Nicknames. We have them for our dogs, and breeds are known to have them, as well. To wit: the Weimaraner is known as the “Grey Ghost,” the Airedale Terrier is the “King of Terriers,” the Great Dane is the “Apollo of Dogs,” and so many more (if your breed has one, please do share it with us!).
Even the ancient Chinese from early Imperial Palace days had a number of monikers for their Shih Tzu: Because it was, at one time, fashionable to keep the small dogs tucked away in the large sleeves of robes, the Shih Tzu was nicknamed the “Sleeve Dog;” The same diminutive size accounted for its other name, the “under-the-table dog.” “Shock-headed” and “chrysanthemum-faced” referred to the hair on their heads and faces that grow in all directions, and “Fu Dog,” was an allusion to lion-like images and statues placed outside temples as guardians.
As an aside, the the pronunciation of Shih Tzu is: “Sheed-zoo” (though the Chinese say “sher-zer”) and the plural form of the breed’s name is still Shih Tzu, as in: “I own four Shih Tzu.”