If you are an owner of a Shih Tzu, you probably already know they are special. The Shih Tzu is a hairy and fluffy dog breed that is a dead ringer for the Ewoks in the famous Star Wars movies.
Energetic and playful, when you gaze into your Shin Tzu’s eyes, they seem to want one thing only from you, and that is love. Indeed, Shih Tzus love abundantly to get love. They wag their tails energetically whenever you are around, and you will always find their wet beady eyes looking up adorably at you, especially if you have a treat.
Here are a few interesting things about a Shih Tzu so you can get to know your pet better.
1. The Shih Tzu breed is at least 1,000 years old and originates from Tibet
Shih Tzus are an old breed with origins stemming from Tibet. They have existed for more than 1,000 years and came from China, possibly as gifts to the emperor from Tibet. The Chinese have since modified the genes of the original Shih Tzu and interbred them with Pekingese and Pugs to produce the modern-day Shih Tzu that you see today.
This dog breed is much revered in China and is called the Lion dog according to https://shihtzucenter.com/ . Legend has it that this energetic and steadfast dog was a companion to the Tibetan god of learning and could transform into a full-sized lion.
They are also said to have a privileged past, living in close quarters with Chinese royalty, being used to warm emperors’ beds. Eunuchs bred them, and noblewomen carried them around.
2. Shih Tzus were nearly extinct during the Communist revolution
The Shih Tzu breed was nearly wiped out during the Communist revolution because of the death of a royalty. Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi was a world-renowned breeder of Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Pugs. When she died, the breeding program fell into disarray, and it was nearly impossible to obtain a Shih Tzu since then.
But thanks to the 14 dogs – seven males and seven females – that were saved in the first half of the 20th century, the Shih Tzu continues to exist until this day.
3. Shih Tzus are assertive
Shih Tzus are spunky and assertive dogs. They need to be handled with care and do not appreciate being poked and jolted around. Hence, they may not be the best dogs for younger children who don’t know how to handle them yet. They will go along just fine with older kids and other pets.
It’s difficult to gain the trust of Shih Tzus if you’re a stranger and they may greet someone new with a lot of barking. But if they are seen regularly, Shih Tzus will accept them and become more affection over time.
4. Shih Tzus make the best companions
The friendliness of Shih Tzus stems from the fact that they were bred as companion dogs. They generally love spending time with their owners, especially when going out for walks. Shih Tzus need a lot of physical activity and exercise will benefit their health.
5. Shih Tzus have quite a few celebrity owners
Shih Tzus are known to be the choice of pet for famous people, such as actors and actresses, royalty, and even billionaires. Bill Gates is said to own one, and Queen Elizabeth II as well. Entertainers who own Shih Tzus include Beyoncé, Colin Farrell, Mariah Carey, and Nicole Richie.
6. Shih Tzu breed standards
The Shih Tzu is classified as a toy dog by the American and United Kingdom Kennel Club. Shih Tzus are also called chrysanthemum dogs because their hair grows in every direction from the center. Even if you cut a Shih Tzu’s hair very short, it will grow back in just a few weeks.
The standard characteristics include:
- Straight front legs
- Muscular hindquarters
- Large and round head
- Forward facing face set high
- Large eyes
- Shoulders are frontal
- Has underbite
- Neck and body should be proportional
Dogs give a lot of love and more so the Shih Tzu. From its near decimation decades ago, Shih Tzus have found new life and popularity in recent years. They are among the top performing breeds in the AKC (American Kennel Club), winning medals for agility and other contests. Shih Tzus are great companions and can even join you on vacation trips.
Getting to know your Shih Tzu lets you give the right care and training it needs so it can fit perfectly in your home.