Unraveling the Myths: Why Shih Tzus are the ‘Worst’ Dogs

I’ve heard it said that Shih Tzus are the worst dogs, but is there any truth to these claims? As a dog lover and experienced pet owner, I believe it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to these adorable furballs. Let’s take a closer look at the grooming demands, common health concerns, stubborn streak, affectionate nature, and vocal tendencies of Shih Tzus to understand the challenges they may present as pets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shih Tzus require regular grooming to maintain their beautiful coat.
  • They are prone to certain health issues, but with proper care, these can be managed effectively.
  • Shih Tzus can be stubborn, but consistent training and positive reinforcement can overcome this trait.
  • They have a strong need for companionship and may experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
  • Shih Tzus are vocal dogs and may bark frequently, requiring training to control this behavior.

Shedding and Grooming Demands

When it comes to grooming, Shih Tzus require special attention. While they may not shed as much as other breeds, their long and silky coat demands regular maintenance. To keep their coat healthy and tangle-free, daily brushing is necessary. The gentle strokes of a soft bristle brush or a comb will help prevent matting and keep their coat looking its best.

In addition to brushing, trimming the hair around their eyes and ears is crucial to promote good hygiene and prevent infections. Regular visits to a professional groomer are recommended to maintain the desired Shih Tzu look, which often includes a topknot or bow to keep their hair away from their face.

It is important to note that grooming a Shih Tzu can be time-consuming and requires patience. If you’re considering this breed, be prepared to dedicate time and effort to their grooming needs.

Table: Shih Tzu Grooming Requirements

Grooming Aspect Frequency Description
Brushing Daily Prevents matting and keeps coat healthy
Trimming Regularly Keeps hair around eyes and ears tidy
Professional Grooming Every 4-6 weeks Ensures coat maintenance and desired appearance

As you can see, the grooming demands of a Shih Tzu should not be underestimated. However, with proper care and attention, you can keep your Shih Tzu looking beautiful and healthy.

Common Health Concerns

When considering Shih Tzus as pets, it is important to be aware of their common health concerns. While they are generally healthy dogs, there are certain conditions that this breed is more prone to. Being proactive in their healthcare can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your Shih Tzu.

One of the most prevalent health concerns in Shih Tzus is respiratory problems. Their short noses and flat faces make them susceptible to breathing difficulties, especially in hot and humid weather. It is crucial to keep them in a well-ventilated environment and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures.

Furthermore, Shih Tzus are at risk for hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, causing pain and mobility issues. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and maintaining an appropriate weight can help reduce the risk of this condition.

Another area of concern for Shih Tzus is their eyes. They are prone to eye anomalies such as dry eye, corneal ulcers, and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular eye examinations and proper eye care can help prevent and manage these conditions.

Allergies and ear infections

Shih Tzus are also susceptible to allergies, which can manifest as itchy skin, excessive scratching, and hot spots. Regular grooming, including ear cleaning and proper hygiene, can help reduce the risk of skin allergies. Additionally, their floppy ears make them more prone to ear infections, so it is important to clean their ears regularly and keep them dry.

Common Health Concerns in Shih Tzus Prevention and Management
Respiratory problems Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures, ensure good ventilation
Hip dysplasia Regular exercise, healthy diet, maintain appropriate weight
Eye anomalies Regular eye examinations, proper eye care
Allergies Regular grooming, maintain proper hygiene
Ear infections Regular ear cleaning, keep ears dry

It is essential to be proactive in the healthcare of Shih Tzus to prevent and manage common health concerns. Regular veterinarian check-ups, proper grooming, and providing a safe and comfortable environment are key to ensuring a long and happy life for your beloved Shih Tzu.

The Stubborn Streak

When it comes to training, Shih Tzus are known for their stubbornness, which can be a challenge for owners. This breed has a strong independent streak and may not always be eager to obey commands. However, with the right approach and consistent training, their stubbornness can be managed effectively.

One important aspect of training a Shih Tzu is to establish yourself as the pack leader. These dogs are more likely to listen to and respect an owner who demonstrates confident leadership. It’s essential to set clear boundaries, be consistent with rules, and use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and rewards.

Training sessions should be short and engaging to keep a Shih Tzu’s attention. These dogs can quickly lose interest, so it’s important to make training sessions fun and interactive. Breaking down commands into smaller steps and providing plenty of positive reinforcement can help overcome their stubbornness and make training more effective.

Training Tips for Shih Tzus:

  • Be patient and consistent: Shih Tzus may take longer to learn commands, so remain patient and consistent in your training approach.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats, praise, and affection when they obey commands correctly.
  • Establish a routine: Shih Tzus respond well to routines, so establish a consistent training schedule to help them understand expectations.
  • Socialize early: Expose your Shih Tzu to different people, animals, and environments from a young age to ensure they develop proper social skills.

Remember, training a Shih Tzu may require some extra time and effort, but with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can effectively manage their stubborn streak and enjoy a well-behaved and obedient companion.

Common Training Challenges Effective Training Techniques
Shih Tzus may ignore commands Use high-value treats and consistent positive reinforcement to motivate your dog.
Shih Tzus may become easily distracted Train in a quiet, distraction-free environment and gradually increase distractions as your dog improves.
Shih Tzus may exhibit stubborn behavior Be patient, consistent, and establish yourself as the pack leader to gain your dog’s respect.
Shih Tzus may have difficulty with potty training Use crate training, establish a routine, and reward your dog for going potty outside.

Affection Overload?

When it comes to the behavior of Shih Tzus, their affectionate nature is one of their standout traits. These little dogs thrive on companionship and love to shower their owners with affection. While this can be endearing, it also means that they can become quite attached and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

Managing a Shih Tzu’s temperament and preventing behavior issues related to their need for companionship is essential. Socialization plays a crucial role in helping them feel comfortable and confident in various situations. Exposing them to different environments, people, and other animals from an early age can help reduce anxiety and make them more adaptable.

Building a routine that includes regular exercise and mental stimulation is also important. Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs and need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions can help engage their minds and keep them entertained.

Additionally, providing a safe and comfortable space for your Shih Tzu when you are not around is essential. Creating a designated area with their bed, toys, and familiar scents can help alleviate their anxiety. Leaving a radio or TV on for background noise can also help them feel less alone.

Managing Shih Tzu Temperament: Tips and Tricks

  • Start socialization early: Introduce your Shih Tzu to different people, animals, and environments to build their confidence.
  • Establish a routine: Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and predictable daily activities can help keep your Shih Tzu content and less prone to behavioral issues.
  • Provide a safe space: Create a designated area for your Shih Tzu with their bed, toys, and familiar scents to help them feel secure when you are not around.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and affection to encourage desired habits and discourage unwanted behaviors.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If your Shih Tzu is exhibiting severe behavior issues or anxiety, consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance and support.

“Shih Tzus are incredibly loving and affectionate dogs, but they do require proper socialization, mental stimulation, and attention to prevent behavior issues associated with separation anxiety. By understanding their needs and providing a loving and structured environment, you can help your Shih Tzu thrive.”

Common Behavior Issues Preventive Measures
Separation anxiety Start socialization early, create a safe space, and establish a routine.
Destructive behavior Provide mental stimulation, engage in interactive play, and use puzzle toys.
Barking excessively Train your Shih Tzu to control their barking habits through positive reinforcement and consistency.

Shih Tzu Characteristics

When it comes to Shih Tzus, their unique characteristics set them apart from other dog breeds. From their appearance to their temperament, here are some key traits that define these adorable little creatures:


Shih Tzus have a distinct look with their long, flowing coats, expressive eyes, and flat faces. Their small size, compact bodies, and luxurious fur make them incredibly appealing to dog lovers. While their grooming demands may be high, their charming appearance is undeniably captivating.


Shih Tzus are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They thrive on human companionship and enjoy being the center of attention. These little dogs are often described as playful, confident, and outgoing. Their loving demeanor makes them great family pets and adaptable to different living environments.


Although Shih Tzus may have a stubborn streak, they are intelligent dogs that can learn and follow commands with proper training. While they may require extra patience and consistent positive reinforcement methods, their intelligence allows them to pick up on cues and understand their owner’s expectations.

Characteristic Description
Coat Long, flowing and requires regular grooming.
Temperament Friendly, affectionate, and playful.
Intelligence Smart, but may have a stubborn streak.

Overall, Shih Tzus possess a unique combination of charm, affection, and intelligence. While they may have certain challenges, their endearing personalities and loyal nature make them a beloved choice for many dog lovers.


Despite some of the challenges that come with owning a Shih Tzu, it is unfair to label them as the worst dogs. Every breed has its unique traits and characteristics, and with proper care, understanding, and training, Shih Tzus can be wonderful companions.

While it is true that Shih Tzus require regular grooming and have certain health concerns, these aspects can be managed with the right knowledge and attention. By staying on top of their grooming needs and providing them with proper veterinary care, owners can ensure the well-being of their furry friends.

Training a Shih Tzu may require a bit more patience due to their stubborn streak, but with consistent training methods and positive reinforcement, they can learn and adapt. Socialization is also important to prevent behavioral issues, and providing them with the love and attention they need will help keep them happy and content.

So, let’s not judge Shih Tzus solely based on the challenges they may present. Instead, let’s appreciate their affectionate nature, their unique vocal tendencies, and the joy they bring to our lives. With the right approach, a Shih Tzu can be a loving and loyal companion that will fill your days with happiness.

why shih tzus are the worst dogs

Tips for Training a Shih Tzu

Training a Shih Tzu can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavor. These adorable little dogs have a stubborn streak that can sometimes make training difficult. However, with the right approach and techniques, you can successfully train your Shih Tzu to be a well-behaved companion.

One effective method of training is using positive reinforcement. This involves rewarding your Shih Tzu with treats, praise, and affection when they exhibit the desired behavior. Positive reinforcement helps to motivate and encourage your Shih Tzu, making the training process more enjoyable and effective.

Consistency is key when training a Shih Tzu. Establish a routine and stick to it. Set clear rules and boundaries, and make sure everyone in your household follows them. Shih Tzus respond best to consistent training methods, so avoid confusing them with mixed messages.

Early socialization is crucial for a well-rounded Shih Tzu. Introduce your puppy to different people, animals, and environments from a young age. This helps them develop good social skills and prevents behavioral issues later on. Enroll your Shih Tzu in puppy classes or socialization groups to give them opportunities to interact with other dogs and learn proper behavior.

When training your Shih Tzu, keep the sessions short and engaging. Shih Tzus have a short attention span, so try to keep the training sessions fun and interesting. Use a variety of training techniques, such as clicker training or interactive toys, to keep your Shih Tzu mentally stimulated and eager to learn. Remember to be patient and understanding throughout the training process, as it may take time for your Shih Tzu to grasp and master new commands.

Training a Shih Tzu requires dedication and patience, but with the right approach, you can overcome their stubbornness and have a well-trained companion. Remember to use positive reinforcement, be consistent, focus on early socialization, and keep the training sessions engaging. By investing the time and effort into training, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu grows into a well-behaved and obedient member of your family.

Maintaining a Healthy and Happy Shih Tzu

When it comes to Shih Tzus, taking care of their health is of utmost importance. Regular check-ups with a trusted veterinarian are essential to ensure their well-being. They can help identify and address any potential health concerns early on. From respiratory problems to hip dysplasia, being aware of the common health issues that Shih Tzus are prone to can help in providing the necessary care and attention.

In addition to vet visits, a balanced diet plays a crucial role in keeping your Shih Tzu healthy. Providing them with high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs is vital. Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog nutritionist can help you determine the best diet for your furry friend.

Grooming is another important aspect of maintaining a healthy and happy Shih Tzu. Their long, flowing coats require regular brushing and trimming to prevent matting. This not only keeps them looking their best but also ensures their skin and coat remain clean and free from any potential skin issues. Regular grooming sessions also present an opportunity for bonding with your Shih Tzu.

Lastly, don’t forget to provide your Shih Tzu with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Take them for daily walks, play games, and provide them with interactive toys that challenge their intelligence. A happy Shih Tzu is one that is both physically and mentally stimulated, so don’t forget to give them the love, attention, and care they deserve.


Are Shih Tzus really the worst dogs?

No, labeling Shih Tzus as the worst dogs is an oversimplification. Every dog breed has its unique traits, and with proper care, understanding, and training, Shih Tzus can be delightful companions.

How often do Shih Tzus need to be groomed?

Shih Tzus require regular grooming to keep their long coat healthy. This includes brushing, trimming, and preventing matting. They are not recommended for those looking for a low maintenance dog.

What are the common health concerns for Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus are prone to respiratory problems, hip dysplasia, allergies, eye anomalies, and ear infections. However, with proper care and regular vet visits, most of these health concerns can be managed effectively.

Are Shih Tzus difficult to train?

Shih Tzus have a stubborn streak, which can make training challenging. Consistent training and positive reinforcement techniques are key to successfully managing their independent nature.

Do Shih Tzus have separation anxiety?

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. Proper socialization and attention are important to prevent behavioral issues related to their strong need for companionship.

Are Shih Tzus vocal dogs?

Yes, Shih Tzus are vocal and tend to bark frequently. They have a tendency to communicate through barking, which may sometimes be excessive. Owners should be prepared to manage and train their Shih Tzus to control their barking habits.

What are some tips for training a Shih Tzu?

Training a Shih Tzu can be challenging, but it is possible with the right approach. Using positive reinforcement techniques, patience, and consistency can help overcome training difficulties. Early socialization and keeping training sessions short and engaging are also beneficial.

How can I keep my Shih Tzu healthy and happy?

Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper grooming practices are essential for keeping a Shih Tzu healthy. Providing mental and physical stimulation, along with a loving environment, contributes to their overall well-being.

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