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Shih Tzu Show Dog Judging: The Head, Body, and Hindquarters

28 17:28:32

The Head:

The show dog judge will ask you to place your Shih Tzu show dog on the table. The Shih Tzu show dog judge will then get the first close look at your Shih Tzu’s expression. He will be looking for proper shape and dark eyes. He will check the length of your Shih Tzu’s nose. He will look for the “correct” slightly-undershot bite. The Shih Tzu show dog judge will evaluate the shape of the top of your Shih Tzu’s head. He will check to see that the hair pulled up in the topknot does not alter the set and placement of the ears (all these things must be exact to the AKC standard for a Shih Tzu show dog to pass). One thing in particular the Shih Tzu show dog judge will not want to see in your Shih Tzu is any sign of fear, or if your Shih Tzu turns its head away. The expressions of fear or turning the head away would indicate “shyness.” “Shyness” would be considered a fault of the AKC show Dog Shih Tzu standard.

The Shih Tzu show dog judge will look at the ear leather. He may raise the ears to check the length and thickness of the neck and to see if the neck is well placed on the shoulders. These are areas also that must be in compliance with the AKC standards of a Shih Tzu show dog. The Shih Tzu show dog judge may trace the angulation of the shoulders with his hands and the placement of the front legs beneath the body is checked. A Shih Tzu show dog judge may lift the dog up gently and let it down to see how well the Shih Tzu lands on its feet. He may check the thickness of the pads of the feet as well.

The Body:

The Shih Tzu show dog judge will check to see if the Shih Tzu is in good weight, not to thin or too fat. The weight is measured on a scale of 9 to 16 pounds as being appropriate for the Shih Tzu show dog. Under or over this weight would be a fault.

The Hindquarters:

The Shih Txu show dog judge will check your Shih Tzu’s tail to see if it is set properly according to the AKC standard for tail set. The tail must be carried over the body to the correct degree. Angulation of hind legs is checked and a check for the strength of the hindquarters is also made at this time. An indication of weakness when the hocks are lightly “twanged” or evidence of cow hocks would be noted as a fault in your Shih Tzu. The hocks should be strong when moved gently back and forth. If your Shih Tzu is a male, this is the point in which the judge will count testicles. There must be two testicles present or the male Shih Tzu will be disqualified.

There are strict standards of correct conformation of the head, body and hindquarters, as well as other aspects of the Shih Tzu that must be met during the Shih Tzu show dog judge’s evaluation. Further information regarding these requirements can be obtained from the American Kennel Club either by writing to them directly or from the AKC official website.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at: