Getting a Shih Tzu! Any advice?

  1. After having my 12 year old Persian put to sleep a few months ago:sad: we have started thinking about our next pet. My boys are small & I feel it's important for them to have a pet growing up. I love animals too so I'm ready. My brother's Shih Tzu is such an awesome dog.. great personality & demeanor. It's the only dog so far that my kids like. They haven't been around dogs much & are a bit skiddish. That's another reason we feel it's good to get a dog & not another cat. Anyway, Gizmo (my brother's dog) is siring a litter in December. He gets picks pick of the litter for it & he's giving it to us (what a sweet brother I have!) Anyway, to anyone who owns a Shih Tzu, any advice you can give? I want to be prepared as best I can as to what to expect. Thanks!
  2. Shih-tzus are great family dogs! My baby is a shih/peke mix. What I have learned is that shih-tzu can be stubborn, rountine oriented (almost ocd like behavior but not in a bad way), and are very smart! My doggy was a rescue and despite the abuse she suffered in the past we were still able to train her. Shihs are prone to eye and ear problems, but a lot of smaller dogs are. I haven't had any major problems. I also read that shih tzu are prone to kidney problems. Shih-tzu, like pugs, are prone to snoring and snorting loudly LOL. My doggy "talks" to me using different snorts for playtime, eating etc. It's too cute! I find it cute while others may find it annoying. Overall, they make great pets and are quite the cuddlers. A shih-tzu disposition is almost always happy and pleasant, so that's a definite plus. I hope you decide to take one!

    ETA that a shih-tzu needs a routine and good discipline from the beginning. I noticed that my doggy (and my sister's) spoiled very easily and once bad behaviors set in it's hard to change (for a while she was barking at us when we ate at the dinner table). I learned this the hard way but it is so hard not to spoil such a cute baby LOL.
  3. Thanks for the great info! I'm a stay at home mom so I have much of a routine myself with the kids. I'll be home alot with the puppy so I'm hoping training will go smoothly. Sounds like you have a sweet pup!
  4. find a good groomer, hehe.
  5. :p Yes Ma'am! This dog is going to be sporting the short cut. Much like my Persian did. I used to shave him like a poodle, aka. the "lion cut" for cats. It was too funny. Although I will leave the doggie cuts to the groomer.
  6. Shih Tzu's have a great temperament especially when they're socialize young. Since you have kids, it should be no problem because they're quite an easy going breed.

    As for health, like Angelica mention they are prone to eye and kidneys problems. Make sure you try and clean beside the eyes regularly to get rid of any build up. It's also great to keep the hair short from getting into the eyes.

    Since they have relatively flat faces, use a flat bowl for food and I also use a water bottle type for them to drink and it keeps their face from being constantly wet.

    And one great perk of owning a Shih Tzu is they don't shed!=) Leaves your carpet furball free.

    Please keep us updated with pictures when you get your new puppy!:heart:
  7. I have a little shih tzu and she is great! I would suggest using a damp warm cloth to clean between the eyes to remove any gunk. I started doing this to her at a young age.

    We had some grooming problems though...she did not like going to the groomers. She actually had her first successful grooming job done about a month ago (at about 8 months of age). The groomer asked if I cleaned her face & I said yep. She said she could tell because she hated any other part of her body being touched, but stayed still when she tried to clean her face. My puppy had bad experienced with previous groomers. They didn't know how to handle puppies. Petco (my biggest mistake was taking her there) suggested that I get her drugged before taking her to the groomers. However, the lady I found said that during her 40 years as a groomer she has only had to have 1 dog sedated. She didn't mind taking the time to be patient and working with my pup.

    I trained her using a pee-pee pad. It took her longer than my maltese (she got trained in 2 days), but she's pretty good about it now. Sometimes when she's upset that we left her at home she'll go #2 on the carpet.

    As for the beginning she slept me & when she got older she moved to her own bed. Now that it's starting to get cold she likes to sleep under the blanket with me haha!
  8. Thanks everyone, I appreciate your input! It's funny, the care of the Shih Tzu sounds exactly like my Persian. Gunk in the eyes, check...flat face-drinking water issues, check...short haircut, check :p A BIG plus is the low shedding which unfortunately wasn't the case with my cat. God, the hair in my house! Not going to miss it. Thanks again all, I'm getting excited. It will be a few months but I'll be ready!
  9. You're so Lucky! Shih are such beautiful dogs. I can't even look at them when there puppies... their so cute I can't take it!

    like bijou said, its so important too to find a good groomer. My friend's Shih went to the groomer as a puppy and was attacked by another dog there...he almost died, poor lil guy
  10. my baby is a shihtzu maltese cross, but the only thing maltese about her is the white colour, really she's shih tzu in every way.

    i agree with the above:

    they don't shed any more than humans do, which is great. but you'll need to groom them frequently - i do that myself at home:

    - leave-in conditioner, an ordinary plastic brush (no ball tips, just slightly pointy rounded tips, slightly but not too flexible teeth). i sit her on my lap and comb her a little at a time fairly often. they may not like this, but in time can get used to it, if it's not too drawn-out and as pleasant as you can make it - they're stubborn dogs, but can learn what's-what.

    - pet clippers to cut her body + chin hair short and even. the hair on the legs/tail/head i cut to a nice shape with scissors (teddy cut? puppy cut? i made up my own with trial and error, and i like: "fat" shaped legs, shaggy longish tail, "full" shaped wide "cheeks", teddy ears, short hair atop head and eyes). i need to do this every 3 weeks

    - a shower attachment in bathtub, a squirt bottle with diluted doggy shampoo, and a good conditioner.

    as mentioned, they do get eye problems, so careful not to get shampoo in them. i used to rinse very carefully all around it.. now that she's older and more patient i just let the water stream down her head, but of course she doesn't like it much.

    anyway, the most important thing about these dogs is their temperament. they're stubborn and very intelligent (i can still see my baby actually thinking, every time she gets an order, "do i really want to do this? can i avoid obeying?")
    so, very important - you need to establish a clear pack order in your household - where they're NOT top dogs! they'll thrive with a healthy hierarchy where they're lovingly kept in their place, given strong boundaries of acceptable behaviour, clearly shown to and kept in their place as not-boss, and not allowed to get spoilt or demanding - which leads to aggression.

    oh, and when you pick your puppy, try not to pick the most "forward" one, cos they tend to dominance as it is. i recommend to pick the puppy that's affectionate and trusting, not terrified or snappy, but still hangs slightly back and isn't one of the first few ones leaping forward at you or elbowing his brothers aside. watch them when eating, too, to get an idea of their temperament.

    they're very affectionate, and LOVE people, so they're useless as guard dogs; they'll jump all over and kiss any intruders and follow them around lovingly.
    which also means that they hate being left alone all day.. when we had 2 it wasn't so bad cos they had each other, but a single dog left alone at night really hurts them. a little bit of daytime aloneness is fine, but i wouldn't recommend a full work day of aloneness.

    but they're the sweetest dog, in the right hierarchy, and easily trained, very intelligent, and not high strung or yappy like smaller dogs (unless you let their behaviour degenerate to that). their temperament in the end will depend alot on your "parenting" =)

    congrats on your forthcoming baby. mine is the darlingest child =)
  11. ^^Wow Holly, thanks for the great info! :flowers:

    Again, thanks everyone for the help. You all are awesome!
  12. Holly thats great that you can groom yourself! I am have been trying but have had some problems. What kind of clipper do you use? I think I didn't buy a good one bc it doesn't seem to clip you use the leave in conditioner, comb and then shampoo? Thanks :smile:
  13. I have a Shih Tzu. His name is Caesar. He's got a great personality. One thing that you need to be cautious of is extra eyelashes growing in their eyes. My dog got eye ulcers. They also lose their teeth early. But other than that, they are great dogs!
  14. I have a black Shih-Tzu. He is 12 now! He's so small and is just great! I had him before I had my kids and we have never ever had any problems! He loves attention! He only will sleep on my bed. I tried when he was a puppy to have him sleep on a doggie bed but he would never sleep there- only in my bed! He doesn't snore! (we also have a Boston Terrier and they get along really well).

    Be very careful with the eyes! My shih-tzu had what they call "dry eye" and he wound up having surgury for it and he is blind in his eye now from it! I was hysterical. This was about 5 years ago but he is just fine!

    My sister had a shih tzu too! He has passed but his personality was different from my shih-tzu's! He hated other dogs and was very obnoxous! We loved him and hate to say it but he was!LOL

    Anyway, they are the cutest dogs ever!!!!! They are too cute when they are puppies!!!! I can't even look at the shih tzu pups b/c I will want to buy them all!
  15. There's too much first time shih tzu advice to list all in one post! I really strongly suggest you do a lot of reading on It's such a great site and people will give you tons of good advice.

    I would stress acclimatizing your little guy to grooming early on. Handle his paws, have short brushing sessions every day, get him used to being "on the grooming table" so to speak. Buy a book or do some reading on line on properly brushing out your shih.

    I have a retired show dog. You can groom him to your heart's content because he's been trained to stand still when you're doing it. The friendliest little lap dog on earth. He is deathly afraid of kids, though, so while they are generally a happy go lucky breed, there are some exceptions (my husband and I figure a little kid must have hurt him in the past before he came to live with us). I figure we'll just have to help him to learn to trust. We're devising various strategies for this since we have a young niece and nephew and will eventually have kids ourselves.

    Two important things:

    1. Nutrition. You need to become a label-reader. Buy nothing that has wheat or corn in it. A very high percentage of dogs are allergic to it. Your puppy has a higher chance of getting tear staining and itchy skin with these ingredients in the food. Buy nothing that lists unspecified meat sources ("poultry meal" is bad, but "chicken meal" is good, for example), nothing that has added colours. Your choice should have a good protein as the first ingredient. Here are some brands that are highly recommended: Solid Gold, Fromm's Four Star (not the lower quality ones, just the Four Star), and Wellness. There are more, that's just some to give you some kibble ideas if you don't feel like researching yourself. You will NOT find these brands in grocery stores, all the grocery store brands suck. Go to a decent pet store.

    You can also feed what's called the "raw" diet, or home cook for your little one. This is is you feel like getting really intense about nutrition.

    2. Dogs' teeth DO NOT need to fall out. If they're falling out, you haven't done your job with oral hygiene. You can brush your dog's teeth, give him tartar bones or real raw bones a couple times a week (not cooked, they're a chocking hazard), and have the teeth scaled if there is too much build-up after a few years. You need to take responsibility for your poochie's teeth.

    Whew! I could go on forever. You are going to LOVE your shih tzu. They are stubborn sometimes, but so incredibly loving and a real joy to have in your life.