Jack, on the Beach
Jack, on the Beach
DNA analysis placed the ancestors of today's Shih Tzu breed in the group of "ancient" breeds indicating "close genetic relationship to wolves". Ludvic von Schulmuth studied the skeletal remains of dogs found in human settlements as long as ten thousand years ago. Von Schulmuth created a genealogical tree of Tibetan dogs that shows the "Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog", a scavenger, evolved into the "Small Soft-Coated Drop-Eared Hunting Dog who would fight lions in packs " which evolved into the Tibetan Spaniel, Pekingese, and Japanese Chin. Another branch coming down from the "Kitchen Midden Dog" gave rise to the Papillon and Long-haired Chihuahua and yet another "Kitchen Midden Dog" branch to the Pug and Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu was almost completely wiped out during the Chinese Revolution. Seven males and seven females were saved, and today, all shih tzus can be traced back to one of these dogs.
There are various theories of the origins of today's breed. Theories relate that it stemmed from a cross between Pekingese and a Tibetan dog called the Lhasa Apso; that the Chinese court received a pair as a gift during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD); and that they were introduced from Tibet to China in the mid-18th century (Qing Dynasty. Dogs during that time were selectively bred and seen in Chinese paintings. The first dogs of the breed were imported into Europe (England and Norway) in 1930, and were classified by the Kennel Club as "Apsos". The first European standard for the breed was written in England in 1935 by the Shih Tzu Club, and the dogs were recategorised as Shih Tzu. The breed spread throughout Europe, and was brought to the United States after World War II, when returning members of the US military brought back dogs from Europe. The Shih Tzu was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1969 in the Toy Group. The breed is now recognised by all of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. It is also recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale for international competition in Companion and Toy Dog Group, Section 5, Tibetan breeds.