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Shih Tzu Fun Facts You Never Knew

By Mawoo Pets · 10 Mar · 5 mins read
Shih Tzu Fun Facts You Never Knew

So you’re keen on learning more about Shih Tzus? Well, you're in luck! These adorable 'lion dogs' hold a trove of interesting facts and historical tidbits that complement their beloved personalities. Whether you're a proud Shih Tzu parent, or someone considering welcoming a Shih Tzu into your life, there's a lot of interesting facts about this breed you may not know. 

In this article, we'll explore the royal lineage, captivating personality, and unique characteristics that make the Shih Tzu not just a furry companion, but a splendid addition to any family. So strap in and let's start! 

13 Fun Facts About Shih Tzus

1. A Royal Bloodline 

You're probably looking at your Shih Tzu right now and thinking, "Well, you're a cute little puff, aren't you?" But did you know your furry friend has a royal lineage? Shih Tzus were historically bred to be house pets in the imperial courts of China. These dogs enjoyed lives of luxury and were coveted treasures to Chinese nobility, rubbing their furry shoulders with royal figures in the halls of grand palaces.

... bet you're looking at your pawed pal a little differently now! 

2. The Mane Attraction: Lion Dogs

Shih Tzus were commonly referred to as "lion dogs" in China due to their lion-like appearance. Despite their small stature, these charming little canines exhibit a mane of hair around their face that resembles the famed king of the jungle! This reference to a majestic beast is not only endearingly ironic but also a testament to the high regard that Shih Tzus were given in ancient China.

3. The Cuddle Experts 

One of the most notable characteristics about Shih Tzus is their longstanding reputation as companion dogs. Historically and even today, they hold a reputation for craving human company, and for their loving and gentle demeanors. 

A Shih Tzu's idea of heaven is to be nestled in your lap, receiving some well-deserved pampering. As pets, they are great with children and show affection towards strangers, earning them a rightful place in many homes as a family favorite. Because really, who can resist the loving gaze of a Shih Tzu? 

4. A Modern Lineage from 13 Pups

Did you know the modern-day lineage of this delightful breed can be traced back to a small pool of forebearers? Amazingly, every Shih Tzu is a descendant of just 13 dogs that were imported into England and Scandinavia between the years 1928 and 1952. That's right, the entire fluffy population of this breed we see today, started with a baker's dozen of pioneering pooches!

5. A Presidential Dog

Did you know that the 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, had a Shih Tzu named Whiskers? That's right! Whiskers was the first Shih Tzu to grace the White House, paving the way for many more Shih Tzus to become popular pets among US presidents and global leaders.

6. Bill Gates' High-Tech His Shih Tzu

Technology magnate Bill Gates is also known for his affection towards Shih Tzus. It's rumoured that he spent thousands of dollars on a state-of-the-art dog house, complete with heating and cooling systems, for his Shih Tzu to make sure his furry friend has optimal comfort!

7. Practicality over Pomp: Shih Tzu Hairdos 

When you think of a Shih Tzu, long-running hair might be the first thing that come to mind. But did you know that most Shih Tzu owners prefer a short clip for their pets? It's understandable - while longer hair creates a stunning aesthetic, especially in show rings, maintaining it is no small task. So you'll more commonly see these darling dogs sporting a lower-maintenance 'puppy clip' in everyday life that's more practical. 

shih tzu with very long hair and hair clipShih Tzu with Hair Grown Outshih tzu with short hair cutMore Common Shih Tzu Haircut

8. A Winner in Any Category 

Though not traditionally seen as sporty dogs, Shih Tzus can surprise you with their agility. Take, for example, a historic event in 2014 when a Shih Tzu amazed the canine community by becoming the first of his breed to win both a champion title and an agility title. So, while they may prefer a cuddle to a run, never underestimate the athletic prowess tucked away in your Shih Tzu.

9. They're known to snore

As a shih tzu aficionado, you've likely experienced this: the breed is known for its loud and distinct snore. While it's worth noting that snoring isn’t exclusive to shih tzus, their small size and flat faces may make them more prone to this nighttime habit. Despite triggering a few giggles, if you notice erratic or severe snoring, it might be time to check in with your vet – it could indicate potential health issues.

10. Breed Recognition Milestones 

The Shih Tzu holds noteworthy moments in breed recognition history. In 1934, the Shih Tzu Club of England was formed, serving as a milestone for the breed in the United Kingdom. Further, on May 7, 1940, the Kennel Club (UK) officially accepted the breed, marking its formal recognition. Across the pond, the American Kennel Club followed suit, acknowledging the breed almost three decades later in 1969

11. Varying Standards Across the Pond 

It's interesting to note that there are breed standard variations across the Atlantic. Both the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club of the UK recognize the breed, but each describes the perfect Shih Tzu slightly differently. Differences exist in the ideal shape of their head, the proportions of their body, and even how their front legs and hindquarters should ideally appear. Such variations offer an intriguing insight into the diversity of this loving breed.

12. An Unexpected Dental Surprise

Despite being one of the small dog breeds, a Shih Tzu's short snout and flatter face often mean they have more teeth than their larger canine buddies, boasting a staggering 42 teeth compared to most dogs' 38! 

13. A Celebrity Choice

Did you know that this playful breed has found its way into the hearts of royalty and celebrities alike? One of the most famous Shih Tzus was owned by none other than Queen Elizabeth II. The queen's Shih Tzu, Choo-Choo, lived a life of luxury in the royal household, epitomizing the breed’s pampered origins! 

Shih Tzus aren't just a trend among royalty, but also celebrities. From Nicole Richie, to Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, an Colin Farrell, the appeal of this fluffy canine companion crosses hearts. 

beyonce and her shih tzu dog in a carBeyonce with her Shih Tzu

Conclusion

To wrap up, Shih Tzus aren't just adorable bundles of fluff; they're a breed that brims with unique and fascinating histories. From their Royal origins to the immense care taken by breeders to ensure their modern lineage, these dogs truly stand out.

The Shih Tzu is the perfect example of how dogs earn the title "Man's Best Friend". No wonder that kennel clubs and various breeds clubs hold them in such high regard. 

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