A Little Background of the Shih Tzu
The ancestry of the Shih Tzu is dates back to 1000 B.C. descending from Tibetan origin. The history of the Tibetan "Lion Dogs" is interwoven with the tenets of Buddhism, which originated in India. The lion was closely associated with Buddhism, but the lion was not indigenous to China, so the Chinese and the Tibetan Lamas bred their dogs to resemble lions. The Shih Tzu (whose name means "lion") is reputed to have been the oldest and smallest variety of the Tibetan "holy dogs" and bears some similarity to other Tibetan breeds. For much of the long and illustrious history of China, the breeding of the small "Lion Dog" was a favourite pastime of succeeding imperial rulers.
Prior to 624 A.D., documents show that small dogs were exported from Malta, Turkey, Greece, and Persia, as gifts to the ruling Chinese emperors. It is likely that the first small Tibetan Lion Dogs from which the Shih Tzu is probably descended, came to China during the Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty as tributes from the Grand Lamas to the Chinese Imperial Court, and that the Chinese interbred these Tibetan dogs with the early western imports and with the Pug and the Pekingese.
During the 1920's the first pair of Shih Tzu (pronounced Shid Zoo), was brought to England. More imports followed, and the breed became well established there. Its popularity spread to Continental Europe and to North America, where it now enjoys a tremendous following. Classified as a Toy breed in the United States, the Shih Tzu is a member of the Non-Sporting Group in Canada. This is an elegant, long-coated breed, measuring about nine to eleven inches at the shoulder. All colors are acceptable, but black noses, lips and eye rims are a must. Daily brushing is essential. Said to carry itself with a great deal of pride, the breed is alert, lively, enjoys a good walk, loves human companionship and makes an excellent pet for apartment dwellers.
Unfortunately this breed has become so popular that it is slowly becoming exploited. There is only one standard for the Shih Tzu, and when you hear about "Mini" Shih Tzu, they are only runts of runts. Don't be fooled by the so called trend setting backyard breeders,that breed Shih Tzu's at 4 and 5 lb. and expect to get a dog that is healthy and structurally sound. Reputable true breeders, breed to the set standard put together by the American Shih Tzu Club and the Canadian Shih Tzu Club in conjunction with the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club.
The Shih Tzu Standard
Size - Ideally, height at withers is 9 to 101/2 inches; but, not less than 8 inches, nor more than 11 inches. Weight of mature dogs should be, 9 to 16 pounds.