The Shih Tzu (right, Fin Ch Camelle the Lion King)is Tibetan in origin, believed to be the result of breeding the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese together although the breed was developed in China where they lived in the Imperial Palaces. For hundreds of years there was a tradition of an annual exchange of gifts between the Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China, when the Emperor would be given dogs and the Dalai Lama would receive dogs or some other gifts in return. It was in this way that the Tibetan dogs - probably Lhasa Apsos - became pets of the Emperor, and were then bred to the Imperial Pekingese.
China was very jealous of its dogs and until it became a Republic in 1912 prevented any being exported to the west; after the Revolution the borders were opened but it was not until 1931 that there is an official record of a Shih Tzu being imported to the UK. They were recognised by The Kennel Club in 1934 and granted Champion status in 1949.
He is fractionally taller than the Lhasa and it is customary for his topknot to be tied up rather than left as a fringe; another difference is that his coat tends to have a slight wave, unlike the waterfall appearance of the Lhasa. His foreface is distinctively snubbed with a slightly up-tilted nose and this effect is exaggerated by the hair growing upwards on his nose.
All colours are allowed for the Shih Tzu and a white blaze on the forehead and white tip to the tail are considered highly desirable. He is a charming little dog, friendly and active he is well suited to family life. His coat, of course, requires a fair bit of attention, but if that is attended to he makes a very cheerful addition to the home.
Click here to read the Shih Tzu Breed Standard.
Shih Tzu Breed Clubs
Shih Tzu Rescue and Rehoming
Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue
Mrs P M Read Herts 01923 675069
North East Shih Tzu Rescue
Mrs A Craggs Newcastle upon Tyne 01207 560046
Shih Tzu Rescue
Mrs E MacDonald Lancs 0161 633 5050 Email
Southern Shih Tzu Rescue
Mrs D I Butler (Secretary) 01883 623252
Shih Tzu Breeders
Ethical breeders are invited to register their kennel on Puppyfinder for just £10pa. This allows you to list litters, litters planned and stud dogs