Breeding to the akc shih tzu standard

There is more than one area of the Shih Tzu that is considered in terms of “breeding to the AKC Shih Tzu Standard. I have been on Shih Tzu Puppies for sale websites in which they will state: “We breed to the AKC standard.” We do not breed “imperial or teacup” Shih Tzu. Our Shih Tzu weighs 9 to 16 pounds. They do not weigh below the AKC standard of 9 pounds. And they will go on to say: “My goodness, why in this world would anyone want to steer away from the AKC Shih Tzu standard.” If you take a quick look at the pictures of some of the Shih Tzu they are breeding from you will see rather quickly that most of them have excessive eye white (which shows very plainly in the picture). Excessive eye white is not breeding Shih Tzu to the AKC standards. There should be very little if almost no eye white at all showing on a perfect example of an AKC standard Shih Tzu. You might have the right weight there, but if the rest of the standard is missing, “you are not breeding Shih Tzu to the AKC standard.”

If you are truly breeding to the AKC standard you must also produce the Shih Tzu AKC standard in all other areas besides “weight.”

The following is a description of all else you must include in your Shih Tzu breeding program while breeding for the AKC standard:

General Appearance:

* Sturdy * Lively * Alert * Long Flowing Double Coat * Compact, solid, carrying good weight and substance.


* Height at withers is 9 to 10 ½ inches, but not less than 8 inches or more than 11 inches. * Ideal weight of mature dogs 9 to 16 pounds * Length between withers and root of tail is slightly longer than height at withers. * Shih Tzu must never be so high stationed as to appear leggy or so low stationed as to appear dumpy or squatty.


* Round

* Broad

* Wide between eyes

* The size of the head should be 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-eyes, friendly and trusting.

* Eyes: Large, round, not prominent, place 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: Snippiness, 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, topline, body: Of utmost important 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 slight 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 littler 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-added, 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, pointed straight head.

* 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. 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.

* Temperament: Outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly and trusting towards all.

Next time you run upon a Shih Tzu salesperson or Shih Tzu website who tells you they are breeding to the AKC standard, because they have Shih Tzu who are not Teacups or Imperials and who are 9 to 16 pounds, check to see if all the above is true also. If it is, then you can conclude they are breeding Shih Tzu to the AKC standard.

If you find deviation from the above then you can conclude that Shih Tzu salesperson or website is not breeding to the AKC standard regardless of their “size of Shih Tzu being 9 to 16 pounds.” People who breed to the AKC standard means they are producing Shih Tzu with all the above attributes, not just the right weight.

Sources: American Kennel Club Shih Tzu Breed Standard

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.