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conformation

Shih Tzu Dog Show - Conformation Events

The Shih Tzu Breed Standard

When you enter your Shih Tzu into a conformation event, your dog will be judged on appearance.

How the dog presents itself and behaves will also have an affect on the total score.

While each dog is uniquely different, major dog clubs have agreed on what is to be considered the perfect breed standard for each breed of dog.

If you are thinking about entering this "world", do read on to help you prepare. 
How Old Does a Shih Tzu Need to Be?

The Shih Tzu will need to be at least 6 months old in order to be entered into a dog show. There is no maximum age of a dog; however elderly dogs will not be able to present themselves as well as the younger dogs.

Is there an Age Limit for the Owner?

There are many dogs shows in which minors will show the dog. The novice junior showmanship events will allow a person from the age of 10 to 12. You can enter your Shih Tzu into a dog show if you are from 10 to 100 years old! 
What do I Wear to a Dog Show?

When you are entering your Shih Tzu into a dog show you should carefully choose what to wear. Certainly, you will not be judged for your appearance; however there are 2 elements to keep in mind. 

First, there are rules and guidelines on proper dress. Each club and event will be able to offer you a document with details.

Secondly, you will be in front of many people as well, as you walk and show your dog. You will also be in photographs, should your dog win a ribbon. 

Therefore, you will want to look your best. Each show has their own dress code; however most will ask for business casual.

Is the Official Breed Standard of the Shih Tzu the Most Important Element?

Dogs shows will follow the guidelines of what is to be considered the perfect proportioned Shih Tzu; however even the most perfectly structured dog will not win if their coat is not groomed nicely and they are unable to follow the commands of their walker. 

The walker of a dog does not necessarily need to be the owner; there are professional walkers as well. 
How Do I Prepare my Shih Tzu for a Show?

If you have decided to enter your Shih Tzu into a conformation event, it is best to begin preparing well in advance. You will want your dog to have a through check up with the veterinarian approximately 5 months before a show and follow up within 1 month of entry.

It is is recommended to never try out a new groomer right before you enter your Shih Tzu into a dog show. You will want to establish a good relationship with a professional groomer well in advance of entering your dog into competition. Even if you normally groom your dog yourself, when it comes time for the intense competition, you will want a professional to make final touches, if not complete the entire grooming process.

What About Topknots?

A Shih Tzu must have a show topknot as opposed to a maintenance topknot, when competing in a dog show. A show topknot will use up to 8 bands and a bow. These hair creations can become very complicated and intricate. Hair is curled, braided or other. Unless you have a great deal of experience in this area, it is strongly recommended to allow a professional dog groomer to handle this aspect.

What commands Will My Shih Tzu Need to Know for Conformation Dog Events?

Your dog will need to walk straight and proud along side you in the ring. Understanding "Stop" and "Stay" is a must. Performing in front of a large audience must not intimidate the Shih Tzu. This can be instilled in your dog by first entering dog matches where you can both gain a lot of experience.

Your dog should also be very comfortable with sitting and allowing someone (other than you) to inspect them. The judge will be touching the dog's body and looking into the dog's mouth. You may wish to have a friend practice as the "judge" and train your Shih Tzu to become accustomed to this dog show element.
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