Shih Tzu Breed Magazine - Showsight

Q&A ӥJiJV\ԣ

down each side of the head. I detest top knots bloused so far out that they extend farther than the end of the nose, which gives them the look of a flying saucer. They obscure seeing the eyes (done on purpose?). However, unless the top-knot is far too extreme (too high, too sprayed/glued up), I do not penalize the dog, for what a human has done to it. It is very sad to see immaculately groomed dogs, with every hair (glued in place) standing absolutely still with a sad, lifeless expression. In no way is grooming more important than type, proper structure and movement. 3. What head characteristics are most important to breed type? In addition to those listed previously, the head should be round from the front and side. The muzzle should be square, and the front of the muzzle (from bridge of the nose to the under jaw), and when viewed from the front, should be perpendicular. Think from the side round, from the front round with a square, in the center lower portion of the circle representing the muzzle. 4. Describe ideal Shih Tzu movement and its impor- tance in judging. Again see answer #1. I must emphasize (from the standard) that “the Shih Tzu is shown at its own natural gait, not raced and not strung up”. I want exhibitors to move their dogs swiftly, while walking. I am very critical of racing in the ring. The proof of good structure is movement. Shih Tzu movement should be smooth, not bouncy or choppy, with good reach and drive while not being strung up (I did not say loose lead) the Shih Tzu should hold its head arrogantly. high 5. Are there any unforgivable faults in the Shih Tzu breed? This is hard to restrict to only one fault, but when all is said and done, I cannot abide, small, narrow, beady eyes, down faced dogs, and weak under jaw. I am not very critical of a missing tooth, as long as the jaw is broad. A reverse scissors bite is perfect for me. 6. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? There are a couple of things: a) many non-breeder judges are intimidated by grooming and are hesitant to get into the top knot to find out if the head is really round. b) No breed should be judged by the name of the group it is in. Though the Shih Tzu is in the Toy Group in AKC classifi- cation, historically the Shih Tzu (though small overall in stature), is not “toyish”. A note: the word “cute” does not appear in any breed standard. Breeds in all seven groups should be judged by their standards, and not by the “name” of the group they are in. Some feel that if Shih Tzu were in the Non-Sporting Group, that they would get too big. I might point out that Shih Tzu in Canada are in the Non-Sporting group, and look at the winning that these Canadians have done over the years at our Nationals. 7. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not?

From left to right: turner from 1987 with the top knot of the day, which I still prefer; Studley durite from 1981, notice the size of the head and how round it is; topper, notice his huge eyes broad muzzle and inky black pigment.

Not run while in the ring, and not pick their dogs up by the tail, not stuff bait in their mouths while trying to examine. 8. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What is getting better ? Actually for a long time the breed has been losing head size and shape (flat between the ears, not round), and many of them are lacking in bone; are not compact, solid, carrying good weight and substance. In short, many are just plain too small. 9. What previously campaigned Havanese come close to your ideal? Please explain. The dog we owned and specialed in 2010-11, Multiple ASTC National Specialty winning, BIS Ch. Hallmark Jolei Austin Powers. Check the parameters in the standard— he is right in the middle. He stands 10 ½ "x10 ¾ " and weighs 14 pounds. Notice the head and eyes and breadth of muzzle. He comes as close to the ideal, as we have seen in many years. Of the Shih Tzu we have personally bred or owned, three come to mind: BIS and Specialty winning, Ch. Shen Wah’s Turner it Loose, and multiple group and specialty winning Ch. Char-Nicks Studley Durite, and Ch Charing Cross High Roller (Topper) Given to us by Gilbert Kahn. All three of these dogs had beautiful large heads and large round dark eyes, and wonderful coat texture. 10. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? Today, there is not as drastic of a difference between North America, and other parts of the world, with the exception of England. In comparison to North America, their dogs seem longer, and lower, with more bowed fronts. I have found that European judges will absolutely

NOT abide our “over the top” top knots. 11. Do you have anything else to share?

I wish our breeders would truly study the history of the breed, and practically memorize the standard, and breed to it. I hate to hear people say “I don’t care what the standard says, I like...”. Next, all breeders of any breed (in addition to knowing their breeds standard) should be well versed in canine anatomy, structure, and movement. Proper movement should be as important for toy breeds as it is for any breed. There are many, many resources. Judging Shih Tzu should not be a grooming contest, but a dog show, with emphasis on SHOW. A thought about improving the quality of the breed (prob- ably any breed): Wouldn’t it be interesting if all breeders had to take and pass tests over the breed standard, and anatomy before they could register their FIRST litter?

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