|Shih Tzu Appearance
With a long, flowing coat, the Shih Tzu are elegant and mighty, yet they never appear haughty. Shih Tzus have remarkable, large, dark brown eyes and ears that hang down and are hidden by a heavy covering of hair. The little body has short legs, and a rather long back with an upright tail curled proudly over the back. The nose is flattened and dark with nostril openings (nares) that may be very small. Primarily a lap dog, the Shih Tzu has a long history of being a watch dog so that they easily spring up from a relaxed pose and notify the family when they believe anything is amiss. The coat can be clipped short or worn long and pulled away from the eyes to the top of the head with a bow.
Shih Tzu Behavior
Generally calm, the Shih Tzu can be quite ferocious and deserving of its name, Lion Dog. Although trustworthy with children and other pets, they may be frightened or irritated by rambunctious children or animals. Shih Tzus learn easily and are easily housetrained.
Shih Tzu Dog Health Problems (dog breed health problems)
Shih Tzu Hyperthermia
Shih Tzus, like all dogs with short flat noses (brachycephalic), may have difficulty breathing and may overheat, especially in hot weather. Pets with the tiniest nostrils (nares) have the greatest problem. Fortunately, nares may be enlarged surgically.
Shih Tzu Kidney disease
Shih Tzus are prone to genetic kidney disease and to bladder stones. Let your veterinarian know if there is a change in the amount your dog drinks or urinates.
Shih Tzu Tear staining or thick mucoid tears
Shih Tzu have several different eye problems. The tiny tear ducts may become blocked so that tears do not drain and they spill down the face coloring the hair. Hairs and eyelashes may poke inward irritating the cornea and increasing the amount of tears. An insufficient amount of tears may be made so that the tears are thick and mucoid. This is called dry eye.
Shih Tzu Dental disease
Crowded or crooked teeth may trap food and lead to bad breath and dental disease. Brush teeth daily for 2 minutes and visit the veterinary dentist yearly.
Shih Tzu Matted hair around bottom
Fine hair around the bottom can become soiled with feces unless it is trimmed short and cleaned frequently. Matted hair prevents pets from defecating normally. These pets may become so constipated that they require veterinary attention. Sores that develop under matted hair must be cleaned and treated. Best to avoid these problems by keeping the hair around the bottom trimmed short and the skin clean and dry.
Shih Tzu Grooming
Shih Tzu have hair that grows continuously and needs to be trimmed. This is different than some dogs that have hair that grows to a set length and is shed. The “nonshedding” Shih Tzu requires professional grooming to scissor hair away from the face, especially the eyes, or the hair can be tied up and out of the eyes with a bow. Hair should also be trimmed from the bottom area under the tail. Hair within the ear canals may trap debris and the ears should be cleaned frequently to prevent infection. Brush your dog’s teeth daily to prevent gum and dental disease common in breeds with the tiniest mouths. Nails need to be trimmed if pets do not exercise on abrasive surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Anal sacs become inflamed and irritated in dogs with allergies that drag their bottoms on the floor because they itch. Veterinarians, not groomers, should handle irritated anal sacs.
Once or twice weekly if clipped and daily if kept long
Professional grooming to trim hair from around eyes and under the tail every 4-8 weeks
|Eyes, Ears, & Face
Keep ears clean to prevent hair from trapping debris in the ear canal. Frequent cleaning of tear-stained area around eyes and hair that gets into food bowls is necessary for some Shih Tzus.
Require veterinary, not groomer, care if irritated. Allergic dogs scoot on their bottoms and irritate anal sacs, so treat for allergies if necessary