Description: The Shih Tzu is considered a toy breed of dog. The Shih Tzu weighs between 9 and 14 pounds and reaches about 10 inches at the shoulder. This beautiful breed has a long, silky coat that reaches the ground. The coat can be grey and white, gold, black, red and white, or black and white. The muzzle is short and sports a long beard and moustaches. The dog's tail curls up over its back. The Shih Tzu should be a muscular, compact dog. This breed is also called the Chrysanthemum Dog or the Tibetan Lion Dog. History: The Shih Tzu is a very old breed of dog that traces its lineage back to the Lhaso Apso of Tibet. It was considered to be a sacred dog and housed in temples there. It was eventually taken to China where it became a court favorite. The Chinese royal house particularly favored these dogs and the original stock was crossed with the Pekingese to produce the dog that is familiar today. The Chinese refused to allow any dog out of the country for many years. The first dog only made their way to England in the 1930s. Temperament: The Shih Tzu is a friendly dog with what many consider to be a regal bearing. This is a happy dog with a great deal of personality. They are lapdogs and are most content when lying in the lap of one of their human friends. This breed loves to be with its human family and gets along well with children and other dogs. They do, however, have an obstinate side that can make training somewhat difficult. Health Issues: A very serious health concern with this dog breed is a condition called Renal Dysplasia. This is probably a genetic ailment that causes the kidneys to eventually stop working. They can also develop bladder and kidney stones, which are treatable. This breed can also experience spinal problems because of its long back. Because of their short faces, they can also have breathing problems and often snore or wheeze. Grooming: Although the Shih Tzu has what is considered to be a hypoallergenic coat, grooming is going to be an important part of this dog's maintenance. The long coat needs to be brushed every day. Many owners tie the hair on the dog's head up into a topknot. The eyes of this dog are delicate and should be cleaned every day. Most are kept as pets and are given a puppy cut for ease of care. Living Conditions: The Shih Tzu is a perfect dog for an apartment, as well as for a house. This dog loves to play inside so only short walks are needed to maintain its condition. This breed enjoys being near its family and can experience separation anxiety. This dog wants to be a member of the family. This puppy or dog should definitely be protected from extremes of temperature and, despite its long coat, must be allowed to sleep indoors.