The Shih Tzu is a member of the toy dog group which got its name from the Chinese, meaning “Lion Dog”. However, even though this dog breed is typically associated with China, research shows that the Shih Tzu’s original origins actually date back to the 17th century in the land of Tibet.
Most dog breeds were listed as official members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) as far back as the 1800s and into the early 1900s. However, the Shih Tzu was not officially recognized by the AKC until the late 1960’s. That decade saw an explosion of Shih Tzus as household pets and as its popularity grew, the AKC took notice and registered the breed.
Shih Tzu dogs are known to be a bit on the “spirited” side, yet extremely friendly and sweet. They are very lovable lapdogs who enjoy playing and running around with their owner. These animals are wonderful house pets and are great with children. In fact, the Shih Tzu scores high on the “friendliness scale” when it comes to other dogs, other pets, and even strangers .
Upkeep And Maintenance
Even though the Shih Tzu is a fairly small dog, it still needs a good dose of daily exercise. A 15 to 20 minute brisk walk on a leash is ideal, yet because it is so small, a good romp around the house from room to room is also an excellent way for the Shih Tzu to get his daily physical requirements.
Like most toy breeds, Shih Tzus are not meant to live outside. These animals are house dogs who cannot stand hot, humid weather. And because of its long, luxurious coat, grooming the Shih Tzu should be done on a daily basis.
Shih Tzu dogs that are in good health have a lifespan of up to 14 or more years. The only major health concern that seem to be common with this dog breed is CHD. Minor concerns include PRA, renal dysplasia, otitis externa, patellar luxation, KCS, entropion, portacaval shunt, and inguinal hernia.
Veterinarians recommend that all Shih Tzu dogs be specifically tested for hip dysplasia, eye problems, and DNA for renal dysplasia. Occasionally, the following health problems may occur: dental problems and cataracts.
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