The Shih Tzu has been around for a long time. The Shih
Tzu was bred to sit around the palace of the Emperor of
China and bark when people or animals approached: this
is allegedly to alert people to the presence of unwanted
visitors. It is believed that this ornamental breed was
created by breeding the Bei-jing gou (Pekingese) with
a Tibetan dog breed, the Lhasa Apso. Recent DNA analysis
confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog.
The Shih Tzu is also known as the Chinese/Tibetan Lion
Dog or the Chrysanthemum Dog. It is called the chrysanthemum
dog because its face looks very much like the flower.
In 1994, the Shih Tzu became the 12th most popular breed
of dog in the AKC's 139 breeds with more than 37,000 new
The Imperial Shih Tzu or Shih Tzu breed or lion dog is
characterized by its long, flowing double coat; sturdy
build; intelligence; and a friendly, lively attitude.
In breeding all coat colors are allowed. The Shih Tzu's
hair can be styled either in a short summer cut, or kept
long as is compulsory for conformation shows. Although
Shih Tzu owners do not generally find fur on furniture
or cloths, they do shed small amounts of fur and are a
hypoallergenic pet. The shedded hairs are usually trapped
in the Shih Tzu's dense undercoat until the Shih Tzu starts
to do activities that involve a lot of movement (e.g.
The AKC Shih Tzu breed standard calls for
the dog to have a short snout, large eyes, and a palm-like
tail that waves above its torso. The ideal Shih Tzu to
some is height at withers is 9 to 10 1/2 inches. The dog
should stand no less than 8 inches and not more than 11
inches tall. The Shih Tzu should never be so high stationed
as to appear leggy, nor so low stationed as to appear
dumpy or squatty. Regardless of size or gender, the Shih
Tzu should always be solid and compact, and carry good
weight and substance for its size range.
James E. Mumford described the breed in
an American Shih Tzu magazine, giving a picture of the
versatile character of the Shih Tzu: "Nobody knows
how the Ancient Eunuchs managed to mix together…And
now here comes the recipe: A dash of lion, several teaspoons
of rabbit, a couple of ounces of domestic cat, one part
court jester, a dash of ballerina, a pinch of old man
(Chinese), a bit of beggar, a tablespoon of monkey, one
part baby seal, a dash of teddy bear and the rest dogs
of Tibetan and Chinese origin."
When the Dowager Empress took over control of the breeding
of Imperials from the Temple Eunuchs she changed the Eunuchs
preferred size range of 3-7 pounds dogs to 7-10 pound
range. This change was not natural to the breed due to
the gene called insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The
genetic quirk, called a haplotype, is found in all small
breeds and is the reason Imperials were so small in size.
Due to its popularity the Shih Tzu has been a trend by
many breeders of Shih Tzu to go back to the original and
parent sizes of the breed. This practice is growing because
of the demand for smaller easier to carry dogs the cidclub.com
prefers the original variation of the breed Called "
Imperial Shih Tzu 'or the “Chinese Imperial Dog.
To this day The American Shih Tzu standard requires them
to weigh 9 to 16 pounds which is much larger than the
original the eunuchs preferred and larger than the Dowager