The Shih Tzu breed is undoubtedly cute, but you should worry about buying them from Shih Tzu breeders with dubious backgrounds, who may sell you unhealthy pups. While it’s possible to pay good money for puppies from a good bloodline, and healthy ones at that, it’s more likely to find puppy mill Shih Tzu breeders that find legitimate ones. Legitimate breeders, those who breed dogs according to healthy breeding standards, are often part of breeding clubs. When you find out that a breeder is a member, that’s a good sign – they can provice your with documentation pertaining to the pups’ legitimate bloodline.
If you’re particular to a specific Shih Tzu breed, a good breeder is your best bet. You could of course try looking for a pure bred Shih Tzu in animal shelters, and even in Shih Tzu rescue, but it’s unlikely to find one in those place – they take in any orphaned dog, and may not be too choosy. If you’re also looking for puppies to raise, then a breeder is what you’re looking for. It’s possible some shelters chance upon pure breed dogs and puppies, and take care of them while screening potentially qualified new owners, but you might need to scout a lot of shelters to increase your chances of finding pure breeds Plus, if you usually take part in dog shows – and enter your best dogs there – getting in touch with a legitimate breeder increases your chances of your dog’s passing the show’s conformation standards.
What’s good about good breeders is that they have references you can check. A trustworthy breeder will volunteer right away, when you interview them, their references which you can of course check – they want you to see right away they are not part of some puppy mill that’s after only profit. You will not be the only one asking a lot of questions, during that interview, as the breeder will also ask you questions. The breeder wants to find out if you are qualified to take care of such a breed, so he will not sell his dogs to pet owners who buy on impulse and later have them adopted.
A home that’s ready to take in new pets should have clean and sanitary areas for the pups, relatives that understand this breed, an owner financially prepared to shoulder the needs (pet bedding, premium dog food, vet check ups, inoculations, deworming sessions, medical procedures, grooming items, etc.), and a devoted heart on the part of the owner. These considerations are all important: remember that Shih Tzu have their share of health vulnerabilities, plus a personality that wants you attention.
Grooming itself and needing to take the Shih Tzu out to do its business takes some space in one’s calendar. So now you understand why a breeder would ask you all those questions – he wants to know if the dog or dogs will be in good hands. That’s a good sign you’re in good hands.