SHIH TZU JUDGING THE
MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE
BY WENDY PAQUETTE
T he Shih Tzu breed is a luxuriously coated Toy breed with a distinc- tive chrysanthemum face, rectangular body, and an amazing person- ality and temperament. Shih Tzu also have a “signature” proud head, with a tail held high over the back. They require extensive groom- ing, so the exhibitors, breeders, and handlers can easily fool the inexperienced judge. Shih Tzu are more than just a pretty face accentuated by an elaborate, and sometimes overdone, artificial topknot. Anyone contemplating judging our breed or gaining a better understanding of Shih Tzu should begin their education by obtaining a copy of The Illustrated Guide to the Shih Tzu Standard , available from the American Shih Tzu Club. As Chairperson of the committee that developed the guide, I feel it truly is a valuable tool that includes numerous color photos as well as a number of “before and afters” of the Shih Tzu in coat—and even shaved down naked. It also con- tains written clarifications of important points of the Standard and numerous sketches by Stephen Hubbell that outline the breed’s finer points. This booklet is an excellent way to train your eye to look beyond the hair so that you can visual- ize the actual structure and shape the dog should be as it struts around the ring. It also contains a description of the “Essence of Shih Tzu Breed Type.” A knowledge of the characteristics listed below, in order of importance, will help take the mystery away from understanding this amazing breed. ESSENCE OF SHIH TZU BREED TYPE Temperament: Outgoing, lively, alert, proud, arrogant, affectionate, friend- ly, and trusting. Head: Round and broad, with eyes that are large, round, and dark; the expres- sion is warm, friendly, and trusting, with the head in proportion to the body. Body: Overall balance and proportion is rectangular; well-bodied, good bone, topline level, high teacup tail. Gait: Smooth, flowing, effortless; head and tail held high. Coat: Long, luxurious, and double-coated. Please allow me to briefly expound on some key points when judging the Shih Tzu. TEMPERAMENT This is the most important aspect of Shih Tzu. They MUST be outgoing and friendly. Shih Tzu can have a number of personalities. They can be clowns and naughty, regal, and a bit arrogant. However, they should under no circumstances be aggressive or shy. While examining them, you can fully expect a wagging tail, sparkling eyes, and in general, an extremely happy dog that would love to be in your arms. They should love everyone!!!
“Shih Tzu are more than just a pretty face accentuated by an elaborate, and sometimes overdone, artificial topknot.”
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