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The History of the Shih Tzu

Let’s take a look at part one of the Shih Tzu history

Records show that there were compact, square, and short dogs at least 3,000 years ago. By tying together documented records and historical facts, it’s possible in some way to trace Chinese development of the dog breeding that led to the Shih Tzu’s ancestors.

The Shih Tzu ancestry is kind of obscure, but it’s possible that the dog potentially of Tibetan origin. The Tibetan Lion Dog history is linked with the beliefs of Buddhism, and they started in India. It turned out that the lion happened to be nearly linked with Buddhism, although the lion wasn’t native to China, and the Tibetans and Chinese bred their little dogs to look like lions. The Shih Tzu, who has a name that translates to lion, is thought to be the smallest and oldest species of the holy dogs of Tibet, and they bear some similarities to other breeds that are Tibetan. For most of the dog’s illustrious and long history in China, the little “Lion Dog” was bred. It was a great pastime of emperors past.

Before 624, documents reveal that little dogs were sent to Persia, Greece, Turkey, and Malta like presents to the Chinese emperors who were ruling. It’s possible that the initial little Tibetan Lion Dogs that the Shih Tzu probably originated from arrived in China in the Qing Dynasty, because they were Grand Lamas’ tributes to the Imperial Court in China, and the Chinese then interbred these little dogs with the new imports from the west and with the Pekingese and Pug.

The Shih Tzu’s existence as we observe it today is because of the Empress Cixi, and she had a kennel full of Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and Pugs that was renowned around the world. She deliberately looked over the kennel when she was alive, and she tried to make sure that the imperial breeds separated, but the real breeding was taken care of by the eunuchs who did crossing on the breeds secretly to cut down on the size and make desirable and unusual markings. After she died, the kennels at the palace suffered a dispersion, and the palace breeding started to get disorganized. Some of the breeding was done by priviate citizens, and dogs were shown off, though the dogs were nearly impossible to get. So ,as far as we know, the breed started to get extinct throughout China once the revolution took place.

Seven bitches and seven dogs take up the pool of genes for all the Shih Tzu out there. These fourteen have the Pekingese used in a cross that’s admitted in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s, a cross that made a lot of problems, and it was carried out by a person new to the dog, and it was reported afterward. The other dogs that made up part of the foundation included three Chinese Shih Tzus and eight more imports into England from the early 1930s to the late 1950s. Three more Shih Tzu were imported to Norway through China in the early 1930s, and a bitch that happened to be the single Shih Tzu that was bred inside the Imperial Palace.

Military personnel who came back brought the Shih Tzu to the U.S. with them during late 1940s and early 1950s, and they started breedng programs. The outstanding temperament and unique beauty of this amazing breed shortly became popular with many people. From the very initial day of real American Kennel Club recognition, the Shih Tzu went from being a dog that was not well-known to a dog that was popular and glamorous.

Let’s take a look at part two of the beginning of the ASTC

In 1955, the AKC took the Shih Tzu into its Miscellaneous Class. At that point, there were hardly any Shih Tzu in the U.S.

Two people brought the dog back from England in 1955.

As with all breeds that aren’t recognized, full records of births and imports have to be kept by people or groups until the time when a club comes into being and a registrar is then kept, This is critical if a breed want to get official recognition by the AKC. If the breed’s interest does not go up and move across the nation, the Miscellaneous Class could be taken away by the American Kennel Club. The same result could occur if incorrect, neat records aren’t kept on all births and imports.

The Shih Tzu Club of America was set up in 1957. Three Shih Tzu clubs were there in 1960.

Most of the initial Shih Tzu enthusiasts and supports were from the military, and they had brought back their Shih Tzus from Scandinavia and England after returning from the war, and they were stationed at home again. Since they were put in diverse areas across the nation, the different clubs were set up on their own. There were more than 100 dogs registered in 1960. There were offspring and imports here now.

The initial champion to get imported into the U.S. was in 1960, and it was a white and gold. The woman purchased the dog in Sweden and exhibited her to her champion in France during the time her husband from the Air Force was stationed there. She arrived in the U.S. with five dogs. She imported many dogs form England and Scandinavia from 1960-1968.

A good friend of the woman imported the initial champion. She purchased this white and black male from her mother and exhibited it at a French championship before he and her husband in the Air Force were assigned. They brought a couple Shih Tzu bitches into the U.S. with them during the same time.

The American Shih Tzu Club was formed in 1963. Since the American Kennel Club had taken in the Shih Tzu into the Miscellaneous Class, it was critical to have just a single club, with a only one registry. They hoped one day get the opportunity to get championships in America.

With a lot of pleasure and fun, there were a lot of initial people who were lovers of Shih Tzus who showed off their best dogs all across nation. They were greeted by all types of people who were curious about the day. They sold a lot of dugs, and they spread the word about the Shih Tzu, and they helped educate a lot of people about this new breed in the U.S.

There were registrars throughout the American Shih Tzu Club history.

There were almost 7000 Shih Tzus registered in 1956, and registrations had taken off well across the U.S. A fewgroups were beginning to make local clubs for Shih Tzus. A great match was held in 1965, and there were more matches being planned.

They were really getting nearer to their recognition goal in 1967. The American Kennel Club sent a lot of representatives to get together and talk about modifying the standard of the breed. They had first adopted the EKC standard when they first set up the ASTC, and they got asked to bring clarity to points that were determined to be unclear. A committee was set up to do it, and they went back to the American Kennel Club with modifications. Nothing big was altered, but they thought that if the American Kennel Club was up for it, it was a great sign. Shortly prior to recognition, a different committee had a couple changes which got approval from the American Kennel Club.

The club was set up in 1968, which was another step ahead, and it helped in their recognition efforts. The year afterward, the AKC took in the Shih Tzu breed as its 11th bred that was recognized. It was a great for day for everyone. The records were carefully kept by the ASTC registry, and they were handed to the American Kennel Club. The Shih Tzus were shown initially in the U.S. for points for the championship. When it was finally recognized, the registry had finally increased to about 3,000.

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