Early Breed History

SHIH TZU HISTORY: A Series of Articles
The article by Breed Historian Victor Joris was written about 20 years ago for the Shih Tzu Bulletin in England, and the articles by Bea and Frank Loeb were taken from early issues of the ASTC Shih Tzu Bulletin. The article on Ingrid Colwell and the interview with Mary Wood were provided by Dawn Tendler, editor of the first ASTC Historical Record Book. The Board decided not to include the articles in the HRB, but Dawn has passed them along and we are publishing them here as we wallow in nostalgia while preparing for our 50th National. If you are attending the National in Pittsburgh, you are sure to have a great time. In addition to a video presentation of Shih Tzu history for the Awards Banquet, there will also be old magazine articles and early Shih Tzu magazines so that you can see what the dogs looked like at the time of recognition. We also have the complete results of the first ASTC National in Oregon, where the BISS was co-owned by 2023 sweepstakes judge Janet Long. Take this opportunity to learn about our past if you are newer to our breed. It is interesting to note that the late breeder-judge Andy Warner, the author of the article on Ingrid Colwell, was one of the sponsors of the 2023 National show chair Maurene Baum when she applied for ASTC membership.

History Of The Breed
By Victor Joris

To the best of my knowledge and from extensive research all Shih Tzu in the U.S. trace their ancestry to imports from either the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands or one of the Scandinavian countries.

The original Shih Tzu imported into England by Lady Brownrigg, into Ireland by Miss E. M. Hutchins and into Norway by Mme. Henrik Kauffman, although carefully chosen by each of these ladies, were not identical in size, structure, weight or type. In efforts to establish a new breed with a very limited gene pool the breeding policy is governed by the existing conditions and the available stock. The breeding of close relatives was unavoidable and even desirable in some instances in order to establish a uniform type. The entire gene pool for all existing Shih Tzu is derived from a combination of 14 dogs and bitches. One of these fourteen was the Pekingese dog, Philadelphus Suti-T’sun of Elfann. One bitch Ishuh Tzu, whose dam, Hamilton Maru, was registered in the United States as a Lhasa and had won at Westminster, was imported into the U.K. in 1948 and declared suitable for registration as a Shih Tzu by Lady Brownrigg. One interesting note concerning this line in the Lhasa Apso Best in Show winner at Crufts in 1984 and the Best of Breed Shih Tzu winner at the same show descended from that line. Each had illustrious descendents in the U.K. and the U.S. Most of the imports, both English and Scandinavian, had come from China with “pedigree unknown,” or only one generation known. A great deal had to be learned about their descendants through the offspring of the early generations. Before the death of the Dowager Empress in 1908 the Shih Tzu was very difficult to obtain and so far as we know after the death of the old Dowager Empress the Shih Tzu became extinct in China with only a few able to reach the Western world. At the time of her death there were three distinct toy dogs being bred in the Imperial Palace, the Pug, Pekingese and Shih Tzu, all short nosed breeds with not much difference between them except coat. No one knows exactly what ingredients the palace eunuchs stirred together in their experiments with the palace dogs to create the Shih Tzu.

It is interesting to note that prior to 1952 eight Shih Tzu from the UK were imported into the US and all were re-registered and bred as Lhasa Apso as well as some of the Shih Tzu brought back by members of the armed forces which were also bred. We know that all breeds of dogs were created by interbreeding for a desired trait. We can only suppose what breeds were used in the creation of the Shih Tzu. It has long been my belief that the Shih Tzu for the most part was a combination of the Tibetan Spaniel and the Pekingese rather than the Lhasa Apso and have seen this in litters which would indicate that the Tibbie breeds true while I think the Shih Tzu does not. That does not discount the introduction of Lhasa genes as we know they are also there. The differences between the Lhasa head and the Shih Tzu head are considerable. The Shih Tzu head more closely resembles that of the Tibetan Spaniel.

We can breed away from certain genes but once introduced they are carried from generation to generation in the genotype and may never resurface again but could in future litters when least expected. Even with the utmost care when selecting a superior dog and bitch for breeding and with full knowledge of their ancestors, there is always the chance that the litter will not be up to specifications and could produce throwbacks to an earlier ancestor.

As stated before very early in the development of the breed a great many Shih Tzu were imported into the U.S. and the two types were interbred whereas only one or two Shih Tzu were exported to England early on from Scandinavia. That established a more stable type for the English dogs as there was very little interbreeding between the two lines. The English lines had been introduced into the Scandinavian imports very early in the development of the breed as well as the Scandinavian line through ‘My Lord of Tibet’ into the English lines.

The breed was established in the U.K. with Championship status granted in 1940, long before the Shih Tzu made an appearance in the U.S., with over 700 registered Shih Tzu between 1930 and 1955. Despite interest in the breed by American fanciers the American Kennel Club showed very limited, or no, interest in the breed. The Shih Tzu was eventually accepted into the AKC Miscellaneous Class in 1955 but had to wait another 14 years before being able to compete for championship status. One stumbling block for acceptance was the Peke cross done by Miss Evans in 1952 and the similarity to the already approved Lhasa Apso. The Shih Tzu was approved for AKC conformation shows on the 1st of September 1969.

Unfortunately the little Chinese Lion Dog captured the imagination of the public and almost overnight became the most sought after toy dog in the U.S. From 1957 through 1963 well over 100 Shih Tzu were exported to the US from around the world. This information comes from the late Rev. D. Allan Easton’s papers listing the name of the breeder, country of origin, kennel name, date exported and new owner.

With countless imports flooding the country to would be “breeders,” many of whom had absolutely no knowledge of the breed, a frenzy of breeding took place. Many of the early dedicated breeders struggled diligently to try and develop a healthy and stable type Shih Tzu from the assorted differences in sizes of the original imports. In the very early years prior to and after AKC acceptance one could see 17 and 18 pound Shih Tzu in the show-ring alongside some weighing 7 pounds. It was necessary to stabilize and try to correct the many variables in the breed. Many of the early fanciers of the breed were no longer breeding and the Shih Tzu future was left somewhat in the hands of anyone who could own a dog. However, thankfully most of those would be breeders fell by the wayside and it was left up to the remaining dedicated breeders to try and correct some of the results of the haphazard breedings that took place. It was those breeders who have continued to extol the virtues of the breed.

Some of the early imports from the U.K. and the Continent, as stated, were large in size and weight with unruly coats, bad mouths and bowed fronts but with beautiful round heads, good bone and body. Missing, though not in all, was the warm Eastern look in the eyes of the Scandinavian exports. Some of the imports that arrived from the Scandinavian countries were smaller in overall size, daintier, with softer, straighter coats, straight front legs, better mouths, slightly smaller heads, a slightly longer nose and beautiful soft eyes.

I mention all the background as a basis for the comparison of the early imports and the Shih Tzu of today. Enormous problems faced the early breeders. Although countless imports flooded the U.S., the Shih Tzu were scattered from coast to coast and many of the “breeders” had never seen a Shih Tzu. The very size of the US made breeding even more difficult when many breeders were forced to use the only available studs in their immediate vicinity, good or bad. Shipping by air to breed was not a common practice at that time. At the time most of the imports were not closely line bred so a great many breedings were out crosses and locating a close relative or a pre-potent stud was near impossible. The fact that there were two different Shih Tzu registries and one independent breeder registry did not help either. The British Standard was used as a basis when the American Shih Tzu Club devised its Standard. One major change was that the “legs became straight” and in the 1989 revision the word “short” when referring to the legs was omitted in the American Standard. Another problem was that the Shih Tzu would be shown in the Toy Group in the U.S. and shown in the Non-Sporting Group in Canada and the equivalent in the U.K., the Utility Group.

With the differences in the imports many heated arguments took place between the breeders as to what the correct size and weight should be. Some stated that the larger and coarser dogs had lost their Oriental appearance, a major breed point at the time. What was more important in the correct “type” differed in each section of the country. Type is one of the most used and misused words when referring to dogs. The Hon. Mrs. Neville Lytton in her book “Toy Dogs and their Ancestors,” published in 1911, wrote when asked about type, “most people interpret it rather than define it.” I think this is still a very valid answer after nearly 100 years. According to Webster’s New Explorer Dictionary type is defined as “a class, kind or group set apart by common characteristics.”

I am using a quote from the late Mr. Nigel Aubrey-Jones in an article written for “Dog News.”

“One word the new comer has to wrestle with is to truly understand what it is to describe “type.” Yet they have no reason to be ashamed of this, as its intended meaning can also escape the established breeder and judge. It is a very vague term and not by any means alone when we refer to dogs. Yet this is a virtue in a dog or bitch that an experienced breeder or judge can recognize instantly. It has been said quite often that the nearest to absolute perfection of type in any breed lies at the recommended description in a breed Standard, not at its extremes.”

During the early 1970’s the Shih Tzu in the American show ring were a mixed bag so to speak, as the breed had not been stabilized to conform to the then standard. During that period one could see small, big, bigger, short legged, long legged, slab-sided, square but one consolation, thankfully, a rainbow of beautiful colors in the show-ring. It was later, in the 1980s, when every shade of gold and white with black tips became the “in” color combination and it was very nearly impossible to win with any other color. This was due to several studs being used on a great many bitches good and bad. It was during this latter period and into the 1980s that many of the newly approved judges had never seen solid blacks, silvers, black and white, black masked golds and brindles with many assuming that gold and white was the color of all Shih Tzu. This was when the “American Shih Tzu” began to emerge, a leggy, slab-sided, square dog with too much length of neck. The eyes were smaller due to the reduction in the size of head and the forehead became less prominent and flatter which I think was due to a throwback to the Lhasa. It appears the Shih Tzu head seems to be regressing to the normal structure of the dog. IF WE LOSE THE BROAD ROUND SHIH TZU HEAD IT WILL BE LOST FOREVER, NEVER TO BE REGAINED. IT MUST BE CONTINUALLY BRED FOR.

Some of the imports had a great influence on the American Shih Tzu while others had no direct influence at all. I know several dogs imported by the Rev. Easton and Mrs. Easton which arrived over an extended period. It was well known that Rev. Easton preferred a smaller Shih Tzu but imported several Shih Tzu from the U.K. They included, in addition to Si-Kiang’s Tashi from Ingrid Colwell, who was the sire of many champions, Wei Honey Gold of Elfann from Elfreda Evans, a 10 pound solid gold bitch sired by Mister Wu x Elfann Gold Leaf of Tawnyridge; Jemima of Lhakang, a black and white ggranddaughter of Wuffles and Mai-Ting from Mrs. Gay Widdrington; Ch. Katrina of Greenmoss; and Int. Ch. Tangra von Tschomo Lungma, in whelp to Int. Ch. Bjornholms Pif, from Erika Geusendam. One puppy from that breeding was to make history for the Shih Tzu breed in the U.S. That puppy became Am/Can. Champion Chumulari Ying Ying ROM. His influence has been tremendous and is still felt in the show-ring. Some of his accomplishments included winning Best in Show on the first day of AKC recognition. He sired 30 champions, 6 all breed Best in Show dogs, each from a different dam; this was accomplished before shipping by air was in vogue. His name appears in an extended pedigree of countless champion Shih Tzu and would be impossible to list. His name appears 7 times in the pedigree of the top producing American Shih Tzu of all time and in Am/Can Ch. Shente’s Brandy Alexander, winner of 58 BIS and 18 Specialties and Am/Can. Ch. Shente’s Christian Dior, winner of 94 BIS and 8 Specialty awards. He was the sire of Ch. Dragonwyck The Great Gatsby, who became the top winning Shih Tzu in the US with 42 BIS. I doubt if there is any country with Shih Tzu that in some of the dogs “Ying’s” name does not appear in an extended pedigree. The Eastons later imported from the Baroness Van Panthaeleon Int. Ch. Quang Te V.D. Blauwe Mammouth and Dhuti V. Tschomo Lungma from Mrs. Guesendam. An additional bitch exported to the U.S. was Int. Ch. Freya Shu V.D. Oranje Menage to the West Coast.

Additional influential imports were Elfann Fu Ling of Lhakang in the Midwest, silver and white dog; Ching Yea of Lhakang, a small black and white dog, in the Pennsylvania area; Jungfaltets Jung-Wu on the east coast, a dark silver and white bitch; Bjornholms Pif, gold and white dog, in the Midwest; Int. Ch. Sophon Vom Tschomo Lungma, silver gold and white dog on the West coast; Chasmu Solo, clear gold and white dog, in the Northeast; Ahso Deska, silver and white bitch, and Yue Kaang of Ilderton, silver gold and white dog, in the Southwest. These are only a few of the original imports that produced the first generations of Shih Tzu in the U.S. who later served as foundation stock for many new breeders.

Having seen some of the original dogs imported by the Eastons and photos of many of the other imports not only has the type changed drastically but the overall silhouette has changed as well, to the point that comparing the early Shih Tzu imports to those of today would be like comparing apples to oranges. In my opinion many of the original English imports were exceptional with their broad round heads, good bodies and bone along with the smaller Scandinavian dogs with their straight front legs and beautiful coats. The breeders in the U.S. created an American Shih Tzu from the combination of the two totally different lines. In a comparison by photos, it is quite evident that the current Shih Tzu in America bears little resemblance to its early ancestors. Mr. Nigel Aubrey-Jones in the same article for Dog News has expressed my opinion on the current Shih Tzu in the ring with words far better than I. He wrote, “Exaggeration has always been responsible in destroying type in almost every breed. Whether we like it or not America, through its professional handlers, has to take some responsibility for this. There are always those breeders and exhibitors who will try to beat other competitors by showing a dog with a bit more this or that. They make the mistake of believing this to be a virtue not a fault. Very soon this picture can lead to very untypical and unbalanced dogs dominating a breed in the show-ring. Exaggeration in some features of a dog quite often turn what could have been a virtue into a serious fault.” Unfortunately in most cases what we see in the ring is the way the breed is headed.

Over the past 25 years I have seen one of the most delightful, outgoing, happy, rugged and beautiful breeds turned into a pampered, powdered, painted, cosmetic cartoon character of its original self, with their giraffe like necks, square bodies, long legs, the exaggerated and incredibly teased and sprayed top-knots, done to make a small head appear larger and often times used to disguise a too long nose. Their dead straight coats achieved by hours of pressing with every conceivable type of pressing iron possible. The current AKC standard cautions about trimming. It does not include shaving the hair from the upper lip to the outer corners of the nose leather to achieve a square muzzle. That completely destroys the warm sweet expression and could be faulted as excessive trimming. I personally find the shaving of the top lip extremely offensive. If that were not enough the beautiful natural black eye stripes that were once genetically acquired are now painted on in black, the color stopping at the bow which sits squarely in the middle of “that top-knot.” I find it amazing that the black color stops at the bow and does not extend to the ends of the hair. It would be difficult to recognize a few of our present day winners without their “make up.” In many cases I feel that a great deal of the beauty of the original Shih Tzu has been bred out.

The comments in this article are simply my own opinions and observations of this incredible little dog for the last 36 years as an exhibitor, breeder and judge. I thank all the breeders then and now who have helped preserve one of God’s truly unique creatures. I thank the Shih Tzu Club and its members for this opportunity to express my views on the American Shih Tzu.

by Bea Loob

This is a tale of how the Scandinavian line started in England, was sent to Australia, then to the United States, and finally back to the Scandinavian country of Sweden.

When Ambassador Kauffman returned to Europe from China in 1932 he introduced four Shih Tzus into Norway—Aidzo (2nd), Schauder, Lingen, and Leidze. Presumably these were the first Shih Tzu in Norway. From a mating of Aidzo and Ledze cdame Tipsy, a dog which featured largely in the early Danish stock. Tipsy was a black and white, and a full brother to Choo Choo. Choo Choo was presented to the Queen Mother in England by Ambassador Kauffman in 1933.

Aidzo was bred to Schauder and produced Psiu Psia. Lingen bred to Leidze produced dTing A Ling. Psiu Psia bred to Ting A Ling produced Mi Tzu. Psiu Psia bred to his daughter Mi Tzu produced Chiang Wu au Dux and Ling Tzu au Dux. This brother and sister bred together produced Mei Ling Tzu au Dux, a blue-grey and white bitch. This bitch became the first Shih Tzu bitch in Denmark and Miss Jeppesen’s foundation brood bitch. In turn, Miss Jeppesen of “Bjorneholm’s” kennel name sold Ch. Bjorneholms Megg and Bjorneholms Misser to Mr and Mrs. Jungefeldt, and these two dogs are behind mny of the”Jungfaltets” Shih Tzu. These were Shih Tzu in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

Now back to Choo Choo. Choo Choo is found in the extended pedigrees of many English dogs. To list a few: Ch. Choo Ling; Ch. Sng Tzu of Shebo; Ch. Shebo Tsemo of Lhakang; Ch. Yi Ting Mo of Antarctica; Pa Ko of Taishan; Ch. Yano Okima of Antarctica; Elfann Fenling of Yram; and Bimbo. Also there was Ch. Pei Ho of Taishan who was used in England and then shipped to Australia.

In 1962 three Australian dogs were imported into the United States. These dogs had all of the above mentioned dogs in their extended pedigrees. In 1964 there was a little black and white bitch born here from these three dogs in the United States that was destined to end up in Sweden (the shipping to Sweden is a whole story in itself). Whether this little bitch will be bred in Sweden remains to be seen. But it is interesting to see how the Scandinavian bloodlines have crossed many continents through two of the original imports to be finally sent back to the Scandinavian country of Sweden.

Of course in more recent years there have been many Scandinavian dogs brought over to England and to the United States and Australia incorporating the other two original imports into Norway—Schauder and Lingen. And English dogs have been sent to the Scandinavian countries. With the cross breeding that has been done there is no clear-cut distinction of a Scandinavian or English line per se as they were all “kissin’ Cousins” from the very beginning. And may they always remain closely and affectionately “kissin’ cousins

CREDIT: The information herein is from the extended pedigrees given by Mrs. Gwen Teele of Australia.
This article originally appeared in the March 1970 issue of the Shih Tzu Bulletin.

By Ann A. Hickok Warner

I met Ingrid Colwell at a match in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1961. I had watched with fascination as a pretty woman with blonde hair set up two childrens play pens ad kept putting little hairy things into them. I was quite some distance away so I couldn’t see what she was doing very well. But being a dog show left me with only one conclusion, puppies of some sort. To my complete amazement after the two pens were filled with puppies and equipment the lovely smiling lady grabbed one pen in each hand and started to pull them across a field to the show rings. Now this field was like a cow pasture so puppies were bouncing all over the place, the wheels on the pens doing little to make the ride a smooth one. Upon reaching her desired spot Mrs. Colwell stopped, unfolded her chair, set an umbrella between the two pens so both had shade, gathered her grooming equipment and leads around her, sat down and waited.

There was no question about it, I had to meet her and find out what all those darling puppies were. By the end of the day everyone knew who Ingrid Colwell was and had some idea about what almost three year old puppy Shih Tzu should look like.

There must have been 12 puppies jumping up to greet everyone who came near. And everyone who did was handed a leash and a puppy and invited to show one. The most amazing thing was that none of those darling, happy balls of fluff had ever seen any of us or a show and they all went on lead. Some less enthusiastically than others, but none of the tails ever stopped wagging, in spite of the grass being almost to their eyes.

The judge was utterly confused, never having seen Shih Tzu before, and he had a huge unorganized ring full of them. Everyone was laughing and having such a good time that I have no idea who won. That day it didn’t matter anyway.

Over the years that I was lucky enough to get to know Ingrid better I still thought about that very first day. I helped her show many of her Shih Tzu, and I never saw her that I didn’t learn something new about the breed.

Many people contributed a great deal during the early days of the Shih Tzu in the United States. But this article is about Ingrid Colwell and I would like to give you some idea of all she was able to give us in the nine years she bred Shih Tzu.

Ingrid was married to an Air Force Sargent, and while they were stationed n France she bought a Shih Tzu bitch, Jungfaltets Jung Wu, in Sweden from Mrs. Jungfeldt. Kia became a French champion and the first champion Shih Tzu bitch to come into the United States.

Ingrid brought five Shih Tzu to the United States when she came here in 1960. Two of these were from her mother’s kennel in Sweden. Ingrid grew up with dogs all around her. One of her mother’s breeds was Shih Tzu with the Pukedal prefix.

Ingrid gave me my first Shih Tzu. She was moving and wanted to place some of her puppies. As cute as they were, I didn’t think I wanted to own one, but to make her move easier I thought I would keep him until she was moved in with fences built. Well, that was a laugh because when Ingrid called two weeks later to say the runs were up and furniture in place I blurted out, “You can’t have him back.” She laughed and laughed and said she knew I had planned to do that when she gave the puppy to me. Knowing a Shih Tzu was one thing, living with them was a love affair that has lasted 21 years.

When the Garden still had Miscellaneous classes Ingrid went every year and I went with her once. The interested crowds that gathered around the benches were always something exciting. Because of Ingrid’s deep love for her Shih Tzu and her great salesmanship she kept people standing, listening and looking for a long time. She sold puppies certainly, but more than that she sold charm and good will. Ingrid had stacks of papers on everything that was written about the Shih Tzu at that time and she handed it all out liberally. No one who ever came into contact with Ingrid ever went away without knowing something about the Shih Tzu.

In 1964 Ingrid instigated an all Shih Tzu match put on by the Penn Ohio Shih Tzu Club and held at her lovely home in Middletown, Pennsylvania. It was the first all Shih Tzu match ever held in the United States, and with the permission of the parent club we moved forward. There was an entry of 51 Shih Tzxu and Eunice Clark, an AKC judge and Shih Tzu breeder, was our judge. We felt very fortunate to have had someone knowledgeable at such an early time in our history.

Of the original nine Board members of the Penn Ohio Shih Tzu Club, one is deceased, two are no longer in the breed, and four are judges—Jay Ammon, Lucy Cress, Sue Kauffman, and myself.

The day was filled with enthusiasm from the start to the gourmet meal that followed. For days Ingrid cooked Swedish delights and Yvette Duval, of Pako Kennels, lived nearby and did the same thing with her French recipes. It was a feast that everyone enjoyed as they chatted with each other. People came from seven states and because Shih Tzu were still quite rare we each wanted to see every dog and talk to each person.

The American Kennel Club put Shih Tzu in the miscellaneous class in 1955 and for the net decade all the early enthusiasts spent lots of time and money promoting the Shih Tzu. It was hard work, but fun, and Ingrid never let her flags down. She often entered four or six Shih Tzu at a show, decorating her bench beautifully at benched shows. Ingrid’s talents were many and she was also an artist. Her house was filled with beautiful things. Wall hangings she had designed and painted, and an impressive copper collection, most of it imported. Ingrid was also one of the early presidents of the Shih Tzu Club of America. She never tired of her devotion, dedication, and help she was giving to others.

All of you who never knew Ingrid Colwell really missed something, but I hope these little personal experiences and the important things I have mentioned have brought you closer to those early days and what a wonderful person she was. We certainly had fun, most especially because I was so lucky to have known her. Fortunately many of our earliest fanciers are still in the breed, sharing their knowledge and backgrounds. That is something Ingrid would definitely have approved of. The greatest thrill of all has been being here to see the breed develop, improve, and reach the level of excellence it has reached today.

I think many of you would be interested to know some of the dogs and bitches that Ingrid imported into the United States. Look for some of them in your pedigrees.

Name (country)ColorBirthSexBreeder
Bjorneholm Tja-Na (Denmark)Sil/wh10/17/59DogA. Jepperson
Sire: Ch. Bjorneholms Wu Ling | Dam: Ch. Bjorneholms Narbu
Inky Dinky (Si Kiang) (France)bl/wh9/18/59DogI. Colwell
Sire: Fu Chang of Chasmu | Dam: Pukedals Do-That
Fr. Ch. Jungfaltets Jung-Wu (Sweden)go/wh1/1/58BitchE. J. Jungfeldt
Sire: Bjorneholms Wu Ling | Dam: Int. Ch. Bjorneholms Pippi
Pukedals Do-That (Sweden)bl/wh12/5/58BitchI. Engstrom
Sire: Ch. Fu-Ling of Clystvale | Dam: Ch. Shepherds Si Kiang
Pukedals Ai-Lan (Sweden)bl/wh1/1/61bitchI. Engstrom
Sire: Ch. Fu-Ling of Clystvale | Dam: Ch. Shepherds Si Kiang
Stefangardens Jenn-ling (Sweden)silver5/29/61DogSwenson
Sire: Ch. Bjorneholms Wu Ling | Dam: Siao Mei Mei
Jungfaltets Pi-Donna (Sweden)go/wh7/4/62BitchC. O. Jungfaltets
Sire: Bjorneholms Dhondup | Dam: Jungfaltets Jung-Wu-Pi
Jungfaltets Wu-Po (Sweden)go/whunknownDogC. O. Jungfaltets
Sire: Lhipoiang | Dam: Jungfaltets Jung-Wu-Pi
*Ching Yea of Lhakang (England)bl/wh6/11/62DogL. Widdrington
Sire: Elfann Fu-Ling of Lhakang | Dam: Ching-Yo of Elfann
*This dog was imported by Brenda Ostencio but acquired by Mrs. Colwell very shorly afterwards.

Ingrid Colwell died January 18, 1968, in a fire. She didn’t live to see recognition, her biggest dream of all. The achievements and strides the breed has made were also very important to her. She did so much for us and Shih Tzu while she was with us, more than most people ever accomplish. We owe her so much and she will be remembered.


Mary Wood began showing dogs in 1941—boxers, bulldogs, Dobermans, and poodles. In 1958 she flew somewhere to breed her toy poodle bitch at a handler’s kennel when he showed her an 8 week old Shih Tzu puppy. She asked him to locate one for her. He couldn’t find one so she wrote to several people she knew in England. She received a cable from a broker in England and paid him $400 for a black bitch in whelp. In April 1959 she got a call from England that a woman was coming here with two Shih Tzu—a gold and white bitch and a gold brindle dog. In 1962, Eng. Ch. Talifu Fu Hi was imported into the United States. He was 7 years old at the time of recognition in 1969 and was only shown in Miscellaneous Class. Jack and Mary Wood’s Bjornholm’s Pif was imported from Denmark in 1968 at the age of 5 after earning championship titles in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia,. He was the first U.S. champion of our breed. Pif was still alive at the time of this interview. Mary described him as chestnut and white, small (weighing about 10 pounds), with a beautiful face, slightly undershot bite, showing no white of eye and having a weak rear assembly. During the interview Mary was adamant that Shih Tzu were not supposed to have long necks.

During 1958-59 most Shih Tzu were imported by military people stationed in Europe to the east coast of the United States and to England and Sweden. During these years there were 26 known Shih Tzu in the United States registered with the Shih Tzu Club of America.

In February 1963, there was a meeting of Shih Tzu fanciers held in the bleachers of the old Madison Square Garden. Bill Kibler belonged to the Texas Shih Tzu Society and Shih Tzu Club of America. He and Mary Wood and the others who attended the first meeting in New York decided to hold another meeting of what would become the American Shih Tzu Club at Chicago International two months later. There was much discussion about the name of the organization. The people from Texas did not want the American Shih Tzu Association name and nobody wanted the Texas Shih Tzu Society name. To appease everyone, they joined and became the American Shih Tzu Club. Jack Wood, Mary’s husband (who was the delegate to the AKC from the Terre Haute KC) was appointed liaison between the AKC and the ASTC. Bill Kibler was appointed Acting President. AKC said that the ASTC registry had to be 400 then 650 then 2500. Jack Wood flew to Texas to meet with James Lett and Charles Gardner and brought the Texas Shih Tzu Society registry to incorporate into the newly named ASTC registry. At that time the registry included 125-135 dogs. Lucien Duvall was transferred by the military to Saudi Arabia and the registry Lucien Duvall had was transferred to Gene Dudgeon and then to Mary Wood. In 1963, the Bulletin began as a newsletter and was published by Bill Kibler. Once the AKC guidelines were received by Mary Wood, she initially began receiving 100-200 pieces of mail daily. ASTC hired a part time secretary to help her keep up with registrations. By November 1965 there were approximately 600 dogs in the registry. By July 1970 the AKC had 3,765 dogs registered.

The first and second ASTC “B” matches that preceded the first National were held in Terre Haute, Indiana. Audrey Piesel judged the second one.

CREDIT: This article is compiled from notes taken by Dawn Tendler in an interview with Mary Wood in the summer of 1980

by Frank A. Loob

As with all things that come to pass I am certain that many people will now tell us that “I told you so,” and others will say that it ws only due to the grace of God and the forbearance of the American Kennel Club in overlooking all of our mistakes. But whatever produced our recognition, let us say this much on the subject—recognition has come about not through any great and dramatic event but because of the day to day quiet work of so very many of our members.

The long waited day has arrived and the Shih Tzu is now an officially recognized “breed” at the AKC. Effective 1 April 1969 the AKC will take over the duties of our present registrar, Mary Wood. The following is a direct quote from a letter from the AKC.

Special AKC registration application forms for the registration of foundation stock for the breed are available on request by writing to Mrs. Mary L. Wood, Registrar, or Mrs. Robert C. Michaels, Secretary, American Shih Tzu Club, Inc.

All such applications when completed must be mailed to Mrs. Mary L. Wood, who will forward them to the American Kennel Club.

With each registration form there will be given a notice describing the requirements for the registration of Shih Tzus.

Applications to register Shih Tzu as foundation stock for the breed should be submitted as soon as possible, as The American Kennel Club proposes to keep the Stud Book open for the registration of foundation stock for only a limited time.

Regular classification for Shih Tzu in the Toy Group may be offered at All-Breed shows held on or after September 1, 1989. Prior to September 1, the Shih Tzu will continue to be eligible to be shown in the Miscellaneous Class. They may not be shown in the Miscellaneous Class at shows held on or after September 1.

The struggle has been long and uphill all the way. We all KNEW the AKC would accept us some day—but it has been a constant suspense story since 1955 when the AKC accepted the Shih Tzu as a separate and distinct breed and made provisions for showing the dogs in the Miscellaneous Class at any AKC show. There were many requirements for a breed to be recognized by the AKC. First and foremost—there was the name for one stud book. With this in mind there came the merger of the three clubs into one—the ASTC. Some of our older members are some of our most hard working members. Jack wood is in the forefront in getting the clubs to merge as there would be just one stud book instead of three separate stud books. With that hurdle finished there was the next one of just plain numbers of Shih Tzu and showing the cause of recognition. Bill Kibler did a lot towards publicizing the breed. Then the next hurdle of getting a stronger club with better representation and toward publicizing the breed. There have been many hurdles to jumb but with each jump the club became stronger.

There are many names that come to mind during the years—names of those people who took time out from busy schedules and regular work to help work for the Club and eventual recognition. To mind comes our first Registrar—Lou Duval who got the first stud book in order after the merger of the three clubs. Gene Dudgeon then took over the task as Registrar when Lou was transferred out of the country. Then came our present Registrar and we all owe Mary Wood a huge vote of thanks for a job well done=--a job that no one else wants and that entailed many man hours of labor. A job that lots of people just expected and never said “thanks” but usually only complained if there was a slight delay in getting their forms back to them. A job so big that just recently the Registrar had to hire help as the job was getting too big not only to hours needed but in just plain room to hold the records!

Other names come to mind—the first president of the ASTC, Jud Houston, who spent many hours with representatives of the AKC. Then Bill Kibler who became president in 1963. And on to our new president due to take office in April—Dr. Schoel. The list is long and some of the names are not familiar to many of you—but to all of the Secretaries and Treasurers before our present Secretary, hard-working Pat Michael and out present Treasurer—watchful Bill Mooney—all salute you and thank you. Each and everyone who has given of their time and effort to the ASTC deserves accolades.

And so here we are, as some people will think, on the threshold of success. But now is the very time to think and consider what the future holds for our club. Where do we go from here? What do we do to keep our club intact, strong, and progressive so that we will indeed aid and abet the Shih Tzu breed? What about shows, and interest-getting functions, annual meeting, keep ing and adding members to our membership lists, the use of our Bulletin and ever so many other questions and projects. Now is the time to think about aiding our new set of directors who will be installed at the annual meeting and now is the time to think about how we will aid Dr. Schoel, our forthcoming new president, in his search for the answers to these questions.

CREDIT: This letter was sent to all members of the ASTC by Frank A. Loob in 1969