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Breed Highlight: Shih Tzu
04/03/15 at 01:00 PM | Published Under Dog Breeds
While its name means “lion dog,” there is nothing ferocious about the Shih Tzu. Bred as a companion pooch, these are happy, affectionate, outgoing housedogs satisfied by following people from room to room. Pet parents must train and socialize the Shih Tzu at a young age to help assure they obey basic commands, as improper training may result in biting and nipping.
While an excellent watchdog due to its alert and active nature, Shih Tzu weren’t specifically bred for this purpose. They tend to interact well with other dogs, adults and children – unless provoked. They aren’t the best choice for families with toddlers or very young children since the petite size puts these canines at risk for unintentional injury.
Shedding less than many other breeds, the Shih Tzu requires daily brushing to avoid tangles and its fast-growing coat requires regular grooming. Because grooming can become quite expensive, many owners prefer to clip the coat short to make care simple.
The breed tends to wheeze and snore, and can be prone to dental problems, ear infections, food allergies and skin infections. Other health issues include renal dysplasia, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), hypothyroidism that can generally be treated with drug therapy and intervertebral disk disease common to certain toy breeds.
The flat shape of the Shih Tzu's face makes it susceptible to heat stroke, as the air filtering into the lungs isn't cooled as efficiently as with longer-nosed breeds. These canines should be kept indoors in air-conditioned rooms during hot weather. And since the muzzle is short, it’s recommended to serve food and water in shallow, stainless steel bowls.
Its compact size and friendly nature make the Shih Tzu a natural traveling companion! For the ultimate in style and comfort, Quaker Pet Group’s collection of Sherpa® carriers accommodates every breed of small dog, as well as cats. Sherpa carriers were the first soft-sided pet carrier to be endorsed by major airlines and continue to be the industry standard.