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postheadericon The history of the shih tzu dog breed spans more than hundreds of years and finds it very beginnings in china

The history of the Shih Tzu dog breed spans more than hundreds of years and finds it very beginnings in China. Today, the dogs are still trusted companions of millions of families with young children because of the same reasons they were once the favored canine choice of imperial ladies-in-waiting and royalty.

It is believed that the origins of Shih Tzus go back nearly 3,000 years when the country of Tibet gifted the dogs to the Imperial palace of China. There are many historical reports that talk about “under table” dogs who ate up the scraps and kept their keepers (usually eunuchs who oversaw many of the Imperial household functions) of anything or anyone approaching the castle.

The appearance of Shih Tzus resembles that of a lion, which also suggests they hailed from further west. Today, the breed of Shih Tzus is also known largely due to the efforts of the last Imperial Empress of China. For some 50 years, until the early part of the 20th century, she ruled the vast empire which was comparable to the modern China of today.

During this time, the Empress also enacted a breeding program to create the perfect lineage of Shih Tzus, Pugs and Pekinese as well. Detailed accounts that been maintained for many years, contain vivid descriptions and breeding notations. Though it is believed that some of the eunuchs who actually physically cared for the dogs cross bred them, the results were a surprisingly varied line of Shih Tzus. It was in this process that three distinctive sub-breeds within the larger Shih Tzu breed, would eventually emerge.

When the pressures of Europe and modernization took effect, the results eventually forced out what had been an unpopular regime, the Shih Tzus were taken from the palaces by the overthrown Imperial family and recently ousted eunuchs. During this time period, many of the dogs were exported out of China.

With the dawning of the early 20th century, the breed suffered hard times and was nearly wiped out, they are believed to have become extinct in China. It is believed that only around 11 dogs were able to escape to the west. In locations throughout western Europe, breeding began in the 1930’s through the 1950’s, this resulted in millions of dogs being produced and replenishing of the breed. Because of this significant rise in population, the Shih Tzu breed is somewhat likely to have congenital health issues.

It is interesting to note that Shih Tzus in the United Kingdom are mostly descended from a single cross breed with a straight-legged Pekinese during the 1930’s. As a result of this, most of the Shih Tzus in the UK are a little bit taller than others found all over the world. Other than this fact, it is a living tribute to the Empress as to how much variation is still in existence today, in the various coat color combinations still witnessed in the breed.

Though somewhat noisy, Shih Tzus are still great at keeping a household alerted to anyone approaching. Furthermore, Shih Tzus were selected to be docile and easy to handle. Because they were bred exclusively to form close bonds with human beings, Shih Tzus are extremely loving and happy to follow you around all day long.

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