A lot of people wonder why I (Kirsty, owner) chose to get a shih tzu (instead of a different dog breed). The short answer is: the shih tzu ticked all the boxes for the traits I wanted, and was a good fit for my lifestyle.
In 2012 I was preparing to move out on my own for the first time, and I was trying to choose a dog breed for myself - the first dog I would own entirely by myself! I did a lot of reading, research, and considering before I finally chose to get a shih tzu.
I knew I wanted a small dog breed, so that limited my area of research. From there, I learned about each breed's common personality traits, temperament, exercise requirements, and health problems. I primarily read online articles and social media forums/groups.
I wanted a small (~10-15 lbs), fluffy lap dog, low exercise requirements, trainable but not overly intelligent. Friendly with other people and dogs. No extremely serious health problems common throughout the breed - or at least none scary enough to put me off. My favoured choice changed throughout my research, but I ended up deciding that the shih tzu would be the best fit for my lifestyle. It also ticked the most boxes when it came to the traits I desired in my dog.