2015 AKC Ranking-18
This tiny little “lion” of a dog has no idea that he is one of the smallest of the breeds of dog in the world. Having originated in the 1800’s in Tibet China, this breed of dog was brought to the wealthy as companion dogs. The Chinese created this breed by crossing a Pekingese with a Lhasa Apso to achieve a small dog with long flowing hair to sleep in their beds and keep the noble one’s feet warm.
Puppy: Irresistible as tiny little puppies, this breed is born with an abundance of energy, curiosity, and the desire to let you know what they have to say about every situation. This companion dog is very affectionate to family members but may carry a stubborn streak when it comes to training or meeting strangers; patience and repetition are musts for success to control the attitude and barking tendencies of this breed.
Adolescent: This breed of dog is happy to be a companion dog and simply sit on your lap observing their surroundings. Care must be taken during this time to keep this breed socialized with other people and animals; this will help to avoid them from becoming too attached to one person, which may cause them to be nippy or even overprotective, with the possibility of showing aggression to outsiders.
Adult: Although the size of this dog remains on the smaller side, adults can grow up to be up to 11 inches in height and weigh between 9 and 16 pounds for both males and females. They have an easily recognizable curled tail that stands upward and bends backward over the rear end of the dog.
Common Health Issues: Kidney and eye problems can be an issue with this breed, although these dogs are considered to be a rather healthy breed according to the Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 informational page.
Grooming Concerns: The long hair on this breed just begs to be brushed. When combed out properly, this dog has a double coat that is naturally flat and smooth and comes in 19 different variations and colors. Many owners choose to leave this canine’s hair long, prompting some type of bow or hair accessory to keep their flowing locks out of their eyes.
This breed of show dog gives the appearance of “floating on air” when being led around the ring because of their smooth gate and long flowing locks. Regular haircuts are a must to keep this breed’s hairdo in check for those who are not into the dog showing circuit.
Temperament: Happy and energetic most of the time, this breed is prone to bouncing and running wildly when excited.
Energy Level: The energy level of this small bundle of hair is at its peak during the puppy and beginning adolescent stages. Adult dogs share the same interests and emotional excitement as younger dogs, but they are quick to learn what and where this excitement is acceptable.
Trainability: Repetition is the key to success in training with this breed. Stubbornness may be a factor in the need to repeat commands some times up to 50 times to achieve the results that you are looking for with this little power house.
Environment: The size of this dog suggests that they will be happy anywhere that their master or masters are located. Deeply invested in their two-legged care takers, this breed enjoys constant companionship and can suffer from separation anxiety if the problem is not addressed when the puppy is young and can adapt to spans of alone time.
Shih Tzu dogs are very adaptable and will be happy living nearly anywhere that their owner chooses to plant their feet. Although they enjoy a ride in a “doggie bag,” they do require some open area to get exercise and expel extra energy; this can normally be taken care of simply by taking regular walks or trips to the dog park.
Special Adaptations: This mighty little barker is related to such breeds as the Maltese, Pekingese, Havanese, and the Japanese Chin breeds of dog. This breed of dog is also known as the Chrysanthemum dog to some people.
Myths: Dogs from this breed are hard to train and they have to be the boss.
Facts:Even though this breed of dog is extremely smart, they often are pushing boundaries to establish their ranking within the family unit; re-enforcement of the rules will keep this attitude in check.
For those who are looking for a companion that demands attention, this little powerhouse is the perfect dog. Many dogs of this breed are best at focusing on one person to take care of all of their needs and wants. Because of their lineage, this small wonder is happiest with only one owner, but many will adapt well to families that do not have small children or other large animals that may harm them during play.