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The motherland of breed is the “top of World” - Tibet. Two breeds of dogs are mentioned in ancient Tibet manuscripts: a big mastiff and a small dog with long fair and very good hearing. Those dogs were regarded as sacred. Tibet people believed that priests’ souls transmigrated into the dogs. That is why the dogs lived in temples. Buddhists considered shih-tzu as the friend of Buddha. One of the legends tells us how Buddha was traveling as if he would be the ordinary priest. He was followed by the small dog which in a moment could become the big lion ridden by Buddha. That is why the breed was called shih-tzu, which means “dog-lion”.

Being the traditional symbol of Tibet and Buddha the dog-lion symbolised the might of Tibet lama. Therefore sovereign of Tibet had chosen shih-tzu as the present for Chinese emperor. China relished Tibet’s present, shih-tzu gained emperor’s admiration and infinite love. Especially goldish color (the color of Chinese emperors) of dogs and white spots at forehead and top of the tail (sacred signs of Buddha) were valued.

It was prohibited to take out dogs-lions from China. Only after death of emperor Tsi-si in 20-30 English diplomats brought the dogs to the world. “Chinese from Tibet” were considered as the separate breed. The standard of shih-tzu was worked out in 1934.

As the other dogs of Tibet origin shih-tzu is healthy and strong long-liver, he is active and is not very nosy, he values people love and attention most of all. The dog has faithful and at the same time independent character, it is his main charm. Each shih-tzu is bright individuality.

Shih-tzu amaze with their unusual appearance. Quite broad muzzle covered with hair growing to the different sides looks like chrysanthemum. Hairs on the head are usually gathered into a bunch decorated with bow. Fluffy tail is put on the back and looks like teapot handle, its movements remind us the movements of old ship under sail leaving harbor.

The character of shih-tzu could be described like follows:
Take a pinch of lion, two teaspoons of hare, 2 g. of a house cat, one part of courtier jester, a little bit of a prim ballerina, add an old Chinese at the top of оknife, a little bit of beggar, monkey, pup, teddy bear, mix that all, and you will get shih-tzu.

© LANEJA, 2005  
Contact information:
Riga, Latvia
Phone +371 26640942
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E-mail: shihtzu@inbox.lv