Shih Tzus are known for their happy temperaments, floor length hair and, of course, the top knot. The flat faces and close set eyes make them an adorable breed. Even as fluffy puppies they are hard to resist. My family and I lovingly call them dust rags as puppies and dust mops as adults. Hold one up to your stomach and they never fail to flatten up against you as would a baby. The closer to you they are the more relaxed and comfortable they become. Shih Tzus rarely find fault with others and are always eager to make new friends. They associate well with other animals as well as being content on their own. This being the case, it would be a good idea to keep them leashed when outside your home or yard. Despite what I have read in many articles, Shih Tzus are marvelous with children. They are very patient and never bite or attack when treated well. For more information you may visit Shih Tzu and Children.
Shih Tzu temperament is not as even as many would have you think. They are very happy and very friendly, but also mischievous, active, playful, loving, standoffish, hyper, demanding, quiet, loud, messy, clean... hopefully you get the point. Shih Tzu are more like children then you may have previously thought and their personality is just as vast. Temperament is not based on gender, color, size or parentage. Spay and neuter rarely changes this behavior. It is simply the way that puppy is. It is common practice to meet a puppy when between the ages of 6-12 weeks to determine whether the temperament is compatible with the owner, but it is widely forgotten that as Shih Tzu grow and age their temperament changes. Toto, for instance was a very active puppy and by the age of three had considerably calmed down. He did not like to be in your lap, just near you. He wanted to meet everyone, but once acquainted would run off under some piece of furniture. This continued until he was six when he suddenly stopped jumping from our laps minutes after coming into them and spent more time in the open and asking for attention. He is now as loving and cuddly as he was as a puppy. Just as our behavior and preferences change from childhood into adulthood then old age, so do the Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzus were bred among royalty and treated as such. They were pampered in such a way that they believe themselves to be human. They prefer to follow their owners everywhere believing that they are well received everywhere. Exercise includes following your every movement and the occasional walk. Then, of course, there is the favorite pastime of sleeping at your feet when you are working. If anything the Shih Tzu will teach you to watch where you place your feet. I have also seen, personally, what this breed can do for the mentally challenged, disabled, or abused. Two of my puppies have gone to such homes and the breed is known for encouraging improvement. Those who are challenged and abused find peace and delight in the affection that the Shih Tzu is famous for. They are endlessly patient and seem to realize when one of these special persons are close. Hyper dogs naturally calm down for gentle petting sessions and puppies find a natural comfort in their arms. This breed is recommended for those who need a pet and not a working dog. Their expertise is in calming our spirits. Below is another great website to visit if you are looking for more opinions than my own on the Shih Tzu. I reference their articles in other pages on the site and find them to be a fabulous authority.
Shih Tzu Dogs An informative and interactive website dedicated entirely to Shih Tzu dogs. Comprehensive information about the Shih Tzu breed including pages about puppies, rescue and adoption, grooming, mixes, health, diet, training and much more.
Training a Shih Tzu is a lot like raising a child. They are eager to please yet, at the same time, like getting their own way. They will not immediately realize that your rules would be the same as anyone else's rules. If you train your Shih Tzu to not urinate or defecate in your home do not expect that same rule to apply elsewhere. Much like teaching your kids not to jump on their beds; when you pick them up from a friend's house you find they were scolded for jumping on their friend's bed! Wonderfully, this is easily corrected. Before entering a new place, savvy owners will allow their dogs to be curious and relieve themselves and then keep a quick eye on them and correct any misbehavior before the indiscretion. Training Shih Tzu in a progressive manner is a more permanent solution to this problem. Training for one room at a time and then progressing onto the next room and continuing this manner will teach them that the same rule applies in more places than one.
Shih Tzu coats are different from other animals as they have hair and not fur. This is what leads most people to call them hypoallergenic. I do not like this term as there is no such thing as an hypoallergenic pet. The reason you would not likely be allergic to these dogs is because Shih Tzu hair is one of the closest of all dogs to human hair. They don't shed unless a female is in heat, pregnant, or nursing and release very little dander into their surroundings, but they do pick up allergens from their environment and care them everywhere they go. Individuals with severe outdoor allergies are recommended to keep the breed shaved to decrease the amount of allergens tracked in from trips outside. They will lose a good portion of their coat during high stress times and breeding. It is highly recommended for anyone allergic to dogs to visit with a friend's Shih Tzu or a breeder with no other breed or animal before deciding on the Shih Tzu. It is very rare for someone to be allergic to this delightful breed but it is possible.