The Shih Tzu – 5 Things You Didn’t Know
1.Their Name Means “Lion Dog ”
According to legend, the Shih Tzu or “Lion Dog” was a small dog that traveled with Tibetan Buddhists that could turn into a large lion that served as a guard. It is said, that the Shih Tzu also earned this name because of their big hearts and even larger personalities. During the early years of this breed, trading, selling and transporting of the dogs to anyone who would take them out of China was strictly forbidden.
2.They are Athletic
These little ones are known for breaking the stereotype of dogs with agility. There true nature is a low key companion dog with minimal exercise requirements however under those long locks of hair is a sturdy and muscular physique. Many Shih Tzu over the years have won agility competitions. In fact, as recently as 2014, a Shih Tzu became the first of his breed to win both a champion title and an agility title.
3.The Breed is Older than you Might Think
The average life span of the Shih Tzu is between 12 to 16 years, but there breed is more than 1,000 years old! In fact, DNA analysis indicates that the Shih Tzu is one of the most ancient pure breeds in existence today. Ancient artifacts depict the presence of what may be this breed in art work that is believed to be over 2,000 years old.
4.They were once considered, Guard Dogs
Shih Tzus were once regarded more than a companion lap dog. Tibetan Monks considered this breed as holy, even trusting them with the task of guarding their temples. These Shih Tzus worked beside the monks, acting as guard dogs or alarm dogs alerting the temple occupants of any intruders. They carry much of this instinctive trait today, warning their owners if anything seems amiss or if a stranger is approaching their home.
5.As of the 1930’s there was only 14 Shih Tzu’s in the World
Seven male and seven female dogs comprised the entire gene pool of all existing Shih Tzu. These fourteen included the Pekingese dog that was brought into England in 1952, three Shih Tzu were imported from China, and eight additional imports to England between 1933 and 1959. Three other Shih Tzu were brought from China in 1932, including a female that was the only Shih Tzu bred in the Imperial Palace to reach the Western world. Today, all Shih Tzu can be traced back to these 14 pups.