Shih tzus are adorable, friendly, intelligent dogs that make excellent pets. Their small size makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments or small homes. But like all dogs, shih tzus require a lot of love and care in order to be happy and healthy. If you are considering making a shih tzu a part of your life, consider the following:

Companionship is Essential

You can count on a shih tzu to be loyal and loving, and your shih tzu will count on you for companionship. Shih tzus have a long history, and evidence shows that these dogs were prized pets in the royal courts of China during the Ming and Manchu Dynasties. These dogs were essentially bred to be lap dogs and companions, and hundreds of years later, shih tzus still carry those traits. If you plan to make a shih tzu part of your family, it is important that you are able to spend a lot of time with it or arrange for doggy day care when you are not home; shih tzus are not a breed of dog that do well when left home alone all day.

Be Prepared for Grooming Needs

Shih tzus actually have hair as opposed to fur, which makes them hypoallergenic and they shed considerably less than other breeds of dogs. The have a luxurious double coat that is very beautiful when taken care of properly. This breed is known for a long coat that sweeps the floor, but that style is typically only for show dogs and most shih tzu owners opt to keep their dog's hair short in a puppy cut. Since shih tzus are covered in hair, it is essential to brush them often, preferably every day, to prevent matting or tangling. If you are not experienced with grooming dogs, you will have to be prepared to take your shih tzu to a dog groomer several times a year to be bathed and have its hair cut and nails clipped.

Shih Tzus Can Be Stubborn

While shih tzus are typically extremely affectionate and loving, they can also be quite stubborn. Due to their stubborn nature, house breaking a shih tzu can be a challenge, but these intelligent dogs can be potty trained with some time and effort. If you are bringing a shih tzu into your home, you may want to invest in a small kennel to help you with the house breaking process. Like all dogs, shih tzus are den animals and a kennel will essentially become their den; dogs do not urinate or have bowel movements in their dens, so kennel training can help a lot with potty training.

For professional veterinary care, contact a company such as Woodside Veterinary Hospital.