ASTC Breeder Guidelines

You do not have to breed your Shih Tzu to be a Shih Tzu Fancier. Many, many people are happy to purchase their Shih Tzu, love them, and leave breeding to others. Both Stud Dog and Brood Bitch should be of good quality and not have any serious faults. If either has a major fault or is unsound, mentally or physically, it should not be bred. The objectives of the selection of dogs to be bred should always be to produce puppies that are of better quality than the parents.


  • Is well educated about Shih Tzu.
  • Offers specific information about Shih Tzu in general and about his/her dogs specifically.
  • Has breeding stock that is healthy, mentally sound, can be seen by visitors.
  • Maintains the highest standards of cleanliness, care, and canine health.
  • Screens for genetic defects before breeding. All breeding stock should have appropriate registry certification numbers and should have all blood tests necessary for heritable defect screening.
  • Encourages the buyers of his/her puppies to keep up these screening procedures throughout their new pet's life.
  • Provides a sales agreement.
  • Keeps good records (pedigrees, medical and health) of all his/her dogs.
  • Questions buyer about family situation, job schedule, previous dog owning experience, etc.
  • May want to visit the buyer's home.
  • Usually belongs to local and/or national club (breed specialty, all-breed or obedience).
  • Is truthful in advertising.
  • Does not spread rumors about other dogs, or other people.
  • Follows the ASTC Code of Ethics as closely as possible.

  • As Shih Tzu breeders, we must be honest in our breeding practices. When problems do occur, be open about them; we cannot remove the genetic problems from our breed without the help of each and every Shih Tzu breeder. We are the custodians of our breed!


    The owner of a stud dog always has the right to refuse to breed any female. Things to consider if you are planning to use your Dog at Stud:
  • All genetic testing should be completed and current on your stud dog. Have genetic information on dogs in his pedigree.
  • Make sure your stud dog is in good physical condition and has an annual health exam by a veterinarian, including a brucellosis test. He must be free from external and internal parasites and all inoculations should be current.
  • Do you have facilities for secure and proper care of a visiting bitch? This includes having time to help her adjust to her temporary home.
  • Do you have the skills and ability to handle the actual mating process?
  • Be sure you are able to answer specific questions about what your dog is producing.
  • Ask what the bitch has produced and to whom she was bred. Ask questions if you have not seen the bitch.
  • Require the bitch to have the same genetic tests that you have on your stud dog.
  • Keep a 3-4 generation pedigree of every bitch your dog has been bred to; include genetic testing on those dogs in that pedigree.
  • Have a complete and specific stud contract with a place to include exceptions. Both parties should have a signed copy.
  • Keep accurate records of the times and dates of breedings, keeping the owner of the bitch informed. Send a written record of the dates of breedings to the owner of the bitch.
  • When returning the bitch, include a copy of your stud's pedigree with all of the genetic testing that has been done noted on it.
  • Make sure both parties agree as to when the AKC papers are to be signed.


    The owner of a female makes the decisions to breed and selects the stud dog. Things to consider before using your Bitch to breed:
  • Make sure you have the finances and time to be there for the whelping and complete care of the litter.
  • Have the proper facilities for whelping and care of the litter.
  • Realize that you are responsible for the litter; screen prospective puppy buyers; sell with spay and neuter contracts and/or limited registrations; follow up after puppies are sold.
  • Make sure all genetic testing has been completed on the bitch. Verify that the sire and dam of your bitch have also been checked for genetic anomalies.
  • Research several dogs that you feel would be suitable for your bitch, considering pedigrees and genetic makeup.
  • Discuss possibility of breeding your bitch with the owner of the stud dog well in advance. Ask specific questions about the dog.
  • Check on all requirements, stud service fees, shipping arrangement, stud service contract, etc. Stud service contracts are different with each stud dog owner, be sure you understand it.
  • Know how to tell when your female is ready to be bred.
  • Be sure all inoculations are current, she is free of internal and external parasites, and is in good physical condition. At the first sign of being in season, have a Brucellosis test done and contact the owner of the stud dog.
  • Remember, raising health, well adjusted puppies is a time consuming but rewarding job.


    These are known problems in Shih Tzu, however, no genetic testing is available for umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia, portal systemic shunt (PSS), and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. It is strongly recommended that testing be done before you even consider using your Shih Tzu for breeding. Consultation with your Veterinarian and performing screenings recommended by the ASTC in the CHIC program are recommended. For more about the CHIC program Click Here


    Test yearly for following known problems:
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Juvenile Cataracts
  • Entropion

  • For more information on the Canine Eye Registry Foundation Click Here, and view the article on this website titled Ocular Disorders Proven or Suspected to be Hereditary in the Shih Tzu


  • Urine Specific Gravity (diagnostic only for severely affected dogs).
  • Urine concentration (diagnostic only for severely affected dogs).
  • BUN (diagnostic only for severely affected dogs).
  • Creatinine (diagnostic only for severely affected dogs).


  • X-Ray
  • Certification after 2 years of age for performance dogs recommended


  • VonWillibrands (blood test)
  • Thyroid disorders (blood test)
  • Bile acid test