Shih Tzu Breed Magazine - Showsight


other key breed characteristics are present). Th ere should be good “doming” above the eyes and between the ears. Th e head should be round when viewed from the front or from the side. Th e muzzle should be broad and square from the front and perpendicular when viewed from the side. If the pro fi le of the muzzle is perpendicular, the mouth will not be too undershot. Th e nostrils should be wide open. Th e teeth, ideally, are straight, but the width of the jaw (per the standard) is more important than slightly misaligned teeth or a missing tooth. Th e “Persian Kitten” syndrome (a look in which the face is small with the muzzle pinched, with small nose leather and the entire muzzle turned up) is very incorrect. Th e Shih Tzu should never give that impression when viewed straight on. Please check the eye/nose placement not only from the front, but also from the side. Th e eyes are large and as dark as possible; set wide apart with the bridge of the nose no lower than the bottom of the eye sockets, with as little eye white as possible. Do not discard an otherwise good specimen of the breed because of a very small amount of white in the inside corner of the eye. An eye totally ringed in white is completely unacceptable. Today, a Shih Tzu with a big, broad head with plenty of doming is more the exception than the rule. Th e nose leather (not length) should be large and black with wide open nos- trils. If you must choose between “down faced” or a nose placed too high, choose the latter. Th e Shih Tzu should have a broad lower jaw with reverse scissors bite. Most mouths today are proper. Th ere are very few wry or severely undershot bites. Sometimes the teeth are a little out of alignment or there might be a tooth missing. Th e stan- dard allows for this. Th e standard does not call for full dentition and there is no reason to look any farther than across the front of the mouth. By looking at the canines and incisors, you will be able to tell whether the dog has the proper undershot bite and whether the mouth is wry and how broad the jaw is. What is most important is that the jaw is broad and the under-jaw is strong. A broad, strong under-jaw is a key to the essence of head type in the breed. Th e Hands-On Examination: Do not be intimidated by groom- ing. It is easy to examine the Shih Tzu thoroughly without disturb- ing the grooming at all. To examine the head, cup the head with your hands and fi ngers behind the jaws and ears. With your thumbs, check the ear set to see if the ears are set just below the crown of the head and to see if there is “doming between the ears.” Use either thumb to determine the depth of the stop and the length of the nose. Using either thumb, push inward on the topknot (between the bow and the stop) to see if there is su ffi cient skull forward. Often the skull falls away above the eyes, with practically no fore-skull. Run both thumbs down each side of the muzzle and mustache to determine the width. Using either hand, hold down on the beard below the lower lip and push the lips upward with the other hand to examine the bite. Remem- ber, the width of the jaw is more important than misaligned teeth or a missing tooth. Check the muzzle from the side. THE BODY After fi nishing your examination of the head, move your hands to the shoulders (it is a good idea to stay in contact with the dog as you move your hands to the shoulders). Run your hands down the forequarters, checking for normal shoulder layback. Th e forelegs should be straight, though you will seldom fi nd perfectly straight legs in the Shih Tzu. Th e remainder of the physical examination of the Shih Tzu is like that of most other breeds. Do not massage (stroke) the coat back and forth along the spine. Th ere should be good bone, good substance and good spring of rib. In fact, the stan- dard states, “Substance—Regardless of size, the Shih Tzu is always compact, solid and carries good weight and substance.” Th e stan- dard does not say, “For its size,” but says, “Regardless of size must

have those characteristics.” Th ough the Shih Tzu standard has no DQ for weight, it is good to know what a breeder expects. Weight goes from 9 to 16 pounds. Most breeders would agree that they would like their males to be about 12 to 14 pounds and bitches to be more like 11 to 13 pounds. Don’t confuse a huge coat for substance. Some “apparently big” dogs (because of the amount of coat they have) can in reality be very “shelly” and an apparently smaller dog in reality might have very good bone and wonder- ful rib spring. Th e only way to know for sure is with the physical examination. In other words, don’t confuse height or coat alone for big or little. COAT Th e standard calls for a long, luxurious “double coat.” When examining the coat texture, feel the coat between your fi ngers to determine the texture. Do not massage (stroke) the coat back and forth along the spine. Th e same would go for any other drop coat breed. Lay the tail back to see if it is set-on high. Th ere should be no rounding of the croup. Also, determine whether the tail lays fl at on the back or is more like a teapot handle. Th ere should be room for you to slide your hand between the tail and the dog’s back when the tail curls over the side. Th e tail is set on high; arch- ing well over the back and not carried tightly over the side of the dog or lying fl at on the back. Step back to determine the shape of the dog. Note the correct high-set tail and arch in both the drawing and the actual Shih Tzu photo. Top: Correct height-to-length balance; Bottom: Correct height-to-length balance: “Length between withers and root of tail is slightly longer than height at withers.”


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