AKC Shih Tzu Breed Standard
The shih tzu is a sturdy, lively, alert toy dog with long flowing double coat. Befitting his noble Chinese ancestry he is a highly valued, prized companion and palace pet. The shih tzu is proud of bearing, has a distinctively arragant carriage with head well up and tail curved over the back.
Ideally, height at withers is 9 to 10 1/2 inches; but, not less tha 8 inches nor more than 11 inches. Ideally, weight of mature dogs, 9 to 16 pounds.
Round, broad, wide between the eyes, its size in balance with the overall size of dog being neither too large or small. Eyes should be large, round, not prominent, placed well apart, looking straight ahead, dark, lighter on liver and blue pigmented dogs. Ears should be large, set slightly below the crown of the skull; heavily coated. Skull should be domed. Muzzle should be square, short, unwrinkled, with good cushioning. Ideally no longer than 1 inch from tip of nose to stop, althought length may vary slightly in relation to over size of dog. The front of the muzzle should be flat; lower lip and chin not protruding and never receding. Nostrils should be broad, wide, and open. Nose, lips, and eye rims are black, except on liver or blue pigmented dogs. The bite should be undershot with jaw broad and wide.
Neck, Topline, Body
Of utmost importance is an overall well-balanced dog with no exaggerated features. neck should be 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 should be level. The body short coupled and sturdy with no waist or tuck up. The shih tzu is slightly longer than tall. The chest should be broad and deep with good spring-of-rib, however not barrl chested. Depth of ribs should extend to just below elbow. The tail is set on high, heavily plumed, carried in curve well over back.
Shoulders are well angulalted, well laid back, well laid in, fitting smoothly into body. Legs are straight. well boned, muscular, set well apart and under chest with elbows set close to the body. Pasterns are strong, perpendicular. Dew claws may be removed. Feet are firm, well padded, point straight ahead.
Angulation of hindquarters should be in balance with forequarters. legs are well boned, muscular, and straight viewed from rear. Hocks are well let down, perpendicular. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are firm, well padded, point ahead.
Coat should be luxurious, double-coated, dense, long, flowing. Slight wave is permissable. Hair on top is tied.
Color and Markings
All are permissable and to be considered equally.
The shih tzu moves straight, smooth, flowing effortlessly with good front reach and equally strong rear drive, level topline, natural head carriage, and tail carriage in gentle curve over back.
As the sole purpose of the shih tzu is that of a companion and house pet, it is essential that its temperment be outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly, and trusting towards all.