We can trace the origin of this lovable little dog back to China, where the Shih Tzu has been kept as a house pet for hundreds of years. The Shih Tzu has enjoyed a luxurious past, keeping Chinese royals company for most of the Ming Dynasty. They gained popularity in the United States after World War II, when soldiers carried these sturdy companions home with them from Europe.
Not much has changed, as the Shih Tzu breed still maintains its status of lap dog. It is perhaps best known for its long, flowing hair coat, which makes this proud breed appear to be floating on air as it trots by. The Shih Tzu’s coat calls for daily grooming, unless you prefer to keep his hair neatly trimmed into a puppy cut. Because the Shih Tzu has continuously growing hair, it tends to shed less, making it ideal for people with allergies.
While Shih Tzus may spend the majority of their time curled up in their owner's lap, they are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Shih Tzu are prone to include eye problems such as exposure keratopathy syndrome, cataracts and entropion; knee problems such as medial patellar luxation; skeletal diseases such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD); and kidney diseases such as familial kidney disease.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Shih Tzu inherits his dad’s bad eyes or his mom’s bum knees, you’re covered.