Shih Tzu

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Chrysanthemum Dog
Country/Date of origin:
  • China
  • 1600′s
  • 9 to 10 1/2 inches
  • 9 to 16 pounds
  • Gentle and loyal.
  • So charming that it will worm its way into your heart.
  • Proud and aristocratic temperament.
  • Can be stubborn.

Although it is associated with the Emperors of China, the Shih Tzu is of Tibetan origin.  Shih Tzu dogs probably came to China as gifts from the Dalai Lama.  There was a religious significance.  The little dogs were said to be the living embodiment of the lion, which is revered in the Orient as the guardian of Buddha.  They remained the property of Chinese nobility for centuries and it was not until 1930 that some reached the West.  Most of the little pampered pets were destroyed in the Chinese Revolution but several were sent to England.  From England, they spread around the world.  The Shih Tzu was admitted to the American Kennel Club (AKC) registry in 1969.

Body Type:
  • Small, stocky, short-legged dog of Oriental origin, with a profuse coat that often sweeps the ground.
  • Tail is held high and arched over back like a plume.  It is not altered.
  • Long, hanging ears are not altered.
  • The gait of a Shih Tzu is slightly rolling, with a strong rear action.
  • Very long, dense, double coat.  The undercoat is woolly.  The outercoat is extremely long and may be slightly wavy but never curly.
  • Head hair is tied with a barrette or rubber band to prevent eye irritations.
  • Called the chrysanthemum-faced dog because the hair grows about the face in all directions.
  • Professional grooming suggested.
  • All colors permissible.
  • A white blaze on the forehead is highly desirable.
Health and Wellness:
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Porto-systemic shunt.
  • Renal dysplasia.
  • Entropion.
  • Trichiasis.
  • Epihora.
  • Urolithiasis (oxalate and struvite).
  • Atopy.
  • Hypertrophic pyloric hypertrophy.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
  • Cushing’s disease (PDH).
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
What you should know:
  • Shih Tzu means lion in Chinese.
  • Often confused with the Lhasa Apso, the Shih Tzu is smaller; has a denser, slightly-wavy coat; and, the hair is traditionally tied on top of the head.
  • This is a very sturdy toy breed that can, and will, tolerate rough and tumble play.
  • The gentle nature and low exercise requirements make it an ideal pet for the elderly.
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