Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is full of character, spunky and happy. They are dignified and at sometimes arrogant. They are alert watchdogs and like to bark, although they are generally quiet when inside. They need to be with people and make affectionate companions. They may be difficult to housebreak.

The Shih Tzu may have ear eye and respiratory problems. They may lose their teeth early, and need regular dental care. They may have spinal disk disease which is caused by their short legs and long back. This problem may be magnified by the fact that they tend to gain weight easily, and may become obese.  Interesting Fact:  The breed originated in China, and is the closest known descendant of the prehistoric Chinese wolf.

The Shih Tzu is also known as the Chrysanthemum Dog, is a toy dog breed, weighing between 10 – 12 pounds when fully grown, with lovely long silky hair that needs brushing daily. The exact origins of the breed are mysterious, but it is thought to have originated in Tibet and then been developed in China  although various theories exist.

DNA analysis  shows  today’s Shih Tzu breed is in the group of “ancient” breeds indicating “close genetic relationship to wolves”.  Another branch of the breed which comes down from the “Kitchen Midden Dog” led to the Papillon and Long-haired Chihuahua and yet another “Kitchen Midden Dog” branch to the Pug and Shih Tzu. It is also said that the breed originated in China, hence the name “Lion Dog”, in 800 B.C. There are various theories of the origins of today’s breed. Theories relate that it came from a cross between a Pekingese and a Tibetan dog called the Lhasa Apso. Dogs during ancient times were carefully bred and seen in Chinese paintings.

The dogs were favorites of the Chinese royals and so highly thought of that, for years, the Chinese refused to allow any to leave China. The first dogs of the breed were imported into Europe (England and Norway) in 1930 and were classified by the Kennel Club as “Apsos”.  The first European standard for the breed was written in England in 1935 by the Shih Tzu Club, and the dogs were given a new category: Shih Tzu. The breed spread rapidly  throughout Europe, and was brought to the United States after World War II.

Read up on other dog breeds and our tests

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