June 29, 2017

Shih Tzu: Man’s Best Friend

Share on TwitterSubmit to StumbleUponDigg This
by Rebecca Simpson

The popular Shih Tzu breed has rich origins in royal Chinese history. Today’s Shih Tzu descends from dogs bred by Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi of Tibet, who rose to power in 1861 and died in 1908.

The Empress bred her dogs for traits like loyalty, good disposition, and perfect facial features. She gave Shih Tzu puppies as gifts to Chinese nobility and foreign diplomats. Tragically, when the Empress died, her successor resented the dogs and the era they represented, and many dogs were killed.

The breed first appeared in the United Kingdom during the late 1920s or early 1930s. North American soldiers who got to know the breed in Europe during World War II became fond of the little dogs and brought them back to the United States and Canada.

The Shih Tzu is a small, lightweight dog, weighing from nine to sixteen pounds. Its size makes it well suited as a lap dog and a pet for city dwellers. The dogs have been bred for centuries to provide human amusement and companionship. They are eager to please and thrive when they are the center of attention.

The dogs were bred to have a lion-like appearance, with their flattened facial muscles, bowed legs, bulging eyes, and intimidating facial expressions earning them the nickname of “lion dogs.” Their wrinkled faces were also said to resemble chrysanthemum flowers, giving rise to the breed’s second nickname of “chrysanthemum dog.”

The Shih Tzu’s coat is long and slightly wavy and requires careful daily grooming to prevent mats and tangles. The results are worth the effort, as the dog’s silky coat enhances its elegant appearance.

The dog makes an excellent family pet but is equally content to be a companion for a single owner or a couple without children. The Shih Tzu is happiest when it is the center of attention, so families with infants or very young children are advised to wait until the children are a bit older before purchasing a Shih Tzu, to avoid potential problems with jealousy.

The British Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1935, and the breed continues to be popular in the U.K. and Europe. In 2006, the Shih Tzu ranked ninth in the American Kennel Club’s rankings of breed popularity. This is a particularly remarkable accomplishment, considering that the AKC first recognized the breed in 1969. The little Shih Tzu has come a long way in the United States in just under forty years, and it is likely to continue to grow in popularity as more and more people discover what a delightful pet this breed is.

About the Author:
Share on TwitterSubmit to StumbleUponDigg This
URL.biz - Dogs