Canine Breed Menu

Chrysanthemum Dog

Chrysanthemum Dog

Chrysanthemum Dog
Breed Organization
American Shih Tzu Club
Native Country
Tibet, Sponsorship: Great Britain
Other Names
Shih Tzu, Chinese Lion Dog, Lion Dog, Foo Dog
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-16 Years
Litter Size
Average 2-4 Puppies
Breed Group
Breed Appearance
The Shih Tzu is a small dog with a short muzzle and large dark eyes. With a soft and long double coat, it stands no more than 10 1⁄2 inches at the withers and with an ideal weight of 10 to 16 lbs. Drop ears are covered with long fur, and the heavily furred tail is carried curled over the back. The coat may be of any color, though a blaze of white on the forehead and tip of the tail is frequently seen. The Shih Tzu is slightly longer than tall, and dogs ideally should carry themselves "with distinctly arrogant carriage". A very noticeable feature is the under-bite, which is required in the breed standard. The traditional long silky coat, which reaches the floor, requires daily brushing to avoid tangles.

Breed Description
Head: Broad and round. Pronounced stop. Nosebridge 2.5 cm long. Broad, angular, short muzzle. Tousled topknot with hair falling over the eyes. Well-furnished mustache and beard. Hair growing upward on the muzzle resembles a chrysanthemum flower.
Ears: Large, with long pinnae. Carried hanging down. So well-furnished with hair that they blend with the hair of the neck.
Eyes: Large, round, dark or light, depending on coat color.
Body: Fairly long, stout. Chest broad, well let-down. Loin well set-on, solid. Straight back. Strong hindquarters.
Tail: Set on high, carried gaily well over the back, forming an abundant plume.
Hair: Long and dense but not curly. Slightly wavy hair is allowed. Fairly thick undercoat.
Coat: All colors are allowed, but a white flare on the forehead and white markings on the tip of the tail are highly prized in the multi-color variety.
Size: No more than 26 cm.
Weight: 4.5 to 8 kg.

The Shih Tzu is most certainly the product of crossing the Lhasa Apso from Tibet with the Pekingese from China. In 1643, the Dalai Lama presented the Manchurian dynasty with a gift of small "lion dogs" (shih tzu). The breed was long appreciated by the royal court, and China's last empress kept them in her palace until 1908. In 1923, a kennel club was founded in Beijing. In 1930, Lady Browning brought the first specimens to England. The British Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1946. In France that same year, the Countess of Anjou founded a kennel and registered the first litters with the Central Canine Society in 1953. The FCI recognized the breed in 1954. The Shih Tzu is less common than the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso.

Lively, very active, and independent, this calm, gentle, merry dog needs lots of love and attention. He is the most outgoing of the Asian breeds. He is indifferent toward strangers and barks to announce their presence. He needs firm and gentle training.

Prone to slipped stifle and spinal disc disease caused by a long back and short legs. Also ear infections, eye problems such as cherry eye and early tooth loss. Tends to wheeze and snore and can have respiratory problems. These dogs gain weight easily and should not be overfed.

He was meant for the city but needs exercise, including daily walks. He does not like being left alone. He requires daily brushing and combing. It is strongly recommended that the hair on his head be tied back out of his eyes. He needs a monthly bath and regular checking of the eyes. He cannot bear intense heat.

Pet, Watchdog.

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