notes on the Shih Tzu (Chrysanthemum Dog)
The Shih Tzu is small sturdy dog, like the Lhasa Apso, is covered over with an abundant double coat of long hair lined with a woolly undercoat. This proud looking little dog has hair above the nose growing upward, creating a "chrysanthemum" face. The Shih tsu head is rounded, with a profuse beard and mustache, short hairy muzzle, and black nose (except in liver-colored dogs which have liver noses). There is a definite stop. The eyes are large, round and wide-set, dark on most dogs but lighter on liver and blue colored dogs. The pendant ears are so covered with hair that they blend right into the body coat. The teeth should form a level or undershot bite. The topline is level and the body is slightly longer than the height at the withers. Dewclaw removal is optional. The heavily plumped tail is curled over the back. Any color is acceptable, though white on the forehead and tip of the tail is preferred by most dog show judges.
The Shih-Tzu is an alert and spunky little dog. Happy and hardy, endowed with loads of character. They are royally dignified, courageous and sometimes arrogant. This breed does well with polite, careful children. The gentle loyal Shih-Tzu makes friends easily and although obstinate can respond well to consistent patient training. A very alert watch dog, the Shih-Tzu likes to bark, but is usually quiet inside the house. They are stubborn and clever. Shihs can get snappish if they are surprised or peeved. Playful and lively, this affectionate little dog needs to be with people and are generally good with other pets. Some can be difficult to housebreak.
and paintings dating from the sixteenth century show dogs resembling a small
lion (which the Shih-Tzu is sometimes called). In the seventeenth century,
dogs were brought from Tibet and bred in the forbidden City of Peking, probably
by crossing the Tibetan Lhasa Apso and the native Pekingese. The Shih-Tzu
became a favorite of the Imperial Chinese court. The breed was so revered
that for many years after the Chinese began trading with the West, they refused
to sell, or even give away, any of the little dogs. It was not until 1930
that the first pair was imported to England. The Shih-Tzu was recognized in
Britain in 1946 and by the AKC in the United States in 1969. Today the ShihTzu
breed is very popular, both as a companion and as a glamorous show dog.
Shih Tzu websites
- portrait of a Shih Tzu
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