In Mandarin, Shih Tzu means "lion dog." The proper way to say it is sheet-soo. If you say it wrong, you might end up saying a bad word for "poop." The name of the breed can be either singular or plural, so you don't have to bother putting an "s" on the end of it. In England in the 1930s, people gave these dogs the nickname of Chrysanthemum Dog because of the way their hair grows up from their noses and around their faces in all directions. Sometimes they are also called Tibetan Lion Dogs.
The first Shih Tzu dogs arrived in England and Norway in 1930. They began to spread through Europe and were brought to the U.S. at the end of World War II by returning soldiers. In 1969, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the Toy Group. All major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world now recognize the Shih Tzu. And in international, FCI dog shows, it goes in the Companion and Toy Dog Group, Section 5, Tibetan breeds.
|Photo by Mary Bloom|
Because Shih Tzu have short muzzles, they do not tolerate heat very well. Also they may snore and wheeze and have other respiratory issues. Sometimes they have back problems because of their short legs and long backs. And if their hair gets in their eyes, it might cause irritation and infection.