May 19, 2006

Shih Tzu – For The Love Of Dogs

I have wondered just who are the ancestors of the shih tzu. Like all other dog breeds, shih tzu ancestors most likely come from five choices: Grey Wolf, Golden Jackal, Coyote, African Wild Dog. It is hard to imagine our little shih tzu baby dolls has any of these wild characters in their background. According to researchers, all canines have their roots in one of these five categories. I don’t think I could ever be in love with a real live wolf or a coyote. A coyote makes those strange sounding “howls.” I have some shih tzu that have a howl sound rather than a bark.

Out of the five groups, wolves and dogs share 71 of 90 charted behavioral patterns, more than any other two canid species. My thinking is then probably most breeds as we know them today have the wolf as its ancestor. The fact that the shih tzu has ancestors in the wolf family, however, does not thrill me in the least. I cannot imagine sharing my bed with a real live wolf. The shih tzu faces are so sweet and innocent. A lot of my shih tzu look like chinese men and women in the face. They do not seem like even “dogs” to me.

The Egyptians had a real talent for taming animals and kept a variety of pets. They probably receive the most credit for the domestication of the cat, but there were dogs in the Egyptians’ homes as well. We can imagine this because of the many canines that prance across egyptian tomb paintings. Some of those canines have been identified as greyhounds, salukis, pharoah hounds and Ibizan hounds. I have to admit the only one in this group I recognize is the “greyhound.” Our shih tzu was not in this group at all it seems. However, less frequently, were paintings of small, short-legged dogs, (not our shih tzu) in domestic settings. They could have been the watchdogs for the Egyptians or just simply pets.

The Romans were crazy about dogs and seemed to realize they could choose dogs to mate based on appearance or behavior and develop specific abilities. They had guard dogs and dogs who fought in battles. They had a variety of house dogs including one that most likely was of the Maltese type.

The Chinese emperors were quite fond of pets. Their puppies had human nurses and their adult dogs had human servants. The Pekingese exists as a breed at least from the period of A.D. 700. They were developed to resemble the spirit lion to ward off evil and bring good luck. The chin were sometimes called “sleeve dogs.” There are ancient imperial dog cemeteries scattered about Beijing in China. Pekingese dogs were very often entombed with their emperors. The thing that really amazes me is how the faces of some our shih tzu look like the faces of chinese men and women. How did the Chinese accomplish that?

During the 14th Century the Chinese began to recognize the dog’s many functions such as being able to lead the blind.

Henry III of France was noted to have kept at least 2,000 lap dogs, who lived in luxury. Louis XIV spent 200,000 gold francs for the construction of the royal kennels at Versailles where he kenneled hunting hounds, truffle terriers and toy poodles. Tsuanayoshi of Japan nearly plunged Japan into bankruptcy to feed his 100,000 dogs. Connie Limon (writer of this article) built her shih tzu a cabin costing around $10,000 and she may be plunged into bankruptcy to feed her dogs……and the list just goes on and on and on. What people will do “for the love of dogs” is estounding. It is a bond that sometimes transcends the bond even between humans.
About the Author

Connie Limon publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts on shih tzu puppies are offered to subscribers. Current available puppies. Sign up at

Connie Limon

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