Everything you need to know to buy or adopt a Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog.

Dog Books Written By Michele Welton

Dog books written by Michele Welton

Dog books written by Michele Welton

Dog books written by Michele Welton

Shih Tzu dog breed

Buying or Adopting a Shih Tzu

By Michele Welton

Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog

Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs

Is a Shih Tzu the right breed for you?

Shih Tzus: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Shih Tzu Health Problems

Are YOU right for a Shih Tzu?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No young children in the household
  • No large dogs in the household (safety issue)
  • Sufficient exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Shih Tzu stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (dog agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing – moderate to a lot (if you don't keep the coat clipped short)
  • Trimming/clipping – every few months
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Shih Tzus are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with snorting/snuffling, and housebreaking perhaps taking a long time
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Shih Tzu to lots of people and other animals
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Shih Tzu, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female Shih Tzu?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?

Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Shih Tzu be?

Where can you buy or adopt a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are very common in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Shih Tzus rank 20th. It's very easy to find this breed.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Shih Tzus (and Shih Tzu crosses and mixes) are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Shih Tzus may be turned over to Rescue because they need too much grooming, or because the owner thought they were "hypoallergenic" when they're not. Owners may give up their Shih Tzu due to housebreaking issues. Other Shih Tzus are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Sometimes a Shih Tzu ends up in an animal shelter, but may be mislabeled as a Lhasa Apso. Sometimes it's the other way around – the label on the cage says "Shih Tzu" when the dog is really a Lhasa. The latter mislabeling is particularly unfortunate, since Lhasas are often more difficult to train and socialize properly. If you really want a Shih Tzu, you probably don't want to bring home a Lhasa by mistake!

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a Shih Tzu from a show breeder, who breeds Shih Tzus to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You can also buy a Shih Tzu from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a Shih Tzu puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases

Also, at least ONE PARENT of a Shih Tzu puppy should have:

  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe kidney disease called renal dysplasia.

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Shih Tzu ends up with cataracts or kidney disease.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Shih Tzus are frequently found in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!

Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good Shih Tzu Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Shih Tzu puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Shih Tzu puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book cover My dog training book for adult dogs is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do what you say.

book cover Do the 11 Things in my dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, and your dog will live a longer, healthier life and seldom need to visit the vet.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy family companion.