TILLY watercolour portrait shih tzu dog

This is a portrait of my friends dog Tilly, she is a shih tzu, she looks very smart having recently visited the doggy parlour for a clip ……as all ladies like to keep up with their beauty routine.

TILLY watercolour portrait shih tzu dog.

TILLY watercolour portrait shih tzu dog.

While many associate the breed with Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, who ruled in China from 1861 through 1908 and considered the dogs sacred, Shih Tzu appear in tapestries dating as far back as 2000 years. While its origins are not fully clear, there is evidence that the breed—distinct from the Lhasa Apso, Pug, and Pekingese—was developed by Tibetan Monks who offered the temple dogs as gifts to the emperors of China.

Holy pets of the palace

Called Shih-tzu Kou in traditional Chinese, which literally means “Lion Dog,” the breed’s lion-like facial features were revered in Imperial courts because Buddha was said to have ridden to earth on the back of a lion.

During the Ming and Manchu Dynasties, the little lion dogs were bred and raised by palace eunuchs and were considered the exclusive property of the royal court. They were rarely seen outside the palaces and anyone caught owning one could be sentenced to death.

These thickly coated Shih Tzus were sometimes carried inside the robes of noble women and were even used as bed warmers and placed at the feet of the emperors and empresses to generate heat.

From China to the West

Dog historians believe that after Empress Tzu Hsi came to power in the 1860s, the Dalai Lama at the time presented her with a breeding pair of extraordinary Shih Tzus. These magnificent dogs were the foundation of her pure line.

Eventually, the dogs were given as gifts to English and Dutch nobility and by 1938 a standard was set for the breed. In the late 1930s, Shih Tzus finally arrived in America and rose to enormous popularity by the 1960s. Even half a world apart from the palaces of China, Shih Tzus are never far away from their royal bloodlines.


About REcreate-RebeccaEvansCreate

My name is Rebecca Evans, living in the New Forest I have been inspired to paint the many animals often seen around me. Having ridden since Childhood, painting equines was a natural path to follow. I use a variety of media, watercolour, oil, charcoal, pastel,inks, plus a few more, infact I will try most things. Choosing the medium to work with can really change the effect of the art, and therefore the character of the animal. Sometimes it is an instant decision, sometimes it is the mood from within me which determines which medium I choose to use. I never know what might inspire me next, but if it’s hairy, I will be sure to try.
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10 Responses to TILLY watercolour portrait shih tzu dog

  1. You certainly did this breed due justice with your fine work. Lovingly done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. memadtwo says:

    What a wonderful face! Definitely produces an “aww…”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jofox2108 says:

    Beautiful work – my mum has a dog of this breed. Can I ask, how did you get the hair to look so soft and realistic? Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you,
      to get the hair I firstly cut into an old paintbrush to create jagged odd sized lengths of bristles. The brush is usually old and harder than the soft brushes I use for watercolour, however I have a few I have cut up, and much of this was done with a soft brush. I then build up layers of hair slowly, allowing each area to dry before adding the next, it is many hrs worth as I spent about two solid days, between drying and painting small amounts of hair, to be honest I could say it is never finished……is any art ever finished? Sometimes I have to just stop before I go to far ( which I do regularly) I also mix up many shades of the colours needed, to the best of my ability. I hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

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