The origin of Shih Tzu is ancient and is covered in a lot of mystery. It has been established that this dog is among the 14 oldest breeds and bones excavated in China proves it has been in existence in 8,000 BC. Some believe it was created by Monks in Tibet by crossing breeds then gifted to the Chinese royalty. It is true this dog was treasured companion of the high in society as evidenced by writings, paintings, and art from the Tang Dynasty.
It is referred to as a lion dog that trained with hunting lions to keep them calm. Writings report that this dog breed was small, shaggy, intelligent, strong and docile resembling lions. Competition in breeding the best looking dog produced both good quality and poor quality Shih Tzu breeds. The good quality ones were at times smuggled from the palace and gifted to visiting foreigners and Chinese nobles. This is how the Shih Tzu found their way to England in 1928, and a few years later, they entered the US. By 1960, there were already three clubs for Shih Tzu owners in America, two of these merged in 1963 forming one club.