Tibet, China, the Lhasa Apso breed and the Pekinese breed form the very first origins of the Shih Tzu. In Tibet their ancestors were kept by Buddhist monks as watch dogs as well as companion dogs. Common opinion is that the modern version of the Shih Tzu originated towards the end of the 1800s when it was bred in Peking in the Empress’s kennels, so the breed was a favourite of the Royal family in China. In the early 20th century, both the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso first came to Britain which started the confusion, then when these two breeds arrived in the US further confusion arose as Shih Tzu’s were being registered as Lhasa Apsos and vice versa, and then the dogs were being bred causing even more confusion as to the correct breed of the litter. In time, the size distinction and the more reserved character clearly defined the two breeds, and they were registered separately – in the UK in 1946 and in Australia quite a bit later in the late 1960s.