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A Shih-Tzu....bless you?!
Member Name: Foxy-Lady
Date: 28/02/02, updated on 07/04/10 (2028 review reads)
Disadvantages: Long hair - hard to manage
~ SHIH-TZU: A BRIEF HISTORY ~
The Shih Tzu (pronounced shit-zoo!) is thought to have originated in Tibet where it was kept in temples as a sacred dog. They were worshipped by the Buddhist religion and nicknamed 'Little Lion Dog' because of their appearance. Shih Tzu actually translates as lion.
The dogs were sometimes given to the emperors of China as a tribute, during the 17th century Manchu Dynasty. In China, Shih Tzus became known as 'Little Temple Dogs' and were kept and carefully guarded in the emperors palace. They led a hard life - lounging around on silk cushions all day! Some were given to important families as gifts. The origins of the Shih Tzu are confirmed by surviving tapestries and paintings of the time.
Around this time, people were confused about the dog. Some thought it was a pure bred while others thought it was a cross between the Tibetan Apso and a Pekingese.
~ ARRIVAL IN BRITAIN ~
The first Shih Tzu was brought to Great Britain in 1928 as a present for Queen Elizabeth. It was not until 1933 that the dog was recognised as an individual breed. America didn't obtain its first Shih Tzu until the late 1930s.
In 1952 there was a fear that the breed was developing poor structure so it was decided to cross a Pekingese into the line again. A shorter dog with a flatter muzzle was therefore created, looking more like the Shih Tzu of today. The dog is now becoming enjoyed by more and more people.
I decided that I wanted a Shih Tzu when I was about 10 years old. I was watching the kids Saturday morning programme Going Live and they had a puppy Shih Tzu on that attacked Gordon the Gopher (blast from the past!). It was so cute and from then on, it was all I wanted.
I eventually got one for my 13th birthday when my mum obviously decided that I was ready for the responsibility of looking after a dog. Let me tell you, Shih Tzus are irresistable as pups and I was absolutely ecstatic! I named him Zak and he is about 10 years old now. He's the best present I've ever had.
~ ABOUT SHIH-TZUS ~
Shih Tzus are lively but quiet dogs and they walk in a very proud, almost arrogant way. They are intelligent dogs and also inquisitive - in other words nosy! They have a strong personality but alongside a docile temperament making them gentle and friendly towards people. Shih Tzus love affection from people and like nothing more than to curl up on your knee. A proper lap dog! Zak will sit patiently waiting to be acknowledged so that he can climb onto my mums lap. If he can't get on, he'll lie on the floor with his back legs stretched straight out behind him (a typical trait!). He'll then nod off and start snoring (also a typical trait!!). Zak would lounge around like this all day given half the chance. This must stem from their days as pampered pooches!
Shih Tzus are a petite breed of dog, normally weighing 9 - 16 pounds, making them very light to pick up. The height of the dog at the shoulders is between 8 - 11 inches.
The coat of the Shih Tzu is its main, distinguishing characteristic. They have a beautiful, long, luxurious coat which is very dense and has a slight wave to it. The coat comes in a small range of colours; black, grey, gold or any of these with white. It is customary to tie up the hair on the head to keep it out of the dogs face, although care has to be taken that this is not so tight that the dog can't blink! The coat does require a lot of care and grooming when long to stop it getting matted and tangled. If you are planning on keeping the hair long, grooming should be started when a pup is young to accustom them to the process. Many people crop the dogs hair shorter to a more manageable length, which looks just as nice. In my opinion this is cuter as the dog keeps its puppyish looks.
When it comes to the face of a Shih Tzu, the eyes are dark, round, large - very expressionate. The eyelashes are also long. The ears of the Shih Tzu are long and drooping and blend into the hair of the dogs neck. The breed also has a plumed tail that curves upwards over the back and is always wagging!
The muzzle is flat and because of this, Shih Tzus have a tendency to snort and grunt a lot, particularly when walking. It's very comical. They have a tiny little nose with hair growing up over the top. They even appear to have a moustache. Shih Tzus are often called 'the chrysanthemum faced dog' because the facial hair grows in different directions.
To buy, a pedigree Shih Tzu would cost approximately £250-£300. This may seem like a lot of money but it is definitely worth it. Shih Tzus are brilliant company. They are very loyal dogs and are never away from your side - or should I say ankles!
When I moved away from home I left Zak with my parents and I miss him a lot. He was my dog but my mum spent more time with him over the years while I was at school and he became very attached to her so I didn't have the heart to take him away. He does get excited everytime I visit - I like to think that he misses me too!
I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier now which is quite a big difference! Even though I love my Staffie to bits, she is very boisterous and I do sometimes miss the fact that Zak was so placid and quiet, and wish that Levi was more like him.
Take it from me, Shih Tzus would make a great addition to any family.