Shih Tzu Find a New Home in the West

Shih Tzu Find a New Home in the West
Lady Brownrigg of England first obtained a Shih Tzu in 1928. She was around 30 years of age was a much-traveled lady and was very fond of birds and animals. Her husband was an Assistant Adjutant and Quarter-master General to the North China command. When they returned to England they brought with them two Shih Tzu a dog called Hibou and a bitch called Shu-ssa. Both were black and white and described as “small.” Shu-ssa was mated to Hibou and produced Lung-fu-ssu. The offspring of Hibou Shu-ssa and Lung-fu-ssu and many of our present-day Shih Tzu are descended from these. They were called the famous “Taishan” Shih Tzu. The weight of these three is known to have been within the range of 12 to 15 pounds. Lady Brownrigg considered this weight as ideal.
In 1933 at the West of England Ladies Kennel Society Shu-ssa Hibou and Lung-fu-ssu were exhibited in a class along with other dogs from Tibet. It was quite evident that there were great differences between these Tibetan Lion Dogs and those which Colonel and Mrs. Bailey had imported from Tibet. These were narrower in the skull and had longer noses and eventually became known as the Lhasa Apso. Other Tibetan dogs with longer legs are now known as Tibetan Terriers.
The Brownriggs were instrumental in preparing the first breed standard. By 1934 the breed had been separated from the other small and hairy dogs of oriental origin.
By the time World War II had begun very few Shih Tzu litters were born during those troubled years. The Taishan Shih Tzu however made their own contribution to the war effort. The combings from their coats were gathered up and made into knitting wool.
After the war was over Lady Brownrigg carried on with her work of establishing the Shih Tzu in England.
Lady Brownrigg was not in agreement with the decision to introduce Pekingese blood and an attempt to start a new club for the miniature Shih Tzu.
In 1939 a lady called Gay Garforth-Bles later Gay Widdrington saw eight Shih Tzu being exercised in Thurloe Square in London. The dogs were being exercised by Mrs. Doig their cook. Shortly after this sighting Gay Widdrington bought her first Shih Tzu from Lady Brownrigg. This was a black and white puppy bitch called Mee-Na of Taishan. Mee-Na set her owner off on a curse that would lead her to become one of the best-known figures in the breed. The name of her Shih Tzu line was “Lhakang.”
Gay Widdrington bred more than a hundred litters over a period of nearly fifty years. The list of Lhakang champions shows how this kennel competed at the highest level in the breed over a thirty-year period which is a remarkable achievement.
Gay Widdrington joined with Lady Brownrigg in the 1950s to form the Manchu Shih Tzu Society with the aim of promoting the smaller type of Shih Tzu. The Kennel Club did not agree to the division of the breed into two sizes. The Manchu was given official status only on condition that it promoted the welfare of all sizes of Shih Tzu.


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