Do You Find A Shih Tzu Puppy?
The only place I would ever buy a
pure bred dog from is from a reputable, Show Breeder. Period.
Regardless of whether you are interested in showing or not, is
unimportant. Not every puppy from a show litter is "show
quality". So, if you are not interested in showing the dog, do ask
for a pet quality puppy. But you do want the same genetic pool as the
show puppy. This has nothing to do with being stuffy, or snooty, or
anything else that "show dogs" seem to connote. It has to do
with the health and well being of your puppy. Know the genetic
background. Is this a 100% guarantee that your pup will never have a
health issue? Of course not. But, it does give you a better chance of
having a more sound dog. Genetics really need to be traced back to at
least four generations. A reputable show breeder will have that info and
know the background of the dogs in the pedigree. Once you have read
various Breed books and joined various Tzu boards, you will have a
fairly good idea of which genetic lines are good, and which are not so
good. If you are unsure, the best way to find out is to ask breeders,
show handlers, members on boards, etc. Pure bred dogs come with a host
of health issues that many mixed breeds do not have. Know what those
predispositions are, and how best to avoid them (if possible).
If you are not interested in a pure bred Shih Tzu with a documented
genetic background, then please do consider ADOPTING from Shih Tzu
Rescue. There are many loveable dogs there who do need a home.
Many of them are pure bred, but you will not have the papers nor genetic
documentation. However, if you are not interested in showing the dog,
Rescue is a wonderful place to find a pet to love!
Don't: (and I do mean DO NOT!)
-buy from a PET STORE! Please do not make this mistake. NO reputable
show breeder would ever sell to a pet store. NONE! I don't care that
they offer "akc papers". That means little, unfortunately.
Papers can be forged. Papers can be sold. There are some DIS reputable
show breeders who do allow "pet buyers" to breed! ONLY dogs
purchased on a "show contract" and those that have become
"champions" in Nationally recognized Breed Clubs (AKC, CKC,
etc) should ever be bred. If a dog is not good enough to Show,
then he should not be bred! Yes, that is my opinion. The only suppliers
to pet stores are: Puppy Mills, and Backyard Breeders (BYB). Do NOT
support these businesses by purchasing that "cute puppy in the
window". Yes, it is heartbreaking to think that puppy may be
enduring cruelty at that petstore (many go unvaccinated, or over
vaccinated, under fed, no water, no medical, etc!!!), but every purchase
at a petstore is MORE money in the hands of BYBs and Puppy Mills. To
fight this injustice, do NOT purchase from petstores, but rather join in
the fight to banish pet store selling of dogs and cats, so that we can
put Puppy Millers and Backyard Breeders out of business, once and for
all! Puppy Mills are notorious for CRUEL, INHUMANE treatment of
dogs and other small animals. Crippled dogs are forced to breed, dogs
are beaten, CAGED, left in horrible filthy conditions. The Amish in PA
are notorious puppy millers with some "dog farms" CAGING up to
500+ dogs! One case involved a Shih Tzu whose leg was bitten off by a
Pitbull in the next cage! The Shih Tzu lay dying, surrounded by her
quiverring, scared puppies and mate! SICK! ok. This is leading to a
rant. As you can see, I HATE puppymillers and backyard breeders. So,
please do NOT give your money to pet stores! Either go to a reputable
show breeder, OR go to a Shih Tzu Rescue Organization. Links are on the
Resources page on this site.
-First research the breed, by
reading various Shih Tzu Breed books.
-Join as many "Shih Tzu"
breed "dog boards" as you can. Read through the archives, then
do post questions. Learn as much as you can before you buy a Shih Tzu
--Do go to as many AKC Conformation Shows as you can, and watch the Shih
Tzus being shown. Learn what the correct movement and body type for the
breed is. Meet with the handlers AFTER the show (not before! as they are
busy prepping), and at least introduce yourself and ask for their
business cards. Contact them later, as they are most likely in a hurry
even after the show.
-Do purchase the Show brochure, and mark down which dogs you liked in
the Ring, and why. Flag those as the breeders to contact. Usually,
breeder info is listed in the back of the book, but rarely are their tel
no listed. So, DO rely on getting a business card at the show.
-Do contact the handlers you meet at the shows. Ask who the breeder of
the dog was that they were showing.
-Do contact more than just 2 breeders. You want to speak with several.
-DO visit the breeder's kennels. Pay attention to detail. Don't be
suckered in by a "before the visit cleaning". You want
to see dogs that are maintained as "part of the family" all
the time. And it is important that the dogs be well cared for, all the
The main things to consider in a Breeder, are:
1-rapore. I cannot stress this enough. You have to feel comfortable with
the breeder. You want a breeder who wants to remain in close contact
with you in the future. If a breeder is not friendly, and very willing
to give you the information you are seeking, RUN AWAY! Do not walk!
Genetics is only one part of the equation. It is not a health guarantee.
So, you want to make sure you choose a reputable breeder, who does offer
a health guarantee/warantee, and who is willing to be there if you ever
need any help.
2- Reputable! This is tied for first
place. You want a reputable breeder, and though not all in the Show
Circuit may be, most are. Do not just rely on "breeder lists"
given by the local or even National Shih Tzu Clubs, though that
is a good place to start (ask the National Club for their breeder list).
You need to see and meet these people at the shows, in their homes, and
speak a few times over the phone. Get to know them. Talk to other
breeders about one another. A reputable breeder will be honest, not
catty. Reputable breeders are not in the business to make money. Most
actually lose money. They breed because they have a love for the dogs,
and they strive to improve upon the breed standard. They want their dogs
to go to a loving home. So, a reputable breeder is not going to
bad-mouth a competitor, just for the sake of selling a puppy of their
own. They have too much to lose. Look for objective honesty. Make sure
you see the dam and sire of the litter. If the dam and sire are not the
epitomy of health, chances are that the puppies won't be either. Check
the genetic line carefully. Again, post on boards, go to shows, ask
3-location (being close to a breeder
allows you to be able to seek help, if you need it. Also, some breeders
will kennel your dog if you are traveling. Being an hour or less away,
makes this much easier!) IF you are showing the dog, then location
should not be a factor.
A dog is not an ornament. It is a
living being. It is unfair to buy a pure bred dog, without having in
depth knowledge as to what the breed specific issues are (grooming,
HEALTH, nutrition, training issues, behavioural issues, etc). Do your
homework before buying a dog, of any breed.
Cost of a Pure Bred Shih Tzu Puppy?
This is hard to gauge. It mainly depends on the lineage of the puppy
(genetic health background, testing, area of the USA purchased from,
etc). Also, the more reknowned the breeder in the Show Circuit, the
higher the price, usually. But not always. So, it all depends. A pet
quality puppy from a show breeder (there are also show quality pups in
the litter) will obviously command a lesser price. Usually the price
difference is at least $400 between pet and show quality. An avg price
for a pet quality Shih Tzu puppy is about $600-800. A show quality Shih
Tzu puppy is about an avg price of $800-1400, but as with everything,
prices vary. This is just an avg, based on what prices I was quoted by
various show breeders, and I checked quite a few (3 yrs ago). A
pet store puppy should NEVER NEVER NEVER command more than a couple
hundred dollars MAX, and that is way overpriced, when you consider they
buy these puppies for next to nothing! And "nothing" is the
quality of life that those pet store puppies and their mommies and
daddies have had in pet mills. Yes, some backyard breeders may be good
people, with the best of intentions. However, the point still remains:
the whole purpose of DOG BREEDING should be to improve upon the Breed
Standard! It should not be to "make more dogs"! One has to
only visit the SPCA to see the horrible fated result of "breeding
dogs just to breed more dogs". It's sad, cruel, and needless. So,
again, do NOT purchase a pet store dog, or one from a puppy mill, or one
from a backyard breeder. Dogs NOT being "shown", should be
spayed/neutered. Don't let anyone profit from a "mistake".
(yes, ranting again, I know).
Questions to Ask A Breeder Before
Types of Puppy Contracts:
American Shih Tzu Club
Westminster Kennel Club site