Shih Tzu origin story

The mystery of the origin of the breed has not been solved so far and is covered with beautiful oriental legends. According to ancient legends, Shih Tzu is a huge lion enclosed in the body of a small dog. It is believed that Buddha was accompanied on his travels by a tiny four-legged friend who, in case of danger, turned into a lion and protected the owner. In Tibet, they believed that it was precisely the Shih Tzu, so these animals were deeply revered. And although this is only a myth, “lion dogs” are really unique.

According to a global genetic study published in 2004 in the New York Times, the Shih Tzu belongs to a group of so-called ancient dog breeds that were among the first to form on the planet and have changed little since then. There are 14 such breeds in the world.

The first mention of Shih Tzu dates back to 1653: then the Tibetan Dalai Lama presented several individuals of this breed to the Emperor of China. Since then, “little lions” have become a real cult and a symbol of imperial power: servants were assigned to the dogs and it was forbidden to take them out not only from China, but also outside the Beijing palace. They were presented as a gift to especially revered guests, which was considered a sign of the highest imperial favor.

Shih Tzu appeared in Europe only in the 30s of the XX century. And during the Second World War, the fashion for these kids was introduced by the British military, who gladly acquired brave pets.

Today, “Tibetan goldilocks” are still considered a sign of nobility and exquisite taste. So, in Hollywood in different years, Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, Kim Basinger and other stars started Shih Tzu. Even the billionaire Bill Gates and the British Queen Elizabeth II could not resist the charm of these dogs.

Description of the breed

The Shih Tzu is a small, energetic and elegant dog. You may have heard that they are also called “chrysanthemums” – thanks to the hair on the bridge of the nose, which grows up and to the sides, resembling a flower bud. The Shih Tzu has a short muzzle (attention – this is where, according to the standard, the coat should not be spotted) with high-set hanging ears that fit snugly to the head. The eyes are round and set wide apart. Proteins are not visible – because of this, the eyes look like black beads. The nostrils of the dog should be wide open: the standard does not allow their narrowing.

The pride of the Shih Tzu is their coat: long, harsh and straight (perhaps wavy, but not curly), and the undercoat is thick, soft and thin. The most diverse color is allowed: from white-red to brown and even black. White markings on the forehead and tip of the tail are especially valued, as well as colors that are combinations of two or three acceptable shades.

The Shih Tzu has a long neck, which allows them to proudly hold their heads. The back is straight with a strong loin. Paws are powerful, densely covered with hair. The tail is set high, carried over the back and spreads out like a fountain. Dogs conforming to the standard must move freely and gracefully.


Although Shih Tzu belong to a decorative breed, you should not think that these are “sofa” dogs. In the chest of these affectionate and cute animals, the heart of a real lion beats. Pets of this breed are characterized by a strong psyche, stubborn character and even courage. You can be sure that when you meet a bully in a dark alley or even a pack of stray dogs, your little “lion” will stand up for you without hesitation.

These dogs are absolute extroverts, very cheerful and trusting. They love to play and be held. For single people, Shih Tzu will become wonderful companions, and for family people – an indispensable friend for both adults and children. Dogs of this breed are very touchingly attached to their owners and literally follow them on their heels. But the upbringing of a dog must be dealt with from childhood.

It is very important to show the Shih Tzu in time who is the boss in the house. The dog must know that it is obliged to obey the person, otherwise the animal will take over the leadership and organize a mess in the apartment. If education is neglected in childhood, it is very difficult to teach obedience to an adult animal.

Health and disease

If the pet does not have hereditary diseases, and the owners provide him with proper care and nutrition, then the Shih Tzu can live up to 17 years, remaining active even in old age. However, the luxurious coat of a dog makes it vulnerable in many ways. Particularly for fleas. After each walk, carefully examine the pet, especially during the period of activity of ticks.

In addition, under the thick long hair, you can not notice the abscess, which causes discomfort and pain to the animal. Such purulent wounds should be carefully washed with warm salted water, but it is better to contact the veterinarian immediately. Another “wool” problem is swallowing hairballs when the dog licks itself. And if a small lump can pass without consequences, then a large one is very dangerous, up to suffocation.