As a group dedicated to upholding the breed standard and looking out for the interests of Shih Tzu it shouldn't surprise any visitor to the site that we are against breeding or sales practices that pay no heed to our breed standard or the health and welfare of our breed.
Puppy Farms, Pet Shops & Dealers
Puppy farms regularly make headlines with cases of sometimes appalling neglect and cruelty that really shouldn't be tolerated in a nation that purports to love animals. Yet they stay in business primarily because people keep buying the poor animals they mass produce. Many puppy farms don't deal directly with the public, they tend to stay out of sight and sell their dogs to pet shops, pet supermarkets and puppy dealers. Many of the puppies have such a poor start in life that they never fully recover either physically or psychologically. Their mothers often spend their breeding lives having puppies on every season in squalid conditions with little human interaction and minimal healthcare until they can breed no more and then, if they're lucky, they are rescued. As well as a poor start from birth, the genetic dice are often loaded against them too with little consideration given to health or temperament in the breeding decisions. That cheap puppy, available when you decide you want one, can end up costing you a lot of money and heartache and perpetuate misery for other dogs. Buyer beware.
Undersized Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu have a breed standard to describe how they should be. It wasn't just invented by British aristocrats in the 1930's, it came from China with the dogs. There are some breeders who claim a smaller size of Shih Tzu, less than 9lb. They even have names for them, imperial, tea cup and such. You make a dog smaller by breeding smallest to smallest or by crossing with a different, smaller breed. Whilst we have no data on the health of these dogs, it is the general experience of breeders that the smallest animals in a litter are more likely to have a health issue than the rest and it is our belief that such breeding constitutes bad practice. If you see adverts for 'rare' or 'unusual', buyer beware.
Whilst cross breed dogs are often considered healthier than pure bred ones, the best chance for a healthy puppy comes from healthy parents. If you are tempted to pay as much (or more) for a Shih Tzu cross breed, do try to hold the breeder to the same standards that we would expect of a pedigree Shih Tzu breeder. The motivation of designer cross breeders is usually money and there is none of the oversight of their breeding practices that good pedigree breeders submit to. You might also consider that there are already many beautiful cross breeds of all shapes and sizes waiting for the chance of a good home in rescue centres up and down the country. Buyer beware.