Shih Tzu belong to people. They do not belong exclusively to the show dog world. Shih Tzu were bred for centuries to be affectionate companions for people and they certainly excel and do a fantastic job at doing just that. All Shih Tzu are by their very nature, constant close companions for their owners.
A show dog must conform to certain breed standards, such as height, weight, and conformation as well as temperament. A companion Shih Tzu may have minor imperfections when compared to the AKC standards for a show dog Shih Tzu, but be wonderful in all other respects. Many times the differences between a top show dog who has met all the AKC standard requirements for a show dog and a companion dog are not readily apparent to most people. Flaws that are slight may only be detected by the trained eye of a show dog breeder or a show judge. Being a companion dog, regardless of small size, large size, or in between size, in no way diminishes a Shih Tzu’s value as a loving member of the family. Although Shih Tzu show dogs are bred mainly for their good looks, the real purpose of a Shih Tzu is to be an an affectionate companion for people. Shih Tzus were bred to be companion animals centuries before dog shows and any kind of kennel club ever existed.
If you decide you want a show dog, be prepared to pay more for it than you would pay for a pet-quality companion. Also remember that just because the parents are champion show dogs, there is no guarantee the puppy will turn out to be a champion too. Very young puppies are difficult to evaluate their exact worth as a show dog. A show dog breeder will have to keep that puppy around 3 to 6 months to be able to evaluate
accurately whether or not that particular puppy is show dog material. If you decide you want a show quality Shih Tzu be prepared to purchase an older than 8 weeks old Shih Tzu puppy. And the best advice would be to purchase an adult Shih Tzu that already has been successful in the show ring. Even the most beautiful and what seems to be the most correct 8 week old Shih Tzu puppy can change as it grows up and may never reach the show potential you hoped for or was true of its parents and ancestors. If you purchase a show dog “prospect,” you are “guessing” that the Shih Tzu will attain a the attributes necessary to meet the standards of a Shih Tzu show dog. A lot of changes can take place between puppyhood and adulthood. When you buy an adult show dog Shih Tzu you know exactly what you are getting.
Full AKC registration allows for participation in AKC competitions and events and the ability to register future offspring of the Shih Tzu with the AKC. Most breeders charge anywhere from $200 to $500 more for a full AKC registration.
Limited AKC registration does not allow breeding and limits AKC competitions. Usually a limited AKC registration requires spaying or neutering your Shih Tzu by the age of 6 months. A limited AKC registration is also sometimes called a “pet registration.” It is usually anywhere from $200 to $500 cheaper to purchase a Shih Tzu puppy with a limited AKC registration.