The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu has a long documented history that is at least 1,000 years old! Shih Tzus were bred as a companion dog in Tibet, and were a prized and beloved pet to most of the Royals of the Ming Dynasty. The Shih Tzu is one of the few breeds that has remained in the service of what it was originally intended to be - a companion. And, while no one knows for sure, it is believed that Shih Tzus were created by crossing a Lhaso Apso, a Tibetan Mountain dog and a Pekignese.
Discovered during World War II by British Soldiers the dogs were brought to the United Kingdom and the United States. Shih Tzus were not registered with the American Kennel Club until 1969, however, they have since soared in popularity, and are now in the AKC’s Top 10 Most Popular dogs, according to the Club’s registrations.
Shih Tzus are among the heartiest of the Toy Breeds, and are very playful, outgoing, and affectionate with sweet dispositions. The breed is intelligent and responsive making them relatively easy to train if you are patient, consistent and use praise and reward-based training. Shih Tzus are more likely to respond to a kind voice, vs. a stern one, so be mindful of that when training, or trying to get your dog’s attention.
The Shih Tzus petite, compact bodies should not fool you. As they are not as delicate as they look, and they can be quite strong for their size and weight. In fact the name Shih Tzu, quite literally means Lion Dog, and it is appropriate as these little dogs are courageous, and unafraid to stand up for themselves. While the breed is usually not dog aggressive, it is a good idea that you pay special attention in situations where other larger dogs are present as Shih Tzus are not likely to run and hide if they are attacked, or aggressed upon even if the other dog is 10x their size.