For many people, dogs are a perfect companion and an essential part of their family. However, some breeds have gained a bad reputation over the years because of certain undesirable behavioral traits.
One such breed is Shih Tzu – adorable small-sized dogs that are affectionate and lively, but also have their fair share of negative characteristics that can make them unsuitable for certain households.
“Shih Tzu are known for being difficult to potty train, excessive barking, stubbornness, and clingy behavior. These traits can become frustrating for even experienced dog owners to deal with.”
The purpose of this article is not to bash or criticize Shih Tzu as a breed but instead shed light on why they might not be the best choice for everyone.
We will take a closer look at common problems associated with Shih Tzu dogs and explain how these issues might affect potential pet parents’ decision-making process when selecting the right furry friend. By understanding these challenges in advance, readers can determine if a Shih Tzu would suit their lifestyle and expectations.
If you’re considering adopting or purchasing a Shih Tzu, keep reading to find out if they’re the wrong breed for you.
Shih Tzu Shed More Than You Think
Shih Tzu Have a Double Coat
If you’re considering getting a Shih Tzu, you need to know about their unique coat. Unlike many other breeds of dogs, Shih Tzus have a double coat consisting of both an outer and undercoat.
Their topcoat is long and silky, while the undercoat is shorter and denser. The purpose of this coat is to help regulate the dog’s temperature in different climates and weather conditions. However, this also means that Shih Tzus shed a lot more than you might initially expect.
Shih Tzu Shed Constantly
Shedding is a natural process for all dogs, but some breeds do it more heavily than others. Unfortunately, Shih Tzus are among the worst when it comes to shedding.
In fact, they often shed so much that owners find themselves vacuuming daily just to keep up with the mess. Even worse, many people who suffer from allergies may find living with a Shih Tzu intolerable due to their excessive shedding.
Another thing to note is that Shih Tzus shed constantly throughout the year, regardless of the season or time of day. This means you’ll be dealing with loose hair on your floors, furniture, and clothing no matter what.
“Shih Tzus can be hypoallergenic, but most people don’t tolerate them because they still shed,” – Dr. Gary Richter, holistic veterinarian
If you already love the breed and are determined to get one despite their propensity to shed, there are a few things you can do to manage the problem:
- Brush your Shih Tzu daily to remove loose hair before it has a chance to fall off and accumulate.
- Bathe your dog regularly to keep their coat clean and healthy. This can help reduce shedding as well.
- Vacuum frequently, especially in areas where your dog spends the most time. Investing in a good vacuum with strong suction power is essential.
While Shih Tzus may be great companions, they are definitely not low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming and cleaning up after them. If you don’t have the time or patience to deal with constant shedding, this breed might not be the best fit for your lifestyle.
Shih Tzu Have Health Problems Aplenty
The Shih Tzu is a small breed of dog with a long history of being bred to be a companion animal. Unfortunately, due to improper breeding practices and genetic predispositions, the Shih Tzu has become known as one of the worst breeds when it comes to health problems.
Shih Tzu Are Prone to Eye Problems
One of the most common health problems that Shih Tzus experience are eye issues. Because their eyes bulge outwards due to facial structure, they are susceptible to trauma from environmental factors. They are also prone to developing conditions such as cherry eye, dry eye, and cataracts.
“Cherry eye is caused by a defect in the tendon that attaches to the gland; this causes the third eyelid to prolapse out,” notes Dr. Kathy Diamond Davis, DVM. “Dry eye results from inadequate production or secretion of tears. Cataracts can cloud your pet’s vision if left untreated.”
If you have a Shih Tzu, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of these conditions. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian are key to catching potential eye problems early on.
Shih Tzu Can Develop Breathing Issues
Another health issue commonly found in Shih Tzus is breathing difficulties. These dogs have flat faces and short muzzles which can cause them to experience respiratory distress. This makes activities like running, playing fetch, or even just going for a walk difficult and uncomfortable for these pups.
“Brachycephalic Syndrome (BS) is the medical term used to describe the upper airway obstruction that affects some brachycephalic breeds: Yorkshire Terriers, Pekinese, Boxer dogs, Bulldogs and Shih Tzu,” states veterinary surgeon Ron Hines. “It is caused by a combination of anatomical defects of the soft tissues in the neck, face, nose and/or throat.”
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to alleviate breathing difficulties in Shih Tzus with BS.
Shih Tzu Are Susceptible to Skin Allergies
Unfortunately, Shih Tzus also commonly suffer from skin allergies. Their long hair can trap dirt and allergens, leading to itchy or irritated skin. This can cause inflammation, scabs, and even hair loss if left untreated.
“One reason that this breed reacts poorly to allergies has to do with its luxurious locks,” according to Dr. Marty Becker, DVM. “Dirt, pollen, mold spores and other irritants can get caught between hairs and build up over time, triggering an allergic reaction.”
If you notice your Shih Tzu scratching excessively or exhibiting other signs of skin irritation, make sure to take them to your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
While Shih Tzus are adorable and beloved companions, prospective owners should be aware of their potential health issues. It’s important to provide regular veterinary care and keep an eye out for symptoms of common problems like eye issues, breathing difficulties, and skin allergies. By doing so, you can ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy for many years to come.
Shih Tzu Are Stubborn and Hard to Train
One of the biggest complaints about Shih Tzus is their stubbornness. They are known for being difficult to train, especially when it comes to housebreaking. This can make them a frustrating pet for many new dog owners.
Shih Tzu’s intelligence is often debated within the canine community. Some believe that they possess an above-average level of intelligence, while others feel that they lack problem-solving skills compared to other breeds. Regardless of their cognitive abilities, they have earned a reputation as one of the toughest dogs to train due to their independent nature.
“Training a Shih Tzu is like training any other breed: consistency is key. Reward-based training with positive reinforcement works best for these pups.” -Pampering Penguins Pet Care
In addition to their strong will, another reason why Shih Tzus are challenging to train is because they get bored easily. Due to their small size and low energy levels, they may lose interest in training sessions quickly. Incorporating playtime or interactive toys into training sessions can help keep them engaged and focused.
Shih Tzu Have a Strong Will
Many describe Shih Tzus as having a mind of their own. They are strong-willed and not easy to persuade. If they decide that they don’t want to do something, it’s unlikely they will change their mind without a good reason. This trait makes them a challenge to train but also endearing to those who appreciate their unique personalities.
“It’s important to remember that Shih Tzus were bred to be companions rather than working dogs. They’re not wired to please humans in the same way that some other breeds are!” -PetMD
The desire to please humans is an essential trait for many dog breeds. However, as a companion breed, Shih Tzus have not been bred to perform tasks or obey commands in the same way that other working breeds have. Therefore, it’s unrealistic to expect them to be eager to please their owners and comply with every command given to them.
Instead, those who make great companions accept them for who they are – independent thinkers with strong opinions and a sense of self. Embracing this aspect of their personality can lead to a fulfilling and loving human-canine relationship.
Shih Tzu Can Be Difficult to House Train
Housebreaking your new puppy can be one of the most difficult parts of owning any breed, and Shih Tzus are no exception. Their stubbornness and small bladder size can cause delays in the potty training process. Additionally, Shih Tzus may struggle to adapt to new environments, further complicating the housebreaking process even more.
“It’s crucial to establish a regular feeding and bathroom routine from day one with your Shih Tzu. You’ll need to understand when your pup needs to go outside so you can maximize your chances of success.” -Top Dog Tips
Puppies often need to use the bathroom after waking up, playing, or eating. Taking your Shih Tzu outside during these times will increase your chances of success. Praise and treats also work wonders in encouraging good behavior.
The key to housebreaking your Shih Tzu successfully is patience and consistency. It may take weeks or months before your pup fully understands where they should relieve themselves. During this challenging period, it’s vital to show love and support while avoiding punishment or scolding. Remember, negative reinforcement only creates fear and anxiety, which can hurt your bond with your furry friend.
While Shih Tzus are not the easiest breed to train or housebreak, they can make delightful long-term companions. They have unique personalities and strong characters, which makes them excellent pets for those who appreciate their idiosyncrasies. With patience, love, and a sprinkle of positive reinforcement, you’ll be able to overcome any training hurdles and enjoy a happy life with your loyal and loving Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzu Are Not Good With Children or Other Pets
When it comes to owning a pet, one of the most important things to consider is how well they will interact with other members of your household. Unfortunately, Shih Tzu are not known for being great with children or other pets.
One reason for this is that Shih Tzu were originally bred as companion dogs for Chinese royalty, which means that they often prefer the company of their owners over anyone else. This can lead to jealousy and territorial behavior when other pets or children are introduced into the household.
Another factor to consider is that Shih Tzu can be quite small, which makes them vulnerable to getting hurt by larger animals or accidentally injuring small children during playtime.
“Because of their high-strung nature and reactive temperament, I do not recommend adopting a Shih Tzu if you have young children or other pets in your home.” -Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM
Shih Tzu Can Be Nippy
While all dogs have the potential to bite when feeling threatened, Shih Tzu are notorious for their nipping tendencies. This is in part because they were bred as watchdogs, which means that they may be more likely to react defensively if they feel their territory or owner is being threatened.
In addition, their small size and delicate features make them a target for teasing and rough play from children or even adult strangers who don’t know any better. As a result, Shih Tzu may develop bad habits like growling or snapping in an attempt to protect themselves.
“I’ve seen plenty of Shih Tzus who are quick to snap at anything that gets too close to them, whether it’s a human hand reaching out to pet them or another dog wandering too close to their bed.” -Kristen Seymour, PetMD
Shih Tzu Can Be Territorial
As previously mentioned, Shih Tzu were originally bred as companion dogs for royalty, which means that they can be quite attached to their owners. Unfortunately, this attachment can sometimes lead to territorial behavior when other people or pets try to enter into their space.
This territorial behavior can manifest in a number of ways, such as growling, barking, or even biting in more extreme cases. This can make it difficult to have guests over or take your Shih Tzu out in public without having to worry about how they will react to new people and situations.
“Shih Tzus are lovable little dogs, but you need to be aware that they can be very protective of their owners and homes. It’s important to socialize them early on so that they don’t develop overly possessive tendencies.” -Dr. Tracy Douglas, DVM
While every dog breed has its own unique traits and personality quirks, there are some valid reasons why Shih Tzu may not be the best fit for everyone. If you are considering getting a Shih Tzu, it’s important to keep these potential downsides in mind and work with a reputable breeder or animal shelter to find a dog that suits your lifestyle and household needs.
Shih Tzu Require High Maintenance Grooming
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, the Shih Tzu is not for you. These adorable little pups have long, luxurious coats that require constant care to keep them healthy and beautiful.
Shih Tzu Need Daily Brushing
To prevent their fur from getting tangled or matted, Shih Tzus need daily brushing. This will help remove any loose hair and dirt while also distributing natural oils throughout their coat. Use a slicker brush or comb to gently work through knots and tangles, being careful not to pull too hard as this can be painful for your furry friend.
“Daily grooming with a good quality brush helps to ensure that your dog is comfortable and happy,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor at PetMD.
Regular brushing will also help reduce shedding, which can be a plus for those with allergies. However, if you find yourself struggling to keep up with your Shih Tzu’s grooming needs, it may be best to consider another breed that requires less maintenance.
Shih Tzu Can Develop Matting If Not Groomed Properly
If you neglect your Shih Tzu’s grooming needs, their fur can quickly become matted. Mats are clumps of tangled fur that can form into painful balls or knots. They can cause discomfort for your pup and even lead to skin infections, so it’s essential to groom your Shih Tzu regularly.
Mats most often occur in areas where there is friction, such as behind the ears, under the arms, and around the anus. To avoid matting, make sure to brush these areas thoroughly each day. Use a mat splitter tool to carefully cut out any mats that have already formed.
“Matting can be a real problem for Shih Tzus, and it can be costly to try and fix once they occur,” says Dr. Coates.
Shih Tzu Require Frequent Bathing and Trimming
In addition to daily brushing, Shih Tzus need frequent bathing and trimming. Their long hair can quickly become dirty and matted, leading to skin problems if left unaddressed. Aim to bathe your Shih Tzu every three weeks or so using a gentle shampoo designed specifically for dogs. Avoid human shampoos, as these can irritate their sensitive skin.
You’ll also need to trim your Shih Tzu’s hair regularly to prevent it from getting too long or tangled. Use scissors or clippers to carefully trim around their ears, face, paws, and bottom to keep them looking neat and tidy. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, consider taking your pup to a professional groomer who can do it safely and correctly.
“Keeping up with regular grooming needs can help foster the bond between you and your dog while also helping to ensure they remain healthy and comfortable,” notes Dr. Coates.
Owning a Shih Tzu can be incredibly rewarding, but it requires a significant amount of time and effort to maintain their beautiful coats properly. However, with proper care and attention, your Shih Tzu will provide years of love and companionship.
Shih Tzu Are Expensive to Own and Care For
Owning a dog is a big responsibility that requires a lot of time, effort, and money. When it comes to Shih Tzu dogs, the cost of ownership can be especially high due to their specific needs and health issues.
For starters, Shih Tzu puppies can be quite expensive to purchase from a reputable breeder. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average price for a Shih Tzu puppy is around $1,500 to $3,000 depending on several factors such as location, breeder reputation, and bloodline.
“When looking for a Shih Tzu puppy, you should always make sure to buy from a reputable breeder who has conducted health screenings on both parents,” recommends Dr. Tricia Latimer, DVM.
In addition to purchasing costs, ongoing care for a Shih Tzu can also add up quickly. These dogs will need regular vaccinations and checkups with a veterinarian to stay healthy and catch any potential health problems early on.
Shih Tzu Need Regular Vet Visits
The AKC recommends that all dogs see a veterinarian at least once a year for an annual wellness exam. However, because Shih Tzu are prone to certain health conditions such as hypothyroidism, Patellar Luxation, and liver shunts, they may need more frequent visits to the vet.
According to PetMD, veterinary costs for Shih Tzu dogs can range from $250 to $750 annually depending on the frequency of visits and if any additional tests or treatments are needed.
“Keeping your Shih Tzu healthy means establishing a good relationship with your veterinarian and making sure your dog receives all necessary care,” advises Dr. Latimer.
Shih Tzu Have Specific Nutritional Needs
Feeding your dog a nutritious, balanced diet is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. Shih Tzu have specific nutritional needs that must be met to keep them healthy.
Their small size means they require a higher caloric intake per pound of body weight than larger dogs. Feeding them high-quality commercial food designed specifically for toy breeds can help ensure they are getting the right balance of nutrients.
It’s also important to avoid overfeeding and provide plenty of fresh water at all times. According to the AKC, obesity is one of the main health concerns for Shih Tzu which can lead to heart disease, breathing problems, and joint issues.
“Proper nutrition is crucial for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s health and longevity. It’s worth investing in good quality, breed-specific food and avoiding table scraps or human food treats,” says Dr. Latimer.
Shih Tzu May Need Professional Grooming Services
A Shih Tzu’s luxurious coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting, tangles, and skin irritations. This may involve daily brushing, baths with specialty shampoo, and trimming around their eyes, ears, and paws.
While you can groom your Shih Tzu at home, some owners prefer to take their dog to a professional groomer. The cost of professional grooming services varies depending on location and the complexity of the cut but it can range from $30 – $100 per session.
“Good grooming practices can go a long way in keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and comfortable. Regular brushing and professional trims can prevent painful mats that can cause infection,” notes Dr. Latimer.
Owning a Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience for those who are willing and able to meet their specific needs. However, it’s important to factor in the potential costs of ownership before bringing one home. With proper care and attention, your Shih Tzu can live a happy, healthy life by your side!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do Shih Tzu shed so much?
Shih Tzu shed a lot due to their double coat. The outer coat is long and silky, while the undercoat is soft and dense. This combination of fur makes them prone to shedding, which occurs year-round. Regular grooming, including brushing and bathing, can help control shedding. However, it’s important to note that shedding is a natural process for all dogs and cannot be completely eliminated.
Why are Shih Tzu prone to health problems?
Shih Tzu are prone to various health problems due to their small size and brachycephalic (flat-faced) features. Some common health issues include dental problems, respiratory issues, eye problems, and skin allergies. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper care can help prevent and manage these health problems. It’s important to research and select a reputable breeder to decrease the risk of genetic health issues.
Why are Shih Tzu difficult to train?
Shih Tzu can be challenging to train due to their independent nature and short attention span. They are also known to be stubborn and easily distracted. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key when training a Shih Tzu. Short, frequent training sessions and using high-value treats can also help keep their attention focused. Patience and persistence are important when training a Shih Tzu.
Why do Shih Tzu bark excessively?
Shih Tzu are known for their excessive barking, which can be caused by a variety of factors. They may bark to express excitement, fear, or anxiety. They may also bark to alert their owners or to protect their territory. Training and socialization can help reduce excessive barking in Shih Tzu. Providing plenty of mental and physical stimulation can also help prevent boredom and reduce barking.
Why are Shih Tzu not good with small children?
Shih Tzu may not be a good fit for households with small children due to their delicate size and temperament. They are a small breed and can be easily injured by rough play. Additionally, they may become overwhelmed by loud noises and sudden movements, which are common with young children. It’s important to supervise interactions between Shih Tzu and small children and to teach children how to properly handle and interact with them.