The Skip-Shzu is a hybrid of the Schipperke and Shih Tzu with little history. Designer dogs, unless overly popular, do not have much history, which is due in part to their recent rise as breeds. Historical accounts are also lacking because breeding standards are not yet developed for most hybrids. Owners who wish to understand more about their Skip-Shzu can overcome the lack of detailed histories by learning about the respective histories and traits of the parent breeds. The Schipperke is a small dog, developed in Belgium, with a long history. The breed developed from the Belgium Sheepdog, a member of the Spitz family, and is sometimes referred to as "Dutch Dog," though the breed has no ties to the Netherlands. The Schipperke was first bred as a small watchdog for the wharves and canals between Antwerp and Brussels and gains its name from its position as a vermin control and watchdog. The name Schipperke is Flemish for Little Captain, and despite their size, these small dogs are tenacious and feisty protectors that became popular at court when Queen Maria Henrietta first saw the breed at a dog show in 1885. Shortly after the breed was discovered, it was imported the United States, and the first Schipperke Club was founded in 1905. The American Kennel Club then recognized the breed in 1929, and today the Schipperke is considered a moderately popular dog but by no means rare. The Shih Tzu is a small, ancient breed from China. Archaeological evidence in the Chinese region suggests the Shih Tzu may be as old or older than 10,000 years. Much of the ancient history, as well as the recent history, of the Shih Tzu, is shrouded in mystery because the Chinese maintained strict breeding practices that were well-guarded. The West did not learn about the Shih Tzu until trade routes opened in China. The Shih Tzu's popularity increased in the Chinese Imperial court with the Empress T'zu Hsi's reign. The Empress was gifted a pair of fine Shih Tzu's from the Dali Lama, and she maintained a pack of the small dogs during her lifetime. Upon her death, the Chinese noble families competed to produce a superior life of Shih Tzu's. The breeding practices were, once again, kept highly secretive and only the finest specimens were kept for breeding. All other dogs were sold at market. Some superior dogs were later taken out of the country and brought to England where the West had an opportunity to breed the dogs. The Shih Tzu was imported to the United States in the 20th Century but was not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1969. Once in the United States, the popularity of the Shih Tzu soared and today, the breed is ranked in the top 20 of most popular breeds.