Caring for Your Shih Tzu. Facts and Health Issues
The Chrysanthemum Dog
The Shih Tzu may be small, but this dark-eyed, toy breed is sturdy. They are known as the Chrysanthemum dog weighing in at 10 - 19 lbs of cuteness. They have a long silky coat which reaches to the floor and requires daily brushing. Their underbite is a notable feature of this breed.
I sent my Shih Tzu puppy to a training school for some training in manners and socializing. They tend to be on the stubborn side when it comes to training, however, I must say that Clancey was a fast learner and graduated with a certificate.
Shih Tzus are known to be loyal, affectionate, outgoing, and alert.
Some Interesting Facts About The Shih Tzu
- According to the UK Kennel Club the life span of a Shih Tzu is 13 years. Most live between 10 to 16 years.
- This breed originated in China. (Some experts state that Tibet is where the breed is from.)
- The first dogs were brought to the United States after World War II. The military, upon returning home from Europe, brought these dogs along in the mid 1950s.
- In 1930 Shih Tzus were nicknamed the Chrysanthmum Dog in England.
- The Chinese named the Shih Tzu which means "lion dog." This kind of dog was bred specifically to resemble the lion.
- This dog is more closely related to the wolf than any other dog.
- The correct pronunciation for Shih Tzu is "Sheet Zoo."
- When fully grown their weight is between 9 and 16 pounds.
- Because a collapsed trachea can affect this breed never use a collar and a leash. Use a harness and leash.
China - Shih Tzu Origination
Rescuing A Fur Angel From A Puppy Mill
A puppy mill is no place for a dog. Rescuing an adorable baby Shih Tzu is my story of how I came face-to-face with the deplorable conditions these puppies live in. I saved one and he brought me love and joy up to the day he died.
I would adopt all the animals who are abused and neglected in a heartbeat if I could. Owning an animal is a big responsibility and often an expense. In spite of the time and money involved to care for your sweet, little, Shi Tzu; it's well worth it.
Cuddling Was Not Clancey's Style
Shih Tzu Health Issues
If you want a dog that stops traffic, is cuddly and cute and doesn't shed, a Shih Tzu is for you. This lovable "lion dog" will entertain you until he wears himself out. A Shih Tzu is friendly to a fault which is a good thing because people are quite taken with their built-in charm.
Most Shih Tzus have several health issues such as:
- Respiratory problems due to to the shape of their face and head.
- Hip Displaysia in standard sizes.
- Epileptic seizures. My Clancey had these. I kept prescribed vials of medicine on hand. When they became more frequent I carried a vial with me when I took him for his walks.
- Ear infections. The ears must be cleaned often.
- Intervertebral Disk Disease causes back pain, loss of coordination, and the inability to feel deep pain. This disease is also found in other breeds such as the French Bulldog, Welsh Corgi, Lhasa Apso, American Cocker Spanie, Dachshund, Bassett Hound and the Pekingese.
- Hypothyroidism. This occurs when the thyroid gland stops producing a hormone which is responsible for proper metabolism. It affects middle age dogs and there is medicine available at your local vet.
A Bit of Shih Tzu History
China claims to be the place where the "Lion Dog" originated back in 800 B.C., stemming from a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhaso Apso. It's interesting to note that Shih Tzus were favorites of the Chinese royals and so prized that, for years, the Chinese refused to sell, trade, or give any away.
The breed spread throughout Europe and was brought to the United States after World War II, when returning members of the U.S. military brought back dogs from Europe, in the mid-1950s.
Shih Tzu Having a Bath
Giving a Shih Tzu a Bath
Shih Tzu's keep themselves clean for the most part, however, you'll want to bathe yours regularly. The following tips may help this experience be more enjoyable:
- Always use a high-quality shampoo and conditioner. If your dog has skin issues consider purchasing from your veterinarian. Clancey had serious skin problems and it took a couple of visits to the vet before finding a brand that worked for him.
- Do not use human shampoos and conditioners as this will irritate your dog's skin.
- Make bath time a happy time. Be gentle and always avoid getting soap in the eyes or eye area.
- Finish off by drying with a nice, fluffy towel. Try to avoid using the hair dryer as many an animal has been known to suffer burns from too hot a temperature or coming in too close a contact with the blower.
- Reward with a favorite treat and complimentary tone.
Happy Birthday Clancey
I Had to Say Goodbye
Holding you within my arms I had to say goodbye
The time had come to let you go
I cried, oh how I cried
Rainbows intertwining as misty notes surround
A melody of purest form
To you, fur angel, I’m bound
I pray you ride a falling star and play upon the moon
Running freely, no restraints
You know I'll see you soon
© 2011 Audrey Hunt