Shih Tzu are one of the most common toy breeds and indoor dogs humans take care of. With its regal looks and graceful coat, it is not difficult to endear ourselves to these little dogs. It is the 10th most commonly registered breed in the United States and famous people like Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Brooke Shields have been known to have Shih Tzu as pets.
Shih Tzu are not from China – which is a common information mistake breeders and pet lovers get. They actually came from Tibet and were just given to Chinese emperors as gifts and such was the reason their popularity started. It is one of the ancient dog breeds which started around 8000 BC and an interesting finding was seen from its DNA. Scientists have found out that Shih Tzu DNA closely resembles that of wolves more than the more wolf-looking German Shepherds and many other breeds! It is one of the 14 breeds which are highly related to the wild wolf, together with Huskies and Chow chows.
Shih Tzu faces are said to be chrysanthemum faced or lion faced. Their lower jaws are longer than their upper jaws and are considered normal as compared to longer snouted-breeds where undershot jaws are considered anatomic deformities. What makes them more adorable is that they usually snore and wheeze like humans when they sleep! Their short muzzle which is usually covered with long hair causes air turbulence, affects breathing and leads to snoring. In terms of their skin color, they are classified as a blue or liver Shih Tzu. Since it is impossible for a blue colored dog to exist, blue Shih Tzus actually have charcoal colored skin pigmentations. The liver type, on the other hand, has brown skin patches all around its skin.
Another peculiar fact about this breed is that they have a tendency to “mirror” their owner. Whatever their owner does, they usually reflect and do it also. For example, if the owner is outdoors and doing rigorous and active behavior, Shih Tzus will also want to go out and jump up and down, run around and roll over the grass to mirror the mood and behavior of their owner. If the owner would rather stay indoors and relax on the couch, these dogs will also lie down, sleep and chill out beside their owner.
Though they are not so active and would prefer to lie down or simply follow their owners, they are good, sweet and adorable pooches which make perfect pets for laid back family environments. You can carry them around – which they totally love, wherever you go and wherever you are. Their miniature size makes it easy for humans to bag them and carry them around like keychains. Though the long coat may require frequent and daily brushing to avoid tangled knots of hair, it makes the Shih tzu look gorgeous, majestic and royal which the main reason why they were bred – as guardians of the imperial palace of China.