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Description: The name "Shih Tzu" means lion dog in Chinese, and they received
the name because of their long, flowing mane-like coat. The lion is highly
regarded in Buddhist culture, and therefore the Shih Tzu made its way into
palaces and royalty's lap in the older days of China. The Shih Tzu is a sturdy,
lively, toy dog with a long flowing double coat. The topknot on the head is usually
held up with a bow, and they have dark round eyes with a pleasing expression.
Shih Tzus can be of any color and any pattern, but a white blaze and a white tail is
much desired. They somewhat resemble Ewoks from the movie Star Wars. The
actual Japanese standard for this breed states that this breed should have, "lion
head, bear torso, camel hoof, feather-duster tail, palm-leaf ear, rice teeth, pearly
petal tongue, and a movement like a goldfish." Shih Tzus have a distinctively
arrogant carriage with head well up and tail curved over the back. They may
display an arrogant personality, but are actually playful and gentle. They are quite
friendly, more so than their cousins, the Lhasa Apso. They are not as wary of
strangers, and get along well with everyone. Shih Tzus adapt well to any family
situation and will enjoy a cuddle in your lap, doing tricks, or fetching a tennis ball.
Shih Tzus are an intelligent dog who will make a good family addition. Despite
their small size the Shih Tzu is a confident and dignified breed.

Other Names: Chrysanthemum-Faced Dog, Foo Dog

Type: Companion Dog

Height: 8 - 11 inches.

Weight: 8 - 19 lbs. Between 8 and 16 lbs. is most desirable.

Colors: Shih Tzus come in all colors and all patterns.
Coat: Long, dense, straight and with a good undercoat. It appears harsher than it
feels.

Temperament: Shih Tzus are gentle, loyal, and proud. They appear arrogant, but
are very friendly and affectionate. They love to play ball and will chase anything
you throw for them. Shih Tzus are trusting, companionable, and get along with
everyone, generally. They are lively, alert and energetic outside. They are very
people oriented, vivacious and athletic. The Shih Tzu makes a very pleasing
companion and will be obedient if trained.
With Children: Yes, they love children.
With Pets: Yes, the Shih Tzu gets along well with other animals.
Special Skills: Family pet

Watch-dog: Very High. They are rather alert.
Guard-dog: Very Low. Although alert, Shih Tzus remain quite friendly, even to
strangers.

Care and Exercise: Daily grooming is essential for the Shih Tzu. Bathing needs to
be done once a month. This breed also needs a clipping of the matting on the
feet. They should be brushed daily in order to remove and prevent mats from
forming in the fur.  Minimal exercise is needed, but they will love to play outdoors.
Training: Shih Tzus may be obstinate but patience and consistency will help over
come the problem and achieve a reasonable level of training. Puppies need basic
training when they are young. They should turn out to be a moderately obedient
pet if trained.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - Low.

Activity: Indoors - High. Outdoors - Low.

Special Needs: Attention and grooming.

Living Environment: An apartment is adequate provided they receive some type of
exercise. An owner of a Shih Tzu should be a consistent leader who desires an
active, curious breed. They are very adaptable, but the best owner for this breed
would be an attentive owner living in an apartment or suburban home.

Life Span: 10 - 14 years.
Litter Size: 2 - 4 puppies.

Country of Origin: Tibet
History: Shih Tzus may have originated from a cross between the Tibetan
Mountain Dog, Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. They were a favored dog of the
Emperor and have been portrayed in Chinese paintings and artwork for centuries.
Thought to have been around since possibly the 7th century, the Shih Tzu was
probably descends from a Lhasa type dog that came from Tibet, which then mixed
with the Pekignese or Tibetan Mountain Dog. All are similar in appearance and
attitude, although the Shih Tzu is more people oriented and less suspicious than
the Lhasa Apso. Shih Tzus lived a life of luxury in the palaces of royal Emperors
and the Dalai Lama. They were bred as pets and companions, and commonly
kept as so. They were called "Lion Dogs" by the Chinese, in which the lion was a
powerful symbol of honor and strength. Chine became a republic in 1912, and
afterward a few of these animals made their way to Britain and other countries.
After this the communist takeover of China resulted in almost all dogs being
eliminated from the mainland, in which the Shih Tzu was fortunate enough to have
made its way to other countries ahead of time. They were first imported to
England in the 1930s. Then after World War II they made their way to the United
States via military officers traveling home. The breed entered North America in the
1960s, and it wasn't until 1969 that the AKC recognized the breed. One Shih Tzu,
on its first entry into a dog show, obtained Best in Show in the ring on its first try.
The breed today has become a popular in many countries.


                      
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