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      25.09.2014 09:50
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      Adorable!

      The Shih Tzu is among my favourite of all the small dog breeds, their happy go lucky attitude and friendly disposition is such that you cannot help but love them. It helps that they are absolutely adorable, Shih Tzu puppies are among the cutest, they look like little teddy bears! They were originally bred to be hot water bottles for their royal owners.

      Shih Tzus make excellent family pets, whilst being compact, some people just prefer smaller dogs, they are pretty sturdy. They really enjoy the company of children and can rough and tumble with the best of them. Despite their appearance they are not a breed with airs and graces and just really enjoy having fun.

      Grooming a Shih Tzu takes a lot of work and effort, especially if you wish to keep a long coat, for this reason most people opt for a short coat. Long coat will require daily brushing to remove dirt and debris, ward off matts and keep the cost in tip too condition. Trimming and tidying will also be required as will bathing, a long cost is difficult to maintain. Short coat is easier to keep, daily brushing will still be required but not nearly as much. They will also need to visit the groomer regularly to maintain the short coat. My personal favourite cut is the puppy cut.

      They love to spend time and be close to their family, like all dogs, and will relish nothing more than snoozing beside you on the couch. A really excellent little breed.

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      18.08.2011 11:41
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      I love Shih Tzus, great nature and great company.

      Ever Since I was little I longed for a puppy to call my own but my mam was scared of dogs and wouldn't allow one anywhere near the house never mind let one live there.
      When I was 19 I begged and begged when she finally relented she told me I could only get a small breed. I saw a picture of a Shih Tzu and instantly knew that was the dog I would be getting. After tramping about looking in papers for breeders and asking about to be told none left, I finally gave a phone call to one breeder who to my joy "oh yes we have one left" he was delivered on a stormy wet night and I was pacing up and down like I was waiting for a baby to be delivered.
      When the knock came I jumped and raced to the door before anyone else could, there he was a tiny bundle of fluff that could fit into my hand. He was a lovely light brown colour with a black mask and white "socks" I named him Rufus although nowadays he gets Ruffie and only goes by his full name when he's being naughty which is often.
      We quickly became inseparable and he would spend hours sleeping and snoring softly on my knee when he wasn't looking at me with his big sad eyes to throw his toys so he could chase after them.
      He loves to spend time outdoors and adores his "tatters" which is what we call his walks, he loves to play with kids and jumps all over them although he hides from them when he's had enough usually behind the sofa. He hides his biscuits and bones all over the house and growls if anyone goes near them, he loves to snuggle on the couch or in bed and must be as close as he possibly can to you.
      We all love Ruffie and he's a big part of our family, he is almost 5 now and I've loved every minute of watching him grow into the lovable little rogue he is now, I don't know what I'd do without my partner in crime.

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        28.12.2010 16:56
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        Great dog, would definetely recommend!!

        I'm a massive animal lover! And have been ever since i was a little kid. so when my parents let me buy a puppy, i was so excited!! I chose a black, pure breed shih tzu, named Kizzy. Long hair, a bow, she was perfect. In the next few years we later went onto buy Kizzy a companion, Hugo, another Shih Tzu, this time Brown and White. They were both bundles of joy, and still are! Kizzy and Hugo went onto have a puppy, Max.

        In 2001, a very special friend entered my life. My four-legged friend was a Shih Tzu and his name was Max - which means the greatest. I was instantly drawn to Max, he was beautiful, amazingly perfect. His ears folded over and framed his face, his nose small and damp. Happiness shinning from his large, black eyes and his constantly wagging tail. Max was always cheerful and never failed to put a smile on my face with his naughty and adventurous attitude. He'd steal socks and slippers, and hide them. Occasionally, we'd find a few outside on the lawn. His bark was extremely distinctive and he loved to occasionally howl at two in the morning to wake the whole neighbourhood up. It was amazing how loud a bark could come from such a tiny pup. Max and I became very close very quickly after I became his owner. Playing with his little, blue, bouncy ball was his favourite past time, he loved running and pawing at it, and having a competition with my little sister as to who could catch the ball first. You would never see Max without his little McDonalds teddy bear. Just slightly bigger than his mouth, he trailed it around everywhere he went and would growl if anyone took it. Max also loved attention; Anytime we were out walking he would stray to a stranger and sit patiently until they noticed and clapped him. You could also see an extra wag in his tail when someone complimented me on how well-groomed he was. It's strange the little things you remember, but when anyone clapped him his head would fall backwards and his ears would open at either side of his face, and I'd smile and call him Dumbo, after the elephant. Max hated baths. He hated having to bathe and having water anywhere near him. After being washed, he loved shaking his coat and getting me wet! Not to mention the walls and floor. I'd wrap him up and take him into the hall and dry his hair with the hair drier, which he adored! Then he'd go back into the bathroom and get the empty toilet roll tube and chew it as we sat down to watch the television. Max was my sole companion when times got rough in my life, and he always shed a ray of hope.

        Max, to me, was invincible and would always be there for me. I never once thought there might be even the tiniest possible chance I'd ever lose him. How wrong was I? In 2008, Max began to take ill and his health deteriorated very quickly. There was a very drastic change in his personality; he went from being a happy, energetic little pup to a sad, tired little pup. After losing his appetite, my mum took him to the vet while I was at university. The look on her face when she came home said it all. I didn't need to know what the vet said, I could tell it was serious. ''Max has kidney failure.'' I just stood motionless with a tear slowly sliding down my cheek. I looked from my mum to max, who's eyes met mine, and I burst into tears. My fears had been confirmed.

        Max's condition couldn't be cured so we spent our last day snuggled up on the couch with his chin resting on his teddy bear. I stroked him gently and slowly, knowing this was the last day we would spend together. It hurt me to watch him in so much pain and I tried to do everything I could to comfort him, but it wasn't enough. My best friend was gone the next day. We had him cremated, and his ashes remain in my room.



        Shih Tzu's arent just dogs. They become part of your family, part of your life. I loved the time i shared with Max and wouldnt give it up for the world. Even though he was sadly taken from us, he was a great pup and companion, and i still remember all the memories that we shared.

        Shih Tzu's are easy to look after. They dont need as much excersize as perhaps a labrador or a retriever. They protect well, and would bark on any sort of intrusion. They are good for show, pretty, and shed little hair if kept well groomed. They have bundles of energy, and enjoy young kids. They're usually well-belhaved, they dont bite and all three of our dogs were very obedient and well trained. They are good with other animals, and other dogs. They are also very caring, we have a new neice and both my dogs Hugo and Kizzy are very curious about the baby, yet very obedient around her. Both my dogs were fed by Pedigree, but we recently changed to another brand due to advice from our vet. Both dogs are very small and light, easy to carry places, and we have a doggy bag made especially for them to help with transport. Their long hair can sometimes get in the way of their eyes. We tend to cut their hair in the summer, then let it grow long in the winter. Hugo walks with a lead, but Kizzy refuses, so we allow her to walk without, and she obediently walks beside us. They respond very well when you call and will be there in a flash. Also, Shih Tzus eat anything and everything if they can find it. Our bin is frequently tipped by Hugo in search of goodies. They are very intellegent dogs, and both our dogs know how to use those big puppy eyes to get spoilt. They are a delight to own, and i'm proud to be their owner.

        I hope the story of my dog Max has shown you how much of a companion a Shih Tzu can be, and how much of an impact they have on your life.

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          04.12.2008 17:35
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          Ancient breed of Tibet, watchdog and companion dog

          Shih Tzu

          This breed, the Shih Tzu is originally from China and is one of the most ancient breeds of Tibet. It is a good watchdog and companion dog, ideal as a family pet. It gets along with both adults and children and enjoys being petted and pampered. It is also called the Tibetan Temple Dog. This canine is crossed with other breeds and dogs like Shih-Poo and Pom Shih are developed.
          It is a strong, lively, intelligent, cheerful and friendly dog with a jaunty attitude. They are eager to learn and have a mind of their own.

          Appearance
          Size: Its height is around 8-11". It has a compact, well-proportioned and sturdy structure. It weighs 4-7 kg on an average.
          Colour: They can be seen in any colour.
          Coat: The Shih Tzu is double-coated having two coats of fur with a flowing and long overcoat. As the coat grows longer, it tends to become dry and therefore, gets tangled easily. So, daily brushing is a must.
          Long hair forming a beard and moustache, a black nose, dark round eyes, a curled tail are the most distinct features of this breed.

          Litter Size
          An average of 5 free Shih Tzu puppies is found in a litter.

          Diet
          The Shih Tzu likes a diet of poultry, pork, barley and rice. Beef and oats are avoidable.

          Preferred Environment
          They cannot stand high temperatures - above 24 C.

          Lifespan
          The average lifespan of the Shih Tzu is around 13-15 years.

          This article has originally been authored by me and appeared on the site:http://www.freepuppiessale.com

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            07.10.2008 13:36
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            A Beautiful Dog

            Shih Tzu dogs are wonderful. I know because for the last 8 years I have had Molly who is a gold and white girl.

            Now I guess if you are reading this you may be considering buying one, so I really want to give you a personal account of why they make perfect companions for some, and are maybe not suitable for others.

            I will also add some really important medical issues which I have learnt from my daughter who is about to qualify as a vet.

            They are lively little dogs but are sturdy. A good weight for an adult is about 6kgs. This means you can carry them for a short distance and are lovely to cuddle up to. They are not thin little dogs and they have a waddle when they walk.

            They make superb guard dogs because they bark at every noise so you may like to consider this if you finding barking not to your taste.

            They are intelligent but they do what they want so are quite difficult to train. Due to their intelligence I would never recommend you buy one if there is no one at home for part of the day. In fact if you rescue one from The Southern Rescue they insist that there is someone there regularly in the daytime. They have an excellent website which tells you how it is to own one even if it is a puppy you are looking for from a new breeder. http://www.southernshihtzurescue.org.uk

            If you are looking to buy a new puppy Petplan can help with addresses of those breeders who have puppies.

            They are very playful dogs and they get up to mischief if you don't keep an eye on them! This brings me onto the vet advice which may help you decide if they are for you.

            First of all actually as dog breeds go they are not particularly prone to certain diseases. Having said that they have large bulging eyes so they can get corneal ulcers which need prompt attention from the vet. This may be related to a problem making tears or just to the trauma of having protruding eyes. Please don't take them in long grass, on beaches where there is loose sand especially if it is windy, and keep your garden free of sharp twigs and sticks as they are so low to the ground it can be easy to forget they are susceptible to this. I know to my cost as Molly had an ulcer three years ago as a result of walking her along a beach, and then letting her run up the dunes. Serious ulcers can be the cause of blindness. Molly was later found to have a condition where she did not make any tears so this is now treated with daily eye drops.

            Secondly going on from what I said about them being mischievous they will eat anything if you leave it around.
            The most dangerous is chocolate especially dark -1.5 g is enough to poison a shih tzu as it is extremely toxic to all dogs. Also very dangerous are dried fruit and grapes. Easter and Christmas can be dangerous times for these little dogs as these foods are often left out. Watch too your Christmas tree, real ones have sharp needles which are dangerous for the eyes and of course we like to hang chocolate on them. I am sadly saying this because Molly did eat 4 dark chocolates recently which could have been very serious if we hadn't sought immediate vet attention.

            Thirdly their coats are quite a challenge. My husband and I bath her each weekend and we trim her so she looks like a teddy. This needs round nose scissors which we use to trim around the eyes and to remove the hairs which grow between her pads. We also trim her claws. If you are not happy to do this there are lots of professional dog groomers out there, but either way it is a necessity to devote either time or money to this, as without it the dog will be in a real state in a few weeks.

            Fourthly a word about about neutering. Many people may not know why this is so important. If you buy a girl like Molly she may live for 9-15 years. The following reasons are vital to understand because of the heartbreak which may lie ahead if she succumbs to the diseases resulting from not having the op.

            Neutering reduces behavioural problems such as straying from home whilst having a season and some dominance problems.
            Neutering also prevents the inheritance of congenital diseases.
            It will remove the chances of developing life threatening uterine infections (pyometra) later in life. This is a common cause of death in middle aged bitches.
            Early neutering also has a protective effect against breast cancer, another common cause of death. The earlier a bitch is spayed the greater this effect.
            Neutering will prevent unwanted pregnancies.
            Neutering will not adversely affect the character of your pet!.
            Neutering also prevents false pregnancy and ovarian and uterine cancer.
            For dogs the advice is
            Neutering can reduce behavioural problems such as aggression, libido and straying from home. The earlier he is neutered the more likely this is to succeed.
            Neutering prevents the inheritance of congenital diseases
            It removes the risk of testicular tumours.
            It will reduce the risk of prostate problems in later life.
            It prevents unwanted pregnancies.
            Although neutering helps reduce behaviour problems, it will not adversely affect the character of your pet!

            The final point is that as these dogs have a deep chest they can very occasionally suffer from a condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome.This comes on after a meal and has symptoms of
            Distended or bloated abdomen,
            Excess salivation, and
            Nonproductive retching.
            It is a serious emergency and you would need a vet immediately.
            It can be prevented by not allowing the dog to the following
            Drink large amounts of water immediately after eating
            Eat a single, large meal daily
            Eating from a raised feeding bowl (In one study, about half of the dogs with GDV had a history of eating from a raised feeding bowl.)
            Exercising vigorously on a full stomach
            Gulping down food very quickly.
            This is a rare problem but just to be aware it is slightly more common in these breeds.

            So you will have to factor in the cost of the op, vaccinations, insurance,dog purchase- so you could be looking at about £1000 in the first year.
            A word about insurance I think it is so important. Try to pick a company which offers a policy which covers the dog for the same illnesses renewal after renewal, as not all policies are the same. Petplan does and I have been delighted with them.

            I have had more love from my shih tzu in 8 years than I ever imagined. They are the most faithful dogs delighted to see you when you get home. They love a walk but are not adversely affected if it is a bit too wet one day to fancy going out with them. They get on well with cats but Tom cats seem more accepting of them. They only need a small amount of food. Molly has two dog Shapes biscuits for breakfast, then in the afternoon she has a small tin of dog food and in the evening a bonio. No other treats and no human food either as this keeps her a nice healthy weight.
            Finally I hope this has helped you. I didn't know most of this when I became a novice shih tzu owner, but I now feel that if you know all before you buy one you are prepared for what lies ahead. You will be a million times rewarded by the love and devotion of a best friend!

            This review is also posted on Ciao by myself under my user name there Violet1278.

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              30.09.2008 23:16
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              A cute, playful dog that I think could adapt to any loving home with any age family

              This was a breed of dog I considered getting as my aunt has a Shih Tzu and has had her for about a year longer than I have had my dog. She is still like a puppy with her energy and playfulness! My aunt is 70 in a few months and only manages to go on short walks with her dog and the dog seems content with the short walk and access to the garden to run around in as much as she likes throughout the day.

              I know she managed to toilet train her really quickly and the dog will do basic obedience but has never taken a formal class. She is good walking on a lead and does not see herself as a small dog and will constantly want to go and play with the biggest dog in the park!

              My aunt keeps her coat fairly short as it is easier for her to manage and the coat tends to get matted when it is longer even though she devotes some time each day to groom her. The only problem she has is getting to trim around the dogs eyes as it is something the dog just hates!

              I decided against this breed of dog after falling in love with the Bichon Frise! However, their happy, playful and energetic energy does still appeal to me! As well as my aunt who lives in a small house and does not get to walk very far with her dog, I also have a friend who has this breed and they are a family of 5 and the dog goes for long walks everyday! So I think they are content doing what their owners do but also think that a Shih Tzu is a great dog for an older owner as they do not require a lot of exercise unlike some larger breed dogs.

              Seems my review was not helpful to some people so thought I would add a bit more some of which I know and some I have researched. I used to see a dog in the park which I always classed as a Shih Tzu and it was only when i spoke to the owner that she informed me it was a Tibetan Terrier. To me it looked like a short haired Shih Tzu! After looking into the breed I discovered it was originally from Tibet and although Tibet is fairly isolated they spread across from gifts to China.

              The are part of the utility group of dogs and are judged along side the toy group at Crufts - as they do Toy & Utility on the same day. They are small dogs coming in at about 3/4 the size of my Bichon Frise. The breed standard is from 23-27cms and the weight is from 4 to 8kgs. However my aunts dog seems to eat anything whenever she can get her paws on it and is only just over 4kgs - I put this down to her constant energy! As I mentioned above my aunt has problems cutting around the dogs eye and after looking on a few websites the Shih Tzu's eyes protrude so can be prone to cuts and it also mentioned that the hair grows in a way that can irritate the eyes.

              I was shocked to read on a few places that the energy is low for the breed as the two I know are constantly on the go! The lifespan is from 9 to 15 and going back over 4 years ago my aunt paid around £400 for her dog and my friends paid about the same around 2 years ago for a puppy that is kennel club registered.

              I already knew they were good with other animals as both the Shih Tzu's I see have a lot of contact with other animals and love to play with my dog. They are also wonderful with children my friends had a baby when they got the dog and they have lived together perfectly happily ever since they met! My aunts dog is also around a lot of her grandchildren and great nieces and nephews and has always enjoyed playing with them!

              I hope the last few paragraphs I have added have helped those who were not happy with the original review - perhaps I should have not reviewed a dog I have never owned but I see one at least once a week and was considering getting one before I got my dog.

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                10.02.2007 18:49
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                Great little dogs with a big heart!

                I'm not going to write about the history of the Shih tzu, but I can say that they are a great dog to have. Loving , playful, cute and adorable. You'll get plenty of love and companionship from a Shih tzu, they're little dogs with a big character. A Shih tzu's personality will shine, they have a great sense of humour,and if you raise them from a pup all the love and care you put in you'll get back ten fold. They'll love your attention and like to please you. If you want a dog like this you do need to be prepared to keep them properly groomed and brushed regularly. You don't need to have them all long hair and bows, I think they look lovely with what's known as the puppy cut, which is easy to maintain. You'll need to give their eyes a wipe over every so often and they like a daily walk and a play. Mine prefer teddy type toys as opposed to hard plastic ones. I can definitely recommend the Shih tzu breed as a companion, I totally adore mine!!

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                  24.05.2003 20:45
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                  This review will take you away from the conception that Shih Tzus (Pronounced SHIT-ZOO) prance around with their long hair, bows on their head looking down from their tall pile of silk cushions! FAR FROM IT! So where to begin? How about the origin... Shih Tzus are thought to originate from Tibet where they were given as presents to guard the Emperors. That's right! So this is the first misconception to correct. Shih Tzus can become very viscous if their loved ones are in danger or if they have a tasty bone that you are trying to take away! This is why young children must be watched with them if they (the Shih Tzu) are playing with their favourite toy! I often play fight with my family and my loving Shih Tzu always comes to my rescue barking like an Alsatian and pulling the "pretend" attacker away from me (who he doesn't harm as he also loves). So just imagine if that was a real attacker! So they are vicious? Far from it! They are the most loving dogs I have ever met. One look into their puppy dog eyes will melt the strongest of hearts. They are devoted pets who will follow you like a shadow around the house and always welcome you by sitting on their back and waving their paws (a sight to make anyone laugh)! But what about that long hair that needs to be maintained? Rubbish! If you want a Shih Tzu as a show dog and to have sitting around the house then yes you could let the hair grow if you want to brush it daily! I personally think that they are much cuter with fur cut to about 2mm or so which brings out their colour beautifully! This allows them to explore their playful side and chase their tail (which is very long and the fur on it can be kept long as well as the ears) What is the point in having the fur cut off if it's just going to sit around the house? HA! I have taken my Shih Tzu up Snowdon, Moel Siabod and on various other walks that have lasted the day a
                  nd he barely flags! He does twice the distance as he is eager to chase birds (known to him as chickens) or go off smelling the tall grass. So he likes to run off? Yes, but will regularly look back to see if you are okay. They are very easy dogs to train and with their devotedness and intelligence will impress everyone you know! Except of course when they beg for treats as you have never been able to break that habit! So what else? Well the name translates to "lion dog." Very aptly named as when lying down with back legs stretched out (Frog position!) the sit very proud just like a lion! So where is your Shih Tzu now? Playing in the garden with the neighbourhood cat! Shih Tzus have a loving temperament with all members of the animal kingdom. They will watch budgies with fascination and nudge the smallest hamster along it's way and protect it from the watching eyes of the cat! Any health problems? As they are very large the Shih Tzu's eyes will need to be cleaned regularly and sometimes they may need check ups for their anal glands and prostates. Overall though, a health dog that can live for up to 18 years. This is the perfect dog that can adapt to any lifestyle! Enjoy his faithful company for many years to come... NOTE: THE EXERCISE REQUIREMENTS SHOWN CAN BE LOWER THAN THIS AS THE SHIH TZU ADAPTS TO ANY ENVIRONMENT UPDATE: Sorry I only put in the section about it being vicious just to let people know they have a wide personality. They are only vicious if provoked, and this never happens that often with those that they love, and even if they give the odd growl they'll lick you afterwards to say sorry! 2ND REVIEW (THIS IS DIFFERENT BUT THEY ONLY LET YOU DO ONE) ************************************************************* Dating from the times when Emperors ruled Tibet, the Shih Tzu is considered a utility dog. T
                  hese brave yet often tiny dogs were given as gifts to the emperors to protect them and hunt for rats. Presently though they are becoming considered more of a lap dog that prances around with long fur, begging for a trophy at dog shoes. After taking my Shih Tzu Gizmo, appropriately named after the Gremlin (the cute version), up Moel Siabod and seeing him run up and down, doing well over double the distance of me, I realised that this was a dog that showed the true characteristics of a Tibetan Shih Tzu, although perhaps ever so slightly less glamorous, being born in Anglesey rather than the Far East! His father having a brown and white fur and his mother being black and white produced this mixture of black, brown and white, which lets face it, attracts any attention away from what I?m wearing and earns him many affection praises and strokes. With a dislike for the poodle parlour but a partiality for the vet, you can understand how especially different Gizmo is. With ancestors who protected the grand and important Emperors of Tibet it is unsurprising that this small fluffy dog protects me as much as he does a new toy that he?s just been given and averse to part with. Many a times has he barked out with all his energy at his other owners pretending to play fight just to see how protective and loving he really is. Perhaps this is why I am extra protective of him, or perhaps it is because being almost double the size of an average Shih Tzu he still can?t protect himself from much larger dogs on beaches who are determined to pick a fight. There have been the odd few times where larger dogs come running over to him, sinking their teeth into his fur. Although he may be shaking with shock, he always returns bounding with joy that he can return with his ever loving owners, knowing that he always has a place at home unaware of the countless dogs that are still being mistreated and abused by humans, because of this they could never hope to achieve th
                  e undeniably virtuous reputation of the dog. Perhaps there is some level of dog jealousy where attacks on him are instigated by his happiness at being doted on by three owners who ensure that he would never be treated in the way of some of these malevolent people we must chare the same label (human) with. But it?s not just his owners that adore him, how I wish I?d seen the sight of my Great Auntie Mair swinging Gizmo?s lead around her head to fend off seagulls wanting to take a lunge at him. I?m not too fond though of using the words ?pet? and ?owner? for something that has changed my family?s and my life so much. It can never be understood how something so far from are own ancestry can change a persons life unless they have experienced the unquestionable love of their own dog. How many people without dogs can say that their reception when they arrive home after leaving for even just ten minutes is that of mad jumping up and down and running around the house, or that every night they have something looking at them with loving eyes or ready to nuzzle up to them no matter what has happened to them or whatever they have done that day. Most of all though, how many of these people have someone that trusts them 110% with the running of their life and the outcome of their future. After having an operation to ensure he wouldn?t be upset by the smells of female dogs causing his painful colitis, I remember him lying on the bed crying with pain and melting under the hand that would stroke him lovingly or easing half a painkiller into his mouth while he is trying to lick you with gratitude. After the operation there was also the matter of another batch of colitis that had to be dealt with. After a strict telling off from the vet about Gizmo?s diet, the hardest part was having to look into his eyes just begging for a titbit of sausage or ?god forbid? liver, and often having to overcome the debate inside my head, one side that loves my dog so much to no
                  t let him suffer in pain of more colitis, the other that loves my dog so much that I could never refuse him anything. There are of course many happier memories though, mainly involving all of his little quirky traits. Training as a puppy became more of an event to help him develop tricks that would earn him more affection in the future than something to turn him into a placid and obedient ?pet?. This ?training? involved the obvious shaking paws with humans, sitting on his hind legs and waving his paws for appraisal or for the odd chocolate drop or even lying down and rolling over with ears flapped back and mouth grinning with submission and pleasure at remembering my favourite trick. So what makes this small dog greater than other larger dogs that have saved babies lives, given disabled people an easier life or have even been better behaved and could do all this and more? The plain and simple answer is that Gizmo represents any dog loved by his owner, he shows unconditional love for those that play with him, walk him and care for him. He has all of the traits and emotions of a human without any of the obnoxious attitudes, pride, resentment or greed for the things they want and do not have. The short of it is that Gizmo is a dog that is more well behaved than most human beings, more loving, kind and trustworthy than most people I will ever meet and has a happiness brought about from the simple pleasures in life such as sniffing lampposts, trees and the occasional strangers hand lowering to stroke that head in which his round eyes and mischievous yet secret knowledgeable Mona Lisa smile is set. And here he returns to my side, oblivious to the fact that I have just written a piece all about him but still treating me with affection and admiration. Now would any human do that if I?d just written about most aspects of their life if the main activities of their life involved sleeping, playing, walking and the occasional spot of dog sniffing?

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                    28.02.2002 19:31
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                    ~ SHIH-TZU: A BRIEF HISTORY ~

                    The Shih Tzu (pronounced shit-zoo!) is thought to have originated in Tibet where it was kept in temples as a sacred dog. They were worshipped by the Buddhist religion and nicknamed 'Little Lion Dog' because of their appearance. Shih Tzu actually translates as lion.

                    The dogs were sometimes given to the emperors of China as a tribute, during the 17th century Manchu Dynasty. In China, Shih Tzus became known as 'Little Temple Dogs' and were kept and carefully guarded in the emperors palace. They led a hard life - lounging around on silk cushions all day! Some were given to important families as gifts. The origins of the Shih Tzu are confirmed by surviving tapestries and paintings of the time.

                    Around this time, people were confused about the dog. Some thought it was a pure bred while others thought it was a cross between the Tibetan Apso and a Pekingese.

                    ~ ARRIVAL IN BRITAIN ~

                    The first Shih Tzu was brought to Great Britain in 1928 as a present for Queen Elizabeth. It was not until 1933 that the dog was recognised as an individual breed. America didn't obtain its first Shih Tzu until the late 1930s.

                    In 1952 there was a fear that the breed was developing poor structure so it was decided to cross a Pekingese into the line again. A shorter dog with a flatter muzzle was therefore created, looking more like the Shih Tzu of today. The dog is now becoming enjoyed by more and more people.

                    I decided that I wanted a Shih Tzu when I was about 10 years old. I was watching the kids Saturday morning programme Going Live and they had a puppy Shih Tzu on that attacked Gordon the Gopher (blast from the past!). It was so cute and from then on, it was all I wanted.

                    I eventually got one for my 13th birthday when my mum obviously decided that I was ready for the responsibility of looking after a dog. Let me tell you, Shih Tzus are irresistable as pups and I was absolutely ecstatic! I named him Zak and he is about 10 years old now. He's the best present I've ever had.

                    ~ ABOUT SHIH-TZUS ~

                    Shih Tzus are lively but quiet dogs and they walk in a very proud, almost arrogant way. They are intelligent dogs and also inquisitive - in other words nosy! They have a strong personality but alongside a docile temperament making them gentle and friendly towards people. Shih Tzus love affection from people and like nothing more than to curl up on your knee. A proper lap dog! Zak will sit patiently waiting to be acknowledged so that he can climb onto my mums lap. If he can't get on, he'll lie on the floor with his back legs stretched straight out behind him (a typical trait!). He'll then nod off and start snoring (also a typical trait!!). Zak would lounge around like this all day given half the chance. This must stem from their days as pampered pooches!

                    Shih Tzus are a petite breed of dog, normally weighing 9 - 16 pounds, making them very light to pick up. The height of the dog at the shoulders is between 8 - 11 inches.

                    The coat of the Shih Tzu is its main, distinguishing characteristic. They have a beautiful, long, luxurious coat which is very dense and has a slight wave to it. The coat comes in a small range of colours; black, grey, gold or any of these with white. It is customary to tie up the hair on the head to keep it out of the dogs face, although care has to be taken that this is not so tight that the dog can't blink! The coat does require a lot of care and grooming when long to stop it getting matted and tangled. If you are planning on keeping the hair long, grooming should be started when a pup is young to accustom them to the process. Many people crop the dogs hair shorter to a more manageable length, which looks just as nice. In my opinion this is cuter as the dog keeps its puppyish looks.

                    When it comes to the face of a Shih Tzu, the eyes are dark, round, large - very expressionate. The eyelashes are also long. The ears of the Shih Tzu are long and drooping and blend into the hair of the dogs neck. The breed also has a plumed tail that curves upwards over the back and is always wagging!

                    The muzzle is flat and because of this, Shih Tzus have a tendency to snort and grunt a lot, particularly when walking. It's very comical. They have a tiny little nose with hair growing up over the top. They even appear to have a moustache. Shih Tzus are often called 'the chrysanthemum faced dog' because the facial hair grows in different directions.

                    To buy, a pedigree Shih Tzu would cost approximately £250-£300. This may seem like a lot of money but it is definitely worth it. Shih Tzus are brilliant company. They are very loyal dogs and are never away from your side - or should I say ankles!

                    When I moved away from home I left Zak with my parents and I miss him a lot. He was my dog but my mum spent more time with him over the years while I was at school and he became very attached to her so I didn't have the heart to take him away. He does get excited everytime I visit - I like to think that he misses me too!

                    I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier now which is quite a big difference! Even though I love my Staffie to bits, she is very boisterous and I do sometimes miss the fact that Zak was so placid and quiet, and wish that Levi was more like him.

                    Take it from me, Shih Tzus would make a great addition to any family.

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