Shih Tzu puppies are undeniably adorable, fluffy bundles of teeny weeny canine perfection. They're not much different as adults. The more you know about Shih Tzus as puppies, from medical predispositions to training responsiveness, the better equipped you will be to care for -- and love -- one of them.
Dogs of bigger breeds typically bear higher numbers of puppies per litter. A Rottweiler mother, for example, might give birth to several more puppies than a Shih Tzu. Shih Tzu litters, on average, consist of four to five youngsters. Some might have more puppies and others might have fewer. Shih Tzu puppies achieve sexual maturity relatively quickly -- between 7 and 10 months old. Female Shih Tzu puppies start their heat cycles at this time. Male Shih Tzu puppies start displaying classic hormonal behaviors, from urine marking to lack of focus.
As with most dog breeds, Shih Tzus are susceptible to a handful of medical conditions. Some of these ailments are genetic, therefore generally appearing during the tiny puppy stage. The assorted ailments include renal dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile cataracts and entropion, the latter describing a disorder of the folding of the eyelids. If you notice any unusual symptoms in your Shih Tzu pup, call the veterinarian to set up an appointment as soon as possible. The sooner you can identify the cause of your puppy's issues, genetic or otherwise, the better.
Training Shih Tzu puppies is not always a walk in the park. These doggies, although often sweet in nature, frequently display headstrong and even slightly supercilious characteristics. If you combine these traits with their selectively limited memories and focusing abilities, training them can be tricky, whether it comes to housebreaking, responding to their names or simply responding to "Sit." Housebreaking can be particularly frustrating for you, because Shih Tzu puppies' tiny and furry limbs make identifying whether they're in "bathroom position" more difficult. However, with some diligence and love on your part, you can successfully train your Shih Tzu puppy.
A Shih Tzu's original coloring often changes as he becomes an adult. Do not assume that your beige Shih Tzu puppy will necessarily always stay that way -- he could be orange at maturity. However, a Shih Tzu pup who's born black or white will always be that color. When it comes to color changes, Shih Tzu puppies can move into two directions. Some take on grayish coloring when they reach around a year in age, while others become lighter or brighter.
Shih Tzu puppies, as newborns, usually start out weighing around 6 ounces or less. They generally grow to their adult sizes around the same time they become sexually mature -- between 7 and 10 months in age. As mature individuals, Shih Tzus usually weigh between 9 and 16 pounds.
- Training Your Shih Tzu; Joan Hustace Walker
- The Westminster Kennel Club: Shih Tzu
- American Kennel Club: Shih Tzu
- Shih Tzus; Jaime J. Sucher
- Shih Tzu - Your Happy Healthy Pet; Jo Ann White
- DogChannel.com: Shih Tzu
- American Kennel Club: A.S.T.C. Breeder Guidelines
- American Kennel Club: Renal Dysplasia in Shih Tzu
- ChampDogs: Shih Tzu Breed Guide