7 Controversial Reasons Why Shih Tzus Divide the Dog Community

Are Shih Tzus just adorable bundles of fluff or do they have a darker side? If you’ve ever entered the world of dog ownership, you’ve likely encountered strong opinions and divided communities when it comes to these charming little companions. In this blog, we explore seven controversial reasons why Shih Tzus have the power to divide the dog community.

In this article, we’ll delve into the controversial aspects surrounding Shih Tzus, discussing topics such as:

1. Personalities and temperaments

2. Training methods that work best

3. Health concerns and genetic issues

4. Grooming demands and maintenance

5. Compatibility with other pets in the household

6. Ideal living conditions for Shih Tzus

7. The impact of breeders on Shih Tzu controversies

Get ready to learn, reflect, and gain a deeper understanding of the Shih Tzu community.

1. Controversy Surrounding Shih Tzus as the Worst Dog Breed

Shih Tzus, often regarded as adorable and affectionate companion dogs, have managed to generate mixed opinions within the dog community. While many people find them to be delightful pets, there are a few controversial reasons why some individuals consider them the worst dog breed. Let’s delve into these points of contention and explore the arguments from both sides:

This is a small, fluffy white and brown dog with a black nose and brown eyes. The dog has a shih tzu breed and is wearing a collar with a bell on it. The dog is looking directly at the camera with a curious expression.

1.1. Dental Problems:

Shih Tzus are known to have dental issues due to their small mouths and crowded teeth. This can lead to tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth loss if proper dental care is not provided. Regular brushing, dental chews, and professional cleanings are necessary to maintain their oral health.

1.2. Health Concerns:

Like all purebred dogs, Shih Tzus are susceptible to certain health problems. They have a predisposition to eye problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and dry eye. Additionally, their short snouts can contribute to respiratory issues, making them prone to snorting and wheezing. Potential owners must be aware of these health concerns and be prepared to provide necessary care.

1.3. Small Size and Fragility:

Shih Tzus belong to the toy breed category, which means they are tiny in size. While their compact nature may be appealing to some, it also makes them more delicate compared to larger dog breeds. Rough play or mishandling by young children can inadvertently cause harm to these small dogs.

1.4. High Maintenance:

The long, flowing hair of Shih Tzus is undeniably beautiful, but it requires regular grooming and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Without proper care, their coat can become matted, tangled, and prone to skin infections. Potential owners should be prepared for the time and effort required to keep their Shih Tzu’s coat in top shape.

1.5. Separation Anxiety:

Shih Tzus are known for their attachment to their owners and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. This can lead to destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, or soiling in the house. Proper socialization from an early age and mental stimulation can help mitigate this issue.

2. Health Concerns and Dental Problems in Shih Tzus

cute dog Shih Tzus

When considering adding a Shih Tzu to your family, it’s important to be aware of the potential health concerns and dental problems that are associated with this adorable breed. While Shih Tzus are known for their cute, flat faces and long, flowing coats, these very characteristics can lead to certain health issues.

1. Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome:

Shih Tzus belong to the brachycephalic breed group, which means they have short skulls and flattened faces. While this physical trait gives them their unique appearance, it can also result in respiratory problems. Their short snouts and narrow airways can make breathing more difficult, especially in hot and humid weather. It’s important to keep Shih Tzus in a cool and well-ventilated environment to prevent overheating and ensure their respiratory health.

2. Dental Problems:

Due to their small size, Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Their crowded mouths can accumulate plaque and tartar more easily, leading to potential infections and oral discomfort. Regular dental care, including brushing their teeth and providing appropriate chew toys, can help maintain their oral hygiene and prevent dental problems in the long term.

3. Eye Problems:

Shih Tzus have prominent, large eyes that are prone to various eye problems. They are susceptible to issues such as cherry eye, corneal ulcers, dry eye syndrome, and cataracts. Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian are essential to detect any early signs of eye-related conditions and provide prompt treatment.

4. Skin and Coat Issues:

Shih Tzus have luxurious, long coats that require regular grooming and maintenance. Without proper care, their beautiful coats can become tangled, matted, and prone to skin problems. It’s crucial to establish a grooming routine that includes regular brushing, bathing, and trimming to keep their skin and coat in good condition.

5. Behavioral and Emotional Concerns:

Shih Tzus are known for their companionable nature and attachment to their owners. However, they can also experience separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. They thrive on human companionship and need proper socialization, mental stimulation, and physical activity to prevent behavioral issues associated with anxiety and boredom.

3. Shih Tzus as a Suitable Companion for Young Children

When it comes to finding the right dog breed for a household with young children, the choice can be overwhelming. Shih Tzus are often considered to be good companions for young children due to their small size and gentle nature. However, there are some controversies surrounding this claim. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why some people believe Shih Tzus may not be the best choice for families with young children.

1. Fragility and Rough Play

Shih Tzus are known for their delicate build and small size. While they can be incredibly affectionate and patient, they may not withstand the rough play and handling that often comes with young children. Their small stature and fragility make them more prone to accidental injuries, such as being stepped on or dropped. It’s important to teach kids how to properly interact with dogs and handle them with care.

2. Separation Anxiety

Shih Tzus are renowned for their loyalty and attachment to their owners. This strong bond can lead to separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods, which can be challenging for families with busy schedules or working parents. Separation anxiety may manifest in behaviors such as excessive barking, destructive chewing, or even self-harm. Families considering a Shih Tzu should be prepared to invest time and effort into proper separation training and providing mental stimulation to alleviate this issue.

3. Limited Physical Activity

Due to their small size and delicate nature, Shih Tzus have certain limitations when it comes to physical activity. While they enjoy short walks and play sessions, excessive exercise and rough play can lead to health issues, particularly for puppies and older dogs. It is crucial to strike a balance and ensure that young children understand the importance of gentle play and not overwhelming the dog physically.

💡 key Takeaway: While Shih Tzus can make adorable companions for young children, potential owners should consider their fragility, potential separation anxiety, and limited physical activity before making a decision. Proper care, socialization, and supervision are key factors in ensuring a harmonious relationship between Shih Tzus and young children.

4. The Long Coat of Shih Tzus and Potential Health Issues

Shih Tzus are known for their beautiful long coats, but this distinctive feature can lead to potential health issues that every potential owner should be aware of. Taking care of a Shih Tzu’s coat requires diligence and regular maintenance to ensure their overall well-being. Let’s explore the implications of the long coat and the associated health concerns.

1. Regular Grooming and Hygiene Practices:

Shih Tzus have a luxurious double-layered coat that requires constant attention. Regular brushing and grooming are essential to prevent matting and tangling of their long hair. It is imperative to establish a grooming routine from a young age to maintain their coat in good condition. Neglecting their grooming needs can lead to discomfort, skin problems, and even infections.

2. Potential for Dental Issues:

Due to their long facial hair, Shih Tzus are prone to dental problems. Food particles may become trapped in their luxurious mustache, leading to plaque buildup and potentially tooth decay. Regular dental care, including brushing their teeth and providing appropriate dental treats, is crucial to maintain their oral health.

3. Eye Concerns:

Shih Tzus have large, expressive eyes that are susceptible to various eye issues. Their long hair can irritate and poke their eyes, leading to infections or corneal ulcers. It is important to keep their hair trimmed around the eyes to minimize the risk of such problems. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are necessary to monitor and address any eye concerns that may arise.

4. Heat Sensitivity and Respiratory Problems:

The long, thick coat of a Shih Tzu can make them more prone to heat sensitivity and respiratory issues. It is important to keep them in a cool environment, especially during hot weather, and avoid exposing them to excessive heat or strenuous physical activity. Their short snouts also contribute to potential breathing difficulties.

5. The Risk of Rough Play:

Owners should be cautious when it comes to rough play with Shih Tzus due to their delicate structure and the vulnerability of their long coat. Rough handling or excessive tugging can cause painful matting, hair breakage, or even injuries. Gentle play and appropriate handling techniques are recommended to prevent any harm to their coat or health.

6. Mental Stimulation and Proper Socialization:

Shih Tzus are a companion breed and thrive on human companionship. Lack of mental stimulation and social interaction can lead to separation anxiety and behavioral problems.

5. Proper Care and Maintenance for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus may have a reputation for being high-maintenance, but with the right care and attention, they can thrive and bring joy to their owners. Here are some essential tips to ensure the health and well-being of your Shih Tzu companion.

1. Grooming and Coat Maintenance

Maintaining the luxurious and long coat of a Shih Tzu requires regular grooming. Brushing their hair daily helps to prevent mats and tangles. Professional grooming every 4-6 weeks is also recommended, as it includes trimming, bathing, and nail trimming. Regular grooming not only keeps your Shih Tzu looking their best but also helps in maintaining their overall health and hygiene.

2. Dental Care

Like many small dog breeds, Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues. To prevent dental problems, it is crucial to establish a dental care routine early on. Regularly brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth using a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Additionally, provide dental chews and treats specifically designed for maintaining oral hygiene. Regular veterinary dental check-ups are also essential for ensuring your Shih Tzu’s dental health.

3. Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Shih Tzus may have a small size, but they still require daily exercise and mental stimulation. Engage them in interactive play sessions, short walks, or even indoor games. Mental stimulation can be provided through puzzle toys or obedience training. Be mindful not to overexert them, as Shih Tzus can easily get tired due to their short snouts, which can cause respiratory issues.

4. Socialization and Behavioral Training

Proper socialization is crucial for Shih Tzus to develop good behavior and adapt well to various environments. Introduce them to different people, pets, and situations from a young age. This helps prevent shyness, aggression, and separation anxiety. Consistent and positive reinforcement-based training methods should be used to shape your Shih Tzu’s behavior. Enroll them in puppy classes or consult a professional dog trainer for guidance.

5. Health Care and Regular Check-ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring your Shih Tzu’s overall health and catching any potential health concerns early on. Ensure they receive all necessary vaccinations and preventive treatments for parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

6. The Compact Size of Shih Tzus and their Status as Indoor Dogs

Shih Tzus are well-known for their small size, making them an ideal choice for individuals living in apartments or houses with limited space. The compact size of these adorable dogs allows them to comfortably fit into smaller living environments without feeling cramped. This is particularly appealing for potential owners who prefer a little dog with a big personality.

Being indoor dogs, Shih Tzus thrive in an environment where they have access to their owner’s companionship and can be closely monitored. They are not built for rough play or excessive physical activity, which makes them a great option for individuals who may not be able to provide extensive exercise to a larger, more active breed. Shih Tzus can happily live in smaller spaces as long as they receive proper care, mental stimulation, and regular physical activity.

Proper socialization is crucial for Shih Tzus, regardless of their indoor lifestyle. These dogs are known to develop separation anxiety if not adequately socialized from an early age. Introducing them to different people, animals, and environments helps to build their confidence and ensure they are comfortable in various situations.

Additionally, Shih Tzus’ compact size and indoor nature also make them a good choice for touch device users. Because they thrive in an environment where they can have close contact with their owners, they are more likely to enjoy snuggling up on the couch or curling up on their owner’s lap while they engage with their touch devices.

While Shih Tzus’ compact size and indoor lifestyle have their advantages, it’s important to note that they have specific health concerns that potential owners should be aware of. Dental issues, for example, are common in this breed, and regular dental care is essential to maintain their oral health. Shih Tzus’ long hair and thick coat also require proper grooming to prevent tangling and keep their coat in good condition.

💡 key Takeaway: Shih Tzus’ compact size and indoor lifestyle make them an ideal small dog breed for individuals living in apartments or houses with limited space. However, potential owners must be aware of their specific health concerns and ensure they receive proper care and grooming.

7. Exploring the World of Shih Tzu Ownership

Shih Tzus, known for their adorable faces and compact size, have become a popular choice as a small dog breed. However, there are some controversial aspects surrounding Shih Tzus that divide the dog community. In this section, we will delve into these controversial reasons and provide insights into the world of Shih Tzu ownership.

1. Dental Problems: Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues, mainly due to their small size and overcrowded teeth. It is important for Shih Tzu owners to prioritize their oral hygiene by regularly brushing their teeth and providing appropriate chew toys.

2. Health Concerns: While Shih Tzus are generally a healthy breed, they do have a few potential health issues. These can include eye problems, respiratory issues, and certain genetic conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper care are essential to maintain their good health.

3. Rough Play and Young Children: Shih Tzus have a delicate structure, making them susceptible to injuries during rough play, especially with young children. It is crucial for owners to supervise interactions between their Shih Tzu and young children to prevent accidents.

4. Maintenance: Shih Tzus are known for their long, thick coat, which requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition. Without proper care, their hair can easily become matted. Additionally, Shih Tzus are prone to tear stains, which need to be managed effectively.

5. Mental Stimulation and Separation Anxiety: Shih Tzus are companion dogs and thrive on human interaction. Lack of mental stimulation and prolonged periods of isolation can lead to separation anxiety. Providing them with mental enrichment, physical activity, and proper socialization is crucial to their overall well-being.

6. Indoor Lifestyle: Due to their small size, Shih Tzus are often considered ideal for indoor living. However, they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent obesity and behavioral issues. Owners must ensure they strike a balance between outdoor activities and providing a safe indoor environment.

7. Controversial Reputation: Shih Tzus have gained a reputation as a “worst indoor dog breed of all time” in some circles. This may stem from misconceptions or experiences with poorly trained or neglected Shih Tzus. It is essential to remember that any dog breed can thrive in the right environment and with proper care.


In conclusion, Shih Tzus seem to be a breed that stirs up strong opinions within the dog community. From their long hair to their stubborn nature, there are many controversial aspects to consider. However, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique, and generalizations should not dictate how we perceive any particular breed. While some may view Shih Tzus as high maintenance and difficult to train, others see them as loyal and loving companions. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the individual needs of each owner. If you’re considering adding a Shih Tzu to your family, it’s crucial to do thorough research, seek advice from experienced owners, and spend time with the breed to make an informed decision.


Is there a controversy surrounding Shih Tzus?

There is some controversy surrounding Shih Tzus, as some people believe that they are too aggressive with other dogs.

What health concerns do Shih Tzus have?

Some common health concerns for Shih Tzus include cataracts, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, seizures, and heart problems.

How much exercise do Shih Tzus need?

Shih Tzus require a lot of exercise, but it’s important to give them the right amount. Too much exercise can lead to obesity, while not enough can lead to boredom and destructive behavior.

Are Shih Tzus dangerous?

There is no one answer to this question as individual dog owners may have different opinions on the matter. However, some of the most common reasons why people believe Shih Tzus are dangerous include their small size and sharp teeth.

What size do Shih Tzus need?

There is no one definitive answer to this question since different dog owners have different opinions based on their individual dog’s size, personality, and activity level. However, most experts generally agree that Shih Tzus between 12 and 16 inches (30 and 40 cm) in height and weight are the ideal size for the breed.

Are Shih Tzus good for small apartments?

There’s no question that Shih Tzus make great pets for people with smaller living spaces. They’re small enough to fit in a small apartment, but still large enough to provide lots of love and attention. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can find one that perfectly matches your personality and style.

Are Shih Tzus good for indoor living?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the personality and needs of each individual dog will be quite different. However, some general points to bear in mind when looking after a Shih Tzus indoors are to provide plenty of toys and playtime, ensure a stimulating environment, and keep them separated from other pets if possible.

Leave a Comment