A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breeds/watch for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
There are currently no points in Shih Tzu under the KC Breed Watch scheme.
Sturdy, abundantly but not excessively coated dog with distinctly arrogant carriage and 'chrysanthemum-like' face.
Intelligent, active and alert.
Friendly and independent.
Head and Skull
Head broad, round, wide between eyes. Shock-headed with good beard and whiskers, hair growing upwards on the muzzle giving a distinctly 'chrysanthemum-like' effect. Not affecting the dog's ability to see. Muzzle of ample width, square, short, not wrinkled; flat and hairy. Nose black but dark liver in liver or liver marked dogs and about one inch from tip to definite stop. Nose level or slightly tip-tilted. Top of nose leather should be on a line with or slightly below lower eye rim. Wide-open nostrils. Down-pointed nose highly undesirable, as are pinched nostrils. Pigmentation of muzzle as unbroken as possible.
Large, dark, round, placed well apart but not prominent. Warm expression. In liver or liver-marked dogs, lighter eye colour permissible. No white of eye showing.
Large, with long leathers, carried drooping. Set slightly below crown of skull, so heavily coated they appear to blend into hair of neck.
Wide, slightly undershot or level. Lips level.
Well proportioned, nicely arched. Sufficient length to carry head proudly.
Shoulders well laid back. Legs short and muscular with ample bone, as straight as possible, consistent with broad chest being well let down.
Longer between withers and root of tail than height of withers, well coupled and sturdy, chest broad and deep, shoulders firm, back level.
Legs short and muscular with ample bone. Straight when viewed from the rear. Thighs well rounded and muscular.
Rounded, firm and well padded. Well covered with hair.
Heavily plumed, carried gaily well over back. Set on high. Height approximately level with that of skull to give a balanced outline.
Arrogant, smooth-flowing, front legs reaching well forward, strong rear action and showing full pad.
Outer coat long, dense, not curly, with moderate undercoat, not woolly. Slight wave permitted. Hair not affecting the dog's ability to see. Length of coat should not restrict movement. It is strongly recommended that the hair on head is tied up without adornment.
All colours permissible, white blaze on forehead and white tip to tail highly desirable in parti-colours.
Height at withers not more than 27 cms (101/2 ins), type and breed characteristics of the utmost importance and on no account to be sacrificed to size alone. Weight: 4.5-8 kgs (10-18 lbs). Ideal weight 4.5-7.5 kgs (10-16 lbs).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Updated November 2016
The Shih Tzu Club has helped to develop an extended breed standard to assist with learning about the more detailed points of the breed.