His name means little lion, but there’s nothing fierce about this dog breed. The Shih Tzu is a lover, not a hunter.
There are TOP 10 interesting facts about Shih Tzu.
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Nobody knows exactly how old the shih tzu is, although it existed at least as far back as 624 CE (we know this because of its presence in art from the era). As with most ancient breeds, it’s difficult to determine when and how exactly it originated, though experts have some ideas. According to one popular theory, the breed was started in Tibet by Buddhist monks and eventually made its way to China.
Given the long flowing coats of Shih Tzu show dogs, we tend to think of this breed as more glamorous than sporty. But underneath that gorgeous coat is a muscular body that can perform well in agility. Many Shih Tzu have won agility competitions. In 2014, a Shih Tzu became the first of his breed to win both a champion title and an agility title.
The name “Shih Tzu” in Chinese means “lion dog,” reflecting both the breed’s lion-like features and the legend that Buddha rode to earth on the back of a lion. The breed’s more formal name is Tibetan Shih Tzu Kou. “Shih” is Chinese for “lion,” and “kou” means dog. “Tzu” roughly translated means “son” or “child.”
Despite their genetic similarities to wolves, shih tzus were bred to be loving companions. The pampered pets led luxurious lives in palaces, enjoying all the creature comforts a dog could want. Their thick coats made them effective radiators, and their owners would use the dogs to keep their beds warm. At one time, it was even fashionable to keep the small canines tucked away in large robe sleeves.
Before you get a shih tzu, consider how much free time you have. The little dogs are notoriously difficult to train and it takes a lot of patience to housebreak them. In fact, it can take around 40 to 50 repetitions of a bathroom routine before the stubborn pup catches on. Owners are urged to start training immediately at puppyhood so irreversible bad habits don’t form.
6) Celebrity Dog
Since the Shih Tzu is one of the most popular dog breeds, it’s no surprise that many stars have owned them. Celebrity owners of Shih Tzu include Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Colin Farell, Bill Gates, and even Queen Elizabeth II.
The hair of a shih tzu is truly something to envy. Show dogs can be seen sporting stylish long hair that drags on the floor like a dress’s train. This particular hairstyle is very hard to keep up, so most shih tzu owners opt to keep their dog’s hair in a short style called the “puppy cut.” Usually this involves cutting the hair uniformly about two inches from the body (this is also referred to as the “teddy bear cut,” because it makes them look like a plush toy). Other owners opt to shave the body hair closely, leaving the hair on the head and ears in a bob-like style (this is known as the “top knot cut.”) If neither of these options appeal to you, you can always book an appointment with this groomer in Taiwan, who will cut your dog’s hair into a perfect circle or square.
Shih Tzu are assertive little dogs. They are not the best choice for very small children as they may feel bothered by poking little fingers, but they generally get along fine with older children and other pets. They may bark at strangers but once introduced should accept them as friends. Just like any other dog, they need to learn good manners and be treated with consistency.
Because of the shape of their head and face, Shih Tzus can often have breathing difficulties. Indeed, they’re considered to be one of the brachycephalic dog breeds and often snore.
10) Almost Extinct
As with other Chinese dog breeds, the shih tzu was nearly wiped out when the Communist party began its takeover. Luckily for shih tzu lovers, some dedicated fanciers protected the breed and seven males and seven females survived. Those 14 dogs were responsible for rebuilding the entire line.