Shih Tzu pronounced (Sheed-Zoo) means "Little Lion" or "Lion Dog" in Chinese. These intelligent dogs originated in Tibet and were known as "Holy Dogs" as early as the 7th century A.D. Around the l7th century they were brought from Tibet to China. They were considered to be very popular in the Royal Chineses Court.
In Buddhist belief there is a connection between the lion and their Deity. The Shih Tzus have a nickname "The Chrysanthemum-faced dog". Tzu-hsi the last Empress of China was interested in breeding. After her death in l908 stock became scattered abroad and smuggled out of the Palace and sold by the eunuchs to Chinese noblemen or presented as gifts to foreign visitors.
They were known as house pets during most of the Ming Dynasty and highly favored by the Royal family. After the Revolution a few dogs were then imported to England. They were then sent to Scandinavian countries, other countries in Europe and then to Australia. During WW 11 members of the American Armed Forces stationed in England brought them to the United States.
In l934, the Shih Tzu was recognized in the NON-Sporting Group & Lady Brownrigg was granted permission to register a club under the title "The Shih Tzu Club" was under the presidency of the Countess of Essex. Then in l938 over a hundred Shih Tzus had been registered by the English Kennel Club. Championship status was granted and in l949 Lady Brownriggs Ta-Chi of Taishan became the first breed champion at Blackpool Ch. Show. English Fu-ling of Clystvale was very popular and is in most English pedigrees.
Popularity grew in USA and The American Shih Tzu Club was founded in l957 in Philadelphia but did not get registered in the American Kennel Club Stud Book until March l969, a toy group in Sept. l969.
"The World Encyclopedia of Dogs" by Jones U.Hamilton,"The AKJC complete Dog book" l7th ed.
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