The Shih Tzu is a breed of dog that the Chinese have bred for many centuries. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1968 and it has been featured in dog shows since 1969. Shih Tzu puppies grow quickly during the first year of life and go through several growth stages during that time. The puppy will hit many milestones before becoming an adult dog.
A Shih Tzu puppy is blind and deaf when it is first born. It has a pink area surrounding its nose and mouth with a slick coat and short, closed ears. This will remain the same until the puppy is around 10 days old, when it opens its eyes. The muscles in the eyes will still be weak at that time and the puppy's vision cloudy. It will take 3 weeks for the puppy to gain full sight and its ears to finally open up.
3 to 6 Weeks
When the Shih Tzu puppy is 3 weeks old it can see and start to recognise those around it. This is the point where the puppy begins to play with its siblings, but for the most part the puppy will want to rest. This period lasts until the dog is old enough to be weaned from its mother at approximately 6 weeks of age.
6 to 8 Weeks
By the time the Shih Tzu puppy reaches 6 weeks old it will begin to get curious about its surroundings. Puppy-proof the home before allowing the puppy to roam about freely. The puppy will start to enjoy interacting with others and starts to have the fluffy appearance that most people associate with the breed.
2 to 6 Months
The Shih Tzu puppy grows quickly during this time and will require a regular diet. Training can begin at this time and the puppy will begin teething. Keep shoes and other items out of reach to prevent the puppy from chewing them up. Give the puppy chew toys to help it transition easily through the teething period.
6 Months to 1 Year
During this time, the female Shih Tzu puppy will enter into her first heat and should be spayed unless she is to be used for breeding purposes. During this period, growth begins slowing down and the owner can reduce the amount of food the puppy takes in. At 1 year old, a Shih Tzu puppy is officially an adult.