The Shih Tzu is a Chinese breed that was a favorite of Chinese royalty. For many years, the Chinese refused to allow any of these dogs to leave the country. In the 1930s, a pair of Shih Tzu dogs was brought to England, and the breed was recognized by Britian in 1946 and by the AKC in 1969. Shih Tzu translates lion in Chinese Mandarin, leading to the nickname lion dogs for this popular breed.
The Shih Tzu breed is one of the oldest known. It is believed to be a cross of the Pekingese and the Tibetan breed Lhasa Apso.
The Shih Tzu’s Behavior
Recommended for: Family Companion
The Shih Tzu dog breed
is meant to be a companion first and foremost. Essentially it is outgoing, affectionate, friendly, and trusting to everyone. They are friendly to strangers, they are not suited to be with children who have the tendency to hurt them or scare them with their actions. They do not require much exercise and are perfectly content cuddling with their families or lying on soft pillows (they love their comforts).
Shih Tzu Dog Breed Characteristics
The Shih Tzu remains small, weighing 9-16 pounds and measuring up to 11 inches in height when full grown. Classified as a toy dog, the Shih Tzu is energetic and friendly, responding well to dog training. This breed works well as an indoor pet, and its small size allows you to keep it in a pet-friendly apartment complex. You’ll want to be aware that your Shih Tzu is sensitive to heat and plan living conditions accordingly. Daily walks will help your dog expend energy and maintain a happy, healthy life. The Shih Tzu also makes a great watch dog
The Shih Tzu’s Physical Characteristics
Here are some of the characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed as determined by the American Kennel Club’s published breed standard.
Size: 8 – 11 inches
Coat: doublecoated, luxurious, dense, long, flowing
Color: any color
Eyes: large, round, set well apart, very dark
Ears: large, set below skull crown, heavily coated
Muzzle: square, short, unwrinkled, flat front
Nose: black, liver on liver dogs, blue on blue dogs, nostrils are wide and open
Tail: set high, heavily plumed
The Shih Tzu’s Origins and History
Source: Wikipedia, American Shih Tzu Club (www.shihtzu.org/Info/history.asp?menu=Info)
Country/Region of Origin: China
Original purpose: toy
Name: translated as “lion dog:; nicknamed as the Chrysanthemum Dog
Historical notes: Though Shih Tzu dogs are ancient, the ones that we know of today came from the efforts of the palace eunuchs of Dowager Empress CiXi during the late 19th century. They worked hard to reduce the size and produce the markings by which they are known today. They became extinct in China after the Communist Revolution. Shih Tzus of today were bred from 14 dogs that made it out of China before then.