AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Shih Tzu
A compact and solid dog, the Shih Tzu’s long, flowing double coat is its most distinctive feature. The word Shih Tzu means “lion” and although this dog is sweet and playful, he is not afraid to stand up for himself! One of the most popular dogs in the United States according to AKC Registration Statistics, this portable pooch has a distinctively arrogant carriage with his head well up and tail curved over the back. All colors of Shih Tzu are allowed.
History of the Shih Tzu Breed:
The Shih Tzu originated in Tibet where they were kept in temples as sacred dogs. Many believe the Shih Tzu came to China during the Manchu Dynasty (17th century) as tribute of great honor from the Grand Lamas of Tibet to the Imperial Court in Peking. However, in his book “The Shih Tzu Heritage,” Jon Ferrante wrote that the Chinese court received a pair as a gift during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD). He explains that Chinese paintings from the 6th century A.D. show Shi Tzu-like dogs. Mr. Ferrante also wrote that during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), the Shih Tzu type of dogs were cherished pets of the royal family. Dogs resembling the Shih Tzu were found in paintings, wall hangings and sculptures during the Ming Dynasty. The palace eunuchs were given the job of breeding and rearing these beautiful royal dogs, and they competed with each other to produce the best “little lion” dogs and win royal favor. Shih Tzu were the pampered darlings of the Chinese Imperial Palace during the reign of the last Empress, between 1861 and 1908. The Empress insisted that complete pedigrees and descriptions of markings be kept for all dogs used as breeding stock with the Imperial household. This breed was so beloved by the Imperial Chinese court that for many years the Chinese refused to sell Shih Tzu dogs to the Western World. These delightful Chinese Palace dogs are one of the oldest breeds of companion dogs in the world.
Shih Tzu Temperament:
A Shih Tzu dog loves to be with people and makes a good family pet. These friendly little dogs thrive on affection and praise. They can be indoor dogs and they are happy to live in apartments. However, they do love going outdoors and they enjoy games and taking walks. Shih Tzu are very social and if left by themselves for a long time they can become destructive and grouchy. It is not a good idea to have them around very small children. They may get irritated if manhandled and can snap at toddlers. Shih Tzu dogs get along quite well with older children and other animals.
At Camano Puppy Love we are dedicated to breeding sweet, small healthy Chinese Imperial Dogs that weigh between 5 and 8 pounds at maturity, and small standard Shih Tzu, about 9 or 10 pounds at maturity while maintaining all the charming qualitites of the breed. Our puppies are raised in our home and are well socialized by everyone in our family! Research shows that puppies used to home activity will more easily adapt to new families and homes. Puppies require proper socialization by gentle handling, human contact, and a wide variety of noises and experiences.