3 Things to Know Before Adding a Shih-Tzu to Your Family

There is a good reason that dogs are called man's best friend -- they are loving, loyal, and typically love their human family more than anything. When it comes to loving and loyal dogs, there are few breeds that can match the shih-tzu. This is a small breed of dog that has a big personality, does not need extensive outdoor exercise each day, and can live comfortably in homes of all sizes, from small apartments to large houses. If you are thinking about adding a shih-tzu to your family, it is important to think about the following:

Be Ready for a Lap Dog

Shih-tzus are known for being loving and sweet, and as the owner of a shih-tzu, you have to be prepared to have a pet that will constantly want to be on your lap and need frequent petting and love. This breed of dog is very social and typically thrives when it has ample time with its human family, so a shih-tzu is best suited for people that spend a lot of time at home and are able to give a dog a lot of attention.

Housebreaking Can Be Difficult

While shih-tzus are incredibly sweet and loving, this breed can also be quite stubborn, so housebreaking a new puppy may take a while. Kennel training can be very helpful when housebreaking a shih-tzu -- dogs are den animals by nature, and they do not urinate or have bowel movements in their den. A kennel can act as a den and help a shih-tzu become housebroken, but it is important to take your shih-tzu out of the kennel often to use the bathroom since this breed of dog has a very small bladder.

Shih-Tzus Need Regular Grooming

Many people picture shih-tzus as small dogs that have flowing coats that brush the floor; this is typical for show dogs, but most owners of shih-tzus prefer to keep their dogs' coat short in order to make it easier to maintain. If you choose to add a shih-tzu to your family, you have to be ready to pay a pet grooming service to regularly groom your dog in order to prevent matting and unkempt hair or learn how to groom your shih-tzu yourself. While grooming costs are not cheap for a shih-tzu, this type of dog has hair instead of fur, so it is the perfect dog for a family that has anyone who suffers from allergies, as it does not shed or have dander.