I'm searching for the perfect dog. Of course, "perfect" is in the eye of the beholder. That can be seen on any given day at Petland Naperville, where they can have up to 100 (or more!) different puppies for sale. This gives me a great place to observe many different breeds of dogs in one setting. Today I watched a Shih Tzu, and this is such a cute, fluffy little breed! Petland Naperville has several Shih Tzu puppies, and it is amazing how different they all looked because of their different coat color combinations.
Did you know that this breed originated in the Orient? What's more fascinating is that the royalty did not wish to share this prized breed, and it wasn't until 1930 that the breed came to Europe, and not until our soldiers were returning from World War II did these pups come over to the US. The Shih Tzu is a small dog, and usually weighs around 10 to 12 pounds, but can weigh up to 16 pounds. The Shih Tzu is covered in lightweight, fluffy hair. If you are going to let your Shih Tzu's coat grow out to floor length (which is the breed standard), you really need to dedicate time often to brush your dog's hair---it is fast-growing and can easily get tangled. I think most Shih Tzu owners go with what's called the "puppy cut" to keep the coat under control. I also asked a Pet Counselor at Petland Naperville why the puppy's teeth looked crooked, and I learned that the breed standard for this puppy was to have an underbite! It was really cute (although I kept thinking I would have one more "child" who needs braces)!
The Shih Tzu makes a very loyal and outgoing pet. They are even affectionate with strangers, other dogs, and children. This breed is a great one to raise a family with. They also require minimal exercise. Be careful, though---they are smart little dogs and love to find openings in a fenced back yard! Proper training from a young age can help overcome any stubbornness when it comes to learning your family rules.
Another thing you have to look out for is overfeeding your Shih Tzu. Compared to other toy breeds, the Shih Tzu needs slightly more food, since it is one of the larger toy breeds. For an adult Shih Tzu, approximately ounce per 1 pound of dog weight should do the trick. You can adjust that as needed, but be sure to feed your dog 2 times per day to keep its digestive system working great. Petland Naperville has many high-quality food options for you; I'd just ask a Pet Counselor for some guidance.
One nice thing to know about the Shih Tzu is that it is generally a considered a hypoallergenic dog. What this means is that if someone in your family has allergies, the Shih Tzu would be a good breed to consider. Nothing is ever perfect, however; sometimes it is the dander (skin flakes) that causes problems, and not necessarily the fur/hair. If you have an allergy problem, you should mention it to the Pet Counselor, and also "test" the puppy out---everyone reacts differently.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time playing with a Shih Tzu. I love the fact that it is soft and fluffy and good with people. I recommend the Shih Tzu to anyone with a family, and I'm sure you can find beautiful examples of this breed at Petland Naperville.