Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Posted March 18, 2015
I've had Juba for two years now. He has been a great company since the beginning. He is very well-behaved and was easily potty trained. He'll only do #2 when walking outside - going as far as to stand by the door and ask to go when he needs to - and #1 on a newspaper-covered corner we keep for him on our balcony.
We potty trained him by restricting his access to the house until he had gotten used to doing his business on the newspapers on the balcony. It took about three days to train him and he has never done it anywhere else since. We have talked to friends and family who also own Shih-Tzus and they've had similar experiences.
He likes to be petted, but is not demanding about it and for the most part he just lies around all day. We take a quick walk of about 10 minutes each day and that seems to be enough activity for him. He gets tired pretty quickly when walking and the first couple of times I ended up having to carry him back, until I figured out how much distance he can take.
He is very affectionate and will flop belly up to the floor in a pinch if you babytalk or make any motion to pet and caress him. He is also pretty playful and has a couple of favorite toys which he'll fetch and hide if you throw them.
Juba has very smooth hair which sheds in very small amounts. I am allergic to most animal hair, but so far have had little to no reaction to Juba's. It does require a little maintenance, though. We take him to the pet shop weekly for a bath and shear him about once a month. He also has some food allergies, so we treat him to a special hypoallergenic ration, which is a little more expensive than regular dog food.
He can get a little overexcited when we have guests over, jumping all over them in a playful manner the minute they walk in. However, he gets tired of it quickly and promptly leaves to lie down on his skull-themed bed after a couple of minutes, so it only becomes a nuisance when I have someone who doesn't like dogs over.
Juba rarely barks at all. I believe in these two years he has barked maybe a handful of times, which makes him a great dog for apartments. He does not chase other animals and is very obedient.
Overall I highly recommend Shih-Tzus to anyone who wants a calm, quiet affectionate dog who will always be loyal and well-behaved.