Below is the Official Shih Tzu Breed Standard
as set forth by the ASTC and endorsed by the AKC.
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The Shih Tzu is a sturdy, lively, alert toy dog with long flowing double coat.
Befitting his noble Chinese ancestry as a highly valued, prized companion and
palace pet, the Shih Tzu is proud of bearing, has a distinctively arrogant
carriage with head well up and tail curved over the back. Although there has
always been considerable size variation, the Shih Tzu must be compact, solid,
carrying good weight and substance.
Even though a toy dog, the Shih Tzu must be
subject to the same requirements of soundness and structure prescribed for all
breeds, and any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be
penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds
are as undesirable in the Shih Tzu as in any other breed, regardless of whether
or not such faults are specifically mentioned in the standard.
Size, Proportion, Substance Size - Ideally, height at withers is 9 to 10˝ inches; but, not less
than 8 inches nor more than 11 inches. Ideally, weight of mature dogs, 9 to 16
pounds. Proportion - Length between withers and root of tail is
slightly longer than height at withers. The Shih Tzu must never be so high
stationed as to appear leggy, nor so low stationed as to appear dumpy or
squatty.Substance - Regardless of size, the Shih Tzu is always
compact, solid and carries good weight and substance.
Head Head - Round, broad, wide between eyes, its size in balance with the
overall size of dog being neither too large nor too small. Fault:
Narrow head, close-set eyes. Expression - Warm, sweet, wide-eyed,
friendly and trusting. An overall well-balanced and pleasant expression
supersedes the importance of individual parts. Care should be taken to look
and examine well beyond the hair to determine if what is seen is the actual head
and expression rather than an image created by grooming technique. Eyes -
Large, round, not prominent, placed well apart, looking straight ahead. Very
dark. Lighter on liver pigmented dogs and blue pigmented dogs. Fault:
Small, close-set or light eyes; excessive eye white. Ears - Large, set
slightly below crown of skull; heavily coated. Skull - Domed. Stop
- There is a definite stop. Muzzle - Square, short,
unwrinkled, with good cushioning, set no lower than bottom eye rim; never
downturned. Ideally, no longer than 1 inch from tip of nose to stop, although
length may vary slightly in relation to overall size of dog. Front of muzzle
should be flat; lower lip and chin not protruding and definitely never receding.
Fault: Snipiness, lack of definite stop. Nose - Nostrils
broad, wide, and open. Pigmentation - Nose, lips, eye rims are black on
all colors, except liver on liver pigmented dogs and blue on blue pigmented
dogs. Fault: Pink on nose, lips, or eye rims. Bite -
Undershot. Jaw is broad and wide. A missing tooth or slightly misaligned teeth
should not be too severely penalized. Teeth and tongue should not show when
mouth is closed. Fault: Overshot bite.
Neck, Topline, Body Of utmost importance is an overall well-balanced dog with no exaggerated
features. Neck - Well set-on flowing smoothly into shoulders; of
sufficient length to permit natural high head carriage and in balance with
height and length of dog. Topline - Level. Body -Short-coupled
and sturdy with no waist or tuck-up. The Shih Tzu is slightly longer than tall. Fault:
Legginess. Chest -Broad and deep with good spring-of-rib, however, not
barrel-chested. Depth of ribcage should extend to just below elbow. Distance
from elbow to withers is a little greater than from elbow to ground. Croup
- Flat. Tail - Set on high, heavily plumed, carried in curve well over
back. Too loose, too tight, too flat, or too low set a tail is undesirable and
should be penalized to extent of deviation.
Forequarters Shoulders - Well-angulated, well laid-back, well laid-in, fitting
smoothly into body. Legs - Straight, well-boned, muscular, set
well-apart and under chest, with elbows set close to body. Pasterns -
Strong, perpendicular. Dewclaws - May be removed. Feet.
well-padded, point straight ahead.
Hindquarters Angulation of hindquarters should be in balance with forequarters. Legs
- Well-boned, muscular, and straight when viewed from rear with well-bent
stifles, not close set but in line with forequarters. Hocks - Well let
down, perpendicular. Fault: Hyperextension of hocks. Dewclaws
- May be removed. Feet - Firm, well-padded, point straight ahead.
Coat Coat - Luxurious, double-coated, dense, long, and flowing. Slight wave
permissible. Hair on top of head is tied up. Fault: Sparse coat, single
coat, curly coat. Trimming - Feet, bottom of coat, and anus may be done
for neatness and to facilitate movement. Fault: Excessive trimming.
Color and Markings All are permissible and to be considered equally.
The Shih Tzu moves straight and must be shown at its own natural speed, neither
raced nor strung-up, to evaluate its smooth, flowing, effortless movement
with good front reach and equally strong rear drive, level topline, naturally
high head carriage, and tail carried in gentle curve over back.
As the sole purpose of the Shih Tzu is that of a companion and house pet, it is
essential that its temperament be outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly and
trusting towards all.
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The Shih Tzu is a
brachycephalic dog with a short nose. They are happiest in a cool
temperature controlled environment being intolerant to high temperatures.
They generally live from 10-15 years, although extended years are not
unheard of. The Shih Tzu is a long haired, toy (companion) breed that originated
in China. Those that are kept in
coat as show dogs do require frequent grooming. Most pet owners prefer a
puppy cut for their Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu are an array of colors and
Some common colors include solid black Shih Tzu, black and white Shih Tzu, gold and
white Shih Tzu, red and white Shih Tzu, black masked gold Shih Tzu, and
liver and white Shih Tzu. Though not as common there are also solid blue
Shih Tzu. An interesting point (and often a point of confusion) is that
while the coat color of those with black pigmented skin (nose, lips, pads,
also referred to as "leather") is determined by the color of
the coat itself; the coat color on dogs with either liver or blue pigment is
categorized by the color of the pigment. Thus a parti colored (white and another shade)
Shih Tzu with blue pigment is a "blue and white"
regardless of the tint of the hair which might very well appear similar
to a gold and white or other colors. The same principle applies to solid
blue, liver and liver and white. All
markings and colors are acceptable according to the official breed standard
set forth by the American Shih Tzu Club (ASTC). They are hypo-allergenic
dogs. They have hair as oppose to fur and typically lose very little hair.
It is recommended that the Shih Tzu be spayed or neutered if not to be kept
for the show ring or breeding purposes. Some refer to the Shih Tzu as
teacup, toy, toi, pint-size, pocket, imperial, IMP, Chinese imperial dog, CID,
miniature or standard but all these references are
considered inappropriate and are categorically rejected by the American Shih Tzu Club,
Inc. as the National Breed Club maintains there is
but one “Shih Tzu” and the ideal weight is 9-16 lbs. (That does not negate the fact that size may vary and those smaller than what is defined as the ideal are not uncommon in litters produced by sires and dams that fall within the ideal weight range.) The
use of such descriptive labels is generally regarded as deceptive marketing ploys, as
is pitching Shih Tzu to be of "rare color." The American Kennel
Club (AKC) judges the Shih Tzu by the same breed standard. Due to the Shih Tzu’s
long hair water bottles are recommended for drinking. Shih Tzu dogs and
cute shih tzu puppies are full of life, and love to play. They are beautiful
creatures that will fill a home with a lot of love and entertainment. The
personality of Shih Tzu are captivating. They are the ideal lap dog. Shih Tzu
have also been referred to as Foo or Fu dogs, also "lion dog"
(literal translation). The lion dog is a very
suitable companion dog for young or old alike. Their personalities do vary and
some seem to belaid back while
others are more active. Shih Tzu puppies are usually weaned by 8-9 weeks
old. With the establishing of a routine and persistence, patience, and praise, house training the Shih Tzu
is relatively easy as they are smart and eager to please. Responsible breeders recognize
that health, temperament, along with conformation are of highest
importance. Only those that excel in these qualities should be elected
for stud service or as a brood bitch. ~Sheri~