The Shih Tzu is a breed of dog originating in China.
The spelling "Shih Tzu", most commonly used for the breed, is according to the Wade-Giles system of romanization. The actual pronunciation of this name is approximately like the "sher" of "sherbet" followed immediately by the "dds" of "adds". The meaning of the breed name was originally "lion dog" because this variety of dog was bred to resemble a miniature lion. It is now often called by a homonymic name, "xi shi quan", based on the name of Xi Shi, regarded as the most beautiful woman of ancient China.
It is believed that this ornamental breed was created by breeding the Bei-jing gou (Pekingese) with a Tibetan dog breed, the Lhasa Apso. Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog.