Following the political upheaval in China and the burning of the Imperial Palace, several Shih Tzu were found alive by British embassy staff and taken to England. The first Shih Tzu introduced in England were brought from Peking by General Sir Douglass and Lady Brownrigg in 1930. A Shih Tzu dog named Hibou and a Shih Tzu bitch named Shu-ssa. About this same time, Miss Madelaine Hutchins imported a Shih Tzu named Lung-Fu-Ssu into Ireland. These three Shih Tzu became the foundation stock for the well-known Taishan Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzu was introduced to Scandinavia by Mme. Henrik Kauffman. Another Shih Tzu, Tashi of Chouette, was brought to England by the Earl of Essex in 1938 and was bred successfully. Three Shih Tzu bitches were imported by General Telfer-Smollett.
The English Kennel Club recognized the Shih Tzu breed in 1934. The Irish Kennel Club recognized the ShihTzu that same year.
Within a few years, Shih Tzu from English kennels were being shipped to America, Canada, Australia, and European countries.
In England there have been four kennels that produced outstanding Shih Tzu that are now found in pedigree in all countries where Shih Tzu are bred and exhibited. The four kennels are Lhakang Elfann, Telota and Greenmoss.
Gay Widdrington’s love affair with the Shih Tzu began when she bought a black and white bitch from Lady Brownrigg. The Shih Tzu breed was very rare at that time. The Shih Tzu puppy Gay Widdrington acquired was only the second generation from the first three Shih Tzu imported into the British Isles from China in 1930. The Shih Tzu puppy was named Mee Na and was quite captivating. She was described as looking like a “fluffy baby owl. ”
At this time, Shih Tzu breeding stock was very low and already very “inbred. ” When new imported Shih Tzu lines became available, the Lhakang Kennel carried out careful selective Shih Tzu breeding over a period of many years to help introduce and stabilize these new Shih Tzu lines so that the breed could be established on a broader basis. It is largely due to Gay’s efforts that the Shih Tzu breed is one of the few in the British Isles free of serious hereditary problems.
In the late forties Gay and her mother decided to establish a Shih Tzu true-breeding rich gold strain through the line of the Shih Tzu Ishuh Tzu, who had been imported from Shanghai. That Shih Tzu line produced the color and flourished for four decades.
Elfann Kennel owned by Elfreda Evans came into the Shih Tzu breed in 1951. She decided she would do something drastic to improve the Shih Tzu breed. She mated a black Shih Tzu bitch to a black and white Pekingese dog, who had unusually straight front legs for a Pekingese.
Freda had an excellent eye for beauty as well as quality. She felt the Shih Tzu she had seen were too big, leggy, rangy, plain in the face and often wild in temperament. These Shih Tzu certainly would not have pleased the Dowager Empress was the thoughts of Freda. Since she had heard in China the shaggy Lion Dogs (Shih Tzu) had been crossed with Pekingese every few generations. She decided to do likewise to keep the Shih Tzu breed on the right lines. It was not very well taken by many.
I have two little Shih Tzu, Danny and Jane Jane that resemble Pekingese. These Shih Tzu are both one year of age and weigh in at 4 pounds. It is my opinion, their Shih Tzu size is a result of some of this crossbreeding, and most likely would have made the Empress Dowager “smile. ” My Danny and Jane Jane are exquisite little treasures of mine at Stain Glass Shih Tzu. I must say they have the “sweetest” disposition of all the Shih Tzu I have ever owned. These tiny treasures are very rare in the world of Shih Tzu today.
Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at: http://www.stainglassshihtzus.com