Dog Breed Group: Companion Dog
Life Span: 12-15 years
Weight: Male: 2-2.5, Female: 2-2.5
Height: Male: 8-8.5, Female: 8-8.5
Origin of Name: The Chinese Imperial Dog is a breed of toy dog, originating in China.
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There are two competing theories in the history of the Chinese Imperial Dog. The Chinese Imperial Dog Club of America (CIDCA) and many breed fans insist that the breed has existed in China for centuries. He claims that the breed was considered distinct from Shih Tzu in China, due to its small size. There is believed to be a tapestry dating before the birth of Jesus, depicting a Pingingis a Shih Tzu and a Chinese Imperial Dog, which the CIDCA claims is the definitive proof that the Chinese Imperial Dog existed for 2000 years Is in In the opinion of this writer, that tapestry is not nearly so decisive and the depiction of a dog on it is certainly not as different as those three modern breeds.
Fundamentalists of the breed convinced of the uniqueness and ancient history of Chinese Imperial dogs that the Chinese Imperial Dog was only allowed to be kept by the Chinese nobility and that it was a great honor to receive one as a gift. However, this is far from conclusive evidence of dogs of ancient origin as a similar situation was given to Shih Tzu, Peking, Lhasa Apso, Hapa Dog, and Pag. One of China's largest dynasties, Dodger Queen Cixi, was one of the biggest Chinese dog fans. The Daujar Empress and subsequent rulers gave many small Chinese palace dogs to foreign dignitaries as gifts. Most of these dogs went to England, the United States, and the Netherlands where they formed the base of the Shih Tzu breed. The CIDCA claims that many Chinese Imperial dogs were also given as gifts. Because Westerners were unaware that the two breeds are different, they lured Chinese Imperial dogs as a breed of Shih Tzu. Reportedly, largely pure lines of Chinese Imperial dogs were maintained in Australia and the Netherlands. These lines were then imported into the United States, where the AKC refused to recognize them as anything other than Shih Tzus. While these claims may be true, this author was unable to find any independent verification or evidence to support them. The Chinese nobility have certainly raised very small dogs, but it is unclear whether they considered them to be a separate breed. For example, the famous sleeve Pekingese, which were so small that they were carried around the sleeve, were still considered Pekingese. In this writer's opinion, China probably had very small Shiz Tzus for many centuries, but was not considered a separate breed. Additionally, even though the Chinese Imperial Dog was considered a separate breed at one point, it has been fully subscribed to the modern Shih Tzu breed for centuries.