The Shih Tzu is a toy dog of small stature and enormous heart. This lovable little dog is often a spoilt member of the family; if you own a Shih Tzu you will understand the love their owners feel for their!

If you want to show off your beautiful, purebred Shih Tzu at competitions on any level then you will need to familiarize yourself with the standards and requirements.

The American Kennel Club has clearly defined guidelines when it comes to what kinds of physical attributes your Shih Tzu will need to exhibit.

If you want to show, breed or are just interested in learning about the Shih Tzu Breed then here are some things you can do. Ask your breeder, your Vet, use the Internet and learn everything you can about Shih Tzu’s.

The breed specifications are long and detailed for the Shih Tzu to account for many of the variations.

Summary of general breed specifications:

Overall Appearance:

The Shih Tzu is sturdy and lively with a long flowing double coat. A proud bearing and a distinctively arrogant manner with the head generally carried well up and a curved tail which rests on the back.

There is a great variation on the size of the Shih Tzu but the dog must carry a good weight and give an overall impression of a compact, solid and well built dog.

Size, Proportion, Substance

The ideal weight for adult dogs is anywhere within the range of 9 to 16 pounds. The highest point of the back (known as the withers) should be not less than 8 inches. The ideal Shih Tzu should be well proportioned. The length between the withers and the root of the tail is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The dog may not appear to be ‘leggy’ or conversely may not appear dumpy or squatty. Substance – Regardless of size, the Shih Tzu is compact solid


The head should be round, broad, with a wide space between eyes. The head must appear to be in balance with the overall size of the dog. The Shih Tzu should have a warm, sweet, wide-eyed, friendly and trusting. AN overall well-balanced, pleasant _expression is the most important aspect of the features of the head.

The judges carefully examine beyond the hair to determine if what is seen is the actually head and shape or if careful grooming has been used to cover faults.


– Narrow Head
– Close-set eyes
– Small, close-set or light eyes
– Excessive eye white
– Snippiness
– Lack of definite stop
– Pink on nose, lips or eye rims
– Overshot bite

Competing with your Shih Tzu

Of course if you want to show your Shih Tzu you will need to read as much as possible on the subject. Read everything you can and discuss

The breed standards can differ from country to country and also even within various breed organizations. Generally you can be sure that even between different judges there are limits as to what is consider a variant and what is considered to be a fault. Interpretation varies as do judges tastes.

The Shih Tzu standard is made up with fanciers, breeder’s nation wide. If you do not plan to show your Shih Tzu then just about any puppy will do. These are some good guidelines in what to look for but being exact is not necessary. If you have found the cutest, healthiest little puppy then that is all your family will need.