Shih Tzu, the little lion

Shih Tzu, the little lion

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The descendant of regal dogs of China, the Shih Tzu makes a loyal and lively friend. The breed can boast a classy background: it was originally kept by royal Chinese families during the Ming Dynasty.

The Shih Tzu’s origins are ancient, and steeped in mystery and controversy. A recent study revealed that the Shih Tzu is one of the 14 oldest dog breeds, and dog bones found in China have proven that dogs were present there as early as 8,000 B.C.

His name means little lion, but there’s nothing fierce about this dog breed. The Shih Tzu is a lover, not a hunter. Bred solely to be a companion, this is an affectionate, happy, outgoing housedog who loves nothing more than to follow his people from room to room. In recent years, however, owners have started taking the Shih Tzu off their laps and into dog sports, training them obedience, rally and in agility competitions.

The Shih Tzu personality is enormously appealing, and even grudging dog observers find it hard to resist this breed. The Shih Tzu simply doesn’t allow anyone to ignore him. All dog breeds have a purpose. Historically the purpose of the Shih Tzu was to be a companion ― and that’s just what he wants to be ― he doesn’t hunt, herd, or guard. He loves nothing more than to meet and greet friends and strangers alike. Count on a Shih Tzu to make friends wherever he goes.

Not only is this member of the Toy Group good-natured and friendly, he is highly adaptable. He is as well suited to apartments in the city as to life on a country farm. He loves children and gets along with other animals. However, although he is a sturdy dog, his small size puts him at a disadvantage. Adults should always supervise interactions between children and dogs, and this is especially important for the Shih Tzu, to prevent him from accidentally getting hurt during rough play.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????One unique characteristic of the breed is his undershot bite. His lower jaw is slightly wider than the upper, and the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth, rather than outside, when his mouth is closed.

Legends regarding the Shih Tzu abound. One says that Buddha travelled with a little dog fitting the description of a Shih Tzu. As the story goes, one day, several robbers came upon the Buddha with the intent of robbing and killing him. The little dog changed into a ferocious lion and chased the robbers, saving Buddha’s life. The lion then turned back into a fun-loving little dog, which the Buddha picked up and kissed. The white spot on the heads of many Shih Tzu’s supposedly marks the place where Buddha kissed his loyal friend.