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Shih Tzu


Shih Tzus are not only adored and loved all around the world for their endearing looks and cute expressions, but they are also admired for their affectionate and friendly nature and their gentle and happy personality. Shih Tzus make awesome house pets and companions and are known to stick by their owner’s side through every thick and thin.

In this article, we’ll be covering various fascinating facts about this awesome breed and it is a certainty that some of them will definitely surprise a lot of people.

General Facts about Shih Tzus

  • Name:

    The name of this breed, “Shih Tzu” is a Mandarin phrase that roughly translates to ‘Little Lion Dog’. Because this pooch was bred to resemble a lion and it is immensely tiny in terms of both size and stature, the term Little Lion Dog perfectly suits this adorable canine.
  • Alternate Names:

    There are several nicknames by which Shih Tzus are commonly referred to. Their most popular nickname is probably the “Chrysanthemum dog” and it was given to them because the hair on their faces usually grows in every possible direction just like the petals of the Chrysanthemum flower. Apart from this, Shih Tzus have also been given some other names such as Fu Dog, Shock Dog, Under-the-table Dog et cetera.
  • Popularity:

    Not only this breed is tremendously popular today (they are placed #20 spot in the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds that features 190 unique breeds), but these dogs were extremely popular in the olden times as well. They were the prized possessions of the Chinese royalty who absolutely loved these small-sized pooches. They were given a luxurious life in big palaces and were treated with respect by everybody.

Facts about Shih Tzu’s Body

  • Coat:

    Well, the most eye-catching aspect about the appearance of these dogs is their coat. They have a beautiful, long, flowy coat which is evenly spread all over the body. And, according to the breed standards given by AKC, Shih-Tzus can have 14 different coat colors and 3 different markings.
  • Shortnosed:

    Shih Tzus are considered to be a Brachycephalic breed which means because of their short nose, they may suffer from various respiratory disorders.

Historical Facts about Shih Tzu

  • Origin:

    Shih Tzu is an extremely ancient breed which probably came into existence thousands of years ago. There are several paintings and artworks from the 624 CE that proves that a Shih Tzu-like canine was present during that Era.
  • Tibet to China:

    It is highly speculated that the true ancestors of the Shih Tzu breed actually came from Tibet. These small pooches were given to the Chinese royalty as presents by the Tibetans and then the Chinese breeders began crossing these dogs with other breeds like Lhasa Apsos and Pekingese which resulted in the formation of modern-day Shih Tzus.
  • Extinction:

    When China was struck by the Communist Revolution, the Shih Tzus, along with several other breeds, were almost wiped off the face of the earth and it is believed that only 14 dogs (7 male and 7 female) survived the Revolution. The admirers of this breed again started the breeding programme, once the Revolution got over, and gradually their numbers started to become more and more solid. And, because of that, every Shih Tzu that is alive today can be traced back to one of those 14 canines that were responsible for fully rebuilding this breed.
  • China to Other Parts of the World:

    Lady Brownrigg, the wife of quartermaster general of north China brought the first Shih-Tzus to England in 1928. From there, English began importing these dogs to other countries as well. These dogs came to the U.S. in the late 1940s with American soldiers who were stationed in various European countries.
  • AKC Recognition:

    Shih Tzus were recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club in the year 1969.

Temperamental Facts about Shih Tzu

  • Closely Attached:

    Shih Tzus like to remain close to their loved ones as long as possible. They love the company of the people who they can trust and are known to follow them wherever they go.
  • Stubborn & Sensitive:

    Although Shih Tzus are immensely affectionate, loving and friendly in nature, but sometimes, they can be a little stubborn as well and this mostly happens during their training sessions. And, at that time, it is important for the owners to remain gentle and patient with these dogs as they are highly sensitive as well.

Some Tales and Legends about Shih Tzus

  • Shih Tzu- the protector:

    It is believed that these dogs were given the role of guarding the monasteries and palaces in China against any kinds of intruders.
  • Star of Buddha:

    The small, white-colored spot that is present on the foreheads of most Shih Tzus is known as the Star of Buddha. Legend has it that when some robbers tried to attack Buddha, his small companion (a little dog), who was traveling with him, transformed into a massive lion that protected Buddha from the robbers. Buddha, to show his affection and gratitude, kissed the dog on the forehead and that resulted in a little white mark on the canine’s forehead.