Imagine you've just brought home a cute, cuddly Shih Tzu, expecting it to be the perfect addition to your family. But soon, you're overwhelmed by its incessant grooming needs, the constant hair everywhere, and the numerous vet trips for various health issues.
You've heard about the stubbornness of this breed but brushed it aside, thinking, 'How bad could it be?' Well, you're in for a surprise.
Let's take a closer look at why Shih Tzus might not be the ideal pet you pictured them to be.
- Shih Tzus require regular and costly grooming to prevent matting and tangling.
- They are prone to various health problems such as difficulties during birth, eye diseases, breathing issues, dental problems, and skin allergies.
- Training Shih Tzus can be challenging due to their stubborn nature, resistance to potty training, and food fussiness.
- Shih Tzus are sensitive to extreme temperatures, prone to seasonal allergies, and require a high maintenance lifestyle with carefully controlled diets and regular exercise.
Shih Tzus' Demanding Grooming Needs
Despite their small size, Shih Tzus require a surprisingly high level of grooming, often demanding more attention and care compared to many other breeds. They're adorable, no doubt, but you'll need to brace yourself for the grooming expenses and time commitment that come along with these fluff balls.
Shih Tzus have a double coat that needs regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. You'll need to invest in a high-quality brush and comb, and possibly even professional grooming services. The cost can quickly add up, so it's something you need to factor into your budget. And that's not even mentioning the frequent baths they require to keep their coat shiny and healthy.
The time commitment is another factor. Brushing their coat isn't a once-a-week affair. You'll need to do it every day, or every other day at the very minimum. This doesn't take into account the time needed for their baths and the regular trips to the groomer.
Loving a Shih Tzu means accepting the grooming challenges as part of the package. So, before you bring one home, ensure you're ready for the commitment it entails.
The Health Problems of Shih Tzus
In addition to their demanding grooming needs, you should also be aware that Shih Tzus are prone to a number of health problems. Breeding issues, in particular, are often a point of concern. Due to their small size and distinct facial structure, Shih Tzus can have difficulties during birth.
You may also notice more eye diseases in Shih Tzus than in other breeds. Their large, protruding eyes aren't just a distinctive feature but a potential health risk, making them more susceptible to conditions such as dry eye, corneal ulcers, or progressive retinal atrophy.
Considering the health problems of Shih Tzus, it's important to note the following:
- Breathing difficulties: Shih Tzus' flat faces can lead to Brachycephalic Syndrome, causing breathing issues.
- Dental issues: Their small mouths often result in overcrowded teeth, leading to dental problems.
- Hip dysplasia: Despite their small size, they're prone to this painful condition.
- Allergies: Shih Tzus often suffer from skin allergies, causing discomfort and requiring constant care.
The Stubborn Nature of Shih Tzus
Beyond the health issues, you'll find that Shih Tzus can be quite stubborn, often posing a challenge for even experienced dog owners. They tend to have a mind of their own, which can lead to a handful of Training Challenges.
For instance, their stubborn nature often results in an unyielding resistance to potty training. You'll find yourself repeating commands and routines, only to find your furry friend hasn't quite grasped the concept. This is not a reflection of their intelligence, but rather their stubborn streak.
Food Fussiness is another trait you'll encounter. Shih Tzus can become picky eaters, refusing to eat their designated meals while begging for table scraps. And when they've set their sights on a particular food, there's no changing their minds.
To help you better understand, here's a table summarizing these issues:
|Resisting potty training
|Strict feeding schedule
Experienced Shih Tzu owners may have learned to navigate these traits, but for the uninitiated, it can be a frustrating experience.
Shih Tzus' Sensitivity to Weather
Adding to the list of Shih Tzus' quirks, you'll find that they're notably sensitive to weather changes, particularly extreme temperatures. This breed's thick double coat, evolved for the cool highlands of Tibet, does them few favors in a warmer climate. You may notice your Shih Tzu panting heavily or seeking out the coolest spots in your home, clear signs of heat intolerance.
In winter, they're not much better off. Their small size and low body fat make them susceptible to the cold, despite their deceptively thick coat. You may find them shivering and reluctant to venture outdoors when temperatures drop.
Perhaps even more frustrating for you as their owner is their tendency to develop seasonal allergies. This can lead to a host of issues, from itchy skin and ear infections to respiratory problems.
To sum it up, here are some key points to remember about Shih Tzus' sensitivity to weather:
- They suffer from heat intolerance, making summer a difficult time.
- Despite their thick coat, they struggle in colder temperatures.
- They're prone to developing seasonal allergies.
- Weather changes can lead to a variety of health issues.
The High Maintenance Lifestyle of Shih Tzus
If you thought managing a Shih Tzu's sensitivities to weather was challenging, wait until you experience the full extent of their high maintenance lifestyle.
Dietary challenges are just the tip of the iceberg. Shih Tzus are notorious for their finicky eating habits and their susceptibility to obesity and dental issues. This breed requires a carefully controlled diet, which means you'll be spending more time carefully measuring out portions, buying specialized food, and brushing their teeth than you might with other dogs.
But there's more. Exercise requirements for Shih Tzus are unique, too. Despite their small size, these dogs need a surprising amount of physical activity to stay healthy and happy. They're prone to joint issues and arthritis, which means you can't just let them run wild. You'll need to engage them in gentle, regular exercise, often involving playtimes, controlled walks, or swimming sessions.
In short, owning a Shih Tzu is like having a full-time job. You can't just feed them anything, let them run around, and expect them to be fine. Their maintenance needs are high, and they'll demand a lot of your time.
It's no surprise that many find Shih Tzus to be among the worst dogs to own.
So, you think you're ready for a Shih Tzu? Remember, they've serious grooming needs, health issues, and a stubborn streak.
They're sensitive to weather changes and demand a high maintenance lifestyle. It's essential to consider these realities before deciding on a Shih Tzu.
While they may look like cuddly toys, owning one is far from a child's play. It's crucial to ensure you're equipped to handle the challenges they bring.