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 101/2 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 down-turned. 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 bite.
Neck, Top-line, 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.

Top-line - 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 - Firm, 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.
Gait
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 top-line, naturally high head carriage, and tail carried in gentle curve over back.
Temperament
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.



Approved May 9, 1989
Effective June 29, 1989
Size, 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.
Clarification - It should be stressed that overall balance and quality should be of utmost importance, regardless of whether a particular dog falls into the lower or higher end of the ideals set forth in the
standard.
It should also be noted that the proper dense and double coat may make a particular dog appear larger in size than it is in actuality.
Substance
Regardless of size, the Shih Tzu is always compact, solid and carries good weight and substance.
Clarification - A Shih Tzu should never be narrow or slab sided and should have a good amount of overall bone. Young or immature dogs should not be penalized for carrying less weight, providing the
overall frame, bone and muscle tone projects a dog with good substance. When picked up, the Shih Tzu should be surprisingly heavy for its size.

Length between the withers and root of the 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.
Clarification - The Shih Tzu should be a rectangular dog not a square dog. When judging whether a dog is of correct proportions, one must train the eye to measure the back from
withers to root of tail and compare it to the height of the withers. The correct dog will be longer in back than it is tall. However, when the total length of the Shih Tzu is measured from
the breast bone (prosternum) to the point of the rump (pin bone), the Shih Tzu is a rectangular dog. Proper head carriage, tail set and sufficient length of body will also give the
desired look of a rectangular dog with a smooth, glowing and effortless gait resulting in the style and carriage so distinctive in ideal dogs
Propor
tion

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.
Clarification – No individual part should take prominence over another. The individual parts of the head should combine to produce a pleasing expression.
Hea
d
General
Appearance
- 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.
Clarification- the Shih Tzu should never have a hard or stern expression. As the standard specifically outlines, the head should be
thoroughly examined by hand to determine the actual size, shape and expression.
Expres
sion
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.
Clarification- A dog may show some eye white, but it should never be so much that it detracts from the warm, sweet expression of the Shih Tzu.


Ears - Large, set slightly below crown of skull; heavily coated.
Clarification- Ears should blend into the head.
Skull - Domed.
Clarification- The skull should be well domed and rounded or arched in all directions. The skull should never be flat. The skull should never fall away from the eyes.
There should be a good amount of fore skull between and in front of the eyes.
Stop - There is a definite stop.
Clarification- The stop is distinct definition between the skull and the muzzle and should be deep. There is no wrinkle such as that found in a Pug or Pekingese
Muzzle - Square, short, unwrinkled, with good cushioning, set no lower than bottom eye rim; never down-turned. 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.
Clarification-When viewed from the front, the muzzle should form a square, being wide from top to bottom and from side to side. The muzzle should also be viewed from the side
to be sure of proper nose-eye placement. Viewed from the side, the muzzle should be perpendicular to the skull. In order to have a square muzzle, it is extremely important for the
jaw to be broad or wide. A strong, broad under jaw is integral in creating the proper expression as well as the correct muzzle shape. The muzzle cushioning contributes to the
desired “soft” expression.
Nose - Nostrils are broad, wide, and open.
Clarification- It should be noted that the Shih Tzu is a Brach cephalic breed with a tendency for the nostrils to be pinched. Therefore it is very important that a Shih Tzu have the
desired broad, wide, and open nostrils in order to have sufficient capacity.
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.
Clarification- This section of the standard should be read in conjunction with the section on muzzle. In judging whether a bite is too undershot, the muzzle should be viewed from
the side as well. A bite that is too undershot, when viewed form the side, cannot be perpendicular, as required in the section on muzzle. If, when viewed from the side, the muzzle
is tilted back giving a “scooped faced” appearance, the bite is too undershot, regardless of whether the teeth show. If the bite is level or overshot, the muzzle will fall away or
recede.
The ideal undershot bite is one in which the outer surface of the upper teeth engages, or nearly engages, the inner surface of the lower teeth. This bite is often referred to as a
“reverse scissors bite.”
The reference to “missing and slightly misaligned teeth” should not be used as an excuse to encourage poorly aliened teeth. It should be remembered that the Shih Tzu has
shallowly rooted teeth and may loose a tooth at a relatively young age. The width of the jaw is more important than perfect dentition
.
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.
Clarification-The neck should be in balance with the overall dog. A neck that is too long is as objectionable as a neck that is too short in that both destroy the overall
balance of the Shih Tzu.
Body - Short-coupled and sturdy with no waist or tuck-up. The Shih Tzu is slightly longer than tall.

Fault: Legginess.
Clarification- Short-coupled refers to the part of the body between the last rib and the pelvis. The Shih Tzu body should be approximately the same width across from
rib cage to rear, when viewed from above. There is no “waist”. The body is firmly knit together and should be slightly longer than tall. The proper balanced Shih Tzu
should never be leggy or too short in leg. There will be some degree of tuck-up, but this should never be to the degree found in some Hound breeds.
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.
Neck,
Body
Top-line - Level.
Clarification- The top-line should be level, smooth and hard. Because a top-line can be made to appear level when standing or stacked on a table for
examination, particular attention should be paid to the topline when the dog is moving. The top-line should be level when moving.
undesirable and should be penalized to extent of deviation.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
Clarification – An improper tail-set and or carriage will detract from the desired balance and outline of the Shih Tzu. The tail
should be held in a gentle curve over the back. The tail should not flag or lay flat on the back
Tai
l
Shoulders - Well-angulated, well laid-back, well laid-in, fitting smoothly into body.
Clarification – The shoulders should not be loaded (excessive development of muscles on the outside of the shoulder blade) or so straight that
they protrude from the top-line and interrupt the smooth transition from the neck, to the shoulder, to the withers.
Legs - Straight, well-boned, muscular, set well-apart and under chest, with elbows set close to body.
Clarification – The front legs should be straight from the elbow to the pasterns. The forelegs should be well-boned, muscular, and well set apart
to support the broad, deep chest. The elbows should never be out or loose.
Pasterns - Strong, perpendicular.
Clarification – There must be some flex in the pasterns as it contributes to the ease of the trotting gait.
Dewclaws - May be removed.


Feet - Firm, well-padded, point straight ahead.
Clarification – The feet should be well-cushioned, and thick, and the paw pads should be rough. The foot is not a part of the leg and may toe out
very slightly.
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.
Clarification – The rear legs should be in proportion with the front legs in both the bone and musculature. The stifles should be well turned
in order to provide the desired amount of angulation to be in balance with the forequarters.
Hocks - Well let down, perpendicular.

Fault: Hyper-extension of hocks.

Clarification – The hock should not be long and should be short enough to provide sufficient leverage for the desired strong driving rear
movement. The hock should be perpendicular to the ground when the dog is standing. Some Shih Tzu have luxating or double-jointed
hocks as well as a tendency for the tendons that hold the joints in place to be weak, causing them to buckle forward when gentle pressure
is applied tot eh back of the joint. This is incorrect.
Dewclaws - May be removed. Feet-Firm, well-padded, point straight ahead
Feet - Firm, well-padded, point straight ahead.
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.
Clarification - The coat should never appear sparse or be sparse upon examination. The Shih Tzu undercoat should be soft and dense, and the
outer coat should be somewhat harder and perhaps lay flatter than the undercoat. A single coat refers to a coat without the desired undercoat
present. The hair on the head is generally gathered up with the use of rubber bands and a bow. The standard is not specific on how it is to be tied
up, or with what. Therefore, sufficient examination of the structure of the head beneath the hair is crucial.
Trimming - Feet, bottom of coat, and anus may be done for neatness and to facilitate movement.

Fault: Excessive trimming.
Clarification – The hair between the pads on the bottom of the feet may be removed. The hair on the feet may be shaped or trimmed. The bottom of
the coat may be evened or trimmed to ground length if necessary. The hair around the anus and the base of the tail may be removed.
Excessive trimming sometimes involves removing patches or hair around the neck, shoulders, and chest with clippers or scissors and should be
considered excessive trimming.
Color & Markings
All are permissible and to be considered equally.
Clarification – All colors and markings are permissible and no color or marking should take preference over another. Dark faces or uneven
markings should not be penalizes and are quite acceptable.
Gait
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 top-line, naturally high head carriage, and tail carried in gentle curve over back
Co
at
Clarification The Shih Tzu in motion should appear as he does standing, with high head carriage and well-angulated shoulders,
leading into a hard level top-line with a high tail-set. The front should move straight with the legs extending straight from the body with
no toeing in or out, and the elbows should remain close to the body. From the rear, the legs should extend straight out from the body,
and should remain close to the body. From the rear, the legs should extend straight out from the body and the pads of the feet should
be visible. The Shih Tzu should never single track. The proper side movement emphasizes the balance between the front and the rear,
and there should be no bounce or roll to the gait.
The wording in the standard, “strung up”, does NOT mean the Shih Tzu should be shown on a “dead loose lead”. The exhibitor should
be able to have enough tension in the lead to guide and direct the dog, especially young not fully trained dogs. However, a dog should
NOT be shown on an extremely tight lead, which tends to lift the forequarters off the ground. Excessive speed in the ring makes it
extremely difficult to evaluate proper movement.
Clarifica
tion


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Clemmons, NC  
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(336) 778-1926
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