Known as the small lion, the Shih Tzu is believed to have originated in China. The name is pronounced Shi a zue. An odd tibdbit about the breed is it is believed to be the first in the line of Tibetan holy dogs. If ever there was a single name that did a lot of work, it is Shih Tzu. The primary translation is that of small lion as mentioned previously. Certain contexts, however, interpret is as the elemental queen, the singular beautiful woman.
Given the holy dog designation, you might be surprised to learn the Shih Tzu is actually a very small dog. That being said, it is elegant. This is particularly true when its hair is allowed to grow long and flowing. The special historic treatmetn of the Shih Tzu may partially be a result of its hair. It does not shed as normal dogs do because it does not really have fur.
The pup's hair is fine and long like humans. A Shih Tzue is definitely requires a commitment on your part as it will live for a good period of time. Although some have been noted to live up to sixteen years, the average is in the twelve to fourteen year range depending on care.
Health problems for any living animal, including Shih Tzu, are always an issue. Your pup is definitely at risk for certain things. Vision problems are common in Shih Tzu as are hip and liver issues. As mentioned previously, Shih Tzu are noted for their long, flowing hair.
If you are going to make one a pet, you need to realize there is a lot of maintenance involved in keeping the hair free of things and untangled. You can plan on brushing it every night. There is another problem with owning one of these pups that you need to be aware of. They are extremely sensitive to heat, which means they can die of heat stroke easily. You cannot leave a Shih Tzu in a car with the windows cracked.
Many people equate small dogs with small responsibilities. With its long coat of hair, the Shih Tzu is exactly the opposite. They are great dogs, but make sure you know what you are committing to before buying one.
Aazdak Alisimo writes about all types of pets for PetStoreYeti.com, where you can find pet stores in your area.