us, which is information that will be included in their paperwork along with details of microchipping, but it is important for them to be wormed again when the time is right once they arrive in their new home.  They should be wormed regularly as follows:

Puppies should be wormed monthly to the age of 6 months old and then quarterly.

Puppies often sleep for 12 hours a day in between bouts of play.  Placing a bed or crate somewhere that’s quiet but not too out of the way will help them settle when they need to sleep.  However, it needs to be somewhere that owners can keep an eye and ear on them and so puppy knows there is someone around.

Things you’ll need for your puppy

Getting everything ready for the arrival of a new puppy means making the home and garden safe for them.  Puppy proofing takes organising things around the house, but is something that needs to be done well in advance of a puppy’s arrival because puppies are boisterous, inquisitive and notorious for chewing on things they shouldn’t which includes electric cables and other things they can swallow which could end up with an expensive trip to the vet.

Some owners buy playpens which are great for keeping puppies safe when they want to play and owners are too busy to keep a close eye on their pets.  Other things needed for puppies include the following:

  • Shallow water and food bowls that are ceramic ,metal or plastic
  • Good quality toys and chews for puppy to gnaw on bearing in mind that this is something that most puppies do and that they will start their teething process when they are anything from 3 to 8 months old.
  • A slicker brush or soft bristle brush
  • Scissors with rounded ends
  • A well-made dog harness and/or collar
  • A strong lead
  • A well-made dog bed that’s not too small or too big and one that puppy would not chew and destroy
  • A good-sized dog crate that’s not too small or too big
  • Baby blankets, which are ideal for putting in a puppy’s bed for them to sleep on

Feeding guide for a Shih-Tzu puppy

We will give new owners a feeding schedule for the puppy stating what type of food they have been eating and how many times they are fed every day.

It is very important to stick the schedule for the first week or so, but a puppy’s diet can be changed once they are settled into their new homes providing it is done gradually and carefully over a period of say 4 weeks making sure that puppy does not experience any digestive upset.

It’s important to set up a routine as soon as a new Shih-Tzu puppy arrives in the home because this helps with their settling in period.  They need to be fed at the same times of the day and ideally this needs to be twice a day until a puppy is around 6 months old after which time they can be fed just once a day.

Grooming

Shih-Tzu’s are high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats looking sleek and their skin in good condition.  Their coats are long, luxurious and silky and if not regularly trimmed, their hair which is not like other dogs grows right down to the ground.

Grooming sessions are a must to keep a Shih-Tzu’s coat tangle-free which is why it’s essential for puppies to be groomed from a young age so they get used to all the tools and having their ears, paws and other parts of their bodies touched and played with.  It’s important for the experience to be good right from the start so a dog looks forward to a grooming session rather than be afraid of being brushed.

It is not a good idea to brush a Shih-Tzu’s coat thoroughly every day because by doing so it might end up damaging their hair.  A quick daily once over is all that’s needed, ears and eyes should be checked too.  It is far better to thoroughly groom a Shih-Tzu once a week to keep their coats and skin in prime condition.

Shih-Tzu’s need to be bathed regularly without overdoing things and it does depend on whether a dog lives in town or the country and how dirty they get when out on a walk or in a back garden.  It also depends on the time of the year, but as rule of thumb if a dog’s coat starts looking dirty and has a slight doggy smell, it’s time to give them a bath.

Exercise

Shih-Tzu’s love going out for walks, but they are not high energy dogs which means 30 to 40 minutes a day would be fine to keep them happy which is why they have always been such a popular choice with people who lead quieter more stay at home lives.  A short walk in the morning and or some time in the garden is all that is really needed.

Feeding

Mature Shih-Tzu’s are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements.  It’s also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories.

Average cost to keep/care for a Shih-Tzu

If you are looking to buy a Shih-Tzu, you would need to pay anything from £400 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. 

The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Shih-Tzu in England will be approx. £18.24 a month for basic cover with a lifetime policy setting  you back £39.16 a month (quote as of April 2016).  When insurance companies calculate a pet’s premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog’s age and whether they have been neutered or spayed.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives.  This would set you back between £40 – £50 a month.  On top of this, you will need to factor in veterinary costs including their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Shih-Tzu would be between £70 to £90 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog.

For any advice on the best choice of puppy for you please call Little Rascals Pets on 01522 789191

 

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