Am I Ready To Raise A Shih Tzu?

Are you ready to take full responsibility for this dog and all its needs for the next 10-18 years? Shih Tzu live for a long time and this is NOT a task that can be left to children, no matter how well-meaning. It requires commitment from an adult.

Invest the considerable time, money and patience it takes to train a dog to be a good companion? (This does not happen by itself!!!)
Always keep the dog safe--no running loose or being chained outside.

 Make sure the dog gets enough exercise?

 Spend the money it takes to provide proper veterinary care including but certainly not limited to vaccines, heartworm testing, preventative spaying or neutering, and annual check ups?

Become educated about the proper care of the breed, correct training methods, and how to groom? (Many good books are available. Invest the time to read a few to learn about our breed.)

Take the time needed to keep your Shih Tzu well groomed? You must at least be responsible for daily maintenance, if you can't do it all, can you afford a groomer regularly and/or be willing to keep it in a "puppy cut?" (Those long flowing coats you see at a dog show are the result of hard work and expertise.)

Keep the breeder informed and up to date on the dog's accomplishments and any problems that may arise?

Take your questions to the breeder or other appropriate professional before they become problems that are out of hand?

Have the patience for (and enjoy) the trials of puppyhood?

Continue to accept responsibility for the dog despite inevitable life changes such as new babies, kids going off to school, moving, or returning to work?

Resist impulse buying and have the patience to make a responsible choice?

If you answered yes to ALL of the above, you are ready to start contacting breeders. 

Start early because most responsible breeders have a waiting list ranging from a few months to several years. Remember, the right dog IS worth the wait

Shih Tzu puppies are cute, so take the time in an initial phone call to ask the following questions. (Questionnaire) You may not find a breeder who fits 100 percent of these criteria,  but if you receive more than two negative responses, consider another breeder.
Remember your puppy will be a part of your family for many years. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BARGAIN HUNT! You may have known someone who has (or you may yourself have purchased) a "backyard" bred dog or a pet stop or puppy mill dog and had great success. However, it is prudent to remember that such puppies may have health or temperament problems due to a lack of knowledge about breed health problems and genetics or a failure to provide proper socialization at a young age. Responsible breeders do all that they can to screen for and eliminate health and temperament problems. They can provide you with advice about your puppy both before and after you take it home.
Do not be in a hurry. If getting a Shih Tzu, any Shih Tzu, RIGHT NOW, is foremost in your plans, then you are not serious and will get what you ask for....just any Shih Tzu. You should read books on the breed, attend dog shows, and LEARN.
Finally, responsible breeders are expected to produce Shih Tzu to high standards. They are entitled to respect and courtesy from the people they are trying to please. Always be on time for any appointments and be honest in explaining your lifestyle family activity level, experience with dogs, and knowledge of Shih Tzu.
Make a copy of the following check list and keep it by the phone when you make your calls. Good luck in your search!