Pam Crump    Shih Tzu


Size of a Shih Tzu




AKC standard size for an adult Shih Tzu is 9 to 16 pounds.  The larger end of that range seems to be more popular with judges at the shows.  The smaller sizes seem to be more popular with owners of Shih Tzu pets.  In fact, many breeders are producing Shih Tzu much smaller than 9 pounds for their popularity as lap dogs.  Although AKC does not recognize any classifications of Shih Tzu based on weight, breeders have come up with their own terms to classify the smaller sizes.  These classifications are not consistent from one breeder to the next.  The term “Imperial” is often used to classify Shih Tzu lighter than 12 pounds (some may say 10 pounds or even 9 pounds).  Any Shih Tzu heavier than “Imperial” is referred to as “Standard”.  The terms “miniature” and “teacup” are often used to classify Shih Tzu lighter than 7 pounds (some may say 6 pounds).  There exists quite a division among breeders as to the desirability of intentionally breeding to produce these smaller sizes.  Usually those opposed to breeding for the smaller size will cite the importance of maintaining the standards of the breed, as well as a concern for perceived health problems.


Although we believe there can be some greater risks of health problems with breeding for the smaller size, that added risk can be controlled with proper breeding programs (which should be considered no matter what the size).  It does seem that the smaller size Shih Tzu produce far fewer puppies in a litter, and greater care must be taken to ensure the health of those puppies.  Thus, if the larger size produces on average 5 puppies in a litter, and the smaller size produces on average only 2 puppies in a litter, then simply based on the numbers, those smaller puppies are going to be at least two and a half times more expensive than the larger ones.  If buyers are willing to pay that premium for the smaller size, then there will always be breeders willing to fill the demand.


We at JiDu De ShenTi Shih Tzu, have excellent breeding (and future breeding) Shih Tzu that can produce the “show” size (and colors).  We also have excellent Shih Tzu that can produce the more exotic colors.  We do not intentionally breed for sizes much smaller than 9 pounds, but do occasionally get a puppy that will remain small as an adult.


The American Shih Tzu Club, which is THE AKC-recognized breed club for this breed, strongly discourages the “disreputable” practice of those breeders who are intentionally breeding Shih Tzu that are significantly substandard in size.  Click Here for link to the ASTC article.