The Shantung Terrier

Our submission today comes from the very talented dog writer Susi Szeremy and founder of National Purebred Dog Day®.

The Shantung Terrier: What Is It?

Shantung Terrier
Shantung Terrier, Jack

Part travelogue, part memoir, part travelogue, and part political viewpoint, the 600-page book, “Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them” would today raise eyebrows.  The narrative shared by Mrs. (Alicia) Archibald Little of when she arrived in China as a new bride in 1887 was a “no holds barred” view of this country and its people by this prolific writer and campaigner for women’s rights. Chapters covered a range of topics from superstitions and caves, to weddings and (warning — disturbing photo at next link) footbinding, which she vehemently opposed.

In Chongqing where she and her husband lived, she was viewed as an oddity.  Women did not go out in public, and Little often traveled around China dressed as a man to avoid attracting attention which could end badly.  Still, Mrs. Little did her best to challenge the expectations of local inhabitants.  Her account of what she saw in daily life spared no detail, and was written from the perspective of a 19th century woman.  She could be regarded, however, as an early feminist; for several years, she was the leading campaigner in Europe against binding feet, and even founded the Tien Tsu Hui, or Natural Foot Society.  She lectured and delivered her talks with x-rays of the deformed feet, and shocked her audiences with accounts of women killing themselves during wars because they knew that they couldn’t run to save themselves.  Today, some would say her memoirs expressed British cultural superiority.  Our interest in the book is her mention of “Jack,” her Shantung Terrier, a breed we had to investigate at length to ultimately learn what it was.

We found another reference to the Shantung Terrier in a book about dogs of Japan, as well the mention that, “Westerners no longer referred to any breed of dog as “Shantung Terriers” as these canines were probably related to dogs that became standardized as the Tibetan Terriers.  In the book, “Travels on Horseback in Mantchu Tartary,” by George Fleming, the author also mentions the Shangtun Terrier as “equal to the finest Skye terrier, to which it bears a very striking, if not complete resemblance. He later mentions their ”long soft bluish-white hair that conceals their bodies and almost obscures their eyes {and that] the Chinese call them ‘Silken-Haired dogs.’”

What the heck was the Shangtun Terrier?

Ultimately, our research suggests that the name, “Shantung Terrier” was used to refer to both the Tibetan Terrier and Lhasa Apso.  Based on the photo seen here of Alicia Little’s “Jack,” what do you think he was?

However, we conclude by going full circle back to Alicia Little and Jack.  She wrote, “Jack, our faithful friend, and constant companion during nine years of travel, a beautiful long-haired terrier from Shantung, he too lies in a little grave, though his lustrous, intelligent eyes haunt me still.  Let no one lightly enter on a Chinese dog as companion – they make themselves too much beloved, become too completely members of the family.”

Of that, we suspect, no owner of either the Tibetan Terrier or Lhasa Apso could disagree.

(Note:  Besides accessing through Google Books, one can download a Kindle copy of  “Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them”  at Amazon for the princely sum of $1.99)

That First Apso …

As “dog folk,” every owner has a story about their first Lhasa Apso … often accompanied by a far-away stare and a catch in the voice as they recount the memories that tumble into the present.  At pet expos and other dog events, many times we hear the phrase, “My grandparents had a Lhasa and … “.  These sturdy little mountain dogs certainly carve out a chasm in our hearts and imprint on our deepest psyche.

Today’s submission is about that first Apso and how he literally rolled into a family’s life.  In a big way.  Namaste, Parkir.

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ParkirParkir Louie Roeder was my first Lhasa Apso and a rescue.  The day I rescued him — September 2, 2004 — our friends all said that he had set his watch just waiting for me.  I was a Tucson police officer and in my police car on my way to work.  I saw a little dog in a busy morning-rush intersection.  No one was stopping to help this little guy so I put on my overhead lights and got out of my car to grab him before he could get hit by a car. 

As I approached this little dog, he ran into the fast lane and immediately got run over by a cement truck doing the speed limit, 40 mph.  To my horror, I watched him roll and tumble under the truck until it left this stray pup in its wake, now on his back, motionless in the middle of the intersection.  I ran out into the intersection waving my arms to stop all traffic.  I swept up the pup in my arms and rushed him to a nearby vet.  He seemed fine, I only saw one drop of blood.  But, I was convinced he was dying because he must have suffered internal injuries.  How could he not?  As I walked into the veterinarian’ s office, I quickly told them what had happened.  I expected everyone to run over to take him back to triage him.  Instead they told me to put him on the floor.  I did and off this puppy ran!!  He tore through the office romping and playing!  I remember saying out loud, “He doesn’t look too damn dead!”  We all laughed.  I told the vet to fix him and I would pay for all medical bills.  And, also told the vet to “Please find a home for him … I don’t want him.”  The techs said they knew I would call back to see how he was doing so what name should they put on the board for this unwanted dog?  Well, he was run over at the intersection of Park and Irvington.  I told them to call him Parkir.  When I walked outside, I realized I had just named a dog!  I kept him.  

IMG_0992I didn’t plan to do agility with Parkir.  After all, he IS a Lhasa Apso!  But, one day when I was at an agility trial out of town, I got a call from Susie asking if I had been training Parkir in agility.  No, why?  Susie said Parkir was in the back yard doing the A-Frame by himself.  Twenty minutes later, I received another call.  Are you sure you’re not training Parkir in agility?  No, I’m not.  Well, he is outside doing the dog walk now.  When I got home, I literally told Parkir … “You want to do agility, then okay, let’s do agility.”  I had no idea what kind of ride I was about to board!!  Parkir went on to become the number one AKC Lhasa Apso in agility for several years.  This led us to participating in the AKC Invitational from 2007 to 2014.  In 2013, Parkir participated in finals in his 8-inch class at Invitational.

Parkir ended his AKC career with 7 MACHS.  Not bad for a street dog!  We also competed in USDAA agility.  Parkir achieved his PDCH in this venue.  And, in 2009, Parkir won CynoSport Grand Prix World games!  Yep, a Lhasa Apso won World Games!

Handsome ModelAside from Parkir’s accomplishment in agility, he had other talents.  He modeled for PetSmart on many occasions and he herded sheep with the best of them.  But, the most wonderful thing Parkir brought when he entered my life was him showing me what a fabulous breed the Lhasa Apso is!  Brilliant, mischievous, humorous, athletic and loving, just to mention a few attributes.  I have fallen hard for Lhasas.  I have two young ones now that I am loving and training.  

As quickly as Parkir came into my life, he left me just as swiftly.  I had retired him from agility so he could have wonderful senior years.  It wasn’t to be.  Parkir passed peacefully with his family on April 9, 2017.  I will miss him forever.  

Susan Roeder, Tucson AZ

Winner!!!