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A Small Breed of Dog that Originated in China

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Shih-Tzus Are the Best Dogs Ever.

  • Mar 31, 2009
Rating:
+5

I know every dog owner thinks their dog is the greatest fur covered specimen on the planet, but most people - unbiased people! - who know shih-tzus agree that they're shockingly well-behaved as a breed.  Sweet, friendly, adaptable, good with children, most shih-tzus are exceptionally loving (they were originally bred, after all, to be the lap dogs of ancient Chinese emperors!)

My pup - a six-year-old almost all white shih-tzu named Lilly - has a temperament which ranges from calm to more or less comatose: we joke that she's a cat in a dog's body.  My parents have a five-year-old shih-tzu who goes on 5k runs with my father - and then sleeps the rest of the day.  This isn't the dog to get if you want to play fetch for hours or hike in the mountains: 20 minutes of running up and down the hall will tire them out for the afternoon.

But if you have allergies, live in a small apartment or a big city, need to travel frequently, or want companionship without the hassle of exercising a big dog, they're perfect.  Widely considered to be hypo-allergenic, they also don't shed, although they do need regular grooming (I bathe mine in the sink every other week, and get her clipped at Petco at least every other month).

Shih-Tzus Don't Really Bark

Unlike other breeds (especially Pomerianians), they're not known for hyperactivity or frequent barking.  Lilly barks once or twice every three days.  In other words, shih-tzus were not designed for guarding anything, except your heart (awww).  If an intruder broke in, your shih-tzu would roll over and let him rub her belly.  Fierce!

They're not the easiest dogs to potty train - mine took almost a year - but now that she has it down, her bladder control is exemplary.  After a three month puppy kindergarten when she was a baby, she's maintained good manners in the "sit, stay" department ever since.  "Come!" however, is a 50-50 proposition.  She comes, sometimes, when she feels like it.  Like a teenager.  Still working on that.

Shih-Tzus: yep, they're a purse dog. But not an embarrassing purse dog.

The best part about shih-tzus - besides their sweetness - is their portability (they average 10-16lbs).  When I adopted Lilly as a baby, I took her with me everywhere - and I mean everywhere - which ended up being the single best decision I made about her upbringing.  Obviously you can't do this as easily with the bigger dogs, but with those under 15 lbs?  Just put her in her favorite bag and bring her with! (Lilly loves her bag, and if it's just sitting on the floor, she'll climb in and curl up.  It's her safe spot.)  And I can't tell you how great it is to just take them on planes with you.

I hope this helps!  I'm so blessed to have Lilly (who is currently curled up, exhausted from a vigorous day of sleeping, at the end of my bed, near my feet, as I type) in my life.  I don't know what I would do without her.
Lilly the Shih-Tzu Lilly the Shih-Tzu in her bag Lilly the Shih-Tzu

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July 18, 2011
They look like great dogs.
 
October 18, 2010
My wife would argue for Maltese, but I think you make your call really well. :-)
 
August 11, 2010
Lilly is adorable. It's great that you included photos and personal anecdotes in your review.
 
June 12, 2010
Great article! Shih-Tzus are definitely cool dogs. One of my neighbors has one (Augie) who is just the cutest, sweetest guy ever. I take him for walks at times and it's the funniest thing to watch him trotting along as fast as his little legs can carry him. He is a bit of a barker -- he loves to get one of my dogs riled up -- and he does it well! Watching him chasing trains is hilarious. They really are fun dogs!
 
February 04, 2010
Excellent on this topic, I am a dog groomer and love all kinds of dogs. Nice review
 
July 02, 2009
Nice review. Small dogs are great, especially for traveling and companionship. I sometimes wish I could shrink my bully 25 lbs or so:) @Inativo just wrote a great review on Animal Shelter Pets that you might enjoy.
 
March 31, 2009
I had a red and white shih tzu named Tiye- I loved her she was awesome with the exception that b/c she didn't really think she was a dog- she didn't like to use the bathroom in the grass especially wet grass- ???? But she was great!
 
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About the reviewer
Julia Allison ()
Ranked #299
Hi. I'm Julia. I am, as I say in my bio, personally & professionally, a handful. Also? Rambunctious, indefatigable, sometimes a little over enthusiastic. But I mean well.I've been a columnist at Time … more
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Wiki

The Shih Tzu is a breed of small companion dog of very ancient type, with long silky fur. The breed originated in China, possibly by way of Tibet. Shih Tzu are small dogs with a short muzzle and large eyes. The Shih Tzu stands no more than 10 1/2 inches with an ideal weight of 10 to 16 pounds. Drop ears are covered with long fur, and the heavily furred tail is carried curled over the back. The coat may be of any colour, although a blaze of white on the forehead and tail-tip is frequently seen. 
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Pets, Animals, Dog, Dog Breed, Chinese Dog Breed, Small Dog, Show Dog, Companion Dog

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