The Last Shih Tzu To Leave Peking

By: Connie Limon

The Japanese occupation of Peking in late 1937 stopped future dog shows. Breeding in Peking continued on a limited scale. There were a few accounts of Shih Tzu in Asia during this period of time.

Mrs. Audrey Fowler of England was a great lover of the Shih Tzu and tried diligently to acquire breeding stock without much success. Her interest in the little dogs began in 1935. Mrs. Fowler made many trips to various sections of cities of Hong Kong and Shanghai looking for the golden long-haired dogs. Mrs. Fowler was acqauinted with a man named Dr. Vincent Nesfield who did acquire a gold and white Shih Tzu back in 1904.

In 1904, Dr. Vincent Nesfield, a medical officer in the Younghusband Expedition to Tibet, brought back a little Shih Tzu. He did not know exactly where these dogs originated. He only knew the breed was very old. This little Shih Tzu was a female, who went back to India with him, and died in Gambeti Assam in 1910. He felt like there was no dog ever he could imagine more faithful and more affectionate than this little girl Shih Tzu he acquired during the Younghusband Expedition. She would not go to anyone else, and Mr. Nesfield felt the Shih Tzu breed had some kind of special quality that brings "good luck," hence the honour of receiving one. His dog came from the Dalai Lama, who at that time had fled from Lhasa. The thirteenth Dalai Lama gave these little dogs as special gifts to the old Empress of China and that is why specimens were found in Peking. Mr. Nesfield's Shih Tzu was gold and white, the face was not like a Peke, i.e., "stumpy."

Mrs. Audrey Fowler acquired a gold-and-white female of the right age to undertake the strenuous journey to England from the Countess d'Anjou in Peking. She acquired another puppy, a little honey-colored female from Frances Bieber, a well-known authority on the Sacred Lion of Buddha. These early gold-and-white imports left no progency, but Mrs. Fowler was determined to establish a gold-color line and went on to establish the famous Chasmu Kennel in 1938 on her return to England from Peking.

Monsieur de Graeffe, Belgium ambassador in Peking in the 1930s was able to acquire a number of Shih Tzu descended from a pair bred in the palace in the 1920s, named Lize and Kwaine. There is a seven-generation pedigree written by Madame de Graeffe tracing their line back to Lize and Kwaine who were born in the Imperial Palace. Lize died in 1930 and Kawanie in 1929. The Shih Tzu of Monsieur de Graeffe moved to Iran when he was transfered there. Alan Roger and Sheila Bode, English Breeders, saw Lize and Kawanie in Iran and became determined to own some Shih Tzu after the war. Their remembrance of color was that of brown and gold. Three years later Mr. Roger acquired a puppy of parents from Peking. Soon after, he acquired a gray and white bitch from a Chinese who was returning to China and wanted to find a suitable home for his pet.

Reverend D. Allan Easton, pastor of the Peking Union Church in late 1948 documented the only Shih Tzu bred in Peking that he knew of was those of Alfred Koehn, A german author and publisher and to his knowledge the last Shih Tzu to leave Peking were taken out by a British diplomat who left Hong Kong in 1948.

Among other Shih Tzu who left China before the Communists' occupation of Peking in 1949 was Mai-Ting, a black and white bitch from Shanghai and Wuffles, a camel-colored male from North China who left by air just prior to the advance of the Red Army. Wuffles was bred to Mai-Ting and produced one black and white puppy in 1950. Their names can be found in many English and American pedigress. A few years later, Wuffles was tragically killed by a truck.

The last recorded Shih Tzu to leave China was a bitch named Hsi-Li-Ya, imported to England by Mr. R.P. Dobson in 1952. With the Communist government in power, the fate of all dogs was sealed. Dogs were consumers of food and thus ordered to be destroyed. It is therefore presumed they became extinct in Asia. Fortunately, the Shih Tzu reached the West about 25 years before the Communist Revolution. It seems like a miracle they ever survived when so much of destiny seemed to be against them. God's gift of the Shih Tzu to us prevailed over all the evil the breed had endured.

It is my feeling that "good always overcome evil." And The Shih Tzu are certainly something "good" for all of us.....

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Connie Limon, Breeder of the Shih Tzu Austin, Indiana Stain Glass Shih Tzu Independent Field Rep HealthyPetNet

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