Shih Tzu

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Shih Tzu


The Shih Tzu is a breed of dog originating in China. The spelling "Shih Tzu", most commonly used for the breed, is according to the Wade-Giles system of romanization. The actual pronunciation of this name is approximately like the "sher" of "sherbet" followed immediately by the "dds" of "adds". The meaning of the breed name was originally "lion dog" because this variety of dog was bred to resemble a miniature lion.

It is believed that this ornamental breed was created by breeding the Bei-jing gou (Pekingese) with a Tibetan dog breed, the Lhasa Apso. Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog.

History and myth
It was a great honour to be given a Shih Tzu. For many hundreds of years it was customary for the Dalai Lama to give the Chinese Emperor the finest specimens of such a dog. The Chinese jealously guarded the Shih Tzu and were very reluctant to let them out of the country. It wasn't until sometime between the First and Second World War that a few were smuggled out of the country.

It is said that Buddha Manjusri, the God of learning, had travelled around the four quarters of the world disguised as a priest; travelling with him was a small "HaPah", a pet dog. This little dog could in the blink of an eye transform into a great lion carrying Buddha on his back. There are images drawn of "Spirit Lions" and "Dog Lions" in sacred places such as carvings on the pillars in temples around Tibet. "Dog Lions" are believed to be earthly beasts known under the name menegerie. The Lama's theory about the Lions is that they are the mountain spirit and that the lions have the power to project themselves in an instant between places, can change their size, and can become visible or invisible at will.

Many images of the symbol of Gang Sing or Snowlion have a very strong resemblance to the Shih Tzu. The Snowlion is mentioned in the ancient scrolls; it is said that he is king of all animals. It has three powers, the ability to jump, turn around, and walk back in mist and clouds. His voice, the voice of the Middle Way that is the voice between truth and courage, when it is heard it subdues all. Its power is so strong that when it roars, seven dragons fall from the sky. This ancient, magical description of the Shih Tzu easily describes the courageous little dog as it is today.

Temperament

A James Mumford wrote a lovely description of the breed in an American Shih Tzu magazine:

"Nobody knows how the Ancient Eunuchs managed to mix together….. :And now here comes the recipe:
A dash of lion, several teaspoons of rabbit, a couple of ounces of domestic cat, one part court jester, a dash of ballerina, a pinch of old man (Chinese), a bit of beggar, a tablespoon of monkey, one part baby seal, a dash of teddy bear and the rest dogs of Tibetan and Chinese origin
This gives a picture of the versatile character of the Shih Tzu.

 


 

This information brought to you from Wikipedia.