The first rule in selecting a Shih Tzu puppy is to take your time. Do not rush into things, and do not be an impulse buyer. It’s easy to fall in love with the first Shih Tzu puppy you see, but do not buy the Shih Tzu puppy because it’s cute or because you feel sorry for it.
You risk ending up with a puppy that may have serious medical or behavioral problems. Do your research. Take your time and think about things before you spend money.
The best way to stay on the right track and increase your chances of finding a well-socialized, well-bred, healthy Shih Tzu puppy is to buy from a reputable breeder.
Once you have located a breeder with animals available for sale, make an appointment to see the puppies in person at the breeder’s convenience. Be sure to verify that they have been registered and ask for a copy of their parents’ registration papers. The breeder can also provide you with a copy of the puppies’ pedigree.
Ask the breeder if the parents have additional certifications. For example, registration by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation, aka CERF, should be presented to you at the time of purchase. Also, it would be best if you inquired about the tests which prove freedom from inherited health problems, particularly those known to occur more frequently in the Shih Tzu breed.
Check Personality When Selecting a Shih Tzu Puppy
Watch the puppy in his or her home environment. Is the puppy happy and outgoing? Is he or she alert and active, playful, and curious? Carefully observe him or her and their littermates for signs of good health and happy personalities.
A Shih Tzu is bright, confident, outgoing, trusting, eager to investigate, and very friendly. After he or she has had some time to know you, they should be affectionate and playful. When selecting a Shih Tzu puppy, it should not be aggressive or shy.
Checking the Physical Condition of the Shih Tzu puppy
The next thing you should do is check the puppy’s eyes, ears, mouth, skin, coat, and movement. The eyes should be clear and bright, and the ears should be clean. Normal gums are bright pink.
The puppy’s teeth: Make sure the puppy has all his or her teeth. If the puppy is old enough to have lost his baby teeth, make sure the baby teeth fell out where the adult teeth replaced them.
Sometimes the baby teeth do not come out, and when the adult teeth grow in, there are too many teeth in the mouth. Retained baby teeth need to be extracted!
The rule is: When selecting a Shih Tzu puppy, there should never be more than one tooth of the same type in the mouth at one time.
In other words, If the Shih Tzu puppy has a baby canine tooth and an adult canine tooth, the baby tooth needs to be removed right away so that the adult teeth can grow correctly and not overcrowded in the mouth.
Jaw Alignment is Important When Selecting a Shih Tzu Puppy
Ideally, a puppy’s teeth should be in correct alignment, and they should all be there. However, a missing tooth is not uncommon and is not considered a severe fault.
A slightly undershot bite is normal for Shih Tzus, although jaws that align would be the ideal. If the upper jaw protrudes over the bottom jaw, this is considered a defect.
The teeth and tongue should not be visible when the mouth is closed, and the lips should align properly.
The puppy’s skin and coat: Make sure that the skin and coat are healthy and free of parasites or sores. The coat should be groomed and free of knots and mats. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized.
Filth, parasites, foreign objects, and sores rapidly accumulate in tangled, matted hair. Look under the tail to ensure the area is clean and free of signs of blood and diarrhea.
Meticulous breeders are concerned about placing their Shih Tzu puppies in caring, responsible homes.
A breeder may ask you questions about your plans for the puppy and the kind of home life the puppy will have. This is also your opportunity to ask questions, so take advantage of it.
The Shih Tzu Puppy’s Littermates and Parents
Finally, ask to see the puppy’s littermates and parents if they are available. This will help you to determine their personalities and give you a good idea of how you might expect the puppy to look and behave when he is an adult.
Remember, the way you raise and handle the puppy and the things it is exposed to as a youngster will greatly influence how its character and temperament develop.
Try to introduce your puppy to people, different sights, and sounds while it is still young with the ability to adapt easily.
The time you spend socializing your Shih Tzu puppy will pay off thousand times over when it is a well-adjusted adult.