ASTC 2018 Regional Judge Mrs. Jacqueline L. Stacy Comments

The greatest honor a judge can receive is to be elected by the membership of a Parent Club to judge their National or Regional Specialty. I am more than honored to have been chosen to judge the American Shih Tzu Club’s 13th Regional Specialty Show on Monday, May 28, 2018.

Due to the relatively small number of dogs entered, an overall review of the total entry will better serve the readers than critiques of placements in each class.
As judges, outline and balance are one of the first things we see as the dogs enter the ring and make their first go-round. I was pleased to see that overall balance was good on most entries. Necks were not excessively long, but long enough for heads to be carried naturally high. Toplines were good overall. I was happy there were not many flat tails, and most carried them curved slightly over the back. With that said, the ideal tea cup handle tail is still not seen frequently enough and should be kept front of mind when planning your breedings.

The Shih Tzu standard states that despite a historic size variation within the breed, the dog must be “compact, solid, carrying good weight and substance”. I was pleased to see that several exhibits carried the correct weight, body, and substance. Most had long, flowing coats, but there were just a few that had “luxurious, dense and flowing” coats that were truly “double”. I questioned if too much product was used on some of the exhibits causing the coats to lie flat, separating, and appearing single-coated. Nothing is more beautiful than a full double coat, dense and flowing. It’s so Shih Tzu.

Proportion, being slightly longer than tall, was correct on many of the entries. In the United States we look for a dog that is ideally 9 to 10½” at the withers with a minimum of 8” and a maximum of 11”. It appeared that many exceeded the top of the standard. I wish more emphasis was placed on size to keep it a toy dog but with all the substance desired. Forequarters and hindquarters were acceptable overall.

Be reminded that the Shih Tzu head is to be round, broad and wide between the eyes. Expression is to be “warm, sweet, wide-eyed, friendly and trusting”. Without large, very dark round eyes placed well apart this can’t be achieved. The muzzle must be square and short without wrinkles. Other characteristics that contribute to a correct head are a broad, wide open nostril, an undershot bite, and a wide jaw. I was disappointed to see so many with small heads, little dome, and small, close-set eyes with too much white of eye showing.

My winners were quite lovely and conformed to the breed standard. Winners Dog and Best of Winners was awarded to #35 from the Bred-by-Exhibitor class, Heaven Sent N Ista’s Tequila Sunrise. This young dog was a keen showman and so fresh looking. He met the standard’s description as stated above and had a near perfect tail which really pleased me. He was closely challenged by the Reserve Winners Dog, #23, Zephyr Irresistible, from the 9-12 class who was also a lovely representative of the breed.

The lovely puppy, Zephyr Try Not to Look, #34 (littermate to the RWD) came from the 9-12 class to earn Winners Bitch. During the winners class she stood out from the others with her excellent top line, substantial body and striking black and tan color. She was really pushed by the Reserve Winners Bitch, #18 Lun Lynn’s One Hot Trick from the 6-9 month class. Had she performed in the winners class as she had in her very competitive puppy class she may have been my winners bitch. She should do well in the future.

Best of Breed was awarded to the beautifully presented male #53, GCh Ch Tian Mi’s Something to Talk About. He was the complete package that day. He looked the part and displayed the proper size with great substance and bone. He carried a good tail, was presented in outstanding long, double and luxurious coat, and was in superb condition. He’s an excellent showman and is a well-deserved specialty winner.

Select Dog went to #63, Ch My Dream’s Love is in the Air. This male was closely matched to the Breed winner, just not as mature in coat and finish as the winner. He exhuded lovely breed type and should do very well for himself.

My Best of Opposite winner was #38, Zephyr Monogram Maybe Maybe Maybe, a new champion moved up from the bred-by class. She is a lovely girl, a joy to go over, and has good bone and substance.

GCh Angelina Ruby’s Heavenly Dream, #68, was awarded Select Bitch. So aptly named, because she is indeed a dream. She displayed excellent Breed type in so many ways but was not put down well enough to go further.

My Reserve Winners Dog was Best Puppy, and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor went to the Winners Dog.

Sincere thanks to you all for your commitment to Shih Tzu and the demanding work you do to keep the breed alive. I know first-hand of this labor of love and applaud all of you.

I appreciate your hospitality and this opportunity to judge your wonderful dogs.

Best wishes to all,