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Photos of 4 adorable hairy Shih Tzu's.  

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a toy dog with a great personality. They can be groomed with long flowing locks or groomed with a puppy cut that shows off its sturdy little body. Short-haired or long-haired, the Shih Tzu is nick named the “Lion Dog” with feisty toughness from it's Chinese ancestry. Despite this toughness, the Shih Tzu makes an ideal family pet as they were bred originally as companions. Shih Tzus are among the top 10 breeds registered in the U.S. The Shih Tzu is part of the AKC toy group.

9-16 lbs

Height: 8-11”
Color: any color
Coat: dense long, double coat of straight or slightly wavy hair
Grooming: Weekly if clipped. Daily if kept long.
Longevity: 11-14 years
  Shih Tzu's are especially good at:
  • They are playful and engaging
  • They seldom demand attention
  • They entertain their families
  • Great with families with children, or with elderly people
  •   Watch out for with Shih Tzu's:
  • Tear staining from plugged tear ducts or hair scratching the cornea
  • Overheating
  • Difficulty breathing through tiny nostrils
  • Crowded teeth that trap food
  • Feces collecting on fine hair around bottom
  • Changes in urination that signal kidney or bladder problems
  • Hair loss at injection site of steroids placed under the skin
  • Hair matting and knotting
    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.

    3 Photos of Shih Tzu puppies and dogs.

    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
    Trim monthly
    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.

    Anal Sacs
    Require veterinary, not groomer, care if irritated. Allergic dogs scoot on their bottoms and irritate anal sacs, so treat for allergies if necessary

    Recommended products for your Shih Tzu!

      Be Well   LiquiTears   Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet   Optimmune (Rx)  

    The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

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