Let’s face it; Shih Tzus are one of the hottest dog breeds right now. From royalties to celebrities and from individuals to families, everyone wants a piece of these cute little lovelies.
When you want to get a furry puppy as a companion, aside from the enthusiasm, there are several things you have to look into.
The fact is, there are many dogs out there that can be cute and adorable, but not all of these dogs are for you and you will not be happy with all of them.
You have to look at your needs, your family, the size of your apartment, your lifestyle and schedule, as well as what you want your dog to be like and act like.
In this article, I will give you some tips on selecting the right Shih Tzu breeder as well as places you can find Shih Tzu puppies for sale from lowest risk to highest risk.
Tips on Selecting the Right Shih Tzu
Take Your Time
It is terrible to buy anything in a hurry, but it is even worse to buy a puppy in a hurry. You are making a major decision picking a companion for life so you need to think everything through from the major to the littlest of things.
Don’t be moved by a smile or a cute face or because you feel sorry for a puppy; you might be driven by emotions to get a puppy that does not fit well into your life and family.
Do Your Research
There are so many questions you have to ask before getting a Shih Tzu; many checklists to tick off to make sure you are making the best decision.
Look into the history and health issues the Shih Tzu suffers; look out for serious behavioral problems, medical issues, and temperamental issues.
Approach a Reputable Breeder
You cannot find a well-bred, healthy well socialized Shih Tzu all by yourself because you just don’t know how all of these things work.
The best way to get a good Shih Tzu is to get advice from trustworthy breeders who are knowledgeable about Shih Tzus and all of the issues you should know about a Shih Tzu before you get one.
You can get in contact with a reputable breeder by consulting your local Shih Tzu club or the American Shih Tzu Club. You can also get information from dog handlers or club members who can share their experiences with you.
Regular dog publications are also another great way to get information on experienced and respectable dog breeders around you. Pet stores and local bookstores are the best places to start your search.
The reputation of the dog breeder you work with is not to be taken lightly because it affects the quality of Shih Tzu you will be adopting. So you have to check the breeder’s qualifications, level of experience as well as reviews from other dog owners.
Ask friends, neighbors, and persons you come across with Shih Tzus. Ask them how they got their puppies, where they got them from, and the breeders they used. It is also important to get their reviews on the breeders they worked with to know if it would be in your best interest to work with them.
Meeting dog breeders face to face is also a great option and a safe one too. You can find dog breeders at popular dog shows and events organized for dogs and their dog lovers.
You get to talk to dog breeders face to face, get their opinions, ask your questions, and decide if they will get their card or continue your search.
After meeting a Shih Tzu breeder, and you feel confident about or you think he is experienced enough, the next thing is to trail them with questions on what they do and how they breed dogs.
There are a lot of things to check before you agree to get your Shih Tzu from a breeder, and the breeder’s qualification is just one of many.
Here are some questions to ask a Shih Tzu breeder before deciding to buy a puppy.
Question 1: How long have you been breeding Shih Tzus?
Experienced breeders are the best because they have much knowledge and experience with handling these pets. This is not to say that new breeders are not great, but the knowledge and experience a seasoned breeder has put you at a better place when it comes to getting healthier and better-bred dogs.
Question 2: Where are your puppies raised?
The best and knowledgeable breeders will know that Shih Tzus are home animals and are going to live at home with their owners so they breed them in the house. However, you will find some breeders who raise their Shih Tzus in kennels away from the home environment.
While this might not be a disaster in itself, it poses more difficulties trying to get the dog acclimatized in your home after getting them. Hence, home bred Shih Tzus are best.
Question 3: How often do you breed new litters?
Breeders who raise Shih Tzus for profit and commercial purposes will have ShihTzus nearly all year round because they regularly breed between 6 to 10 litters every year.
Hobby breeders hardly breed more than one litter every year, and they have been noted to be the best kind of breeders to get your Shih Tzus from. Of course, there is a reason for this assumption but we will get to that later.
Question 4: When will you have Shih Tzu puppies available?
Let’s state the face; Shih Tzus are a big deal and everyone wants to get them. So reputable breeders do have a long waiting list of parents waiting to get their hands on some cute little Shih Tzus.
A very reputable Shih Tzu breeder is likely to have a waiting list so you shouldn’t be surprised to find that you have to take a number and wait. Although you just might come in at the right time and be lucky enough to find a few available Shih Tzus.
If a breeder doesn’t have Shih Tzus available, you can choose to join the waiting list or ask to be referred to another breeder. Most good breeders have connections and they can refer you to another good breeder.
It is important to not be impatient to get a Shih Tzu immediately, especially if a good breeder does not have litters available. An impulse to get a puppy immediately might lead you to patronize a breeder who is not good enough or even turns off a good breeder who doesn’t like working with impatient parents.
Question 5: Can I see the litters or the parents of the litter?
Good breeders don’t mind inviting you to see their litters. They will like to see you, talk to you, and get to see how you relate with their puppies.
It’s a red flag if a breeder does not want you to see their litters because they might have something to hide. This is likely because the Shih Tzus probably don’t look or act as they should.
You should be allowed to see the mother of the Shih Tzu you are planning to get and possibly see the pictures and health documents of the father of the Shih Tzu puppy. It is important to know the environment where your Shih Tzu puppy is raised and look into the details of the parent Shih Tzus.
Question 6: Do you showcase your dogs and have you gotten any awards?
Dog breeders who are proud of their dogs are always willing to showcase them, and breeders who produce great puppies often win awards at dog shows.
Working with a breeder who has won awards or getting a dog from a dog who has won awards has so many benefits because you have both healthy and well-bred puppies.
The journey to getting a Shih Tzu from a breeder can be a long time-consuming one. But in the end, it is worth the stress because you get to pay close attention to every stage of this process and get the best.
If the breeder meets your expectations and you want to make the next move, it is important to observe the Shih Tzu properly. You should make sure that it is a good fit for you and your family.
Few Things to Look out for When Inspecting a Shih Tzu
Observe the Shih Tzu in its current home and see how he acts alone and with other puppies. You need to know if the puppy is lively and playful, shy, curious, or sulking.
Observe how the puppy relates to other littermates and check for signs of positive attitude, cheerful personality, and good health.
The Shih Tzu puppy should be active, friendly, bright, curious, and open to littermates and even strangers. The Shih Tzu puppy should not show signs of aggression or shyness.
Check the puppy’s eyes, ear, mouth, nose, teeth, paws, and every other part you can see.
Make sure the Shih Tzu’s teeth are complete and that they are properly arranged. If the puppy is old enough to have lost his milk teeth, make sure that the new sets of teeth are properly arranged.
Sometimes, Shih Tzus get their adult teeth while some of their milk teeth have not all fallen out. This can cause the teeth to be too many and scattered in the mouth. There should not be more than one of the same type of teeth in your Shih Tzus mouth.
The Shih Tzus jaw should be properly aligned and the lips should be able to cover the teeth and tongue when the mouth is closed. If the upper and lower jaws don’t align, it is also a problem.
Your Shih Tzu should have a healthy coat and skin; look out for sores and parasites. Make sure the Shih Tzus coat is properly groomed and taken care of to prevent parasites, dirt, and sores from hanging on unnoticed.
Also, inspect the tails for a sign of injuries, blood, and other marks; just ensure that the puppy looks physically healthy and well taken care of.
List of Places to Find Shih Tzus for Sale (Best to Worst)
American Kennel Club (AKC) Marketplace
- Link: AKC Marketplace – Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale
- Risk Level: Very Low
- Search Options: Gender, Distance, Puppy Availability, Images, Breeders of Distinction, Address, Champion Bloodlines, Club Member
The American Kennel Club has been tested and trusted by many persons and is one of the most trusted kennel clubs around.
They have a market place set up where breeders place their puppies up for sale; the breeders put up pictures of the Shih Tzus they have for sale and the details for each breed.
The American Kennel Club Marketplace has a high standard so sellers have to keep up with quality pets, descriptions, pictures, and unique details about the puppies they have for sale such as if their pets are from a champion bloodline or any other unique trait.
The marketplace has a high reputation because they carry out strict inspections of all the kennels and breeders who display their Shih Tzus on the platform.
Breeders on this are rated based on their performance and results of the frequent inspection. So you can tell how the sellers are currently ranking and work with them based on their performance.
Badges and medals are also given to breeders based on their participation in AKC canine sports, dog titles, consistent health screening, involvement in breeding, attendance of dog training, and the likes.
Another upside of this platform is that you can search for the puppies you need based on specifications like gender, availability, bloodline, and distance.
I will rate American Kennel as high safety, low-risk platform but they also have reviews to speak for them.
The American Kennel Club can be contacted on 919-233-9767
- Link: Puppy Spot – Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale
- Risk Level: Moderate
- Search Options: Age, Gender, Color, Video, Ready to Travel
This online platform directly advertises puppies available for sale on their platform. They get the puppy information from breeders and only allow quality breeders to work with their platform.
The listings and descriptions of Shih Tzus on the platform contain pictures, basic descriptions, and information as well as parent’s information. Some listings even contain videos of these puppies so you see them in the act.
Puppies bought and sold on this platform come with an American Kennel Club registration for quality assurance so you can trust the dealings you make on this platform.
Although the Puppy Spot setting is not as formal as AKC, there are measures this platform takes to ensure security and qualitative transactions. Puppy Spot has an in-depth health check-up to ensure your puppies is in good condition before they get sent to your home.
They also expect you to confirm the health status of the pets after they are delivered. They have a health guarantee that makes doing business with them more comfortable.
According to information on their site, they investigate the breeders on their site to make sure they meet up to standard and they investigate issues that occur during sales transactions.
They also claim to have a very high standard and only let 10% of their applicants to work as breeders on their platform.
I will rate Puppy Spot to have a moderate risk level but you can look out for ratings by persons who have used their services.
Specifications: Gender, color, age, name.
Next Day Pets
- Link: Next Day Pets – Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale
- Rish Level: High
- Search Options: Gender, Age, Location, Price
Next Day Pets is an online platform that accommodates breeders who list their dogs for sale. They have a large number of breeders, but there is a downside to this and it lies in the fact that you are likely to find low ranking breeders on this platform.
This does not mean that they don’t have great breeders because there are well-experienced breeders on the site as well. The best way to balance between the poor and high-quality breeders is personal research.
The listing on this platform includes basic information, available shipping, champion bloodline, and other information.
This platform has a high-risk level because the listing is free for every breeder.
- Link: PuppyFind – Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale
- Risk Level: High
- Search Options: State, Lifestyle, Birthdate, Gender
PuppyFind is a platform with a large number of Shih Tzus available from many breeders so there is also a risk of getting connected to breeders who are not trustworthy.
You need personal research to purchase on this platform to ensure that they are reputable. The search functions on PuppyFind include location, gender, birthday, photograph, and a few other options.
The website is free for anyone and there are no proper checks or health guarantees so this platform is also high risk.
- Link: Craigslist.org – Pets – Shih Tzu
- Risk Level: Very High
- Search Options: Location, Text Search
This platform is very popular for two reasons; you can find any breed of dogs on this platform including Shih Tzus, and you will also find a large number of low-quality breeders.
One upside to this platform is that they take note of distance and you can get Shih Tzus close to your home. You can inspect the puppies personally, study their behaviors, and see how they relate with you. You also find it easier picking up your puppies if they are delivered.
Listing and specifications for Craiglist include distance and text search.
- Link: Hoobly Classifieds – Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale
- Risk Level: Very High
- Search Options: Location, Text Search
This is a very high-risk platform with almost zero checks and investigation from the platform so you are at risk of meeting breeders with little or no qualification and experience.
If you purchase on this platform, you are solely responsible for investigations and you have to make sure you check everything from health status to breeding and family history.
There is no distance you cannot go to get that furry friend of yours. Shih Tzus are the best thing that can happen to you so you must leave no stone unturned to ensure that you get a healthy Shih Tzu puppy with the best breeding and temperament that fits perfectly into your life and family.
Before you make any purchases, it is crucial to meet the sellers or breeders in person to make sure the puppy is in good health condition and fits you and your family.