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One of America’s favorite lap dogs, the Shih Tzu is #9 on PuppySpot’s list of most popular dog breeds! Shih Tzus are known for being quiet, but playful companions who love to spend time curled up with their owners. Due to their small size, these lovable pups do well in living spaces both large and small. Want to know more about these incredibly friendly fur balls? Check out our list of 5 facts you need to know about Shih Tzus!
1. They’re an ancient breed.
While the origins of this breed are not completely certain, they are believed to have been bred thousands of years ago in Tibet to look like smaller versions of the lion, which is a sacred animal according to Buddhist belief. The name “shih tzu” actually means “lion dog” in Chinese!
2. They’re also known as the “chrysanthemum-faced dog.”
A dog nicknamed after a flower? You bet! Because of the way the dog’s fur grows outward from the middle of its face, Shih Tzus resemble the chrysanthemum flower.
3. They were once guard dogs.
Believe it or not, Shih Tzus were once used for more than just warming laps. Tibetan Monks regarded the dogs as holy, even trusting them with the task of guarding their temples. However, don’t expect the Shih Tzu to guard your house from an intruder. She’ll happily greet strangers with a gentle smile and wagging tail.
4. All of today’s Shih Tzus come from just 14 dogs.
While they were at one time very popular pets in China, Shih Tzus faced a rough patch under communist rule. The breed nearly died out during the 20th century before a few were brought to England in 1930. Their popularity took off, and those that exist today can be traced back to 14 of the serendipitous English import from China.
5. Celebrities love them.
Big names in fame such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Bill Gates are a few on the list of proud celebrity Shih Tzu owners. The Dalai Lama also owns a Shih Tzu, proving the breed’s popularity among Tibetan Buddhists.
Why do you love Shih Tzus? Comment below and share with us!