Archive for the Shih Tzu category

About the Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu originates from China and was originally developed to be a lap dog and companion to Chinese Royalty. The origins of this breed date back to the 1800’s, when it was developed in China during the reign of the Empress Dowager Cixi or Tz’u-shi, which explains the origins of the name. The Shih Tzu is also known as the Chrysanthemum Dog.

This dog is classified as a member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Dog Group. The Shih Tzu was first registered by the AKC in 1969.

The Shih Tzu is a lively dog with a very unique appearance. The dog is small but sturdy, with a long flowing double coat. Underneath the silky topcoat is a woolly undercoat. This proud looking little dog has hair above its nose that grows up toward the top of its head and is often gathered in a topknot.

There are some considerable size variations for this breed. These dogs can have a height of up to 11 inches and the weight ranges from 9-16 pounds.

The Shih Tzu is content to live in an apartment or town home. This dog does not need a lot of space. While the Shih Tzu can be active at times, the breed is usually fairly lazy. A Shih Tzu will find a favorite spot and just lounge all day. It is up to the dog owner to initiate regular exercise to help keep these little guys healthy and fit.

The Shih Tzu is an ideal family dog. The breed is playful and lively. This ‘cute-as-a button’ charmer is very affectionate and loves being around people. They are generally good with other pets. Children love these little dogs and the feeling is mutual. These dogs respond well to children, as long as they are not mistreated or handled roughly.

Be careful with the amount of food you give this dog breed. Because of their reluctance to exercise, they can become fat quite easily.

Shih Tzus will benefit from early and consistent training, because its small size doesn’t mean this breed is a malleable pushover. In fact, these little dogs, can be quite obstinate. Patient, consistent training is best. Yelling or impatient behavior doesn’t work with these dogs.

Daily grooming is a top priority for the Shih Tzu. Brush your dog’s coat daily with a bristle brush. The topknot is usually taken loose several times a week, brushed out to avoid matting and then retied with a bow so that the dog can see properly.

Check your dog’s ear passages and the area around the eyes to keep them clean. Shih Tzu’s have sensitive eyes that may water and develop matter frequently. Because of this, your dog’s eyes should be kept clean. This breed sheds very little. Because of this, some people claim that it is hypoallergenic. However, no dog is truly allergen free.

Potential health problems of the Shih Tzu can include ear, eye and respiratory problems and spinal disc disease caused by a long back and short legs. This breed’s teeth require regular veterinary attention, as they tend to rot. These dogs gain weight easily and should not be overfed.

If you are looking for a happy little dog that loves play and laughter, then this breed with a royal heritage just might be the perfect choice for you and your family.

Early Shih Tzu Puppy Eye Development

By Connie Limon

The average puppy or Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes open between 12 and 15 days of age. The ear canals open soon thereafter, usually within a day or two. All puppies are born with their eyes and ears sealed shut. Do not try to open them. If you force or pry open the puppy’s eyelids during any development stage, you can cause the puppy irreversible injury. Shih Tzu puppies are unable to see or hear before this time. Shih Tzu puppies are receptive to the stimuli of light and dark, noise and quiet. Some Shih Tzu puppies will open their eyes before 12 days; some are even later than the 15 days.

If all but one or two Shih Tzu puppies have their eyes open and functioning well, check with your veterinarian about the slower developing Shih Tzu puppies. A Shih Tzu brood matron’s eggs become fertilized during the breeding process at different times due to multiple inseminations. Some Shih Tzu puppies that develop later may be just simply because they were conceived at a later time.

Keep the Shih Tzu puppy area under subdued lighting conditions during the eye-opening period. Use heat lamps with caution once Shih Tzu puppies’ eyes have begun to open. If you need to continue using a heat lamp, construct a large aluminum foil “basket” or “hood” around the light. Punch numerous tiny holes in the fabric with a pin, thin, sharp pen or pencil tip.

Check the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes as they first open to see if the ear ducts are functioning properly. Wash the eyes and keep them moist with a warm washcloth. The glands do not always initially function adequately. Well-functioning tear ducts are indicated by glisteningly bright “reflective” eyes. Sometimes if the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes open early or if the Shih Tzu puppy is premature they do not have fully developed and functioning tears ducts. In these cases apply an ophthalmic ointment just under the eyelid, or consult with your vet for an appropriate routine to follow. If you use the ointment, apply it five or six times daily or according to your vet’s instructions. It is important to treat unproductive tear duct glands. Blindness can result if left unattended. Treatment is usually only a few days. A sterile 5 percent boric ophthalmic ointment solution can be purchased from your vet or pharmacy (under your vet’s instructions). The ointment can be applied every four hours. Treatment should continue until the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes lose the dry “flat” (non-reflective) appearance.

Shih Tzu puppies’ eyes when first opened will have a protective film, bluish in color. If the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes are white or solid blue consult your veterinarian.

By three weeks of age, Shih Tzu puppies’ should be able to focus fairly well.

Use extreme caution when photographing Shih Tzu puppies between 8 and 20 days of age. Prior and after this time a flash may be safer. Extreme and bright light can damage a Shih Tzu puppy’s delicate eye tissues.

Author: Connie Limon. I raise Shih Tzu puppies from top champion bloodlines. We have standard and smaller imperial/teacups. Sign up for our newsletter and purchase online at:

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The Story Of The Shih Tzu

The Story Of The Shih Tzu

By Connie Limon

Far away in Tibet, a country with a recorded history going back almost 1,500 years is where our Shih Tzu began. The country was noted for its devotion to Buddhism.

Some of the tallest mountains in the world edge the country of Tibet. Winters in Tibet are severe with temperatures to 14 degrees F in December. The winds in Tibet are strong and biting with hard frosts. Snowfall is light. In the summer, daylight temperatures reach a maximum of 75 degrees F with a sharp drop in temperature at night. Throughout most of the year there is sunshine and the air is dry and pure.

The people of this remote and rather mysterious land of Tibet were like so many other cultures in our world. They kept dogs in a domestic environment. There were large dogs used for guarding and small, shaggy dogs used as companions and as watch-dogs to alert the larger dogs. These small dogs were the ancestors of our Shih Tzu. The history of the Shih Tzu, however, is steeped in myth and legends, which makes it difficult to sort the true facts of our Shih Tzu.

One tale in particular, which I find interesting, is that of the small Lion Dogs were trained to turn the prayer wheels as part of the daily ritual in the monasteries. There was a belief that those monks whose life had been less than exemplary, would in accordance with the Buddhist theory of reincarnation, be reborn as one of the temple dogs.

Buddhism in Tibet recognized a large number of divine beings. Each being symbolized an aspect of life. One was Buddha Manjusri, the God of Learning. The God of Learning was said to travel with a small Lion Dog (ancestor to our Shih Tzu) that could turn into a full-sized lion and carry him vast distances on his back.

Oddly enough, there were no actual lions in Tibet, only artistic works of the animal, which were often somewhat fantastical. We cannot be sure whether the Lion Dogs were bred to resemble the drawings and statues of the symbolic lions or if the artists created their ‘lions’ in the likeness of the little dogs (ancestors to our Shih Tzu).

The snow lion was called Gang Seng and was considered to be so powerful that he could cause seven dragons to fall out of the sky with one roar. The symbolic lion was believed to have the ability to walk in the clouds. He could also speak with the voice of truth and fearlessness.

Tibet was a difficult place to get to. China was a neighbor to Tibet. Gifts from Tibet to China were sent as tribute to the Chinese emperors, among which were Tibetan Lion Dogs (ancestor to our Shih Tzu).

These little dogs traveled with the caravans on long journeys from one country to the other. A small army of eunuchs took care of the little dogs. The little Tibetan Lion Dogs (ancestors to our Shih Tzu) adapted well as they have continued to do wherever they have gone to live through the centuries.

In China, everything must have been very different from Tibet. The summers in Peking were warm and humid with a lot of rain. The winters were very cold, somewhat like Tibet, with temperatures as low as 0 degrees F in January. It is recorded that the little Tibetan Lion Dogs settled in and became great favorites of the Manchu emperors.

Most likely they were interbred with the short-faced Chinese breeds – the Chinese Pug and the Pekinese, which is probably what gives the Shih Tzu the characteristics that differentiate them from the Tibetan Lion Dogs that later became the Lhasa Apsos.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Designer dog clothes are offered on the website. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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A Profile of the Shih Tzu

A Profile of the Shih Tzu

By Andrew Strachan

The Shih Tzu is classed by the AKC in the toy class. Being a small dog Shih Tzu’s will not need a lot of food but they can require a lot of grooming. They make excellent guard dogs as their alert nature will have them barking at the slightest sign of intruders.

The Shih Tzu is a sturdy dog, with a double layered coat; long and flowing on the outer layer, but wooly on the layer below. Although the history of the Shih Tzu is vague, it is believed to have originated in Tibet. As the lion was a strong symbol in Buddhism, the Chinese and Tibetan lamas were thought to have bred the dog to resemble a small lion. Throughout history, Chinese imperial rulers bred the Shih Tzu to keep as members of the imperial courts. This ‘royal’ heritage can be seen in their somewhat arrogant character.

The Shih Tzu is usually good around well behaved children and other people. The Shih Tzu will not tolerate being teased or taunted and being such a clever dog, housebreaking can sometimes be difficult. They will often see straight through any attempts at bribery (like a treat) as a training method!

You could expect a fully grown Shih Tzu to be around the 11 inches (28 cm) region. They would weigh approximately 9 to 16 lbs in adulthood. Health problems you may expect to find are respiratory in nature such as snoring or wheezing. Ear and eye problems can also occur.

Your Shih Tzu should be exercised daily. They will happily go out for walks but will just as easily spend an afternoon lying in their favorite place if allowed. Their size lends well to the apartment lifestyle but they can quickly gain weight if not exercised properly.

Grooming your Shih Tzu should be a daily occurrence. Their coats need a daily brush to remove tangles etc. Owners often tie the dog’s hair up from the face to give the dog better vision. An alternative option is to have the face hair trimmed. Ears and eyes should be kept clean and also around the rear end of the dog.

The Shih Tzu is a loyal, alert dog with lots of character. They can be a great companion and a valuable addition to any family.

Article By Andrew Strachan. Find lots more information about different dog breeds and types of dogs at Lots of help and advice too.

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What is an Imperial / Teacup Shih Tzu? Do They Actually Exist?

What is an Imperial / Teacup Shih Tzu? Do They Actually Exist?

By Connie Limon

I did not create the “labels” Imperial or “Teacup.” These words were already set in stone before I ever came on board. I picked up the terms only because potential customers were asking me for “Imperial Size” or “Teacup Size.” I RARELY get a request for a “Standard” size shih tzu as defined by the American Kennel Club. Since these words of Imperial Shih Tzu and Teacup Shih Tzu were so common to describe a particular size of shih tzu and I was seeing these are the terms people place in search engines boxes looking for the size THEY WANT in a shih tzu, I began using the terms as well mainly to be able to communicate with potential customers in their own language.

The smaller size shih tzu are NOT smaller just because they are UNHEALTHY. This is a downright myth or lie being spread by those who are in favor of only one size shih tzu, which they say, is the only size shih tzu that should be on the market. And the ill-will I have heard from this group of people against these little guys is almost unreal, as if these smaller size shih tzus should not have the same rights as the “standard” size, maybe not even the “right to live” if this side of the poll had its ultimate way about things. And……as if people who have these little guys for sale command a higher price, that this is proof the breeder is doing something outrageously WRONG. Well…… I said…….RARELY does anyone ask me for a “standard” size shih tzu. There is a huge market of individuals and families who prefer these smaller sizes including me. I like all the sizes, but the smaller ones are my favorite. They are like little tiny treasures, almost always sweeter than the bigger guys. To me, they are like a rare exquisite jewel in the midst of all kinds of other jewels. They do require more work on the part of the breeder. Often, to keep them going at first because they are so small they have to be hand-fed and fed extra supplements like Nutri-cal daily. For these reasons of being that tiny treasured, exquisite jewel, rare and unique from all the rest, and because of the all extra labor involved in raising them, they command a higher price.

And…….I still say, from all I have read…….the smaller size shih tzu…….most likely the under 6 pounds, the 7 and 8 pounders were the very first shih tzu to ever be brought into this world by the Chinese Emporess Dowager in the Imperial Palace of China. The bigger sizes were rejected by these early day breedings conducted in the Palace. They were often sold to the peasants in the streets. The smaller ones were kept under careful guard, were the ones actually very much pampered that slept on satin pillows in the palace, that were owned by the elite and wealthy of that period of time, were given as gifts to the diplomats that visited the Imperial Palace as the most ultimate gift of all to ever receive from the Princess. They were the shih tzu that was highly reverened and cherished. These little under the table dogs were sometimes so small the Chinese could carry them in their sleeves. Try getting a 9 to 16 lb. dog in your sleeve? Won’t work no matter how big that sleeve is. We owe all our bloodlines to these early breeders. The Princess was mean and ruthless and was known to have little regard for anyone else but her shih tzu. She was burned out several times and eventually I suppose when all the chips were down, she felt beaten, and was found to have committed suicide with all her little shih tzu around her. So the legends of the shih tzu are steeped in mysterious myths and stories that it is no wonder there is still so much controversy about them and……it is about these little guys the most it seems. They seem to be the most mysterious of all – another reason why they command a higher price tag. They are EXQUISITE LITTLE CREATURES.

They actually do belong recognized in a class all their own. I hope to see The American Kennel Club someday do just that. New breeds are being created everyday. I don’t know why this group of people against the little guys try to make such a fuss over them not being appropriate to be anything but a PET and they imply any breeder having them are doing something outrageously wrong to the breed. I wonder do people carry on the same about Teacup Poodles? These little under 6 pounders would be so cute in the showring and in fact, I have a picture of one who was 6 pounds who won a championship (one of my shih tzu books). They belong in a class all their own. Name them Imperials. Name them Teacups. Do away with the Teacup name. Don’t matter to me on that.

At first very few people got hold of these little guys. Why? Because they were one of a kind – like a very precious jewel in the midst of all kinds of other jewels.

I also think that because so many other people were able to get hold of the bigger sizes in those days is where these bigger sizes now came from. They went out all over to other countries – but not the tiny treasures of the Imperial Palace. They were the secret of that period of time. They are still fairly rare, fairly scarce. Anything that can be produced in vast numbers is always “cheaper.” I remember when VCR’s and Microwaves first came out, they were so expensive I thought I could never own one. But then……they started being manufactured by the millions, which brought the prices down, and many other people could afford them.

Right now, these little guys are still fairly scarce, which makes their value go up also. And they are many times just as healthy as the bigger guys.

I wonder don’t these people who are against the little guys know that even humans come in all sizes and shapes……what if suddenly there was some kind of a stamp put on humans and if every person was not the weight of 170 pounds and 6 foot tall, they were deemed INAPPROPRIATE to be alive…….There are big people and little people and I am so grateful because I am one of the little people standing about 5 feet 2 inches tall. My weight has gone up through the years, so I might qualify as a person based on weight…….

I cherish the smaller sizes. All of mine have been extra joy to have around! I don’t in-breed them or have some kind of special formula to create them. Size is created by genes of the bloodlines. And yes, you could call the smallest in the crew a runt just the same. Personally though, I like the word “teacup” better. I think it more closely describes them and is a cuter term. If I were breeding Police Dogs, or Alaskan Working Dogs, I would call the smallest one in the crew, the runt. But I choose to call the smallest shih tzu – teacups and imperials. In my mind, that simply means a certain size. Rather than saying, I want a dog 6 pounds or under. A person can say I want a Teacup, and I know the size they are asking me for.

Connie Limon
Shih Tzu Breeder

Article Source: Connie Limon

Shih-tzu the Best Lap Dog Period

Shih-tzu the Best Lap Dog Period

By Adam Lenk

The Shih-tzu is mostly known for its vibrant beauty, abounding energy, and imperial attitude. In fact, the Shih-tzu has become one of the most popular breeds among consumers searching for the unimaginably cute and playful puppy.

The Shih-tzu originates in China. It is believed that these tiny dogs originated in Tibet and then were brought to be bred in the City of Peking. The Shih-tzu quickly caught the eye of the Imperial Chinese court and were guarded protectively by their benevolent owners. Members of the Chinese royalty were so protective of the breed that it wasn’t until 1930 that the Shih-tzu debuted in Western civilization.

After being recognized by the British AKC in 1946 and the United States AKC in 1969, the Shih-tzu’s popularity grew in leaps and bounds. Today the Shih-tzu remains a very popular breed for both companionship and showing.

Although small, the Shih-tzu is very sturdy and hardy. This breed’s most identifiable traits are its abundant coat of long hair, full beard and mustache, and upward growing nose. Weighing in at only 9 to 16 pounds, Shih-tzus can reach an impressive height of 11 inches. The Shih-tzu is full of character. While they can be obstinate, dogs belonging to this breed are generally spunky, active and happy and sometimes portray an attitude that borders on arrogance.

Because of its small size, Shih-tzus do well in very small homes such as apartments. The lack of a yard does not even affect these little guys. They are very sensitive to heat though, and should be kept in a cool environment.

Caring for a Shih-tzu takes a little more patience and dedication than with other breeds. As I said before, these dogs can be obstinate and stubborn which makes training and house breaking a chore. Their thick, long coat requires daily grooming and brushing, and their sensitive eyes need to be cleaned and maintained daily. It is also a good idea to have Shih-tzus professionally groomed on a regular basis. This will aid you in your daily grooming rituals.

The most common health problems associated with Shih-tzus are usually related to their respiratory function. These dogs tend to wheeze and snore a great deal and are prone to ear, eye and other respiratory problems. Shih-tzus also tend to become obese very easily and should not be overfed. Perhaps the most endearing trait of the Shih-tzu is its clever and affectionate personality which make it ideal as a family pet. So, if you are looking for an adorable, spunky canine companion with an imperial background and attitude, perhaps a Shih-tzu is exactly what you are looking for.

By Adam Lenk

Visit my puppy web site to get more articles and information about puppies at

Article Source: Adam Lenk

Just What Exactly Is A Shih Tzu?

Just What Exactly Is A Shih Tzu?

By Connie Limon

The Shih Tzu has long been prized solely as a companion. The Shih Tzu’s temperament is of the utmost importance. It is the Shih Tzu’s unique head and expression that actually distinguishes the breed from two other related Oriental breeds, the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.

Shih Tzu are alert, arrogant, full of playful antics, and affectionate. Dog show judging is based on how closely each Shih Tzu entered approaches the ideal picture described in the breed standard.

Much of the Shih Tzu breed standard is devoted to the head. A correct head and expression should be round, warm and soft. The head of a correct Shih Tzu is large and round when viewed from the side. The ears look like they blend in with the head. The Shih Tzu’s topknot should be placed fairly low on the forehead in a double band to keep the hair from falling forward into the Shih Tzu’s eyes.

The eyes of a Shih Tzu should be round, large and dark. A small amount of eye white is acceptable. Excessive eye white in the corners of the eye or around the entire eye detract from the desired warm, sweet expression. Lack of good dark pigmentation on the nose, lips or eye rims also distracts from the desired warm, sweet expression. The eyes should be placed well apart.

The muzzle is short, square and unwrinkled. This is unlike the longer, narrower muzzle of the Lhasa Apso or the extremely short, wrinkled muzzle of the Pekingese. The jaw is undershot, which means the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw. The teeth should not show when the mouth is closed. The lower lip should not protrude when viewed from the side.

The Shih Tzu should move smoothly, flowingly and effortlessly. One common problem area in the Shih Tzu is poor fronts. Front and rear angulations should be in balance for smooth movement with a good front reach and a strong rear movement.

The Chinese said the Lion Dog should have dragon eyes, a lion head, a bear torso, a frog mouth, palm-leaf fan ears, a feather-duster tail and movement like a goldfish. Lion Dogs (Shih Tzu) appear not only in Chinese art, but also in the art of Tibet, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.

The first imports of Shih Tzu to the United States came from England. These very early imports were noted to be “quite large.” In 1955, Shih Tzu were admitted by the AKC to the Miscellaneous Class (the breed is now in the Toy Group). At this time the Shih Tzu breed began to gain greater popularity. In 1998, 38,468 Shih Tzu were registered with the American Kennel Club, ranking the Shih Tzu eleventh of all registered breeds.

Famous owners of the Shih Tzu have been: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Yul Brynner, Elizabeth, Queen Consort of George VI.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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Worried About Which Breed of Dog is Best for Your Family? Find Some Answers Here

Worried About Which Breed of Dog is Best for Your Family? Find Some Answers Here

By Niall Kennedy

Ask ten experts how many breeds of dogs exist and you will get ten different answers. However, many estimate there are more than 300 breeds of dogs. Each is valued by someone or by a group of people. In fact, they exist because they were bred to have characteristics that make them well suited for specific tasks. Over thousands of years, dogs were bred to meet a variety of human needs.

Chihuahuas, Pekinese and Shih-Tzus are generally known as toy breeds – very small types of dogs, often weighing less than ten pounds. The dogs were bred to be mainly companions rather than perform physical labor. These dogs were the basis of the phrase “lap” dogs as they were easily held in their owners’ laps.

Dogs in the Hound group come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and were all originally bred to assist with hunting. Many hound types have an amazing sense of smell; others are best known for their stamina during the chase.

German shepards, Doberman pinchers, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Giant Schnauzers and Boxers are just a few of the better known types of working dogs.

Working dogs have the size and strength that makes them well suited to guarding property and other intense physical tasks. They are well known for their extremely high intelligence and protective nature to their human companions.

Like the Hounds, dogs from the Sporting group were bred to assist with hunting. Alert and active by nature, sporting dogs fit in well with active owners. If you plan on adding any type of sporting dog to your family, keep in mind that these high-energy dogs need frequent exercise.

The dog breeds included in the Non-Sporting group vary greatly in appearance and abilities. Dalmatians, with their vast amount of stamina and energy, were set to run alongside carriages to guard the travelers inside. Later, firemen employed these unique dogs to guard fire wagons. Dalmatians are playful and loyal, and need human companionship.

Poodles were originally bred as work animals. These dogs are highly intelligent and one of the most trainable breeds. Some poodles are good guard dogs and some can be trained as hunters.

Terriers are known for their distinctive personalities. Bred to hunt vermin, terriers are instinctive, active diggers. Tenacious by nature, these lively dogs require owners willing to provide lots of physical and mental stimulation.

Sight hounds were bred to assist the hunter by virtue of their excellent eyesight. Instead of finding prey by scent, these lean hunters spot their quarry from a great distance. They have amazing stamina and energy and all members of this group need plenty of exercise.

Hopefully this information will help you to decide what breed of dog is right for bringing into your family. Whichever breed you decide on you need to remember that your dog will rely on you for everything from food and water, to shelter and exercise. In return for this you can expect lifelong devotion and love from your new best friend.

Best Pet Health Information is a resource which will help you find infomation, hints and tips to keep your dog happy and healthy. Copyright © All rights reserved. This article may be reprinted in full so long as the resource box and the live links are included intact.

Article Source: Niall Kennedy