Evidence of the Shih Tzu's ancestors can be traced all the way back to 5th century Asia, particularly Tibet. Eventually, the breed became known as a noble dog of China, notably as a royal house pet to the Ming Dynasty. The name Shih Tzu originates from the Chinese word for "lion" because of the breed's lion-like appearance.
The Shih Tzu has always been known as a house pet and "lap dog," never having been bred for any other known purposes. Perhaps this is why it remains, to this day, one of the most pampered and popular of the toy breeds.
Shih Tzus can be nearly any color, but are most commonly seen in black, white, blue, gold, liver or any combination of these.
Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards
as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
About the Breed:
The Shih Tzu is a small but sturdy dog with a lush, long double hair coat. Its alert, confident, playful and courageous demeanor may be interpreted as stubborn and outspoken. In part, this may be due to its long history as a lap dog to nobles.
Because of the Shih Tzu's long, luxurious coat, daily brushing and a strict grooming routine are absolutely required. The Shih Tzu is just one of many hypoallergenic dog breeds.
The natural personality of this breed can definitely benefit from basic training at the very least. Though the Shih Tzu does not need a tremendous amount of exercise, the breed thrives with a daily exercise routine - as with all dogs.
The Shih Tzu, when properly trained and cared for, can make a wonderful companion. Its small size makes this breed ideal for apartments and small homes. Just be prepared for some snorting and snoring - the Shih Tzu is considered a brachycephalic breed because of its head shape and short "smooshed" face. Overall, most owners of the breed will tell you that the Shih Tzu is truly a lovable dog breed!
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