The Shih Tzu was developed in the palaces of
China from Tibetan temple dogs crossed with other Chinese breeds. It
was originally bred to be a companion and that remains its sole
purpose today. Sturdy and surprisingly hardy, they are well suited to
both city and country living.
The Shih Tzu is an abundantly coated dog with a distinctly Oriental
appearance. It is a solid, sound little dog that is rather heavy for
Shih Tzu are distinctly arrogant with a character all their own. They
are exceptionally good-natured, affectionate and intelligent. They are
full of life and have an air of importance that cannot be denied.
The Shih Tzu is not a Toy dog. This is a smaller type of dog with good
bone and substance. Height at withers approximately 9 to 10 ½ inches
(23-27 cm). Breed type and balance always to be main consideration.
Coat and Colour:
A luxurious long, flowing coat with an undercoat. May be slightly wavy
but never curly. The coat may be parted from the root of the tail to
the back of the skull. The hair on the head may be tied up to form a topknot. A bow or ribbon to be optional. Coat may be trimmed so as not
to interfere with the movement of the dog. All colours are acceptable
providing they have black noses, lips and eye rims. The exceptions are
the livers and blues, which have pigmentation that compliments that
Skull round, broad and wide between the eyes with a definite stop. The
muzzle is short, square and about one-fifth of the total length of the
skull. The muzzle is approximately 1 inch (2 ½ cm) from the stop to
the tip of the nose. The upward sweep of the front part of the muzzle
should place the nose level with the bottom of the eye. The placement
of the muzzle is directly responsible for the nose placement. The nose
leather should be broad and the nostrils well open. Eyes should be
large, dark and round, except in livers and blues where the light
colour is permissible. The eyes should be well set in the skull and
the expression should be warm and irresistible. Ear leathers drooping,
set just below the crown of the head and so heavily coated that they
appear to blend with hair of the neck. Mouth is slightly undershot or
level, the bottom jaw is wide and strong. Teeth should not be visible
when the mouth is closed.
The neck must be in balance with the body length and must also
complement the high tail set and carriage.
Shoulders well developed, muscular and well set to allow freedom of
movement. The upper arm well laid back thus allowing for the desired
width and dept forming a good fore chest. The legs straight, well
boned, set well under the body and fitting closely to the chest. Feet
moderate size and well padded.
This is not a square dog. The length of the back from the withers to
the tail set to be slightly longer than the height from the withers to
the ground. Taking into consideration the fore chest as well as the
area behind the tail, the Shih Tzu should appear rectangular in
outline. The body should be deep, sturdy and well coupled with a good
spring of rib. There should be little or no tuck up of the underline. A
good fore chest is essential to both the movement and balance of the
Shih Tzu. The topline should be level both standing and moving.
Strong, muscled, well angulated and in balance with forequarters.
Hocks short, sturdy and turning neither in nor out. Feet moderate size
and well padded.
Well feathered, set high and carried gaily over the back in a loose
curve with the tip just touching the back.
Should be smooth and flowing with the head and tail held high.
Extension both front and rear. Front legs should move out of the coat
in a straight line, feet turning neither in nor out. Rear legs show
strong rear action displaying full pads on the move. The Shih Tzu has
a distinct swagger when on the move that is enhanced by his air of
Any deviation from the above-mentioned temperament to be considered
lack of proper bone and substance.
Coat and Colour
Excessive trimming, sparse or wooly coats, missing pigmentation.
lack of stop, pink on nose or eye rims, small or light-coloured eyes,
eye white showing, missing canines or incisors, lack of strength of
under jaw, pinched nostrils, wry mouths, tongue showing when the mouth
is closed, wrinkles like a Peke.
Too short in that it does not complement the carriage and outline of
the Shih Tzu.
legginess and crooked legs.
Lack of fore chest, narrow, weedy bodies with no bone and substance,
high in rear standing or moving. Shih Tzu not adhering to the correct rectangular outline.
Slipping stifles and luxating hocks, cow hocks.
Tails flat on back, pig tails, tails not carried gaily or happily,
tails carried sickle like without tip touching back.
Lack of reach and drive, bouncing gait, inability to move with tail or
head held high.
Scissors or overshot bites, one or two blue eyes.
Copyright © The Canadian
Shih Tzu Club. All Rights Reserved.