The Shih Tzu, also called the Lion Dog or Chrysanthemum Dog, is anything but Lion-like. In fact, it's one of the smallest, cutest dogs there is. The Chinese Mandarin pronunciation of Shih Tzu is different than the American that sounds like "sheet-sue". It is pronounced like "sure-ds". The "ds" is like the "ds" in the word, birds. The "ds" translates to the word, Lion, in Mandarin. The Chinese kept the dog from foreigners for many years. Its origin dates back to the 7th century where it was found in documents, art works, and royal art objects. By order of the Imperial Court, it could not be exported. It wasn't until 1930 that England saw the first traces of the Shih Tzu come in. It wasn't until the late year of 1969 when the American Kennel Club recognized it as a breed. The Shih Tzu has a lifespan of 11 to 14 years. Itís prone to liver ear, eye, respiratory, and dental problems, liver shunt, renal dysplasia, and hip dysplasia. Donít overfeed because obesity is likely. During the Ming dynasty, it was the most populous house pet. Before, it had just lived in the royal palace.
The Shih Tzu has a profuse double coat with a silky, flat, long topcoat and a fleecy, feather-like undercoat. It has a hairy mustache and beard, and it looks charming on this rather effeminate breed. Toy dogs look cute with bearded, bushy faces. The eyes are rounded, large, and set far apart. This bewhiskered toy has really woolly ears that look like pendants. The ears are so furry that they blend into the camouflage in the bodyís coat. The stout, hairy tail curls slightly over its back. They weigh about 10 to 15 pounds, and they can reach 11 inches high at the withers. It should not appear leggy, dumpy, or squatty. It has a flat, squashed muzzle, round broad head, and round nose. Its ears are large.
The Shih Tzu, unlike other breeds, has a single working trait that trumps all other dogs combined. It was bred to be a pet, first and foremost. It loves companionship and indoor settings with amenities and considerate friends. The dog is in the same category as the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Spaniel, and Pekingese. The Shih Tzu is seriously jealous of toddlers and other pets in the house. It needs its attention. This is the perfect dog to spoil.
The Shih Tzu is attentive, vigorous, jubilant, able-bodied, enthusiastic, and blissful. Sometimes, theyíre gentlemanly, chic, haughty, and courageous. Itís impish, willful, and stubborn. It can snap if provoked unexpectedly. They wheeze and snore. The Shih Tzu has life expectancy bordering on 15 years or more. Shih Tzus were lofty palace pets for many years before the Chinese traded with the West.