Shih Tzus are affectionate and playful toy dogs who bring joy to any household. The dogs grow 9 to 10.5 inches tall, and the average weight of a Shih Tzu is 9 to 16 pounds. The breed originated in Tibet more than 1,000 years ago. The breed neared extinction during the Communist Revolution in China but was revived and later imported to England.
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Shih Tzu size
The Shih Tzu is a member of the American Kennel Club's toy group, which consists of small pups with big personalities. How big do Shih Tzus get? The breed standard indicates that dogs should measure no less than 8 inches tall and no more than 11 inches tall. How much should a Shih Tzu weigh? These pups should weigh between 9 and 16 pounds.
The dogs should be sturdy and slightly longer than they are tall. However, they should not appear unbalanced and be either leggy or squatty.
Shih Tzu exercise and diet
Some Shih Tzu dogs may have a tendency to be overweight. In order to maintain their ideal weight, it is important that you feed them a high-quality commercial diet. The dogs may also do well on a homemade diet but be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian to ensure the food has all the nutrients your pup needs.
These dogs have only a moderate energy level. They do well in small homes and apartments, but they still need activity each day. Take your pup for a stroll after work or just enjoy playtime in the living room so your Shih Tzu has a chance to run around.
Shih Tzu coat care
The Shih Tzu is known for her long, flowing locks. The double coat is straight or may have a slight wave but is never curly. The hair grows all the way to the ground. The breed standard does not list any color restrictions on these dogs, so you may find them in a variety of colors.
You will need to brush her long hair daily to remove tangles and prevent matting. The hair on her head should be tied up in a top knot to keep it out of her eyes. Bathe Shih Tzus about once per month. While show dogs should not be clipped, you can ask a groomer for a puppy cut for your Shih Tzu companion to make grooming more manageable.
Temperament and personality
The Shih Tzu is described as playful, outgoing, and affectionate. While breed is not a reliable indicator of temperament, Shih Tzus tend to be wonderful family dogs who do well with both young children and other dogs.
Training is important, as these adorable pups will frequently attempt to get their own way. Use plenty of positive reinforcement and be consistent in firmly enforcing rules in the household.
Health concerns and considerations
Shih Tzus have a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years. There are several health conditions to look out for in Shih Tzus. Hip dysplasia and a luxated patella may occur. In addition, the dogs are prone to many eye conditions, including cataracts, corneal dryness and inflammation, progressive retinal atrophy, and retinal detachment. Despite these concerns, the national breed association does not recommend health testing.
Take care when going on outings during the summer months. With the Shih Tzu's short face and long, heavy coat, they are more prone to developing heat stroke.