- Pets and Animals
Shih Tzus Make Great Family Dogs
The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog, with origins tracing back to seventh century China. In Chinese, “Shih Tzu” means “lion dog,” but not for the reasons you would suspect. The breed received the nickname due to their resemblance of the lion rather than their personality. Found in Imperial China, this loveable toy breed was often chosen as household companions to emperors of the Manchu Destiny and raised as lapdogs. Their royal influence is often cited as the reason for the sometimes arrogant personality of the Shih Tzu, characterized by the breed’s nose-in-the-air gait. Though slightly “stuck-up,” a Shih Tzu is still one of the more trainable small dogs, reinforced by their inherent desire to please their owners.
With large eyes, a short snout, floppy ears and an average weight of 10-16 pounds, these compact little bundles of fur are very hard to resist and quickly find themselves attached to your heart. Small enough for apartment living, yet sturdy enough for outdoor attention, these happy-go-lucky furbabies make great additions to any household, and have quickly become one of the most popular dogs for the modern family. They can be trained to “go” inside or outside, do not require daily walks, and are wonderful with babies and small children, generally speaking. Another reason for their increased popularity, and perhaps one of the most important reasons for some, is the fact that Shih Tzus are one of the hypoallergenic dog breeds. Since the Shih Tzu has hair instead of fur and sheds very little if at all, the produced dander sticks to the hair instead of being released into the air, thus cutting down on a lot of the common pet allergies. This is significant in families where pet allergies prohibit the presence of animals in their homes.
All-in-all, the adoption of this dog breed into your own family is guaranteed to be nothing but pure joy. These friendly, affectionate, easy-going dogs make wonderful companions, are happiest when curled up in your lap, and want nothing more out life than to just be with you.
I personally brought my first Shih Tzu, Peppi, into my family in 1991. He lived with us for 15 happy and healthy years and I enjoyed every minute of his company. In 1999, we bought another Shih Tzu, Oliver, to “keep Peppi company.” At that point, Peppi was 8 years old and really didn’t want a playmate, but the two brothers did co-habitat rather well – once Peppi realized that Oliver was staying at least. Oliver is 11 now and I can’t imagine life without him. I am already considering the thought of bringing a new puppy, another Shih Tzu, into our household, as I am sure that the Shih Tzu traditional will continue in my family.