Wednesday, February 12, 2014

keeper of the kennel

Along with Lincoln's birthday, today is the anniversary of Chinese Emperor Hsuan T'ung's 1912 abdication, ending the Manchu dynasty, leading to the creation the Republic of China.  His aunt, the Grand Dowager Tzu His had been the defacto ruler of China.  Fearing loss of power, Tzu His arranged the untimely deaths of the leading Emperor candidates leaving the way open for the 3 year old to rule China upon her death.

Although largely an unpleasant woman, many dog fanciers have much to be grateful to the Dowager for.  She was a dog lover.  Her passion was Shih Tzu, the Chinese Lion Dog.  ALL, as in every, Shih Tzu in China belong to her, and she kept them for herself. The Dowager kept meticulous breeding records and if any pup did not conform to her standard of the breed, it was immediately dispatched.  It is likely towards the end of her life a nonconforming puppy or two may have escaped, but no one inside China would ever be seen with a Shih Tzu.

Today, every Shih Tzu is a direct descendant of one of her 7 breeding pairs.  After her death, former palace eunuchs would occasionally gift a visiting diplomat with a puppy, but never a  breeding pair.  It wasn't until the Japanese invasion that the surviving dogs were transferred out of China, 8 to England and 3 to Norway.  By the Communist revolution the breed was extinct in its homeland.



Old Polo said...

Wow, glad they survived. My new little mutt might not have been here as it appears he may have some "lion dog" in his ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Just got our first one on Sunday. His name is Dr. Watson. The AKC says that he's part of the original line. Best thing to happen in our house in a long time. - FreeKansas.

Shelley said...

How interesting! I have friends in OKC who have had Shih Tzu's for years. Sometimes I think mainly because Donald P. likes the name -he's a bit of a rascal, Don is.

Patsy said...

Stories like these are why this is one of my favorite corners of the internet!