Since this is my first official post here in Totally Shih Tzu, let’s start my blog about the early development of Shih Tzu. Oh, before anything else, I would like all of you to know that the plural term for Shih Tzu is still Shih Tzu – not Shih Tzus.

“Lion dog” is the Chinese translation for Shih Tzu. It is also tagged as “chrysanthemum-faced dog” because of its chrysanthemum-like face. Many believed that Shih Tzu originated from Tibet. These dogs were exported as gifts to Chinese emperors. They were given by Grand Lamas as tributes to the Chinese Imperial Court. It was the eunuchs of the Dowager Empress Cixi who started selling some of the palace’s dog to wealthy Chinese and people from other countries. It was believed that these dogs were fed with broken glass to prevent the dogs from going out of the Imperial Palace. Due to the broken glass, these dogs died before reaching their destinations. Cixi’s death in 1908 ended an era for the Shih Tzu. But some private individuals were still breeding the said dog.

As of today, the origin of Shih Tzu can only be traced to seven dogs and seven bitches in which a Pekingese dog, Philadelphus Suti-T’su, was included. Philahelphus Suti-T’su was a black and white purebred Pekingese dog brought into England by Miss Elfreda Evans of Elfann Kennel in 1952. She mated the dog with a Shih Tzu bitch. During that time, only the fourth generation from this outcross can be registered as purebred.

Other foundation dogs consist of three Shih Tzu that were imported from China to England, six imported to Great Britain and three into Norway. Gen. Sir Douglas and Lady Brownrigg brought to England a black and white bitch (Shu-ssa) and dog (Hibou) in 1930. It was also during that same year when Ms. E.M. Hutchins imported a black and white dog (Lung-fu-ssu) to Ireland. While Mrs. Henrik Kauffman imported Aidzo, a black and white dog, into Norway in 1932. She also imported Leidza, a solid gold bitch, which was the only Shih Tzu from the Imperial Palace known to have contributed to today’s Shih Tzu. Another black and white bitch that was imported by Mrs. Kaufmann was Schauder. Walter Ekman, known as the first breeder of Shih Tzu in Sweden, imported a Shih Tzu (name unknown) in 1934. A liver bitch (Tashi of Chouette) was imported in 1938 from Canada into England by Rt. Hon. The Earl of Essex. Lt. Gen. Telfer-Smollett, Lord of Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, imported Ming, a black and white bitch, from China into England. He also imported Ishuh Tzu, a gray brindle and white bitch, in 1948. A solid gold or fawn dog named Wuffles was brought into England in 1948 by Mr. and Mrs. Fraser Buchanan. Mai-ting, a black and white bitch, was brought into England in 1949 by Mr. and Mrs. Rowland Morris. In 1952, Mr. R.P. Dobson brought His-li-ya, a yellow and white bitch, from Hongkong into England.

Thanks to these fourteen dogs that are said to have contributed to the early development of Shih Tzu. Without them, we will never have this lovable breed which brings joy to our lives.

I hope you liked my first post about Shih Tzu.  Thank you for visiting Totally Shih Tzu.

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