Import and development of the breed in USA and in other European countries occurred in different times, and that’s why they have different stories. First European importer was an ambassador of Oslo, named Kauffman, who lived in China in the 20s. Thanks to his diplomatic contacts, he had the possibility to go several times to the Imperial palace of Beijing where he saw many shih tzu. In that time, to buy or make to expatriate the shih tzus was not easy, because the owners of this breed were persons of the high society, and not being breeders they owned only few subjects. The selection took place only in the imperial palace. Some pavilions were reserved for shih tzus, where the eunuchs had to feed them, bath, brush and let them walk many time in the day in the palace’s gardens. the care of the puppies was under the direct control of the Empress ‘Tsu Hsi’, who had for these dogs a real passion; she was dedicated to breed them, preferring solid gold subjects. She had for them many attentions, going daily to cuddle them. The kennel of the court was very clean and dogs slept on silk pillows. After many adventures, Messrs Kauffman managed to have a very beautiful female Shih tzu, named Leiza, as gift by the Empress. After 2 years they bought a male born in Beijing named Aizo, then in 1931 another male named Shauder, both coming from private breeders but they were not beautiful as much as Leiza. In 1932 the three dogs were transferred to Oslo with their owners, whom were busy to make sure the breed was officially recognized in their country. After two years of slow bureaucracy, the three subjects were recognized as ‘apso’. They had an help by a fervent dog lover lady: Mrs. Adele Heyerdal, who, captured by the beauty of these dogs, started her selection with the sons of Leiza, that in
1932 got her first litter. She bred them for 30 years until her death in the 70s. It took many years to have them registered as Shih tzu. Messrs Kauffman bred them for many years, selecting very typical subjects. Then they moved to London where they met Duchess of York , and they give her as gift one of their dogs, named Choo Choo who became the favorite dog of the English royal family. Meanwhile in China there was the Communist revolution and many dogs at Palace were killed; the few survivors went in the hands of incompetent people, who crossed them with half-breed, so the breed was lost. In Denmark, Mrs Astrid Jappensen founded her Bjorneholms kennel, buying the sons of Aizo and Leiza. She studied deeply the breed, so she was able to breed subjects with excellent structures, heads and expressions, similar to the subjects there were in that time. Unlucky her selection in Denmark ended in the late 70s. I met her for the last time at the show of Dortmund in 1978 where she won. Mrs Erika Geusrndam of Lubecca and the dutch Lady Eta Pauptit started to breed with the bloodlines of Mrs Jappensen, and they became my teachers.