Is a Shih Tzu right for you? So, you think this
breed is perfect for you? Acquiring your new
Shih Tzu is on the top of your to do list! We fell
in love the first time we met a Shih Tzu puppy
many years ago and wanted to take the whole
litter home. But luckily reason stepped in and
curbed our impulse to buy. Here are some
things to consider and do before you make
Read as much as you can about the breed.
This site is a great start. Remember you are
getting a companion that will be with you for
at least 10 to 15 years. Do you have the time,
patience and money to provide a comfortable existence
for your Shih Tzu? Remember, these dogs have some very deeply ingrained, inherited traits that
make them unique.If you are unsure, ask yourself the following questions.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Do you want a dog that will love everyone?
They might alert you to intruders, but they don’t make good watch dogs, so if you are looking
for a dog to protect you, choose a different breed.
Do you want a dog that will be with you all the time?
They love to follow you around, but if you’re not used to constant companionship, this is not
the dog for you. Some Shih Tzu dogs also suffer from separation anxiety, so having a
routine where your dog will be with you part of the day is very important.
Do you have enough time for training?
These dogs are smart, but some need a little extra help with housebreaking and other
commands. Sometimes you have to convince the dog that training is in their best interest.
Puppies are easier to train, but don’t rule out the possibility of training an adult dog. It will
take longer, but can be very rewarding.
Do you have enough time for grooming?
That long, gorgeous hair must be brushed and bathed. If you keep your Shih Tzu’s coat
short, your grooming routine will not require as much time, but this breed does need some
attention to appearance. Do you have the funds available to take your dog to the groomer
about every 2 months? If not, are you willing to invest in some grooming equipment such as
a clipper and hair dryer so that you can groom your dog yourself? It is not hard to learn, but
it does take time.
Do you want a dog that will share your home?
Shih Tzu cannot be an outside dog, so if you have an aversion to dogs inside your home,
this is not the breed for you. Since the breed originated in cold climates, this dog is more
comfortable in colder climates, but will need protection from very harsh weather conditions.
The heat is more of a problem so air conditioning is a must!
Will you be able to adjust your schedule to allow for exercise?
They don’t need much, but they love walks, even if they are short walks. They also love to
Can you afford top quality food and veterinary bills?
As with all dogs, your Shih Tzu will need regular visits to the vet for yearly examinations and
preventative measures such as Heartworm preventative and vaccinations. Most places
require that your dog be vaccinated for rabies and you can check with your veterinarian
about other vaccine protocols. You will reduce your veterinary bills if you feed a high quality
dog food that is complete and balanced. Shih Tzu dogs, as with all canines suffer some
diseases so it is important to plan ahead and have money set aside for those types of
Are you prepared for some typical behaviors that some Shih Tzu dogs exhibit?
Shih Tzu dogs that have been well bred, socialized and healthy are generally very good
companions, but some are prone to certain behavioral problems such as digging, barking,
snoring or snorting, and coprophagia (eating feces)
If so, then it’s time for decision making. Adopting a Shih Tzu requires you to make some
- Will you adopt or rescue a Shih Tzu, or purchase a puppy, adolescent, or adult dog.
- Will you choose a Boy or Girl?
- Do you have a preference about color?
- Do you want a purebred Shih Tzu or a type of Shih Tzu hybrid?
- Does size matter to you? How big is too big? How small is too small?
- Do you want one that is registered with AKC? Does the registration need to be full or limited?
- Are you planning to show your dog? Will you need a show quality or pet quality dog?
Choosing a boy or a girl is really a matter of personal preference as both make sweet,
lovable companions. I have heard that some prefer boys because they seem more
affectionate, calm and even tempered. We have had good experiences with both.
Personality and temperament has both genetic and environmental influences and it boils
down to what kinds of socialization the dog has received prior to the day you get your dog,
and what kind of owner you become. If neutered or spayed before puberty, you will not
experience the adverse effects that can come with adult behaviors and you will assure that
your dog will be healthy and happy.
So, if the Shih Tzu Breed is right for you, now comes the fun part of finding your perfect fur