AKC MEET THE BREED:
A compact and solid dog, the Shih Tzu’s long, flowing double coat
is its most distinctive feature. The word Shih Tzu means "lion" and
although this dog is sweet and playful, he is not afraid to stand up
for himself! One of the most popular dogs in the United States
Registration Statistics, this portable pooch has a distinctively
arrogant carriage with his head well up and tail curved over the
back. All colors of Shih Tzu are allowed.
Right Breed for You?
As the sole purpose of the Shih Tzu is companion and house pet, he
should be lively, alert, friendly and trusting towards all. He
requires minimal exercise, but his long, luxurious coat needs daily
brushing and maintenance.
-is a dog that is more suitable for people with allergies.
Hypoallergenic dogs can still cause allergies but in a milder
manner. In some people with allergies, specific hypoallergenic
breeds do not trigger any allergy symptoms. The significant allergen
for most people is a protein found in the dog's saliva and dander.
- A Shih
Tzu has two coats of fur, with the bottom coat shedding into the top
coat rather than off of the dog entirely; as a result, this breed
sheds very little in the conventional sense. With regular brushing
and bathing, shedding can be reduced to almost nothing. As they shed
so lightly, Shih-Tzu are considered to be one of the breeds more
suitable for people with allergies. @ from K9 Dog Ring
Shih Tzu Breed Standard
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 are 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
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.
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 - Firm, well-padded, point
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
If you are considering purchasing a Shih Tzu puppy,
Please go to the
- Toy Group; AKC recognized in 1969.
- Ranging in size from 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and
9 to 16 pounds.
- Companion, house pet.
@ The American Kennel Club, Inc. ***Pictures are property of
Sonshine Shih Tzu
Approved May 9, 1989
Effective June 29, 1989 ## Pictures are all
property of Sonshine Shih Tzu
A Look Back
Cherished by Chinese royals as prized house pets for over a thousand
years, it is believed to have descended from crossing the Lhasa Apso
or Tibetan mountain dog and Pekingese. The Shih Tzu was the house
pet for most of the Ming Dynasty and was discovered by soldiers in
England during World War II.
**All above information except for pictures is off the American