This breed descends from the Lhasa Apso. This breed's history is unclear. Buddhist priests from Tibet showed special consideration for this dog, owing to its resemblance to a lion - sacred animal for them (the name Shih-Tzu name means "lion" in Chinese). They may have existed in China since the Tang Dynasty in the third century or may have arrived in the 10th Century. This breed is well represented in Chinese art, in sculpture and embroidery. Lhasa Apso dogs type were given as gifts to Chinese Emperors by Dalai Lama of Tibet. They were raised only by royal families. Precisely because of this association, many dogs were killed during the Chinese Revolution. It became known by its Chinese name in 1935 when the Shih-Tzu Canine Club was founded. In Europe it arrived in the 30s.
It is a small-sized, strong, well balanced, robust dog, which is rather long than tall. It has a massive and round head, the skull is flat between the eyes, with a square, short, flat muzzle and a black nose. The head is covered with rich hair forming whiskers and a beard. The hair growing on the nose points upwards, giving it a chrysanthemum look. The eyes are big, round and dark. The large drooping ears are covered with so much thick hair that it seems to blend into the hair on the neck. The tail with long, thick hair is carried rolled up on its back. It has a double-layered fur with an outer layer made of long, thick, slightly wavy hair and a soft, fluffy inner layer. It can be any colour or combination of colours with a white stripe on the forehead and a little white patch on the tip of the tail.
It is an intelligent, jolly, gentle, active, proud, dignified, alert dog, somewhat stubborn and independent but friendly with everyone. It is affectionate and devoted to its master, friendly and sociable with children, cautious around strangers. It gets along well with other dogs and other household animals.
The fur needs daily brushing to avoid getting tangled. The hair on the nose and forehead will be tied not to cover its eyes. This breed has very sensitive eyes and they must be kept clean at all times, by using special eye-drops. The ears will also be checked regularly and kept clean. Those who have no time to groom the dog, can have it trimmed every two months. The hair is combed with a parting on the back.
It is a dog which feels very well in an apartment with a careful, loving and caring master. It has a low level of activity and is happy with short walks. It needs socialization and training.
It needs a consistent, rather firm training, done with patience, without being severe.
It is a pleasant companion dog.