Shih Tzu Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The Shih Tzu 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.
Rescue and Rehoming
If you need to rehome your own dog, first contact the breeder to see what support she can offer. If that doesn’t resolve your problem then contact a designated Rescue organisation (if one exists) or a Breed Club.