American AKC Shih Tzu Standard

 
General Appearance

The Shih Tzu is a sturdy, lively, alert toy dog with a 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 distinctly 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. 


 
 
Photo : Ch Show Off's Ready for Anything;  owner/breeder: Ena Lane
 


 
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 n 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

 
Ideally, the height at the withers is 9 to 10 1/2 inches, but
not less than 8 inches nor more than 11 inches. Ideally, weight of mature dogs should be from  9 to 16 lbs. 
 
Length between withers and the root of the tail is slightly longer than the height of the dog at the withers. The Shih Tzu must never be so high stationed as to appear leggy, nor so low stationed as to appear dumpy or squatty. 
 
Regardless of size, the Shih Tzu is always compact, sold and carries good weight and substance.

Photo: Ch Connemara's Incorrigible; Breeder: Margaret Flynn; Owner-M. Flynn/H. Ueda


 Head



The head is round, broad, wide between the eyes, its size in balance with the overall size of dog being neither too large nor too small. The expression should be 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 examine beyond the hair to determine if what is seen is the actual head and expression rather than an image created by grooming techniques. 

Photo: Chao Pa; Owner/Breeder Sheila Gordon.

 

Neck, Topline, Body

 
 
Of utmost importance is an overall well-balanced dog with no
exaggerated features.
The neck is 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. The topline level. The body is short-coupled and sturdy with no waist or tuck-up. The Shih Tzu is slightly longer than tall. 
The chest is broad and deep with good spring-of-rib, however not barrel-chested. Depth of rib cage should extend to just below elbow. Distance from elbow to withers is a little greater than from elbow to ground The croup is flat. The tail is set on high, 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 the extent of deviation.

Photo: Ch Windsor's Carmel Candy; Breeder: Sheila Gordon


Forequarters, Hindquarters, Gait


The shoulders are well angulated, well laid back, well laid in, fitting smoothly into body. The legs are straight, well boned, muscular, set
well apart and under chest, with elbows set close to body.  Pasterns
are strong, perpendicular. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are firm, well padded, point straight ahead. Angulation of the hindquarters
should be in balance with forequarters. 


Photo:  Ch Epsylon In-Niq-Kou; Owner/Breeder: Renata Marcoli. 1st Italian bred to become Am Ch.



The legs are well-boned, muscular and straight when viewed from rear with well-bent stifles, not close set but in line with forequarters. The hocks well let down, perpendicular. The Shih Tzu moves straight and must be shown at its own natural speed, neither racing nor strung-up, to evaluate its smooth, flowing, effortless movement with good front reach and equally strong rear drive, level top line, naturally high head carriage, and tail carried in gentle curve over back.
The chest is broad and deep with good spring-of-rib, however not barrel-chested. Depth 
of rib cage should extend to just below elbow. Distance from elbow to withers is a little greater than from elbow to ground The croup is flat. The tail is set on high, 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 the extent of deviation.


 Coat, Color, Markings




Double-coated, luxurious, dense, long and flowing. Slight wave is permissible. Hair on top of head is tied up. All colors and markings are permissible and to be considered equally.


Photo: Ch Windsor's Lucky Domino; Owner/Breeder: Sheila Gordon


 


Temperament

 
As the sole purpose of the Shih Tzu is that of a companion and house pet, it is essential 
that the temperament be outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly and trusting towards all.


Faults

 
Head/Eyes:  Narrow head, small, close-set  or light eyes; excessive eye white.


Muzzle: Snippiness, lack of definite stop.


Nose:  Pink on nose, lips or eye rims.


Bite:  Overshot bite.


Body: Legginess.


Hindquarters:  Hyperextension of hocks.


Coat:  Sparse, single or curly coat.


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