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The Shih Tzu is known to be playful and strong, having the heart of a lion with loving devotion, making it at great companion. They are small and compact with a sturdy dense bone structure making them a hardy dog that I recommend for families with children. They do have hair, not fur making them hypo-allergenic. Dogs with hair do not produce the hair dander that most people with allergies have a problem with. They do have a double coat that continues to grow, making combing and grooming a must for this breed. Combing at least 2-3 times a week will help with tangles and can be done daily. The coat of hair should be shampooed and conditioned when bathing.

The earliest depictions of the Shih Tzu are from 624 A.D. Shih Tzu in Chinese means “Lion Dog”. The Shih Tzu is called the “Fu” or “Foo” dog in mandarin which means “happiness”. Most Chinese paintings and statues are exaggerated and the depiction of the Shih Tzu is referred to as a Fu Dog. The Shih Tzu were bred as guardians of the temples and would alert you to anyone outside or trying to intrude. Guardian statues are always of a pair of Fu dogs; one male, holding a ball and one female, holding a puppy. The pair together are to balance energy and represent strength with wisdom from the male and playfulness with guardianship from the female. Legend has it that the fierce Shih Tzu turned into a lion to protect Buddah and the Tibetan temples. The white blaze of color on the forehead is where Buddah kissed, then placed his finger and blessed the dog. This spot is referred to as the Buddah Thumbprint. The white shawl around the neck is said to be where Buddah sat to ride the dog when he was weary and white on the tail is an indicator of good fortune to follow.

 The Shih Tzu first became a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club in 1969. The standard for the breed is 9-16 pounds and available in all colors. For an detailed history and all the specifications for the breed standard for the Shih Tzu go to A.K.C. or click the link below for more information.


copyright 2012 Tami Foster