In our fourth installment on popular dog breeds, we’re showcasing a small wonder with big eyes, big heart and a fierce underbite: the Shih Tzu! Good Dog currently has over 240 in our clientele, and they’re the 3rd most registered toy breed in the AKC. Originally from China, Shih Tzu’s are an ancient breed that were beloved among Chinese emperors — their name actually translates to “little lion.” Centuries later, the breed is still incredibly popular thanks to its personality and good looks. (If you need proof of the good looks, just take a look our daycare regular Scout Cloud, below).
Most of our Shih Tzu’s visit us for grooming services and are given a shorter more manageable cut, but if you’re an avid watcher of Westminster, you can see them in their traditional “show cut” with fancy top knot. The breed has a double coat that is prone to matting, so our groomers recommend regular haircuts — ideally every 6 to 8 weeks to keep them happy and mat-free. Scooter, our 5-year-old Shih Tzu below, comes in about every 8 weeks for his new ‘do (check out his before-and-after pics). Frequent brushing is also ideal … if your pup isn’t fond of this idea or you simply don’t have the time for it, our groomers offer a convenient brushing service that keeps many of our clients in great shape. Overall, grooming may be a bit high-maintenance for Shih Tzu’s, but the big benefit is they shed little to no hair.
Shih Tzu’s are known for their friendly, lively personalities, and they most certainly live up to their “lap dog” reputation — nothing is more precious to a Shih Tzu than human attention! Those that attend our daycare are often found in the laps of daycare staff; they love constant petting and pampering. Shih Tzu’s don’t need much exercise and can get most of what they need by running around the house and playing.
Without proper training and socialization, these little guys can get what we call “small dog syndrome.” Our trainer Adam suggests being very patient and starting socialization early. Shih Tzu’s can become very attached to their owners, so they should be exposed to as many people and dogs as possible. Also, since the breed is so small and crave human attention, owners must be very careful about body language during training.
If you’re looking for a pup that will melt your heart, think about the spunky, sparkly eyed Shih Tzu. Petfinder currently has about 36 available for adoption, many from the Indianapolis-based New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue. Some even think our very own Tiki has some Shih Tzu in him. With his big eyes, crazy under bite, and constant craving for human attention, we wouldn’t be surprised if he has a little in his DNA.