The Shih TzuÂ is a beautiful toy breed with long, double coat of silky hair. They were bred to resemble little lions. They are a little longer in length than they are tall with a tail that curves over the back. They have a short muzzle and round, dark, wide-set eyes that are very expressive. Many Shih Tzu owners choose to keep their pets in a puppy cut to keep their profuse coat more manageable. They come in a wide variety of coat colors.
History of Breed:
The Shih Tzu is an ancient breed that probably was derived from a cross between the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. Since lions are an important symbol of Buddhist faith but are not indigenous to China, Tibetan lamas and the Chinese bred toy dogs to resemble the favored symbol. These dogs were so revered by Chinese royalty that they were never sold or traded to anyone outside of China. In fact, the breed only flourished outside of China after WWII when soldiers brought them back with them to Europe and North America, which it is a good thing, as the breed may have become extinct during the Communist Revolution in China.
Care and Health:
Shih Tzus may have incidences of hypothyroidism, which can be easily treated. Because of their short snouts, they occasionally have breathing problems. Some dogs exhibit a funny sound that a vet told me was a "reverse sneeze" that helps clear the nasal passages. Occasional kidney and eye problems have also been noted with this breed.
Breed Club Links: American Shih Tzu Club.
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