Learn, Don't Return - Shih Tzu Dog Breed

Posted by Brian Aho on

Shih Tzu (pronounced "She Zu)"; which translates to "Little Lion'' - before we get into that; these little guys have an interesting history but let us just say for now that ALL the Chinese Shih Tzu's were killed during the 1949 Communist Revolution. 

Mind blown!

The "Little Lion '' name comes from Tibet where the Shih Tzu is originally from.  Rumor has it that the Tibetian Buddhist God of Learning traveled with a lion dog...a small lion dog that would convert to an actual full-size lion.

The Shih Tzu goes back to China around 1,000 BC; which means that the Tibetan "Little Lion" lore predates that.

The Shih Tzu were likely provided by Tibetan priests to Chinese Royalty and that association is what led to their extermination in 1949.

Shih Tzu was a favorite among royalty - not just in Tibet and China, either.
They are literally in the lap of luxury - for the ladies of royalty.
Shih Tzu's weight is between 9 and 16 pounds, and underneath the delicate-looking and flowing coat is a sturdy interior; they have a double coat of fur from Tibetan origins, so they are good in cold temperatures; if you live in a warmer climate you will want to adjust the coat to allow for cooling but let's be honest, they'll be in the Air Conditioning anyway.
Shih Tzu's are very chill dogs - they don't get worked up over visitors knocking and meeting new people - so they are not high maintenance in that regard; if you desire the long coat - which looks amazing; you will have upkeep. 
Shih Tzu translates to "Little Lion" which originates from its Tibetan ancestry.  It's rumored that the Tibetan Buddhist God of Learning traveled with a small Lion dog that would convert to an actual Lion.  These Tibetan "Little Lions" were exported to Chinese royalty, but they were exterminated during the 1949 Communist Revolution.
So how do we have Shih Tzu's today?  Good question - Chinese Royalty provided them to other royalty,  England, for example, received them, and THEY were imported to the US during WW2; so they were popular in other countries - but the Shih Tzu's we have today go back to only 14 dogs.
Chinese Royalty loved their Tibetan "Little Lions" and they even had a breeding program, but sadly when Empress Tzu Hsi died - it fell apart.
Keep in mind that only Chinese Royalty were allowed to have Shih Tzu's, which is why you see them in old Chinese art.
Shih Tzu is in the Toy Group, which includes the Pekingese - a cousin of the Shih Tzu; Pug - also a close relative, and Japanese Chin. Shih Tzu's weight is between 9 and 16 pounds - perfect for holding or sitting on your lap.
They are low-maintenance pets that are ideal for people in apartments, the elderly, and families with young kids - but they are small so tripping could be a hazard.
They don't act out or get jealous - they just want to please you.  That sounds so nice.
They prefer cold temperatures since they have a double coat of fur from the cold Tibetan origins; if you live in a warm climate don't expect the long flowing coat to be ideal - or just crank up the Air Conditioning.
The Shih Tzu's are optimists so that is how you cater to them when performing training...only use the carrot, not the stick.
They live a long time and are generally healthy dogs - your veterinarian bills shouldn't hit too hard.
They can perform in events, yes, they can perform in events like agility, rally, and obedience for FUN!
But are probably better suited as a therapy dog - they like to cheer you up!
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