The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed and one that is very popular among people that love little dogs, and particularly cute, fluffy lap dogs! While all puppies are of course adorable, the Shih Tzu puppy is one of the cutest of them all, and people who are considering getting a puppy, particularly from a small breed, often fall for the undeniable charms of the little Shih Tzu and their puppy dog eyes!
If you are considering buying or adopting a Shih Tzu puppy, it is of course essential to do your research and make sure that you fully understand the traits, needs and temperament of the breed as a whole, and the puppy in the first instance.
Read on to learn five useful things to know about the Shih Tzu puppy.
As a small breed of dog, the Shih Tzu gives birth to relatively small to medium sized litters, usually consisting of anything from three to five puppies. Like other small dog breeds too, the Shih Tzu puppy tends to reach sexual maturity and have the physical ability to reproduce and have puppies of their own relatively young; generally between six and ten months of age. While this means that you will need to be on the lookout for the beginnings of sexual maturity and spay or neuter the dog to prevent unwanted puppies, if you plan to breed from your Shih Tzu, you should not consider doing this until they are at least 18 months old.
As with any breed or type of dog, their temperaments can vary considerably, even within dogs of the same breed. However, the core personality and temperament traits that are associated with the Shih Tzu include an affectionate, friendly and outgoing nature, a love of people, and a strong desire to be close to you. They are also watchful and alert, may be rather territorial, and will often bark at the sound of the doorbell or if they spot someone approaching the home!
The Shih Tzu is sometimes rather wary with strangers, and incorrectly trained and socialised, they may become temperamental and snappy.
The Shih Tzu can be seen in a wide variety of different colours, including white, tan, black, lemon and other mixtures. Their coats often consist of a mixture of two or more colours in varying quantities. The Shih Tzu coat is relatively long, straight, and should be sleek and silky in texture. The coat of the Shih Tzu requires daily brushing and grooming, and sometimes, trips to the grooming salon for trimming and bathing, in order to keep their coats in good condition. As the hair over the eyes can grow rather long, this should be either trimmed or tied up off the dog’s face to allow them to see out! It is also worth noting that the colour of the puppy coat can change as they age, so the coat that you first see your new dog displaying might change somewhat by the time that they are mature!
Shih Tzu puppies are absolutely tiny when they are born, weighing around six ounces at birth, or well under a pound! Once the Shih Tzu reaches sexual maturity at between six and ten months of age, they will usually have completed all of their growing too, and reach an adult weight of between nine and sixteen pounds, with males of the breed almost always being larger and heavier than the females. The height of the adult Shih Tzu at the withers is generally between eight and eleven inches tall.
While the Shih Tzu is cute, cuddly and generally cheerful, this does not mean that training them is always a straightforward process! As well as having friendly and appealing natures, they do also have a tendency to like to get their own way, and may be headstrong, stubborn and slightly unruly! They also have relatively short attention spans, meaning that learning and repeating a training move on one occasion does not necessarily mean that the dog will remember or be able to replicate their response to the command on another day!
Begin with the core basic training commands such as “sit” and “come,” make sure your Shih Tzu knows their name and use this before the command to get their attention, and keep on repeating and reinforcing the dog’s core training commands and gaining compliance on an ongoing basis.
Housebreaking the Shih Tzu may also be a challenge, not least because the diminutive size of the dog and their furry bodies can make it hard to see when the dog is assuming the position to go to the toilet! Patience, repetition and managing your expectations are all keys to successfully training the Shih Tzu dog, and generally, they are not considered to be a breed that is renowned for managing to learn or replicate complex or chain commands.