Home Dogs How To Identify A Purebred Shih Tzu: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Identify A Purebred Shih Tzu: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Pawsome Tips
How to identify a purebred Shih Tzu

Are you unsure how to identify a purebred Shih Tzu from imposters? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through a step-by-step process to unmask the imposters and find a purebred Shih Tzu.

With their distinctive appearance and charming personality, Shih Tzus have become one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. However, their popularity has also attracted unscrupulous breeders who may try to pass off mixed-breed or poorly bred dogs as purebred Shih Tzus.

This guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to make an informed decision when choosing your new furry friend. From understanding breed standards and reputable breeders to identifying common signs of fake purebreds, we’ll leave no stone unturned in helping you find the perfect purebred Shih Tzu for your family.

Get ready to embark on this exciting journey of unmasking imposters and finding the purebred Shih Tzu of your dreams!

The importance of identifying a purebred Shih Tzu

When you bring a Shih Tzu into your life, you must ensure you get a purebred. Purebred Shih Tzus are bred to meet specific appearance, temperament, and health standards. By identifying a purebred, you can have confidence that your new companion will possess the desirable traits that make this breed so beloved. Additionally, purebred Shih Tzus are more likely to have predictable traits, making it easier to cater to their needs and provide the necessary care and training.

Understanding purebred vs. mixed-breed dogs

Before identifying a purebred Shih Tzu, it’s important to understand the distinction between purebred and mixed-breed dogs. Purebred dogs result from generations of selective breeding, where dogs with specific characteristics are bred together to create offspring with consistent traits. These traits are outlined in breed standards set by kennel clubs and breed associations. On the other hand, mixed breed dogs, also known as mutts or designer breeds, result from breeding two different breeds together. While mixed-breed dogs can be wonderful pets, they don’t adhere to specific breed standards and may not possess the same traits as purebred dogs.

How to Identify a Purebred Shih Tzu?

Understanding the breed’s characteristics is essential to identify a purebred Shih Tzu. Shih Tzus are small dogs with a distinct appearance, including a round head, large eyes, and a flat face. They have a long, flowing double coat in various colors, such as gold, black, and white. Purebred Shih Tzus should have a friendly and affectionate temperament, great companions for families and individuals. Understanding these physical and behavioral traits will help you recognize a purebred Shih Tzu when you see one.

Researching reputable breeders

To increase your chances of finding a purebred Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to research and choose a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders are dedicated to preserving the breed’s standards and producing healthy puppies. Start by asking for recommendations from local Shih Tzu clubs or trusted veterinarians. You can also search for breeders with positive reviews and a strong reputation online. Take the time to visit the breeder’s facility, ensuring it is clean and well-maintained. Reputable breeders will be open and transparent, allowing you to meet the parent dogs and provide necessary health certifications.

Questions to ask breeders

When contacting potential breeders, it’s important to ask the right questions to assess the credibility and the authenticity of their purebred Shih Tzus. Ask about the breeder’s experience with the breed, how often they breed, and whether they specialize in Shih Tzus. Inquire about the health testing they perform on their dogs and the certifications they provide. A responsible breeder will be knowledgeable about the breed’s health concerns and should willingly share this information with you. Additionally, ask about the socialization and training practices they employ to ensure that their puppies are well-adjusted and ready for their new homes.

Examining the puppy’s pedigree

A puppy’s pedigree is a vital piece of evidence when it comes to determining its purebred status. A pedigree is a document that traces a dog’s lineage, showing the names of its parents, grandparents, and other ancestors. When examining a puppy’s pedigree, look for well-known and reputable names in the Shih Tzu community. Reputable breeders will have extensive pedigrees demonstrating their commitment to preserving the breed’s quality. Remember that a pedigree alone does not guarantee a purebred Shih Tzu, but it is an important puzzle piece.

Physical traits and markings of a purebred Shih Tzu

In addition to a puppy’s pedigree, their physical traits and markings can provide valuable clues about their purebred status. Purebred Shih Tzus have specific breed-specific features, such as a round skull, large round eyes, and a short muzzle. Their coat should be long and flowing, with an undercoat giving it volume. Pay attention to the color and markings of the puppy’s coat, as certain patterns and colors are more common in purebred Shih Tzus. Familiarizing yourself with these physical traits will enable you to spot discrepancies that may indicate a mixed-breed or poorly-bred dog.

Health testing and certifications

Reputable breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs, conducting thorough health testing and obtaining certifications. Before purchasing a purebred Shih Tzu, inquire about the health testing performed on the parent dogs. Common health tests for Shih Tzus include eye examinations, hip evaluations, and genetic testing for breed-specific conditions. A responsible breeder will willingly share the results of these tests and provide you with the necessary certifications. These certifications ensure that the puppy you’re considering is healthy and demonstrate the breeder’s commitment to breeding high-quality Shih Tzus.

Health testing and certifications of Shih Tzu
KongNoi / Shutterstock

Meeting the parents and siblings

When visiting a breeder, take the opportunity to meet not only the puppy but also their parents and siblings. Observing the parent dogs will give you insight into their temperament and physical traits, helping you assess the likelihood of the puppy inheriting these qualities. Pay attention to how the parent dogs interact with each other and you. Additionally, observing the siblings can provide a glimpse into the litter’s possible physical and behavioral traits. Meeting the entire family can give you a better understanding of what to expect from the puppy you’re considering.

Seeking expert opinions and certifications

If you’re still unsure about the authenticity of a purebred Shih Tzu, consider seeking expert opinions and certifications. Canine professionals, such as breeders, judges, or experienced Shih Tzu owners, can assess the dog’s physical traits and behavior to provide expert opinions. Additionally, some organizations offer certifications for purebred dogs, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the United States. A certification from a reputable organization can further assure a dog’s purebred status.

Avoiding common scams and red flags

Unfortunately, the popularity of Shih Tzus has made them a target for scams and unethical practices. It’s important to be aware of common red flags and take steps to avoid falling victim to these scams. Be cautious of breeders who offer significantly lower prices than others, as this may indicate a lack of quality or authenticity. Avoid breeders unwilling to provide health certifications and pedigrees or allow you to visit their facility. Trust your instincts and walk away from any suspicious or uncomfortable situation. By being vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself and ensure you bring home a purebred Shih Tzu.


So, how to identify a purebred Shih Tzu: It requires careful research, observation, and consideration. Understanding the breed’s characteristics, researching reputable breeders, and examining pedigrees and physical traits can increase your chances of finding a purebred Shih Tzu. Health testing, certifications, and meeting the parent dogs and siblings prove a dog’s authenticity. Seeking expert opinions and certifications can offer additional reassurance. Remember to stay vigilant and avoid common scams and red flags. With patience and perseverance, you’ll be able to unmask the imposters and find the perfect purebred Shih Tzu to join your family. So, prepare to embark on this exciting journey and welcome your purebred Shih Tzu into your home!


What health tests should I look for to confirm a purebred Shih Tzu?

Health tests such as DNA and eye examinations can help ensure the dog’s purity.

Where can I find reputable breeders of purebred Shih Tzus?

Look for breed clubs, referrals from Shih Tzu owners, or reputable online sources with positive reviews and testimonials.

Can I rely on appearance alone to identify a purebred Shih Tzu?

Appearance can be an indicator, but verifying with registration documents and breeder credentials is best.

Are there any behavioral traits specific to purebred Shih Tzus?

Yes, purebred Shih Tzus are often known for their friendly, affectionate, and outgoing nature.

Can I determine if a Shih Tzu is purebred based on its size?

Size can vary slightly within the breed standard, but it’s not a definitive indicator of purebred status. Rely on other factors like documentation and physical characteristics.

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