If you are planning on breeding your Shih Tzu you might be wondering how many puppies your Shih Tzu is likely to give birth to in a litter.
So to answer your question, Shih Tzu's can give birth between 1-10 puppies and on average have 3 or 6 in a litter. However, this number will depend on the age of the Shih Tzu and its genes.
Shih Tzu's do have very small bodies, so breeding in these types of dogs has to be done very carefully.
When breeding Shih Tzu's, apart from knowing the expected litter amount there are some other tips and tricks which can be useful to think about before starting the breeding process.
For example, you must wait until your female Shih Tzu gets into heat once beforehand and always ensure they are of a full adult size before breeding.
We have listed out a couple of more facts below.
The male you choose for Shih Tzu should never be more than 2kg larger than the female and should not be of a small size if your female is already very small, breeding two small Shih Tzu's together can give problems to how the litter will form.
You should also make sure your Shih Tzu is of adult size and has been in heat once before which happens twice a year for around 10-20 days.
It's important to never breed your Shih Tzu if its carrying diseases that could be passed down from the mother to the children. You should also never mate two Shi Tzu's together that carry a similar bloodline to avoid issues.
Take your Shih Tzu and get advice from the vet to see if your dog is suitable for childbirth before making any decisions, the family history of your dog or age could be putting it at risk for complications during pregnancy if not checked.
Now we have got the background information and breeding tips out the way, you might be wondering how you breed Shih Tzu's and what the correct steps are for producing a healthy litter.
Before you make a pair for breeding you will want to ensure both Shih Tzu's are of optimum health.
Some common tests for Shih Tzu's are hip dysplasia and thyroid tests, both of which can be passed down to a litter if not found out beforehand.
Your female Shih Tzu, as mentioned in our tips above, should go through at least one heat cycle before getting pregnant and should ideally be before the age of 4 years old.
You will want to breed your Shih Tzu when it's in heat which is for around 16 days twice a year, the first day however she will not be receptive to pregnancy and will stay far from the male dog if she is not ready.
A stud contract is a contract that will be formed between you and the other breeder who has the male Shih Tzu.
This is a type of agreement outlining the details of the two dogs being bred and the payment for the male dog to be bred with, some stud contacts don't take money but instead, the other breeder might get the first pick of the litter.
Once you have sorted out contacts and found a suitable match for your Shih Tzu it's time to start the breeding process.
This will be done by leaving the two dogs paired together during the female's heat and can be confirmed from 59-65 days.
It's best to take your Shih Tzu to the vet to confirm pregnancy as they will be able to have a result after just 28 days.
Your pregnant female Shih Tzu will want a place to nest for when it gives birth to its puppies. You can use a cutout cardboard box for this and fill it with some towels to make it even more comfortable for your pregnant Shih Tzu.
After your Shih Tzu gives birth to its litter you will likely be raising these puppies first hand.
Taking care of puppies can be a little overwhelming, especially when there is a whole litter but we have put some of the most essential tips together to help you out.
You should let your puppies explore and be curious while getting used to being human handled and hearing different sounds.
This early socialisation process will help them develop later on and be less scared of the unknown.
It's important to weigh your Shih Tzu's new litter every day to make sure that they are growing healthy and not losing any weight, which can be a sign of poor health early on.
In the early stages, you can start to general train these puppies such as teaching them wrong and right behaviours and using positive reinforcement to help them learn how to behave in the right way.
Clapping and distracting these puppies with toys can be a good way to stop them from partaking in destructive behaviours.
Every hour or so till your puppies grow you will need to take them to a potty spot so as they can relieve themselves, you should also make sure to do this at least 30 minutes after a meal and when they wake up from a nap.
Young Shih Tzu pups lose heat very quickly and could benefit from additional heating to keep them extra warm. This could be in the form of heating mats or lamps that you can place on them.
When your Shih Tzu's are puppies they will start with a single layer of the fluffy coat before they develop there second. This first layer of coat will need to be brushed and maintained at least once a week till the age of 7 months.
Around 7 months is where your puppies second layer of coat will start to grow in, this stage will need extra brushing as the growing process can cause the fur to matt slightly.
After giving birth, your female adult Shih Tzu will need to be fed four times more than usual so as she can provide adequate nutrition to her pups and have enough energy herself during feeding.
Once your Shih Tzu puppies reach the teething process of around 3 to 4 months they will need rubber toys and things to gnaw on, rather than your fingers and furniture.
Be prepared to stop your pups from developing bad behaviours at this point such as teething on shoes or clothes.
Your Shih Tzu puppies will need to eat around 3-4 times a day as they are growing till the age of 6 months. You should be able to feel their ribs through there stomach but not see them.
At what age should I breed my Shih Tzu?
There is no best specific age for breeding your Shih Tzu but you should aim to breed them before they turn 7 and after there first heat cycle.
Should I register my puppies after breeding?
Yes, registering your puppies after breeding can give them more credibility and improve their chances of being sold. You can do this through the UK or American Kennel Club.
Is it common for Shih Tzu to have a small litter?
It is not unusual for a Shih Tzu to give birth to only one pup and is nothing to worry about, many factors can affect the litter size of your dog.
How long does a Shih Tzu stay pregnant before giving birth?
A Shih Tzu is only pregnant for 9 weeks before giving birth, this means you need to keep an eye for pregnancy signs or regularly take your dog to the vets for check-ups during this time.
We hope you've enjoyed our Shih Tzu breeding guide and found out that Shih Tzu's on average give birth to 3-6 litters in a variation of 1-10 depending on the dog.
Just remember to make sure you always breed two healthy dogs together and keep an eye out for pregnancy signs during the breeding period.
Training your Shih Tzu puppy to go potty can be a frustrating experience, however, the process can be easily done with time, patience and a few different methods.
During the early stages of having a Shih Tzu puppy, you may notice they also start to develop a barking habit, luckily this can also be rectified with some training methods.
To train you Shih Tzu puppy to go potty you simply need to follow either the bell, spot, or crate method, and for training your pup not to bark, this can be achieved by exercising, ignoring, the speak method or muzzle method.
We have gone into more details about how these methods work below so as you can train your pup quick and effectively to go potty and stop barking.
Training your Shih Tzu pup to go potty can be an easy and rewarding experience for your dog. These pups naturally know to separate there potty from where they live anyway, just some guidance will show them where to do it and avoid any unwanted accidents.
We have listed out a few of the best methods below to start with when potty training your Shih Tzu.
First of all, the best way to potty train your pup is by finding the right location, whether this is inside or out, make sure there is an area of your garden which is dedicated for your dogs potty training.
Every time your dog then needs to pee, take him to this spot and use a command such as 'go pee', so as he can associate this spot with the potty, wait patiently till your Shih Tzu pees then reward him with a treat.
Make sure to do this regularly so as your pup can avoid having any accidents and take them to this spot when they wake up from sleep or after eating a meal.
Be consistent and reward your Shih Tzu every time he pees on the spot and don't scold them when they have an accident, just look for the signs of when your dog needs to pee so as you know next time.
If you have decided to crate train your pup for sleeping at night or when you are at work then you will want to ensure they don't have any accidents inside there crate and know where/when to go potty.
For every hour your Shih Tzu is in its crate its best to take it out and give the dog a chance to pee, this time can gradually be increased as they get older too.
When your puppy goes potty outside after being taken out you should reward him with a treat so as the dog can know its good behaviour.
Be extra careful with your pup when you take him out the crate inside to play so that he doesn't have any accidents, always take the pup out and give him a chance to go potty first before any playing or after meals.
Believe it or not, you can train your Shih Tzu to ring a bell when they need to go potty.
First of all, you will need to introduce the bell to your dog, let them get used to its sound and place it in an accessible spot near the exit of your house.
Teach your pup to ring the bell via positive reinforcement, every time he rings it, you then give him a treat, you can teach your dog to ring the bell by placing the treat near the bell as this will make a sound.
Repeat this step with a command such as 'bell' so as your pup can know to ring the bell on command, practise until you can do this without a treat, then starting opening the door to let your dog out every time he rings the bell.
You can get your puppy to ring the bell after meals and waking up too so as they can know when they need to go potty, they ring the bell first.
Now we have gone over the basic methods for potty training your puppy, you might be wondering if there are any do's or don'ts of potty training and how you can help your dog learn faster.
We have put together some great tips to help you with potty training your dog below.
Your puppy is probably barking excessively due to the fact they either feel; too excited, threatened or find something interesting/unusual.
You can never stop a puppy from barking completely, but instead, you should try and teach them when its okay to bark and when it's not, barking is not usually the problem in dogs, but excessive barking is.
Now we have covered tips and methods for potty training your Shih Tzu, you may wonder how to stop them yapping and barking.
Well, lucky for you, we have got some top training methods below to help stop your dog barking.
The muzzle method is only effective for your dog if you stick with it.
You first want to make your dog bark via a trigger such as knocking on the wall, then when your dog barks, gently hold the muzzle and say 'no'.
When your dog is quiet and does not go back to barking after you release the muzzle, you can then reward them and eventually use the command without a muzzle once they make the connection.
The speak command is highly effective in Shih Tzu's and worth a try if you want to stop them barking.
To start this method, trigger your dog to bark like in the muzzle method and say 'speak' when they bark.
After doing this, try holding a treat in front of your dog's nose and saying the same command 'speak', if they recognise this command and bark then give them the treat.
Now your Shih Tzu can bark on command, you can teach them to stop barking by saying 'quiet' and when they stop barking you can then reward them again.
Keep repeating these commands till you can eventually stop your dog from barking with your 'quiet' command.
Should I yell at my Shih Tzu when it barks?
No, yelling at your dog does not work when they are barking and may only excite them and make them bark more, always remain calm and use commands to quiet your puppy instead.
How long will it take for a Shih Tzu to learn potty training?
This depends on your dog, some puppies can learn potty training from 3-6 weeks and others could even take up to 6 months.
Is potty training a Shih Tzu hard?
No, as long as you have consistency, patience and use positive reinforcement your puppy should learn potty training very quickly, no faster or slower than other dog breeds.
How often does a Shih Tzu need to be let outside as a puppy?
This depends on their age but as a young pup, every hour or so is great, then as they get older you can expect them to hold there bladder for longer periods, for example, three months will be three hours.
Will exercise help my puppy stop barking?
If your puppy's barking is coming from boredom then yes, more interaction and exercise can help burn off some of there excess energy and make them less of a troublemaker!
Overall, Shih Tzu puppies can be trained pretty well to potty train and stop barking as long as you are consistent and use positive reinforcement to help them learn and repeat there new learnt behaviours.
If you feel like your beloved Shih Tzu has put on some weight or maybe they're not eating enough, you might be curious to find out what a Shih Tzu should weigh.
Well, on average at the adult age of 1 year and over, your Shih Tzu should weigh between 4 - 7kg depending on multiple factors such as their parents, food given and exercise.
Any weight in between this range is considered healthy for your Shih Tzu and you should be able to feel its ribs but not prominently through there skin.
It's hard to give a specific age that corresponds to a particular weight for a Shih Tzu as this varies between litters and many other factors.
We've taken the average weights of Shih Tzu's below and listed them out so as you can get a general idea of what to be looking for.
You can calculate how much your puppy will weigh as an adult with an estimate calculation - (12 weeks old) - Current Weight X 2 plus 1 pound = adult weight.
Weight variation, however, is common depending on different dogs and their genes.
Many tips focus around maintaining your Shih Tzu's weight or helping them lose weight, however, many don't consider that your dog might be underweight.
We've put together some important tips below to help you with weight gain for your dog.
Adding snacks such as high vitamin treats or letting your dog have food down whenever he wants it can encourage weight gain.
Free food should only be used for weight gain however and not maintenance as this could lead to a dog overeating.
Choose to feed your Shih Tzu higher calorie options such as rice or fattier meats, maybe up the portion sizes if you would prefer to keep to the same type of food.
Instead of two large meals per day try feeding your dog lots of smaller ones throughout the day. This will give you dog more opportunity to take in more calories.
Stressed dogs may have a hard time eating if they are constantly anxious about their environment. For this to improve you need to get to the root cause of your dog's stress before they can start to gain any weight.
Dry food can be unappealing to many dogs due to the lack of smell, making it hard for picky eaters to gain weight. Instead try feeding your dog wet or fresh food as this will be more appealing to your dog's nose, making your Shih Tzu more likely to eat.
Now, if you have an overweight dog and you are struggling to help it lose weight, we also have some no-fail tips below that will be sure to reduce the weight of your dog with consistency.
Table scraps can be an easy way for your dog to gain weight without you noticing. Most of the scraps we are giving our dogs are too high in calories and are not needed in addition to their treats and meals that are given per day.
Try taking your Shih Tzu out on two walks instead of one and increasing the time they spend outside by 5 or 10 minutes, these extra minutes can help burn much more calories for your dog.
You could also schedule games such as fetch or tug of war throughout the days to keep your dog more active and burn calories.
Begging is a bad habit for dogs to develop and you should not give in to it as this could be a reason for your Shih Tzu's excess weight. Begging is a habit developed by dogs as they see the food as a reward for when they beg, making them more likely to do it again.
Reduce your dog's overall portion size for his meals to cut back on calories, try reducing by 1/4 of a cup at a time to get started as a huge cut back may make your dog fatigued.
The amount of times you feed your Shih Tzu depends on how old it is and whether you are trying to maintain, grow or help your dog lose weight.
Puppies under 3 months can be what we call 'free fed' which in other words means leaving food out at all times for your puppy, this can stop form getting low blood sugar and keep there energy levels topped up for growing.
Between 3 and 12 months your Shih Tzu should be fed three balanced meals per day at regular time intervals, this is vital for the growing stage of your Shih Tzu.
Adult Shih Tzu's can be fed twice daily with snacks throughout the day till mealtime. You should never feed this toy breed only one meal per day.
There are some foods to never feed your Shih Tzu that can cause serious problems if a large amount is ingested by your dog.
As long as you are feeding to your Shih Tzu's nutritional requirements there is no reason why you can't be feeding your dog fresh human foods and veg.
Food such as chicken rice and veg can be made up for your dog's meals, as well as peanut butter, eggs and salmon can be given to your dog.
Other vegetables like sweet potato, apple and carrots can additionally be nutritional for your dog.
Make sure to monitor your dog on this new fresh food diet and see if it agrees with his stomach, also check with your vet to ensure your dogs is getting the right nutrition from your diet.
Can my Shih Tzu eat rice?
Yes, most of these dogs can eat rice, however, you should introduce rice slowly into your dog's diet as some may not agree with this grain.
Rice is a great food to reduce allergies too if your dog is suffering from unknown food allergy issues.
How many calories should I be feeding my dog?
This depends on your Shih Tzu's exercise level and age but on average you should be feeding your dog around 35 calories per pound of body weight, this can be reduced by 5lbs when your dog reaches senior age as they will be less active.
What is a raw diet for Shih Tzu's?
A raw diet for Shih Tzu's can be beneficial when done right and should contain around 50% of high-quality protein for your dog, this could be from raw eggs, muscle meats and organ meats such as the liver.
Fruit and vegetables for your dog should only make up 30% of its diet if you are feeding the dog carbohydrates, if not raise it to 50%.
On average, your one-year-old Shih Tzu should weigh between 4-7kg depending on its exercise level and genes, if you want your dog to have a healthy balanced weight, ensure it's staying active and eating a balanced diet of protein, carbs and veg.
So you are looking at getting a Shih Tzu and welcoming it into your home, but you might be wondering how much mess these little pups leave behind and if they make your furniture smell.
If it's your first time getting know a Shih Tzu you probably have some behavioural questions too such as if they bark a lot or make a lot of noise.
Shih Tzu's do in fact shed but are known as non-shedders, this is due to the way their coat falls off and sticks to a top layer of coat, meaning that no hair is left behind on your clothes or sofas unlike other breeds (yes you can put that lint roller away).
In terms of barking, the Shih Tzu breed is known to be a little chatty, but nothing you can't handle when trained well, and for the smell, well, Shih Tzu's don't smell any more than a typical dog unless they have an underlying issue.
We've gone into further detail below about how to brush the shedding hair out of your Shih Tzu's coat and train their chatty behaviour.
So, as we mentioned above Shih Tzu's do shed, but they're shedding is just not visible and is normally removed by regular grooming.
This could make them a great choice if your allergic to dog hair.
It is worth noting however, Shih Tzu's do shed when there a puppy from 9 to 12 months as this is where the coat of your dog is starting to develop, so you will likely see more visible hair at this stage.
Now, if all your dog's coat is shedding into his own, then you need to be brushing him daily to remove this excess hair, especially if you have decided to keep your dog's hair long.
This can also make your Shih Tzu more hypo-allergenic as you will be removing dead skin flakes or any hair that can trigger allergies.
We have listed out a few brushing tips below to help you maintain your Shih Tzu's coat.
Yes, Shih Tzu's in comparison to other dog breeds are considered hypo-allergenic, meaning they shouldn't give you any allergies.
The only way you can develop allergies from a Shih Tzu is potentially from the dry skin flakes underneath on the dog, but this can be removed by grooming often.
If you've been looking into the Shih Tzu breed then it's likely you might have heard this toy breed can be a little chatty.
This is within Shih Tzus nature as they are very territorial and like to make a statement to the mailman in the morning.
Lucky for you though, there are some ways you can help stop your Shih Tzu from barking and getting out of control, we have listed a few tips out below.
One of the first methods to get to the bottom as to why your Shih Tzu is barking and how to stop it is by ignoring them.
Every time your Shih Tzu barks you can try walking away and turning your back, give them zero attention, and when they stop barking that's when you can reward them.
This will teach your Shih Tzu that barking does not mean it will get your attention and hopefully stop them from excessively doing it.
The talk and stop method are a little controversial as your essentially rewarding your dog for barking.
To do this method you can start by making your dog bark then saying 'speak' when you dog barks after saying this command you can then reward them with a treat.
Repeat this a couple of times then introduce the word 'quiet' to stop them from barking. This can be done by making your dog bark, saying 'quiet' and rewarding them with a treat if they stop barking.
If your Shih Tzu is not barking for your attention and is instead triggered by views out the window or doorbells then block these things from there day to day life.
This method only works temporarily however and will not fix the main problem of your dog barking - it's more of a quick-fix solution.
Shih Tzu's can tend to become a little overconfident and seem themselves as the leader of the pack, this, in turn, can create barking or aggressive behaviour to sounds or other dogs on walks.
Make sure you train your Shih Tzu consistently and keep them in order so as they will see you as the pack leader.
Not enough exercise will mean your Shih Tzu has plenty of excess energy which can be shown through bad behavioural problems such as barking.
See if increasing your dogs walk time or taking him on two walks rather than one will reduce this disruptive behaviour and make them more tired.
The can throw method works great if you want to stop your dog barking when you leave the house.
Simply leave your dog as you normally would and shut the door, then shake a can outside the door when you hear them start to bark, keep shaking the can until your dog stops barking then reward them for being quiet.
Shih Tzu's are not commonly known to smell more than any other dog out there.
If your Shih Tzu is starting to smell then it likely means they are suffering from an underlying health problem or infection.
We have listed out a few health issues below that would smell and indicate a vet's trip if found with symptoms.
Skin infections are not the easiest thing to spot on a Shih Tzu due to there long hair.
Some common symptoms of skin infection in a dog are; greasy and oily hair, scabs and skin flakes. These infections can often be treated with better nutrition or antibiotics from the vets.
The culprit of your bad smelling Shih Tzu could potentially be its breath.
Double-check your Shih Tzu's gums and teeth, if you see a build of plaque or anything unusual this could be the reason for the bad smell and would require a vets visit.
Ear infections can be common in Shih Tzu's and are easy to spot if your dog's ears smell bad. Dirty, red or smelly ears could indicate a yeast or bacterial infection.
You can treat this by cleaning your dog's ears carefully and taking them to the vets to determine which kind of infection it is.
Excessive tearing on a Shih Tzu's small face can cause a hair infection which would result in a bad smell.
This infection can often be spotted due to its rusty brown colour, and to treat it, it's best to keep your Shih Tzu's face clipped short and apply Vaseline underneath the eyes so as the tears will roll off there face.
Hiccups, farting and burping can all be indications your Shih Tzu has an upset stomach, this could be due to something they ate or a change in food.
Treatment for these issues would be waiting it out if you've just switched foods or switching to something more agreeable if the gas persists.
Anal glands on dogs can sometimes get blocked and have a metallic strong fishy smell, this will often be seen if the dog is licking his rear a lot and sliding it across the floor.
You may have to empty your dog's anal glands to fix this issue.
Can I have a Shih Tzu if I have allergies?
Shih Tzu's are not hypoallergenic as there skin flakes can still irritate some peoples allergies, however, their hair is much less triggering than actual dog fur and does not shed on to furniture.
How often do I need to bath a Shih Tzu?
You do not need to bath your Shih Tzu often as this can dry out there skin even more. Aim for as little as every 4 weeks to much as every 6 weeks otherwise, you will strip the natural oils from your dog's skin.
What can I do to prevent skin infections on my Shih Tzu?
Some severe skin infections will need a vet trip and antibiotics, however, you can try some remedies such as more frequent brushing and supplements to your pup's diet like omega 3 and vitamins.
Why is my Shih Tzu barking at other dogs?
If your Shih Tzu is barking at other dogs while being walked this could be down to them being territorial, getting too excited or not being socialised properly.
Overall, a Shih Tzu does shed, but not in the same way other dogs do, making them more suitable for people with allergies.
They also don't smell unless they have an underlying health condition and tend to be barking dogs by nature; both are manageable.
It's a hot day at home and your child's put up their paddling pool, or your having a stroll along the beach with your furry friend and can't help but ask yourself, can a Shih Tzu swim?
Well, yes, Shih Tzu's can most definitely swim if they want to, as it's instinctual. It's also safe to take them near water as long as they are supervised or wearing a life jacket that can keep their head above water.
When looking at your Shih Tzu however, you might be wondering if they find it difficult to swim or if they might be scared of water due to bad previous experiences or fear of the unknown.
We have put together a guide below that will help you get familiar with all the ins and outs of your Shih Tzu's first time swimming and how to keep them safe.
Compared to other dog breeds, Shih Tzu's might have a harder time swimming than others due to the shape of there narrow nostrils and airways.
The small size of these dogs may mean they get tired quickly when swimming too as they have to use twice the effort of a big dog to propel themselves forwards.
Shih Tzu's additionally have to hold there head quite far back when swimming and have long hair which can weigh them down and make the experience slightly more exhausting.
So yes, Shih Tzu's do find swimming harder than other breeds but are probably fine for short periods of swimming now and then.
It's best to teach your Shih Tzu to swim gradually, rushing the process or forcing it may only make him more afraid and stop the dog from getting close to the water again.
We have listed out some fool-proof steps below to help your dog swim for the first time.
Using the sea might be a little terrifying and rough for your Shih Tzu to learn swimming in, instead go for a quieter pool and lake where there are no strong tides that may startle your dog.
You could potentially just start your dog off with a paddling pool so as he can get used to the feeling of the water then fill it up gradually.
A dog life jacket will give you peace of mind that your dog will not get pulled under when swimming. The lifejacket will also help support your Shih Tzu's body weight with all the long hair and make it a more relaxing experience.
Letting your dog smell, feel and be near water with you is the best step to take before actually swimming. This is the time to use positive reinforcement and encouraging language to help your Shih Tzu feel a little more comfortable.
Slowly walk with your Shih Tzu as you increase the depth of the water to the stomach level of the dog then walk back to the shallow area, repeating this will help your dog have less fear.
As you start to move deeper into the water, this is where you can support your Shih Tzu from underneath as their legs get used to paddling.
This will make your dog feel more comfortable and in control while they get the hang of swimming.
Call your dog towards the dry ground when he is done swimming and don't leave too much distance between the two of you in case your dog needs assistance.
Now we have covered the basic steps for teaching your dog how to swim, there are some important safety tips to be using while your Shih Tzu gets familiar with swimming.
If your dog takes a liking to swim then you will need to be doing some aftercare when he comes out the water.
Unfortunately, swimming dogs are much more prone to getting ear and skin infections, they also could develop itchy and dry skin after prolonged swimming in water.
We have listed out a few aftercare tips below to care for your dog after they get wet.
Never let your Shih Tzu swim in dirty water, even if it is shallow. This type of water could be full of nasty bacteria and parasites which could harm your dog.
Using a high-quality leave-in conditioner could be very useful for your dog's dry skin before they go swimming, this will stop your dogs skin from drying out too much after swimming.
Whether your Shih Tzu has been swimming in a regular pool or the sea, they need to be rinsed down after to avoid any chemicals or salt drying out your dog's skin and causing issues.
After rinsing your Shih Tzu it is then very important to dry them off well and put some conditioner or oil in their coat.
If your dog is swimming more regularly or nearly daily, then you need to be bathing your dog at least once a week to take off any stuck debris or dirt.
Oatmeal shampoo can also help your dog if they are developing an itchy and dry coat from swimming.
Making sure your Shih Tzu's ears are dry after swimming is very important as moist ears can be a place for lots of bad bacteria to grow or parasites such as mites to live.
As well as making sure your dog's ears are dry after swimming, you should be cleaning them with a gentle dog ear cleaner once a week too.
This will remove any salt and sand while additionally preventing any infections.
Swimming is an intense exercise for you Shih Tzu, especially as they are so little, so after this exercise, you should make sure your dog has fresh and clean drinking water on hand as well as a treat to refuel them.
To help your dogs dry skin you can be supplementing their food with omega 3 oils such as salmon oil.
These supplements can also help your dog fight against any skin infections or ear infections that might try to occur from swimming.
Why is my Shih Tzu so scared of the water?
This could be due to too numerous reasons such as the feeling of the unknown, being too cold or maybe if they have had a bad experience with water such as being bathed.
Are all dogs able to swim?
No, some dogs can swim and others can't, this depends on your breed and their fear of water, some dogs may be fine with just a light paddle and others could be completely terrified and panic when coming into contact with water.
Can a dog dive underwater?
Yes for a movement or two, some dogs can dive underwater to fetch toys, they have a natural reflex within them that supports this and stops them from inhaling water.
How can my dog become happy about swimming?
If your Shih Tzu is a puppy then this is a great time to introduce them to some water and get them used to the feel of it, then gradually increase depth as they get older.
For older Shih Tzu's try the gradual exposure technique again and start them off with shallow then eventually to deep water. Use positive reinforcement to help them succeed and become happy with being around water.
To round up, Shih Tzu's definitely can swim if they want to and its also very safe to let them, as long as you accompany them and never leave them alone in the water.
Just remember the safety tips above so as your pup can stay out of danger and never force your dog to swim if they don't want to.
Picking your puppies name can be a challenging time, whether your looking to match your pup's personality, or name them according to their gender, the choices can be overwhelming.
Our top male name for your Shih Tzu puppy has to be Brody which originates from a Scottish castle. We also liked the female Shih Tzu name Poppy as it rolls easily off the tongue for training your pup.
However, not to worry if your not a fan of our top names, as we have listed out plenty more down below to help you figure out which name is right for your Shih Tzu.
Before digging into some more name ideas for Shih Tzu's, we only thought it was fair to get to know some more about where Shih Tzu's come from and there breed.
Shih Tzu's are believed to have originated from China and are rumoured to be a cross between Lhasa Apso and Pekinese dog breeds.
Their temperament is said to be very loyal and outgoing, with lots of affection and attention needed from there owners due to them being very social dogs.
If you wondering what to name your new male Shih Tzu puppy and you are looking for some inspo, we've got a few ideas below to keep your mind ticking.
When choosing your Shih Tzu male name you should ensure it suits your puppy and its personality, also make sure you can say and repeat it easily or shorten its name down for a nickname as you will be repeating this word a lot in the future.
For some cuter less masculine female Shih Tzu names you could name them after flowers, people or even food! I mean who doesn't want a dog named cupcake?
If you are getting stuck with finding a female Shih Tzu name for your puppy why not try a more gender-neutral name such as ginger, smidge or even popcorn!
Before deciding on a life long name for your pup, you want to be sure you are choosing the right one which suits your furry friend.
There are some other factors such as sounds and syllables which can be useful in figuring out which name is right for you to use to call your dog.
We have put together a couple of tips & tricks for choosing the best Shih Tzu puppy name below.
Observing your puppy and getting to know it for a couple of days before naming it is the best way to decide what works for its personality.
For example, if your dog is excitable you might want to call it Jumper, or if your dog is too interested in your food you could call it Muffin!
This is often the best road to take if you are indecisive about names as you will often draw inspiration from the puppies behaviour or looks.
The name of your Shih Tzu should be easy and quick to say. A two-syllable or one syllable name makes it much easier to repeat over and over again or recall quickly during a walk.
If you have younger family members too, this short word will be easier for them to pronounce.
Choosing a Shih Tzu name that rhymes with commands such as 'Bo' and 'no' may confuse your Shih Tzu puppy as they will respond to sound of the word, not the meaning.
You should avoid naming your dog with any other rhyming words used in your household too such as peoples names.
Identifiable sounds for dog names will get there attention quickly during training and recall. Sounds such as repeating words like 'JoJo' will also get there response quickly.
You could also try and use sharp letters such as 'c' and 'k' in your dog's name as these have a very distinct sound when pronounced.
The best tip of all we have for choosing your dogs name is to not overthink it.
Go for what you want and try not to overthink the process too much, at the end of the day it's a life-long name which you want to enjoy saying over and over again so trust what you want.
Now you have chosen your Shih Tzu puppies name, you might be wondering how to get you puppy to know that this name is theirs.
This can be done via response training, which is pretty easy to pick up by most dogs but requires a little consistency and rewards for the dog to remember its name.
We have listed out some training steps below.
After the initial training steps for teaching your Shih Tzu puppy there name, you can try some other tips so as you can be continually reinforcing there name daily.
If you have decided to get an adult Shih Tzu or you are adopting your dog from a shelter, by chance, your Shih Tzu might have had a previous name.
Changing names for a Shih Tzu can be a little stressful and confusing so it's a good idea to follow these steps below to make the name changing process smoother.
It's best to keep your dog's new name similar to the old one (if you know it), this will make it easier for your to dog to latch hold of the new name as they will associate it with a similar sound.
To retrain your Shih Tzu with its new name, try the process of calling it with its original name followed by its new one, this will grab your dogs attention, to begin with, and help it to distinguish its new name.
Eventually, instead of calling your Shih Tzu with both names, starting phasing the old one out and using it less, then over time your dog will start to respond to only its new name.
Your Shih Tzu may be reluctant to switch names at first, especially if it is in a new environment, so understand the process might take some time, but you shouldn't give up.
What's the most common name for a Shih Tzu?
In history, the most common name for a Shih Tzu was 'lion dog' due to their appearance.
Is it bad to rename my Shih Tzu?
It's not bad to re-name your Shih Tzu but you should weigh up if it's really necessary or not. When a Shih Tzu is a puppy, it is probably okay to switch to a new name within the early stages as they haven't latched on to one yet.
However, changing your Shih Tzu's name as an adult can be stressful for you and your dog while making them unresponsive too.
What should base my Shih Tzu's name off?
A good way to name your Shih Tzu is by getting inspiration from its looks and behaviour or favourite food! Some even name their dogs from there colour such as 'Midnight'.
What's the easiest way to teach my dog the new name?
The best way to teach your Shih Tzu its new name is through consistency and positive reinforcement, different breeds will learn quicker than others, so it's important to remain patient.
Overall, whatever you decide to name your Shih Tzu is completely up to you and what feels right for your new furry family member, just make sure it is easy for your dog and everyone to understand, then your on to a winner.
If you've recently brought a Shih Tzu or your thinking about buying one then you might be wondering how long these furry friends live for (not the cheeriest of topics, we know, but useful).
So to answer your question, Shih Tzu's on average can be expected to live up to 13 years, however, the lifespan can differ between a range of 10-16 years, with female Shih Tzu's tending to live up to 1 1/2 years more than male ones.
This life expectancy can depend on some external factors such as whether you neuter or spay your Shih Tzu, or if your dog has any health problems they are dealing with.
We've gone a little deeper in our guide below explaining how you can improve your dog's lifespan and handle any health problems that the Shih Tzu could potentially have.
A Shih Tzu generally becomes an adult when they are around 2 years of age and before they are classed as a young adult/puppy.
They become a senior dog around the age of 10, this is when you might start to notice health problems developing or your dog showing ageing signs.
Shih Tzu's like any dog can be prone to developing genetic/hereditary illnesses, these types of illness can consist of respiratory problems, missing teeth or popping knee caps which is known as 'patellar luxation', a health problem very common in Shih Tzu's.
Exercise and food can all help keep these health problems under control, we have listed out the most typical health issues in Shih Tzu's below too so as you can spot them easily in your dog if one starts to develop as they age.
Hypothyroidism is a metabolic problem that can occur in Shih Tzu's which causes the thyroid gland within the dog to not work properly and stop producing the right level of hormones.
This thyroid health issue can be spotted in most middle-aged Shih Tzu's and have symptoms such as; weight gain/loss, hair loss and lack of energy.
Luckily, hypothyroidism can be managed by medication from your vet.
Shih Tzu's can develop some eye diseases overtime and even injuries due to the way the eyes protrude on these breed of dogs.
One of the first common eye problems in these dogs is dry eye, which can cause ulcers around the Shih Tzu's eye or even potential blindness if left untreated.
Corneal ulcers may also develop around your Shih Tzu's eyes which can make them red or squint more than usual. Cataracts could additionally make your Shih Tzu's eye look cloudy and as it develops, could bring sight issues.
Most of these eye problems can be treated by a vet and prevented before your Shih Tzu loses its sight.
Due to the way, a Shih Tzu's head shape is, this makes the trachea of the dog very narrow which can cause respiratory issues.
Symptoms of breathing issues in Shih Tzu's could be snorting or making unusual sounds when breathing, they may also get more exhausted than usual after playing games and have trouble breathing in hot or cold air.
Due to the flat face and nose of Shih Tzus, this could also make them more likely to overheat than other breeds.
Hip dysplasia is caused in a Shih Tzu when they hip socket fails to develop properly in the dog, causing the soft tissue around the joint of the dog to make the bones and joint unsteady or loose.
Shih Tzu puppies can even have this disease but may not show any symptoms that are detectable till they become around 4 to 6 or even 10 years old.
Some symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Shih Tzu's could be; stiffness, a narrow stance, bunny hop or a swaying gait.
As Shih Tzu's are very small, their shape is likely to have back issues as they develop.
One of the most common back issues in Shih Tzus is Intervertebral disk disease which means your dog has a slipped disc in its back.
This slipped disc can cause a lot of pain for your dog and affect its movement and would ideally need surgery from the vet.
Obesity is now a common problem in many Shih Tzus and can reduce their lifespan if not taken seriously.
Overweight Shih Tzu's can run into the bone and joint problems, as well as developing heart disease.
The plus side of this health issue is that can be reversed quickly with the right exercise and diet.
Patellar Luxation in Shih Tzu's is a knee problem that happens when the knee cap of the dog slides in and out during movement.
Some symptoms of this disease can be seen when the dog is jumping and if they hop often when walking, holding one back leg up.
Now we have gone over some common issues that could decrease your Shih Tzu's life expectancy and you know what to watch out for, there's also some great tips about how to improve there life expectancy also.
If you notice any of the health problems in your Shih Tzu above its best to take them to a vet, however, you can make some different lifestyle choices for your dog in the meantime to help them live healthier.
We have listed out some great ways to improve your Shih Tzu's lifespan below.
Nutrition for your Shih Tzu is extremely important, you want to be making sure that your dog is getting enough food per day with the right amount of vitamins so as it can have a healthy immune system and bone development.
Some high-processed dog foods can contain fillers which don't have any nutrition, therefore you should make sure you source your food from a reputable brand.
You could even try making your dog food for you Shih Tzu with recipes such as sweet potato and chicken, just make sure there is the right balance of nutrition in it for your dogs daily needs.
One of the best ways to help your Shih Tzu live a long life is by ensuring they encounter little stress and have lots of love and attention.
Shih Tzu's especially are very social breeds and like to be around people so try to avoid leaving them alone for long periods. You can also keep your dog mentally stimulated with new games and tricks.
Happy dogs are proven to live longer!
Making sure your Shih Tzu stays a healthy weight is essential for them to live a long and happy life. Letting your dog become underweight or overweight can give them health problems and make them fatigued or withdrawn.
Exercise can help maintain your dog's weight and also give them mental stimulation which can reduce stress and anxiety within a dog.
Yes, where you buy your Shih Tzu from can impact their lifespan as this can determine whether you are buying a healthy dog or not.
Your Shiz Tzu should always be registered with family history if you are buying from a breeder for example.
It's reported the oldest Shih Tzu has lived up to 23 years called Smokey, this Shih Tzu only suffered from age-related health problems.
As we mentioned above, on average these furry friends do typically live to 13 but you can help increase there lifespan by spotting any health issues and keeping them on a healthy lifestyle as we mentioned above.
Do I need to groom my Shih Tzu?
Yes, grooming your Shih Tzu should be done regularly so as you can keep an eye out for any health problems and prevent problems such as ear infections happening by cleaning their ears weekly.
How long should I exercise my Shih Tzu for?
Your Shih Tzu should ideally have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, this can be broken down into two 15 minute walks too so as your dog can have two trips outside rather than one.
What weight should my Shih Tzu be?
The adult weight of your Shih Tzu should be from 7-9kg, puppy weight, however, varies from dog to dog and can't be averaged.
How can I reduce stress in my Shih Tzu?
If you Shih Tzu is prone to get stressed this might be they have anxiety triggers. Ways to reduce this stress could be by leaving your scents around the house, keeping the radio on and comforting your dog with physical touch/voice.
Overall, a Shih Tzu will live to an average life expectancy of around 13 years or 16, however, you can increase the chances of your companion living even longer by watching out for common health problems and helping them live a positive and healthy life!