Imperials or Chinese Imperials

We constantly have people contacting us looking for tiny Shih Tzu puppies. I literally cringe when a customer is more interested in the adult weight rather than the overall health, temperament, and well-being of a puppy.

Occasionally, we will get a wee one, but I will almost guarantee I will have my work cut out for me to help the puppy survive. I feel every puppy born at Sunnyhill is my responsibility, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

When the puppy is tiny, it will most certainly have difficulties during weaning. It just doesn’t have enough meat on its bones to sustain them. Momma doesn’t bring the food wagon around as much because puppies have sharp teeth and it hurts. I have to hand-feed the puppy all day and yes, all night long too.

Throughout the night I have to set my clock to be awake every three hours. This can go on for a couple of weeks. I can’t go anywhere for more than a few hours at a time because I have to be home to feed. Hand feeding puppies can be difficult too. If they aspirate the food into their lungs they can easily get pneumonia.

The next biggest hurdle a wee one has to face are puppy shots. Little ones stress very, very easily. I don’t like giving the first puppy shot if they are under two pounds. If they stress they get the stress bug or better known as coccidia. Medicine is needed and liquid intake has to be closely monitored.

When a puppy gets coccidia, they usually get diarrhea and life-threatening dehydration will occur. When a puppy isn’t big enough to begin with, they simply don’t have the weight to fight any illnesses.

If you are looking to purchase a tiny puppy one of the first questions you should ask is if the puppy was sick at any time of its life. If puppies don’t have weight behind them, they don’t grow – period. How different is this from the other dogs in our house, our German Shepherds! 

Remember, these breeders are con artists and marketing experts. They will lie and tell you what you want to hear. They will say to you such and such a puppy only will grow to be 5 lbs, and low and behold the puppy ends up to be 18 lbs. Good luck on trying to get your money back if you end up with a chunker. The best way I’ve found to estimate the adult weight of a puppy is to weigh the puppy at 4 months of age and double it. You will be pretty close to the final weight.

Since Shih Tzus have become a much-beloved breed a lot of backyard breeders got on the bandwagon and came up with something new so they can charge biggie bucks for their new venture. They decided to capitalize on tiny Shih Tzus and named them imperials or Chinese Imperials.

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) standard, Shih Tzus are in the toy group and are supposed to be between 9 to 16 lbs. In the show ring, they like them on the bigger side. If you want to learn more about a great Shih Tzu story that Teddy told us, click here.

Imperial breeders are claiming weights below 7 lbs are very desirable. I never, ever breed any of my girls if they are less than 7 lbs or they will need a c-section to get the puppies out. I’ve even heard of imperial breeders bragging they can produce a puppy 3 to 4 lbs full-grown.

Have you ever took a good look at one of these pups? They look sickly, have walleyes, scraggly coats, and are just plain ugly. Just look at this imperial picture below. Okay, the face looks cute but the coat leaves much to be desired. I was informed this puppy was sold as an imperial but was 6.5 lbs at four months. Double that and this so-called imperial puppy will be topping at around 13 lbs full grown.

Some imperial breeders won’t tell you but they cross-breed their Shih Tzus with other small dogs (not necessarily being a Shih Tzu) to attain a smaller size. It is very easy to slap papers on a dog unless AKC requires a DNA test.

Why are all these breeders using these alternative registries other than AKC? Because they don’t have the rigid guidelines that AKC requires of their breeders. And yes, AKC breeders do get inspected by AKC. They come to the kennel and will DNA any dog or litter they so desire which I think is great. Here is another example of an imperial Shih Tzu. It doesn’t even look like a Shih Tzu.

If you don’t believe what I have to say about this subject then all I ask of you is to do a little homework. Click here to read what the American Shih Tzu Club has to say about imperials and make up your own mind.

Do you want a sickly puppy that has cost you a small fortune and pay even more to the vet to fix what can’t be fixed, or do you want a healthy puppy that truly represents this great breed like one of our girls that are raised by a trustworthy breeder? If this isn’t your kind of dog, read here if perhaps a German Shepherd would fit in your family.