Shih Tzu


The Shih Tzu is a snugly built little animal with a solid, sound structure. It stands from about 8 to 11 inches tall at the withers, and should weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. Its body length is slightly greater than its height, and it should be physically proportional all over, neither too short or too small, but a true miniature breed dog. In movement, it moves with effortless, smooth strides, showing good drive and reach, with the head and tail held high, giving away its ancient royal bloodlines.

Its hair is double layered, full, dense, and lush, and grows long and straight, past the feet. The Shih Tzu sheds very little, making it a good choice for people who have light allergies to fur, or for people who just prefer not to clean up a lot of hair. Regular grooming is a requirement with this breed because of this characteristic; the hair will get tangled and matted quickly as it gets longer. The ears and tail are full and long, with the tail hair fluffing it out in a feathery plume that curves over the back.

This breed is categorized as brachycephalic, meaning that the muzzle and nose of the Shih Tzu is flat, though not as flat as its cousin, the Pekingese. The eyes are round and wide, but in contrast to some other flat muzzled dogs, the eyes should not bulge or be too prominent. The Shih Tzu should have an innocent, wide-eyed, warm expression giving it an impression of friendliness and trustworthiness, rather than the more ferocious appearance of the Pekingese.




The Maltese is the quintessential lap dog. It is extremely lovable and playful, and enjoys nothing more than to be pampered and praised by its owner. The breed is easily distinguished by its straight and long white coat, making it appear like it has just stepped out of a doggie hair salon.


The Maltese is a toy dog breed that has a compact and square body. It is entirely covered with silky, long, flat and white hair that, if allowed to grow to full length, hangs nearly to the ground. Its expression is both alert and gentle. As a vigorous dog, the Maltese moves with a smooth, lively, and flowing gait; it may even appear as the dog is actually floating on the ground when it is trotting.

Even though the small dog is known for its unusual coat, other features like the facial expression, the body structure, and overall carriage are equally important. The Maltese is a delicate dog with round, black eyes and ears that are dropped. Its tail, meanwhile, is long and carried over the back. The Maltese coat is usually seen in pure white, though there is sometimes a light tan or lemon hue on the ears.


Do not let the innocent appearance of this little dog fool you, it is feisty, bold, and not afraid to challenge larger dogs. Also, do not over-coddle these companion dogs, as it can actually do them more harm than good. Playful and self confident, it also makes a good watchdog, as it barks at strangers and other dogs, and is an intelligent dog.

If the Maltese is allowed to become the pack leader, it may develop behavior disorders and become anxious and stressful. This may also lead to unnecessary barking and snapping at strangers, other dogs and children. Additionally, it is not recommended a good pet for families with younger children. So love a Maltese all you want, just make sure to establish a firm and clear chain of command.


The exercise needs of the Maltese may be met with a romp in the courtyard, a short leash-led walk, or vigorous indoor games. Its coat, which may be clipped for easier maintenance, requires combing on alternate days and needs special grooming attention. The Maltese is generally considered an unsuitable outdoor dog but can fare well in either the city or the country.

Chow Chow


The Chow Chow is a curious looking breed with a scowling expression and a unique black tongue, which came to be known as the “Wild Dog of China.” After spending centuries in China and England, it was brought over to America, where it is has since been greeted as a devoted and protective dog.


The Chow Chow dog is a squarely built, sturdy, and powerful Arctic-type best suited for various tasks including hunting, herding, protecting, and pulling. Its coat can be of the rough or smooth variety, both of which have woolly undercoats to insulate against the cold weather. The common colors for the breed are red (light golden to deep mahogany), black, blue, cinnamon, and cream.

The typical straight angulation of the Chow’s rear legs account for a stilted and short gait are a well known feature in the breed. Another essential characteristic of the Chow is its black tongue and scowling expression.


The stubborn and independent Chow Chow is reserved, dignified, and even regal at times. Although it is good with household pets, it can be hostile towards other dogs or suspicious of strangers. The Chow is also devoted and protective of its human family.


The Chow Chow enjoys being outdoors in cool weather, but it should be kept as an indoor pet in dry and arid, or hot and humid regions. This need to be indoors also stems from its craving for human attention and interaction.

The rough coat type requires brushing every other day, or daily during periods of shedding. Meanwhile, the smooth-coated Chow only needs brushing once a week. The Chow Chow also loves short play sessions throughout the day, or casual evening or morning walks.


With an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years, the Chow Chow dog breed may be prone to minor health concerns likeelbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, elongated palate, stenotic flares, glaucoma, distichiasis, persistent pupilary membrane (PPM), and cataracts, or serious conditions like entropion, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and patellar luxation. The breed may also be susceptible to renal cortical hypoplasia. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip, elbow, and eye exams.


The Chow Chow dog breed is thought to be 2,000 years old — perhaps even older. Because the Chow shares certain features from the Spitz — an ancient wolf-like breed — it is believed the Chow is either a descendant of a Spitz ancestor or a progenitor of some Spitz breeds, but the true origin of the dog may never be known. It was, however, common in China for many centuries and may have served as a hunting, pointing or birding dog for nobles.

The breed’s numbers and quality declined soon after the imperial hunts stopped, but some pure descendents of the early Chow were kept by the aristocracy and in monasteries. Some have also theorized that the breed provided food and fur pelts in Mongolia and Manchuria. Its black tongue is among the Chow’s most unique characteristics, and many Chinese nicknames for the dog are based on this feature.

When the breed was finally introduced to England in the late 18th century, it was given the Chinese name Chow Chow. The name, which comes from a word meaning assorted curios and knick-knacks from the Oriental Empire, was applied to the breed because the dogs were written into the ship’s cargo load as curios when brought to England.

The breed gained much fame again when Queen Victoria took a fancy to the Chow Chow. And by 1903, it had entered the United States and was granted breed status by the American Kennel Club. The noble appearance of the breed attracted dog fanciers, but it was not until the 1980s that its popularity soared in America, becoming the sixth most admired breed.