Although an individual Shih Tzu's temperament varies from dog to dog, the breed has a personality and temperament that is loyal, affectionate, outgoing, cute and alert. They tend to be possessive around other dogs. Training and proper socializing must start at a young age for the Shih Tzu to obey basic commands, for the Shih Tzu is prone to stubbornness when it comes to training. While the Shih Tzu is an excellent watchdog because of its alert and active nature, it was not specifically bred for this purpose. Unlike the Lhasa Apso, which was bred to be a sentinel dog that enjoys high perches and is wary of strangers, the Shih Tzu prefers to be close to its companions and will often offer strangers its affection. Because of its friendly nature, the Shih Tzu tends to interact well with other dogs and with children and adults. They may be a little temperamental with hyper or larger breeds, but generally the Shih Tzu gets along well with other pets. They are generally well behaved and suitable for families.