Early Beginnings of Shih Tzu
December 25, 2008 1:09am CST
In the Pavillion of Green Ripples in the Imperial Garden, Forbidden City, Beijing (formerly Peking), China, Shih Tzu romped with each other, the enunchs, and the Empress Dowager and her attendants. The Shih Tzu was highly valued companions of the Palace. The Summer Palace, Peking (now called Beijing), was where the Dowager Empress ruled her empire during the summer months. Her Shih Tzu and favorite attendants resided in the Summer Palace throughout her annual stay. An American was among the very first to receive a Shih Tzu as a gift from the Dowager Empress. It was Sarah Conger, the wife of American Minister to China Edwin H. Conger in 1903. There is only one known photo of the Dowager Empress with any of her Shih Tzu. The photo was taken in a Courtyard scene in 1903 with her ladies in waiting. In the photo, various eunuchs are on both sides of the Princess. At her feet lays Hai Ling (Sea Otter), a solid black Shih Tzu, who was the favorite pet of the Dowager Empress. He sired many Shih Tzu of various colors within the Palace. There is a strong indication that Shih Tzu developed in China from ancient lines of dogs of Tibet.