Today the Shih Tzu is one of the most popular dogs in the United States according to the AKC Registration Statistics. The word Shih Tzu means lion and this dog may be loving and sweet, but they are not at all afraid to stand up for themselves and their owners.The Shih Tzu carries itself very well with their head held high and their tail curled up in the back. For over thousands of years, the Chinese royals adored and pampered these gorgeous pets. Due to their size, they are classified in the dog shows as the Toy Group.The Shih Tzu is a small dog with a short muzzle and large dark colored eyes, also with the long, silky, double coat. Their ears are covered with long fur. Much hair on the head, the owners tend to put their hair up in bows. A dog that everyone falls in love with. These dogs are longer than they are tall, they stand no more than 10 1/2 inches tall, their ideal weight is 10 to 16 pounds. The coat of the Shih Tzu comes in many varieties of colors, with a little white on the forehead and on the end of the tail.They come in various shades of, brown, white,red, gold and blue. Yes believe it or not blue,The blue colors are not very common.Other colors are black and white, black mask gold, solid black, solid liver color, liver and white, gray and white or brindle and white. Due to their coat being long and silky, going down to the floor,much care is needed. This breed of dog should be considered before getting, it needs groomed often. And this can become quite costly. The coat is usually cut short to ease the care. But in many websites, with information on these dogs coats,it is said that they have hypoallergenic fur.The Shih Tzus do not shed like other breeds, they lose only small amounts when being brushed and bathed. A very noticeable feature is the underbite that they have, which in this breed is very important. These dogs have a good personality and are very affectionate, they love to be hugged by their owners and are lap dogs, they prefer to stay close to their companions.They are excellent watch dogs though they were not bred for that purpose. The Shih Tzu has a friendly nature, which means they get along very well with other dogs, adults and children, and a few of them even like kittens. They love to play and jump at each other. They are fun to watch. Again read up on this breed and the care they need.These dogs have many health issues, some are hereditary. Not all of these dogs have the same issues.Some dogs get Hypothyroidism, this happens when the thyroid gland malfunctions. Then the Shih Tzu has lots of breathing problems due to the shape of their faces and heads( the Brachycephalic Syndrome)this affects dogs with short noses, this causes them to breathe very hard. Not all of brachycephalic dogs will have these problems, but most will. Some will require surgery. The other health issue that these dogs have in common with other toy breeds is, Intervertebral Disk Disease, this is a disorder manifested by acute back pain, some loss of coordination, these dogs may lose the ability to feel pain. The other breeds who have this are, The Cocker Spaniel, Lhaso Apso, Welsh Corgi and the Dachshund. Other health issue, liver and hip dysplasia, due to them having long bodies and short legs.Some Shih Tzus have epilepsy, which can shorten the dogs life if left untreated.These dogs need much care,but are they worth it? Yes, look at those faces, they are definently worth it, but only if you have the time to take proper care of them, and give them the love they deserve.They are very loveable dogs who need loving owners and good homes.Ask me, I have two Shih Tzus,And I love them dearly.