Shih Tzu Health

Shih Tzu Breed Profile

Average Weight:
Male – 4 – 7.5kg (9 – 16lbs).
Female – 4 – 7.5kg (9 – 16lbs).

Average Height:
Male – 20 – 28cm (8 – 11in).
Female – 20 – 28cm (8 – 11in).

Coat:
Double coat – long and dense outer coat with a good undercoat.

Average Life Span:
11 – 15 years.

Average Litter Size:
 2 – 5 puppies.

Shih Tzu Fast Facts

Ease To Train
Exercise Needs
Grooming Frequency
Energy Level
Protective Instincts
Behaviour Around Children
Relationship With Other Pets
Loyalty To Owner
Ease To Train
Some dogs are easy to train while others require more effort. General breed factors are taken into consideration to determine how easy you should find it to train your dog. On the scale, a 1 indicates that your dog will be difficult to train while a 10 indicates that your dog should be easy to train.

Exercise Needs
Dogs vary greatly in the amount of exercise they need on a daily basis. Some may need long, vigorous walks while a walk around the block will be sufficient for some. A score towards the lower end of the scale means that your dog requires little exercise while a score towards 5 indicates that they have high exercise needs.

Grooming Frequency
Depending on your dog’s coat, the grooming frequency will vary. Some will need brushing every day while others can be groomed once a week. On this scale, a 1 shows that a dog needs very little grooming while a 5 shows they require plenty of upkeep.

Energy Level
Some breeds have incredibly high energy levels and find it difficult to rest while others prefer sleeping for large parts of the day. A score of 1 on the scale indicates the dog has a low energy level while a 5 shows they have extremely high levels of energy.

Protective Instincts
Many dogs have protective instincts and may act wary around strangers while others are much more friendly and accepting. A score of 1 indicates that your dog is unlikely to react to strangers while a score of 5 shows that your dog is likely to be wary.

Behaviour Around Children
Many dogs that are reared and socialised around children understand how to interact with them but some breeds are completely unsuitable to have around children. On this scale, a score of 1 shows that a breed is not good around children while a score of 5 shows they are perfectly compatible.

Relationship With Other Pets
Stereotypically dogs don’t get on with other pets but often this is not the case; many dogs enjoy the company of other animals. A score of 1 shows that it is not a good idea to mix a breed with other pets while a 5 indicates they tend to get on well with other animals.

Loyalty To Owner
Most dogs are extremely loyal to their owners and family, although there are a few that are quite independent. A low score of 1 indicates that a breed does not have a strong sense of loyalty while a score of 5 shows that they are extremely loyal.
There are several Shih Tzu health problems that owners should look out for.  The first of these is Portosystemic Shunts (PSS), a problem that sees the blood flow diverted from the liver.  This means that the toxins are not cleared from the blood, resulting in symptoms that range from neurological signs like seizures and tremors to other symptoms like a loss of appetite and occasional vomiting. Shih Tzu with PSS can be treated by an adjusted diet or medication, but the best option for this health problem is often surgery.

Another of the Shih Tzu health problems is Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), which can cause your dog serious pain if it is left untreated.  The intervertebral disc is a shock-absorbing and stabilising structure that sits between each vertebra.  These discs usually degenerate over a lifetime, but in a Shih Tzu they will experience additional degeneration, resulting in neck and back problems.  Luckily, most dogs won’t experience too much pain but for those that do it can be excruciating.  Signs of neck pain are a reluctance to walk, go upstairs or lift and lower their head.  These are also symptoms of back pain, as well as restlessness.  If your Shih Tzu has more severe IVDD the displaced disc may injure or compress the spinal cord, resulting in a lack of co-ordination and, in more severe cases, incontinence and paralysis.  Like other Shih Tzu health problems, IVDD can be treated medically or surgically if there is no response to medication.

One of the most common Shih Tzu health problems is related to its eyes.  As they are protruding, they can become easily damaged and are prone to infections and other issues.  To guard against this, you should check your Shih Tzu’s eyes on a regular basis and any changes should be reported to your vet.  Using an item such as the Mikki Eye Wipes to clean any dirt or debris from and around the eyes will be beneficial to both you and your Shih Tzu’s health.

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