Why Shih Tzus Rank as the Worst Dogs Explained

Are you considering adding a furry friend to your family? While Shih Tzus may be visually appealing with their adorable faces and fluffy coats, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks of owning this breed. Shih Tzus are often considered the worst dogs by some owners due to their high maintenance requirements, challenging behavior, and potential health concerns.

Let’s explore why Shih Tzus may not be the ideal choice for everyone and delve into the disadvantages and problems associated with this breed.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shih Tzus require high maintenance grooming and have a tendency to shed more than other breeds of similar size.
  • They are prone to various health issues, including eye disorders, respiratory problems, and dental issues.
  • Housebreaking a Shih Tzu can be a challenging and time-consuming process due to their stubborn nature.
  • Shih Tzus are known for excessive barking and noise-making, which may require training and management.
  • Separation anxiety is a common issue among Shih Tzus, requiring significant attention and companionship.

Shih Tzu’s High Maintenance Coat and Grooming Needs

One reason why Shih Tzus are considered demanding is their high maintenance grooming needs. Their long, silky coat requires regular brushing and grooming to prevent matting and tangling. This grooming process can be time-consuming and expensive. Shih Tzus also shed at high levels compared to other breeds of similar size, requiring frequent brushing and vacuuming in households with these dogs.

Grooming a Shih Tzu can be a challenging task due to their unique coat. The length and texture of their fur make it prone to tangling, matting, and trapping dirt. Regular brushing, at least several times a week, is necessary to keep their coat clean and prevent tangles. A slicker brush or comb with fine teeth is recommended to remove loose hair and prevent mats from forming.

In addition to brushing, Shih Tzus require regular bathing to keep their coat and skin healthy. It is important to use a mild, dog-specific shampoo and conditioner to avoid skin irritation. Due to their long coat, it is essential to thoroughly dry a Shih Tzu after bathing to prevent dampness and potential skin issues.

Trimming a Shih Tzu’s hair is another aspect of their maintenance routine. Some owners prefer to keep their Shih Tzus with a shorter haircut to minimize grooming needs, while others embrace the breed’s signature long and flowing locks. Professional grooming services may be necessary to maintain the desired look and style.

“The grooming process for Shih Tzus can be challenging and time-consuming. It’s essential to establish a regular grooming routine to keep their coat in good condition,” says Michelle Smith, a professional dog groomer with over 10 years of experience. “Regular brushing, bathing, and occasional trimming are all essential for maintaining a Shih Tzu’s coat health and appearance.”

To visually understand the grooming needs of Shih Tzus and how it compares to other breeds, refer to the table below:

Breed Grooming Needs
Shih Tzu High maintenance grooming needs, including regular brushing, bathing, and occasional trimming. Requires frequent brushing due to shedding.
Golden Retriever Moderate grooming needs, including regular brushing to prevent matting. Requires occasional bathing, but has minimal shedding.
Labrador Retriever Low maintenance grooming needs, including occasional brushing. Requires minimal bathing and shedding.

shih tzu grooming difficulties

As seen in the table, compared to breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzus have higher grooming needs. It is important for potential Shih Tzu owners to consider the commitment and expenses associated with their coat maintenance.

Shih Tzu’s Potential Health Concerns

Shih Tzus are beloved companions, but they are prone to certain health concerns that owners should be aware of. By understanding these potential issues, you can better care for your Shih Tzu and provide the necessary preventive measures and treatments.

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Eyesight and Eye Disorders

Shih Tzus are known for their expressive and large eyes, but unfortunately, they are susceptible to various eye disorders. These can include cataracts, corneal ulcers, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and dry eye. Regular checkups with a veterinarian and prompt treatment can help manage and alleviate these conditions, ensuring your Shih Tzu’s comfort and vision.

Respiratory Problems

Due to their short muzzles and flat faces, Shih Tzus are prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome. This condition can cause breathing difficulties, snoring, and even obstructive sleep apnea. It’s important to provide your Shih Tzu with a well-ventilated environment, avoid strenuous exercise in hot weather, and closely monitor any respiratory issues to ensure their well-being.

Dental Problems

Like many small dog breeds, Shih Tzus are prone to dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and dental infections. Regular dental care, including brushing their teeth, providing dental chews, and scheduling professional cleanings, can help maintain their oral health and prevent potential complications.

Obesity and Joint Issues

Shih Tzus have a tendency to gain weight easily, which can put extra strain on their joints and lead to conditions like osteoarthritis. It’s essential to provide them with a balanced diet, monitor their food intake, and engage in regular exercise to keep their weight under control and promote overall joint health.

Being aware of these potential health concerns allows you to take proactive measures to care for your Shih Tzu’s well-being. Regular vet checkups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can help minimize the risks and ensure a happy and healthy life for your beloved furry friend.

Shih Tzu’s Housebreaking Challenges

Housebreaking a Shih Tzu can be quite a challenge due to their stubborn and independent nature. Training them to follow proper bathroom habits may take longer compared to other breeds. However, with consistency, patience, and a regular schedule, you can successfully housebreak your Shih Tzu.

Here are some tips to help you overcome the housebreaking difficulties associated with Shih Tzus:

  • Establish a routine: Create a consistent daily schedule for feeding, walking, and bathroom breaks. Shih Tzus thrive on routine, and this helps them understand when and where to do their business.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats, praise, and affection when they successfully eliminate in the designated area. This positive reinforcement encourages them to repeat the behavior.
  • Puppy pads or outdoor training: Choose a method that works best for you and your Shih Tzu. Some owners find success with using puppy pads indoors, while others prefer to train their dog to eliminate outdoors. Consistency is key in either approach.
  • Be patient: Shih Tzus may take longer to grasp housebreaking concepts due to their stubbornness. Avoid scolding or punishing them for accidents, as this can create fear and hinder the training process.
  • Consider crate training: Crates can be useful tools for housebreaking. They create a den-like environment that appeals to a Shih Tzu’s instinct to keep their living area clean. Make sure the crate is properly sized and comfortable for your dog.

Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique, and it may take time and effort to fully housebreak them. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and a lot of patience will go a long way in overcoming their housebreaking difficulties.

shih tzu housebreaking difficulties

Shih Tzu Owner’s Story:

“Housebreaking my Shih Tzu was a challenging experience. She was quite stubborn and often seemed disinterested in following my commands. However, with perseverance and a lot of positive reinforcement, she eventually learned to use her designated bathroom spot. It took time, but seeing her progress was incredibly rewarding.”

– Sarah Thompson, Shih Tzu owner

Shih Tzu’s Tendency for Excessive Barking

Shih Tzus have a propensity for excessive barking and noise-making, which can be challenging for owners. Their heightened sensitivity to sounds and acute sense of hearing make them easily overstimulated by their environment. Without proper training and management, this can lead to persistent barking and noise-making, causing disruptions and potential conflicts.

Early training and socialization are crucial in helping Shih Tzus understand when it is appropriate to bark or make noise. By establishing boundaries and teaching them to differentiate between necessary alerts and unnecessary noise, you can help curb their tendency for excessive barking.

Some effective strategies to address shih tzu noise issues and excessive barking include:

  1. Positive Reinforcement: Use rewards and praise to reinforce quiet behavior and discourage excessive barking. When your Shih Tzu remains calm in response to potential triggers, acknowledge their good behavior with treats or affection.
  2. Distraction Techniques: Provide your Shih Tzu with interactive toys, puzzles, or other engaging activities to redirect their attention away from potential sources of noise or triggers. This helps shift their focus and minimizes excessive barking.
  3. Desensitization: Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to sounds or situations that commonly trigger excessive barking. Start with low-intensity levels and gradually increase exposure while rewarding calm behavior. Over time, this can help your Shih Tzu become less reactive to those stimuli.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when addressing shih tzu excessive barking. It’s important to remain calm and avoid resorting to punitive measures, as these can exacerbate anxiety and further reinforce the unwanted behavior.

To better understand the training process and develop effective techniques, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist experienced in dealing with shih tzus. They can provide personalized guidance tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs and help you establish a peaceful and harmonious environment for both you and your furry companion.

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Common Triggers for Shih Tzu’s Excessive Barking

Trigger Description
Doorbell The sound of the doorbell can trigger a Shih Tzu’s instinct to bark and alert their owners. This can be a challenge, especially if they become overexcited or anxious upon hearing it.
Strangers or Visitors Shih Tzus may bark excessively when confronted with unfamiliar people entering their territory. This behavior serves as a protective response but can become problematic if it is not properly controlled or managed.
Noise from Outside The sound of passing cars, loud neighbors, or other external noises can ignite a Shih Tzu’s barking frenzy. Their heightened sensitivity to sounds makes them more prone to react in these situations.
Animals or Wildlife If a Shih Tzu spots another animal, such as a squirrel or bird, they may become excited and inclined to bark excessively. Their natural instinct as a small breed is to alert their owners of potential threats.

shih tzu excessive barking

By recognizing these common triggers for shih tzu excessive barking, you can take proactive steps to manage and mitigate their responses. Implementing training techniques, setting clear boundaries, and providing them with a calm and structured environment will help ensure a harmonious and peaceful living environment for both you and your beloved Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu’s Vulnerability to Separation Anxiety

Shih Tzus are social and emotionally dependent dogs that can be highly susceptible to separation anxiety. When left alone for extended periods, they may exhibit negative behaviors such as whining, excessive barking, destructive chewing, and even urinating inside the house.

This breed requires plenty of love, attention, and daily exercise to prevent loneliness and frustration. Owners must be prepared to provide the necessary care and companionship to prevent separation anxiety.

“Leaving a Shih Tzu alone for long periods can lead to separation anxiety, which can be distressing for both the dog and the owner. It’s essential to create a balanced routine that includes quality time together and mental stimulation to keep them happy and secure.”

The Importance of Companionship

Shih Tzus thrive in the company of their human family members or other compatible dogs. They need constant social interaction and should not be left alone for extended periods. Providing a reliable and loving presence will help alleviate their anxiety and ensure their well-being.

Regular playtime, walks, and engaging activities can help keep their minds stimulated and prevent feelings of isolation. Additionally, consider enrolling your Shih Tzu in obedience classes or socializing them with other dogs to promote positive interactions and build their confidence.

Creating a Safe Environment

When leaving your Shih Tzu alone, it’s important to create a safe and comfortable environment. Offer a designated area with cozy bedding, toys, and familiar scents to provide a sense of security. Playing soothing music or leaving the television on can also help create a calming atmosphere.

In cases where prolonged separation is unavoidable, consider alternatives such as hiring a dog sitter, enrolling your Shih Tzu in doggy daycare, or arranging playdates with other friendly dogs. These options can help alleviate their anxiety and provide companionship while you’re away.

Seeking Professional Help

If your Shih Tzu exhibits severe separation anxiety symptoms or struggles with being alone despite your efforts, it may be beneficial to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide specialized advice, techniques, and training programs to address separation anxiety effectively.

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The Pros and Cons of Owning a Shih Tzu

Despite their challenges, owning a Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of having this adorable breed as a companion.

Pros of Owning a Shih Tzu

  • Hypoallergenic: Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic, making them an ideal choice for individuals with allergies to pets.
  • Low Prey Drive: Unlike some other breeds, Shih Tzus have a low prey drive, reducing the risk of escape or chasing after small animals.

Shih Tzus’ hypoallergenic qualities and low prey drive are among their positive attributes, particularly for those seeking a pet that won’t exacerbate allergies or display excessive prey instincts.

Cons of Owning a Shih Tzu

  • Grooming Demands: Shih Tzus have high maintenance grooming needs, requiring regular brushing and grooming sessions to keep their long, silky coats in good condition.
  • Potential Health Concerns: Shih Tzus are prone to various health issues, including eye disorders, respiratory problems, dental problems, and potential obesity and joint issues.
  • Training Challenges: Shih Tzus can be stubborn and independent, which can present difficulties in training and housebreaking.
  • Separation Anxiety: Shih Tzus are emotionally dependent dogs that can be highly susceptible to separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.
  • Excessive Barking: Shih Tzus may be prone to excessive barking and noise-making due to their high sensitivity to sounds.

While the grooming needs, potential health concerns, training challenges, separation anxiety, and tendency for excessive barking are factors to consider, they can be managed with proper care, training, and attention.

Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of owning a Shih Tzu, you can make an informed decision based on your lifestyle, preferences, and ability to meet the needs of this delightful breed.

Author’s Tip:

Remember, Shih Tzus require love, attention, and consistent care to thrive. Ensure you have the time, resources, and commitment to provide for their unique needs before welcoming one into your home.

Pros Cons
Hypoallergenic Grooming Demands
Low Prey Drive Potential Health Concerns
Training Challenges
Separation Anxiety
Excessive Barking

In Conclusion

While Shih Tzus are often labeled as the worst dogs by some, it’s important to consider both the challenges and the positive aspects of owning this breed. Shih Tzus can be demanding due to their high maintenance grooming needs, potential health concerns, difficulty in training, and vulnerability to separation anxiety. However, they also possess qualities that can make them suitable companions for certain individuals.

Shih Tzus require regular grooming to maintain their long, silky coats, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Their potential health issues, such as eye disorders and respiratory problems, require ongoing veterinary care and attention. Training a Shih Tzu can be a challenge due to their stubborn nature, and leaving them alone for long periods may trigger separation anxiety.

Despite these considerations, Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic, making them ideal for people with pet allergies, and they have a low prey drive, reducing the risk of chasing small animals. If you are willing to invest the time, effort, and resources required to address their specific needs, a Shih Tzu can be a loving and loyal companion.

Ultimately, before deciding to bring a Shih Tzu into your life, carefully evaluate your lifestyle, resources, and ability to meet the demands of this challenging breed. Consider consulting with a reputable breeder or rescue organization to gain a better understanding of the breed and its requirements. By making an informed decision, you can determine if a Shih Tzu is the right fit for you and provide them with a loving and fulfilling home.


Why are Shih Tzus considered the worst dogs by some owners?

Shih Tzus are often ranked as the worst dogs due to their high maintenance requirements, behavioral challenges, and potential health issues.

What are the grooming needs of a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus have a high maintenance coat that requires regular brushing and grooming to prevent matting. They also shed at high levels, requiring frequent brushing and cleaning in households with these dogs.

What are the potential health concerns of owning a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are prone to various health issues such as eye disorders, respiratory problems, dental problems, obesity, and joint issues. Regular veterinary checkups and ongoing medical care may be required.

Are Shih Tzus difficult to housebreak?

Yes, Shih Tzus can be challenging to housebreak due to their stubborn nature. Consistency, patience, and a regular schedule are crucial for successful training and housebreaking.

Do Shih Tzus bark excessively?

Shih Tzus have a tendency to bark excessively due to their heightened sensitivity to sounds. Proper training and socialization are important to manage this behavior.

Are Shih Tzus prone to separation anxiety?

Yes, Shih Tzus are emotionally dependent dogs and can be highly susceptible to separation anxiety. They require plenty of love, attention, and daily exercise to prevent loneliness and frustration.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic and have a low prey drive, making them suitable for individuals with allergies and reducing the risk of escape or chasing small animals. However, they also require high maintenance grooming, may have health issues, can be challenging to train, and are prone to separation anxiety.

What should I consider before deciding to own a Shih Tzu?

Potential owners should consider the breed’s grooming needs, potential health concerns, training difficulties, and the need for companionship to determine if they are prepared to meet the demands of owning a Shih Tzu.

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