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The Shih Tzu - The Little Lion

Aug 17, 2007
The Shih Tzu is sometimes called the "little lion" because this is a small dog with a huge heart and even bigger personality. It's fairly well accepted that the Shih Tzu is the result of crossing the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese. The origins of the Shih Tzu can be traced back several centuries to China where this breed found favor with many of the nobles. It's said that some kept extensive kennels of this particular breed and that some worked at furthering the breed, at least to some degree.

While many dogs were freely traded, spreading various breeds throughout the world, the Shih Tzu was protected by the Chinese for many centuries. In fact, it wasn't until less than 100 years ago that the first of these little dogs was allowed outside their native land. During the early years of this breed, trading, selling and transporting of the dogs to anyone who would take them out of China was strictly forbidden.

The Shih Tzu has a double coat with the outer coat growing to several inches long. The hair just above the nose grows up and this feature has given the Shih Tzu another of its nicknames - Chrysanthemum Face. This nickname derives because the little dog's face looks almost like a flower, framed by this profusion of hair.

Anyone who loves a furry dog will likely find the Shih Tzu irresistible. Most owners tie up a topknot of hair on the top of the Shih Tzu's head. This isn't a fashion statement, but a matter of convenience for the dog. Like unruly bangs, this hair hangs down into the dog's face, obscuring his vision and sometimes irritating the eyes. For this reason, many owners create the topknot and use the opportunity for pretty bows or ribbons.

Shih Tzus come in a variety of colors, though it seems that black and white are among the more common. It's been said that show judges tend to look for a white forehead and seem to prefer that the tip of the tail is also white, though that's not an official requirement. As a rule, the color of the eyes varies with the color of the coat - darker on dark dogs and lighter on the pale colored dogs. Regardless of the color, the eyes always seem alert to anything going on around the Shih Tzu. It's almost as if these little dogs don't want to miss out on anything, so they remain extremely watchful.

The personality of the Shih Tzu varies from one dog to the next and is one of the best characteristics of this dog. Most Shih Tzus are very playful, but have a stubborn streak and can be a bit grouchy if treated roughly. As a rule, a Shih Tzu will act differently depending on his mood and the situation. He can appear completely above the goings on around him, or be right in the middle of everything. That's not to say these are standoffish dogs - quite the contrary. Most Shih Tzus want to be included, but will act aloof if it seems to suit their purposes. Perhaps they simply want to be begged into play!
About the Author
For more information on Shih Tzus and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Toy Dog Directory
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