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There are a number of documents and paintings dating as far back as the 16th Century which show a dog resembling a small lion and which the Shih-Tzu is sometimes called. These dogs were then brought from Tibet in the 17th Century and bred by crossing the Tibetan Lhasa Apso with the native Pekingese in the forbidden City of Peking. However it was not until the 1930’s that the first pair was allowed to be imported to England and became a recognized breed in Britain in 1946. Today the dog has now become popular for those looking either for a companion or as a show dog.

Breed Specifics
The Shih-Tzu is part of the AKC Toy classed under the Non-Sporting Dogs category and was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1969.
Height: Up to 11 inches
Weight: 9-16 pounds
Longevity: 15 years or more

The Shih-Tzu is a small sturdy dog similar in looks to the Lhasa Apso and is covered with an abundant double coat of long hair that has a woolly undercoat. The Shih-Tzu has a proud look and the hair above the nose grows upward creating a “chrysanthemum” shape to their face. The face on the Shih-Tzu is rounded and has a beard and moustache with a short hairy muzzle and black nose. The eyes are large, round and wide set and dark. The ears are pendant shaped and covered with hair that makes them blend right into the body coat. The topline on the Shih-Tzu should be level and its body should be slightly longer than the height at its withers. The heavy plumped tail should curl over the dogs back.
Color: Any colour but for show dogs they should have white on the forehead and the tip of the tail.

The Shih-Tzu is known for an alert and spunky little dog and has lots of character. They come sometimes come across as being an arrogant breed although they are capable of making friends easily, but can be obstinate at times. Although the Shih-Tzu likes to bark they are usually quiet when indoors, but be warned they can be stubborn when they want to be. Because of its playful, lively and affectionate nature the Shih-Tzu needs to be with people and does not cope well when left on its own.

Health Issues
The Shih-Tzu has a tendency to wheeze and snore because of the short muzzle and some can be prone to ear, eye or respiratory problems. In some cases where a Shih-Tzu has a long back and short legs they may suffer from spinal disc disease. It is important that this breed makes regularly visits to the vets for their teeth to be cared for and they should not be fed excessively as they gain weight easily.

The Shih-Tzu is happy to live in an apartment and can be fairly active indoors. Although a naturally active dog they will if allowed become lazy and it is important that they are exercised regularly (walking daily is a good idea).

The Shih-Tzu needs to be groomed daily using a bristle brush and often owners will keep the hair away from the dog’s eyes so that it can see properly by putting it up in a topknot. It is important that the ear passages and areas around the dogs eyes (which sensitive) are cleaned regularly and if you need to there are special drops that can be used for treating the eyes (but it is important that this is discussed with the vet). The breed sheds little or no hair so may be the ideal choice of a pet for those who suffer from allergies.

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