The Chinese Imperial dog is a tiny animal barely reaching between four and seven pounds. Controversy rages over this small beauty, with two camps divided over the name and breed. The American Kennel Club and the American Shih Tzu Club claim that this small dog is just a miniature sized Shih Tzu. The Chinese Imperial camp claim the small dog has a unique Imperial gene which makes them a separate breed. They believe this dog has existed for centuries in China and has been considered a different breed all along. Regardless of what you believe, the Chinese Imperial dog is a happy, outgoing dog who fulfils their purpose perfectly, and that purpose is a companion dog. They adapt well to any setting and are perfect in an apartment. They may be small, but they have a big personality. The Chinese Imperial is so cute and sweet that it is easy to spoil them, but like any dog - they need a firm hand and a strong leader to follow in order to avoid Small Dog Syndrome. They are wonderful with children, but they are so tiny it is easy to hurt them, so teach your children to be kind and gentle. They have a moderate level of activity, are very playful, and extremely loving to their owners. Be aware that you will pay more for a smaller dog such as this, as they are harder to find.
In ancient times, we know that there were small companion dogs who lived with Chinese nobility and were treasured for their companionship. According to the Chinese Imperial Dog Club of America, the Chinese Imperial dog has been in existence for over 2000 years, while others such as the American Kennel Club claim they only date back as far as the 1960's. The history books confirm that the Dowager Empress Cixi, who was one of China's last monarchs, was a dog fancier who had many small dogs. Foreign dignitaries were often gifted these small dogs - the Chinese Imperial dog and the larger Shih Tzu. The American Kennel Club claims that during the 1960s when the Shih Tzu was rising in popularity, some dog breeders bred down their dogs - a term known as 'dwarfing down' of a breed. After many generations, the smaller size becomes part of the genes. It was in the era of the 1980-1990's that the terms ' teacup', 'mini' and 'tiny toy' phrases began to emerge to describe the smaller Shih Tzu. The AKC at the time stepped in and confirmed the Shih Tzu standard height and weight requirements to penalize the 'new' small dogs; they declared dwarfing down was unethical and unhealthy for the dog. While the debate over the Chinese Imperial still rages, the National Canine Association formerly recognized the Chinese Imperial, and soon others followed. In the year 2008, the Chinese Imperial Dog Registry of America was formed to maintain the official studbook. While there is virtually no difference in personality between the two breeds, the Imperial have firmly established that - tiny or not - they are here to stay. There is no doubt that this tiny dog will remain a favorite companion for many years to come, regardless of the debate over their origins.
Chinese Imperial dogs are compact, well muscled and yet tiny dogs with a sweet facial expression. Although it is hard to see their body shape under that glorious fluffy coat, their body is well proportioned with well developed bone structure. Short legs with large paws for their size just adds to the 'cuteness' factor. Their luxurious dense coat gives this dog the 'teddy bear' appeal, and because of their dense coat they can suffer on hot days or in hot climates. They can be clipped to ease their discomfort and still retain their fluffy appeal which is good. They have a small short muzzled face, a tiny nose and bright round eyes. Their tail is fluffy and curly. They grow no higher than 7 to 8 inches, and weigh in at a mere 9 pounds. Because of their tiny size they can be hurt easily, so caution is needed The Chinese Imperial is not only good looking, but has a lovely nature to match.