The Shih-Tzu is one of the most loved companion lap dogs around today. However, while the breed may look quite cute and cuddly, its history may just surprise you. There are many different opinions on what the Shih-Tzu’s original purpose was and here we will look at the different theories and the actual history behind the breed.
How the Shih-Tzu Has Developed
It has been rumored that the Shih-Tzu started out in monasteries and that it was trained to turn the prayer wheels. However, a Tibetan Monk has told how the story of the Shih-Tzu being a monastery dog is complete nonsense.
Another myth is that the breed used to travel with the Buddha Manjusri and the dog used to transform into a full sized lion to carry the Buddha on its back. So the breed certainly has a religious background and that is to do with the fact that it has been around for so long. It is one of the oldest breeds of dog available today.
The name of the Shih-Tzu actually means Little Lion and the breed was brought over from China.
They were brought over to England by Lady Brownrigg and her goal was to breed a small companion palace dog. It wasn’t until 1933 that the Shih-Tzu was actually recognized and around the same time the Lhasa Apso which has a similar appearance to the Shih-Tzu.
The main purpose of the Shih-Tzu has always been as a companion breed. It is hard to believe that such a small, lovable lap dog has such a heroic and ancient history. Another interesting fact about the breed is that it was also known to resemble the look of a flower as well as a lion, though it was still mainly called the lion dog.
The Shih-Tzu club was actually started in the 1950’s, though the breed at the time was slightly larger than it is today.
The breed has gone through such a transformation since it was first introduced and in 1952 a woman named Freda Evans acquired two Shih-Tzu dogs and she decided that they needed to be bred with the Pekingese. The move did not go down well with members of the Kennel Club, but today the dogs that were bred with the Pekingese line are recognized as pure bred Shih-Tzu’s.
As well as a companion breed, the Shih-Tzu also was used as a show dog, especially in the 1960’s when the first champion was crowned. As time has gone on, the Shih-Tzu has become increasingly popular both as a show dog and as a companion lap dog.
The breed has been around for thousands of years and it is showing no sign of decreasing in popularity as of yet.
Shih Tzus have a genuine love for their owner. Always loyal, sometimes lazy, but always a joy to be with and one of the best known of all the lap dog breed. The Shih-Tzu is a wonderful dog for the right owner.
The legends that surround the Shih-Tzu are certainly interesting and it is hard to believe that such a small breed of dog can have such a big part in history.