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10 Reasons Not to Get a Shih Tzu: (Eye Opening)

While Shih Tzus are undoubtedly adorable, they aren’t necessarily the right pet for everyone.

If you’re thinking about adding one of these cute and cuddly canines to your household, you’ll want to consider these ten points before making a final decision.

why not to get a shih tzu

10 Pain Points For Future Shih Tzu Owners

Let’s run through 10 issues that might put a potential owner off getting a Shih Tzu. Again, we are fans of the breed, but it doesn’t mean everyone is.

These are legitimate issues that you as a Shih Tzu owner will face, so skim through and see whether these are problems for you. If they aren’t, well, get yourself one of these little cutie pies!

1. High Maintenance Grooming

Shih Tzus are famous for their long, silky coats. But as glamorous as it might seem, this beauty comes at a cost. Shih Tzus require daily grooming to keep their coats in good condition.

If neglected, their hair can quickly become matted and knotted, leading to discomfort and possible skin issues. Brushing their fur, cleaning their eyes, and trimming their hair around the eyes and rear end are all routine tasks that Shih Tzu owners must be prepared for.

In addition to this, regular professional grooming sessions are also necessary to maintain a clean and healthy coat. The expenses and time commitment associated with this high-maintenance grooming routine could be a deterrent for some potential dog owners.

2. They Are Brachycephalic

The Shih Tzu is a brachycephalic breed. In other words, they have a short nose and a flat face, a feature that, although endearing, can cause a number of health problems.

Breathing difficulties are common, especially in hot or humid weather or during exercise. They can also suffer from snoring or even sleep apnea.

Additionally, brachycephalic dogs are prone to dental problems due to the crowding of teeth in their small mouths. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. As a potential owner, you would need to be comfortable with and capable of managing these potential health challenges.

😍 Popular: Male vs Female Shih Tzus (The Key Differences)

3. Not The Best Exercise Companions

why not to get a shih tzu

Shih Tzus are not typically the go-to breed for those seeking an active canine companion.

Their small size and aforementioned brachycephalic features make them less suited to high-intensity exercise or long-distance walks. This could be a problem if you’re an active individual who wants a pet to share in your outdoor adventures.

Although they enjoy short walks and playtime, they can quickly become overheated or exhausted. Keep in mind that if you’re considering a Shih Tzu, they’re better suited to a relaxed, indoor lifestyle rather than high-energy outdoor activities.

4. Housebreaking Challenges

Training a Shih Tzu puppy can prove to be a challenge, particularly when it comes to housebreaking.

They are notoriously difficult to potty train. This may not be ideal for potential owners who have limited time or patience for training.

Of course, with consistent training and positive reinforcement, Shih Tzus can be housebroken effectively. However, it’s essential to consider this aspect of their temperament if you’re contemplating adding a Shih Tzu to your family.

5. Potential For Chronic Health Conditions

Like any breed, Shih Tzus are prone to certain hereditary health conditions.

These include hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and allergies. More serious conditions like renal dysplasia (a kidney disorder) and heart disease can also affect the breed.

While not all Shih Tzus will develop these health problems, it’s crucial to be aware of them. Prospective owners should be ready for possible vet visits, treatments, and associated costs.

6. Tendency To Bark

Shih Tzus, like many small dogs, have a tendency to bark.

This behavior is often directed towards strangers or when they are left alone for extended periods, a symptom of separation anxiety. While they’re not aggressive, their barking can be a nuisance.

If you live in an apartment or a shared living situation, or you simply value peace and quiet, a Shih Tzu’s barking tendencies might not suit your lifestyle. Training can reduce this behavior, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.

7. They Are Stubborn

why not to get a shih tzu

Shih Tzus have a reputation for being stubborn, which can sometimes make training a challenge.

While they are intelligent and capable of learning, they are also independent and have a mind of their own.

Their stubbornness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that you’ll need patience and consistency when training. This trait might not sit well with a first-time dog owner or someone who isn’t prepared to invest time in training.

8. Prone To Obesity

Shih Tzus are prone to obesity. They love to eat and are known for their ability to convince their owners to overfeed them.

This, combined with their less active lifestyle, can easily lead to weight gain.

This predisposition to obesity can lead to numerous health issues, including diabetes, joint problems, and heart disease. If you are considering a Shih Tzu, you’ll need to be diligent about their diet and ensure they get adequate exercise.

9. They Can Be Needy

Shih Tzus are companion dogs, which is a nicer way of saying they can be needy. They thrive on companionship and do not do well when left alone for extended periods.

This is a breed that loves to be in the company of its humans and may experience separation anxiety if left alone regularly.

For potential owners who work long hours or frequently travel, a Shih Tzu may not be the best choice. These dogs need consistent companionship, love, and attention to thrive.

10. Long-term Commitment

Finally, Shih Tzus have a long lifespan. They often live into their teens, and it’s not uncommon for a Shih Tzu to live past 15 years. This is a long-term commitment that not everyone is prepared for.

Being a pet owner requires a significant amount of time, energy, and resources. If you’re not ready to commit for a decade or more, then a Shih Tzu might not be the right choice for you.

Could a Shih Tzu Still Be Right For You?

Despite the list of potential concerns, a Shih Tzu might still be the perfect addition to your family.

Here’s a quick contemplation on why this breed might just be the right fit for you.

Shih Tzus, while having a few concerns, are also known for their loving, friendly, and loyal nature.

They have an extraordinary ability to form close bonds with their owners and tend to get along well with other pets and children.

Their sociable nature makes them fantastic companions for those who are looking for a furry friend to share their lives with.

If you are someone who spends a lot of time at home or can provide a pet-friendly environment at work, the Shih Tzu’s need for constant companionship becomes a non-issue.

In fact, it becomes a blessing. You’ll have a loyal friend who loves nothing more than to sit by your side, making you laugh with their playful antics, or even comforting you on a rough day.

Their small size makes them a great choice for those living in apartments or homes with limited outdoor space. Their lower energy level also makes them suitable for older individuals or those with a more sedate lifestyle.

Regarding their grooming needs, if you enjoy or don’t mind the routine and even find it a bonding experience with your pet, this point turns from a disadvantage to a perk. You can even opt to keep their hair in a “puppy cut”, a short style that requires less maintenance.

Their intelligence and stubbornness, while it can pose a challenge in training, also make them entertaining pets. They are full of personality, and their independent nature can lead to hilarious and heartwarming moments.

Finally, their long lifespan means more years of companionship and memories with your pet. If you’re ready for the commitment, it’s truly a gift to have a pet stick with you for a significant part of your life.

Last thoughts

In essence, it’s all about perspective and your personal circumstances.

If you believe the Shih Tzu’s pros outweigh the cons and you’re prepared to handle the challenges, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider adding a Shih Tzu to your family.

Just ensure you’re ready for the commitment, and you can provide a loving home that caters to a Shih Tzu’s specific needs.

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.