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This is one of the most frequent questions I receive. There are no major personality differences between male and female. They both have great personalities to make a great companion and family member. This is an awesome breed. Male or female is often just a matter of personal preference. A female tends to say “love me” and a male says “I Love you.” Females often have their agendas and will let you know what they want. In a dog pack makeup, females usually rule the roost, determine the pecking order, and who competes to maintain and/or alter that order. Females tend to be more reserved or dignified as they age. Males tend to be a bit more affectionate but are also more exuberant throughout life. They are inclined to be more steadfast, reliable, and less moody. Males can be easily distracted during training, as males like to play so often. And no matter what his age, he is more likely to act silly and more puppy-like, always wanting to play games. A male seems to be content to simply enjoy your company. But it’s guaranteed you won’t be disappointed in whichever you choose! Check out our nursery for upcoming litter announcements or for available puppies.

When your vet diagnosis a pupp​y with Pinched Nostrils (Stenotic Nares) - what does it mean?

Shih Tzu puppies will often have pinched nostrils during teething. This problem is caused by the swelling associated with teething and almost always corrects itself once teething has finished, usually by around 6 months of age. Many Shih Tzu puppies can sound snuffly and they may blow the odd clear bubbles from their nose. This is due to the swelling involved with cutting new teeth. The bubbly discharge from the puppy's nose is not serious if the discharge is clear and watery and the puppy is obviously thriving. If a puppy is obviously really struggling, is lethargic or showing signs of lack of oxygen then surgery may be required but this is rare. It’s important to make sure your vet is well experienced with the brachycephalic (short muzzle) breeds where this is a common phenomenon as it can be alarming to a new pet owner and cause unnecessary concern when a vet is not familiar with the breed and suggests surgery for a puppy in the teething stages.

My dog has been diagnosed with reverse sneezing. What is reverse sneezing?

Reverse sneezing, or snorking, describes a condition in which the Shih Tzu seems to be unable to get its breath and begins to snort. Reverse sneezing does not require medical attention.  Most episodes usually only last less than a minute. Once the dog takes a deep breath through its mouth, the dog is completely normal as before the event. The most effective way to stop this is to put a finger over the dog’s nostrils, thereby forcing it to breathe through its mouth. Be assured you are not hurting your dog by doing this. Sometimes just a hug, rubbing the dog’s throat area and some calming petting will do the trick! Unlike more serious problems found in brachycephalic (short-faced) dogs, reverse sneezing in Shih Tzu is quite common and is not life-threatening although can be very alarming the first time you experience it.

Do Dewclaws Have a Purpose?  And Should They Be Removed?

A dewclaw that is attached by bone to a dog’s front foot has a definite purpose. When dogs run, their front feet often bend to the point where their dewclaws come in contact with the ground. At high speeds (especially when turning) or on slippery surfaces, these dewclaws provide extra traction and help stabilize the carpal (wrist) joint. Some dogs also use their dewclaws to help them climb trees, hold objects to better chew on them, or climb out of the water if they’ve broken through ice. 

Dewclaws are essentially the thumbs and big toes of the dog world. They are not directly equivalent to the human structures, of course, but they are similar. Looking at a dog’s front foot, the toes that are in contact with the ground while standing correspond to our pinky, ring finger, middle finger, and index finger. The dewclaw is the “thumb.” The same is true for the canine hind foot with the dewclaw being the “big toe.”

Because front dewclaws serve an important purpose, they should not be removed unless there is a very good reason to do so. In rare cases, a dewclaw may be severely injured or develop a disease (e.g., a cancerous tumor) and removal under those circumstances would certainly be in the dog’s best interests. These problems occur so infrequently, however, that removing healthy front dewclaws to prevent them makes little sense. Instances where it does make sense to remove a dewclaw are if the dewclaw is loosely attached, double or rear dewclaws to prevent injury. The actual incidence of these types of injuries is still quite low, so the value of these surgeries is up for debate. Typically the surgery is scheduled at the same time the dog is being spayed or neutered (while it is anesthetized).

Why Is My Puppy Eating Poop? 

While dogs of any breed may eat their own or other animals' feces (coprophagia), the Shih Tzu seems especially prone to this behavior. The best way to handle the problem is never let it become a habit. Watch your Shih Tzu closely and clean up poop right away. There are also products you can incorporate into their food or supplements you can give your pet to help deter them. Make sure you are also feeding your dog a high quality food.