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Appearance and Temperament

The Shih Tzu is lively, intelligent, and alert. The AKC breed standard that describe the ideal Shih Tzu, calls  for small but sturdy heavily-coated dog. All colors and markings are acceptable. One of the most distinctive features of the breed is its head, which is large and round, with wide-set eyes, undershot jaw, and a square, short muzzle set no lower than the bottom of the eye rims. This head structure give the breed its delightful warm, sweet, and affectionate expression, because this expression is based on a complex collection of recessives, it is easily lost through careless breeding or crosses with another breed. As a "big dog is small package" both structurally and temperamentally, the ideal Shih Tzu weights 9 to 16 pound at maturity and is deceptively heavy for its size because of its heavy bones. There is no such thing as an AKC-recognized "imperial"or "teacup" Shih Tzu. These Terms are sometimes used to describe undersized Shih Tzu that do not conform to the breed standard and may not be able to whelp normally. While any breed may ocasionally produce and undersized shih tzu, such puppies should be sold as pets.