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The name means literally "Lion Dog", and it is a recognized breed. As early as the seventh century Suzy or Snoopy-like dogs inhabited the monasteries of Tibet. The monks liked the dogs because they looked like lions. Even the Buddha is said to have had a lion-like dog.

That is how the dog got its name – Shih Tzu means lion in Chinese. In later years, interest in this little palace dog gradually waned, after which it almost became extinct. But European and American breeders made sure the breed survived.

An exceptionally good ear distinguishes these dogs from other dogs. They were used for temple security because they noticed danger faster than other dogs and they were therefore free to walk around the temple. Well, they can also roam freely in Lilawadee but they have no idea what to do with their famous abilities of security awareness. All visitors are greeted enthusiastically whereby they don’t make a distinction between good and evil. And although they have excellent ears, they don't respond to calls or whistles from their master to heel.

The Shisen-Tzu is a robust but also sensitive dog. With its tough posture and self-conscious attitude it can also be seen as arrogant. Shisen-Tzu's, at least ours, resemble both the Pekinese and Lhasa Apso. This is true particularly of our latest addition "Pizza", not a real Shsi-Tzu, who has developed a great passion for water. He decided that our pond is his pool and he does not seem to care about the sensitive fish and delicate plants. In short, a bundle of joy but also a handful.

All Shih-Tzus, Pekinese and Lhaso Apsos are originally from China and in appearance and character they look much alike. They all have long hair with lots of undercoat. If you let the fur grow it will drag along the ground. Cleaning them after a walk in the countryside, or worse, in the snow, is a big job and not always fully appreciated by its owners.

Care for the dog gets to be an even bigger problem when it is time for a shave. They really don’t like to be groomed and put up as much resistance as they can get away with. It’s a big struggle with barking and growling. But all is quickly forgotten when it’s done and the dog shows a satisfied expression on its face.

Because of the flat compressed snout, these dogs are susceptible to eye, ear and respiratory problems, which can lead to frequent visits to the vet and high bills.

Like most Asian dogs, the Shih Tzu has a sweet character; they are playful, affectionate and cuddly and always charming, which often makes us address Suzy as "Madam". If she responds at all, it is at best a contemptuous gaze after which she stoically continues on her way. Aggression is totally alien to these dogs. Only their attitude toward cats cannot be considered friendly.

We felt we should mention our three dogs; they are very unobtrusive but better not to feed them delicacies to avoid that they become little beggars.