About the Shih Tzu:
Lion-like the Shih Tzu (pronounced "sheed-zoo") existed in China for many centuries. In Fact, the Chinese characters for "Shih Tzus" mean "lion". Althought their early history is obscure, Shih Tzu are probably descended from lion-like dogs sent from Tibet to the Chinese imperial court in Beijing. The lion was closely associated with Buddhism, and as the lion was not indigenous to China, mythical creatures that resembled them came to symbolize the Buddhist guardian lion. The Shih Tzu was developed as a distinctive breed by the Dowager Empress Cixi (1835-1908), who reduced size and prized distinctive markings and colors that matched the gowns of the ladies of the court. As all Shih Tzu in China were probably killed as symbols of royalty when the Communists seized power, all Shih Tzu today are descended from 14 Shih Tzu that were taken to England and Scandinavia before this time, plus one Pekingese later crossed with the breed in England. Today the Shih Tzu's sole purpose is to be a companion, as it was in the Chinese royal court log time ago.