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Shih Tzu – The Chrysanthemum Dog

The Shih Tzu is a breed of dog that originated in China. The name is both singular and plural. They are said to be the oldest and smallest Tibetan sacred dogs. This type of dog has been around for a long time. They were bred to bark when people or animals approached the palace of the Emperor of China, alerting people to the presence of unwanted visitors. This ornamental breed is believed to have been created by breeding the Pekingese with a Tibetan breed of dog, the Lhasa Apso. A recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest dog breeds. This dog is also known as the Chinese / Tibetan lion dog or the chrysanthemum dog. It is called a chrysanthemum dog because its face looks a lot like the flower.

The Shih Tzu is characterized by its long and flowing double coat, robust build, intelligence, and a friendly, energetic and lively demeanor. In breeding all coat colors are allowed. The Shih Tzu coat can be styled with a short summer cut or kept long to show conformation. This dog has no fur like many other breeds; they have hair similar to that of a human. Instead of moving out, it gradually loses hair, just like humans lose hair in the shower or while grooming. They should be brushed daily with a bristle brush and any bows should be tied with a bow or band so that the dog can see well. This breed sheds little to no hair or dander, making them ideal for most allergy sufferers.

The American Kennel Club Shih Tzu breed standard requires the dog to have a short muzzle, large eyes, and a palm-shaped tail that flutters above its torso. Their height at the shoulders is 9 to 10 1/2 inches. The dog must be no less than 8 inches tall and no more than 11 inches tall. The Shih Tzu should never be so tall as to appear leggy, or so short as to appear plump or plump. Regardless of size or gender, they should always be solid and compact, and have a good weight and substance for their size range. This falls under the AKC’s toy category.

The American Kennel Club and the American Shih Tzu Club define them as a dog weighing between 9 and 16 pounds as the official breed standard. Descriptions such as “imperial”, “teacup”, “small teacup” are used, but dogs that fit such descriptions are usually undersized or underdeveloped Shih Tzu. Both the AKC and ASTC consider that these variations do not conform to the official breed standard. These small variations are also not what the Chinese imperial palace or the professional circuit defined as standard. Breeders who trade in designer dogs are not eligible for membership in some clubs. For example, the American Shih Tzu Club, the official guardian of the breed standard, denies membership to such breeders.

Their lifespan is 11-14 years, although there may be some variation from this range. Some common health problems among the breed are wheezing, snoring, spinal disc disease, Porto systemic liver shunt, kidney dysplasia, and hip dysplasia, in standard sizes. In addition, they can also suffer from various eye problems. These, as well as many other breeds, can show signs of an allergy to red dye # 40, and owners should respond to scratching in the absence of fleas by eliminating pet foods that contain this commonly used additive. They should also have their teeth checked regularly because they tend to lose them early.

The Shih Tzu requires a bit more grooming than other breeds, and potential owners looking for a low-maintenance dog should probably choose another breed. Because their snouts are small and almost non-existent, drinking water from a bowl often contributes to dirtying their faces. Owners sometimes use water dispensers like those used in hamster and rabbit cages. If the dog is drinking from a bowl, it is sometimes necessary to watch him; water can enter their noses at face level more easily and inhibit breathing. The area around the eyes should be gently cleaned every day with cotton wool and warm water. Providing bottled water or water that does not contain chlorine helps keep eye mucus to a minimum. These dogs are high maintenance with regards to grooming and cleanliness.

The Shih Tzu can be very independent when it comes to playing and exercising. Unlike larger dogs like Golden Retrievers and Labradors, they tend to be quite content when left alone. Most enjoy exercising outside, and when they exercise regularly, they have a lot of stamina. Most enjoy a long walk, although they are also quite happy to run around the house. However, owners should remember that they have fairly short legs, so a Shih Tzu’s idea of ​​a long walk is much shorter than ours. They can tire very easily. A dog that is allowed to grow a coat needs daily brushing to avoid tangles. However, since the breed is obviously adapted to a cool climate, it is appropriate to let the coat grow out during the colder seasons.

These dogs are considered snub-nosed dogs, which makes them very sensitive to high temperatures. That is why airlines that ship dogs will not accept them for shipment when temperatures at any point on the planned itinerary exceed 75 degrees. Also, like many other breeds, claws need a lot of attention. This is not specific to them, but to all small dogs. It is important to remember that predators that normally hunt rodents and rabbits do not know the difference between rabbits and a Shih Tzu. When it comes to caring for the owner, it must be remembered that it should not be allowed to go out with the protection of a real or electric fence but with the watchful eye of its owner since a hawk or an eagle can swoop down from above and take a dog. .

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