The Interesting History and Origin of the Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu, an imperial breed of dogs was initially bred and kept by emperors in their palaces. The origin of these dogs is from Tibet, where the Buddhist monks bred them initially. These same monks brought these dogs as gifts for the Chinese emperors of the Manchu dynasty in 1850s, who named them as Tibetan lions because of their hair and their proud demeanor. Shih Tzu means ‘small lion’ in Chinese

For a long time, these dogs were bred and maintained only in the palaces of the emperors of China. For almost a century, the Shih Tzu dogs were only found in China, owing to the patronage of the royalty. Around 1930, Lady Browning from England stumbled upon these species of dogs in Peking and instantly fell in love with them. She brought them with her to England where this dog was received with great enthusiasm. Owing to their petite size, proud demeanor and child like attitude they made excellent choice for the British people.

Coming to America

In 1935, American soldiers who had come to England during World War II, discovered them and as the others before them, were captivated by their spunk, personality and looks. They carried the Shih Tzu dogs back with them for their families and hence established this breed in the US. It took this breed however, more than three decades of existence to get registered in the American Kennel Club, which officially recognized the breed only in 1969.

From then on, this breed has grown from strength to strength and now is available in every corner of the world. The fact that it is an extremely friendly dog that can live in any type of dwelling, needs almost no exercise, and behaves like a spoilt child makes this dog a hot favorite with the majority of the families. Members of the Shih Tzu breed are avid attention seekers and thrive of petting and praises. They are patient and sweet tempered and are known to stay still for hours for grooming without any complaint. They are touchy about very young children, maybe because they hate manhandling or any type of abuse.

These dogs are the happiest when they have one master though they can make friends easily and are very adaptable in their behavior and needs. They hate to be alone and if left by themselves for a long time their temperament suffers greatly. They have a stubborn streak, which can totally baffle you at times. This dog is definitely not a pushover – in spite of its size and one can safely say that the Shih Tzu temperament is jovial and very docile.

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