Shih Tzu originated in Asia. During the Tang and then the Ming Dynasties, Shih Tzu were highly regarded, and because of their lion like appearance, were often symbols of some deities. These dogs were so highly regarded by the Chinese that for hundreds of years they refused to trade them with foreigners.
It wasn't until the 1830s that the dog first appeared in Europe and England. In fact the Shih Tzu did not arrive in America until after World War II. American soldiers stationed over there fell in love with the dog and brought some back.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) did not recognize the Shih Tzu as an official breed until 1969. According to their breed standard a Shih Tzu should stand between 8 to 11 inches tall and weigh between 9 to 16 pounds. They are classified as non-working dogs, in the toy dog group, because of their small size.
Shih Tzu come many colors, all of which are recognized by the AKC. Some of the more common Shih Tzu coat colors are black, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red, silver, or any combination of these colors. Shih Tzu have a unique double coat, but despite of this actually shed very little. In fact the Shih Tzu is a recommended breed for people who have allergies.
Due to their long coat Shih Tzu require frequent grooming, at least twice a month. If you want to maintain a great show quality cut on your Shih Tzu it is recommended that you find a professional groomer who specializes in show dogs. If you canít afford a professional groomer you can easily learn how to do basic trims your self.
Information on Shih Tzu tell us that their temperament is a friendly one. In fact the Chinese bred this dog to be a housedog, so it has a gentle manor that is affectionate towards people. Some people think that all small dogs are snappy, but that is usually because the owner has not properly trained them.
As far as health problems go Shih Tzu are relatively healthy dogs that live up to 16 years. Common health problems include knee, allergies, eye, and skin problems. Back problems are another health issue they sometimes have. Due to their long backs and short legs, it puts extra stress on their backs.
Shih Tzu are also prone to eye problems due to their short muzzle. They have to get their face close to objects to smell them and in doing so can injure their eyes. Like other dogs, obesity is also a big issue in these dogs as well.
That is some basic information on Shih Tzu for you to digest. Once you fall in love with the Shih Tzu youíll want to learn even more abut this fascinating breed.
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Article Added on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
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