First imports of shih tzu in England started in the early 30s. The pioneers of the English breeding were Lady Browning and the General Sir Douglas, whom managed to take several subjects coming back from their trip in China. They were registered as ‘apso’ as well. In 1933, at the show of Cheltenham, Sir Douglas and Mrs. Browning wew present with Hibou, Yang Tse,
Shi Sha, Hzu Shi, but also the founder of the Ireland shih tzu Club, Mrs. Hutchins was there, with Lung Fu Shu e Tang, just imported from China. Importing continued in the next years and soon they realized that they were registering under the same name two breeds with different morphologic characteristics. For example, the dogs of Mrs. Browning and Mrs. Hutchins had short muzzles, domed skulls and they were short on legs, while the dogs of Mrs. Wild had more slim bodies and more flat skulls with a bit longer muzzle, longer legs, so they were nothing more than the progenitors of the actual Lhasa Apso. Finally, in 1935, the shih tzu breed was recognized. So they founded the Shih tzu Club, very active until the Great war II, when because of this painful event, it was inactive for 10 years. Once the war ended, the activity of the club restarted frantically. Despite the stop for the war, 700 shih tzu were registered between the years ’35 and ’55. In 1937 Mrs Andy Fowler managed to import from Beijing a gold and white female, and a solid gold male of different bloodlines, they were the founders of the ‘Chasmù ‘ kennel. She was dedicated to select especially gold and white and gold, whom were exported in USA by the reverend Donald Allan Easton, one of the pioneers of the breeding in USA. Last imports from China date back to 1949 when a beautiful solid black male with lot of hair was bought, named ‘Wuffles’, and in 1952 Mr. Dobson bought a female ‘Hsi Li Ya’; probably she was one of the last shih tzu born in China, as there are no more information of these dogs in the country.
In the 50s most famous English kennels were: Taishan, Lakang of Lady Wridington, Antartica of Messrs Rawlings and Elfan of Mrs. Freda Evans. The kennel of Mrs. Evans was initially for the breeding of pekingeses, then also of shih tzu, and she had the idea to mix the two breeds. The puppies born from the first mating were mated with a shih tzu and so on until the third generation, when they were registered regularly in the studbooks. Dogs born from this selection were included also in other bloodlines and soon, it was impossible to find a shih tzu in England without Pekingese’s blood in his pedigree. Subjects of this type were exported in Usa too, but there they waited other three generations to recognize them. Twenty years later, British say that they managed to have a good homogeneity about the size. This type of selection, anyway, has caused many problems: heads became larger, but also more flat and legs became more stubby and arched, penalizing the gaits. After 50 years we can note a big difference of structure between ‘English’ dogs and the others. English ones have big heads, sometimes prominent eyes, while the body is heavy on the short legs, the neck is quite short not much angulated, not solid toplines, often not straight, and the movement suffers, they are very inelegant. Generally more slight, the others are best built, they have super movements, beautiful heads with dolls expressions, wonderful eyes not prominent. It’s obvious that the comparison is made on high quality subjects, seen in the most important shows. I bred this breed for more than 40 years and I have been the responsible for its diffusion in Italy, imposing my type of shih tzu, in my opinion it must be separated from the English type of shih tzu, because the differences are unbridgeable and if they are seen together there are too many characteristics that totally differentiate them.