The American Kennel Club has a good track record when it comes to preserving breed standards. For the Shih Tzu, the official breed standard that has been approved by the American Shih Tzu club draws on the first such written standard for the breed as put forward by the Peking Kennel club in 1983.
As such, the AKC has come to describe the Shih Tzu as an energetic and alert toy dog that is strongly built and has a long double coat. That apart, the Shih Tzu has also been earmarked as a “head breed” owing to as many as ten faults that has originates in its head.
Mentioned below is the breed standard for the Shih Tzu as prescribed by the AKC.
Size and weight: Shih Tzu typically measure 9 to 10 inches from the withers, and won’t be less than 8 inches or more than 11 inches. As for its weight, a mature Shih Tzu tips the scale at 9 – 16 pounds in the ideal scenario.
Head: It is broad and round which in perspective of the entire body is neither too large or too small. However, one of the faults with the head is that it is narrow with close-set eyes.
Expression: It is pretty, friendly and inviting, which goes well with the overall looks of the dog.
Ears: The ears are large and start from slightly underneath the crown of the skull. The long hairs make the ear appear larger than it already is.
Nose: broad and wide.
Proportion: Length when measured from withers and tail root is slightly larger than its height at the withers.
Eyes: large round dark eyes that are slightly protruding and look straight in the front.
Muzzle: short, square and unwrinkled that is never downturned.
Bite: jaw is broad and white while the bite is undershot.
Shoulders: those fit nicely in the body and are described as ‘well-angulated, well laid-back, and well laid-in.’
Temperament: happy go lucky type that loves being in close proximity with its owner. It is friendly, loyal, and loves going outdoors.
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