The Imperial Myth
Aan article written by the American Shih Tzu Club.
The Myth about Imperial or /Tiny Teacup Shih Tzu:
The terms "imperial and "tiny" have
been used interchangeably when describing undersized Shih Tzu. This is
not what the American Shih Tzu Club (ASTC) and the American Kennel Club
(AKC) recommend and accept as a true representation of the breed. The
myth of the "imperial: or "tiny teacup" Shih Tzu is just that, - A MYTH.
Perhaps you have read an ad in your local newspaper, searched the Internet, or know of someone who has acquired a Shih Tzu described by these words inferring how unusual and special (and even more expensive) their dog may be. The official breed standard for the Shih Tzu calls for a weight range of 9-16 pounds. Why would anyone want to steer away from the weight called for in the AKC approved breed standard or call the breed anything but its AKC recognized name? Could it be a fad they have created in order to obtain a higher price? These particular breeders have deliberately down sized an already designated toy breed. By doing this, they risk the overall health and wonderful distinguishing characteristics of our breed.
Many of these disreputable breeders claim their Shih Tzu possess the "imperial" gene. There is no proof that such a gene exists. Size reduction occurs by breeding the smallest dog in a litter to another small dog of another litter, and so on and so forth. This not only creates an abnormally small Shih Tzu, but also increases the likelihood of producing puppies with health problems. This is not indicative of an "imperial" gene but rather poor breeding practices.
A responsible breeder does not advertise an occasional "runt" as an "imperial" or "tiny teacup" Shih Tzu. Rather, it is sold as a pet, solely as a companion dog that is not used for breeding. Responsible breeders strive to breed healthy dogs that conform to the breed standard. The ideal Shih Tzu is a sturdy, active, healthy dog, with good substance for its size. Those desiring a very tiny pet should choose another breed, rather than destroying the very characteristics that make the Shih Tzu such an ideal companion.
In summary, there is no such thing as an AKC "imperial" or "Tiny Teacup" Shih Tzu. The American Shih Tzu Club does not recognize any registry other than the AKC. Breeders using alternative registries may be unable to register their litters with the AKC, having lost their privileges for a variety of reasons. The American Shih Tzu Club would like to caution everyone reading adds, searching the Internet, or who have heard the Shih Tzu described as "imperials" or "tiny teacup" to conduct further research before making a purchase.
The American Shih Tzu Club web site ( http://www.Shihtzu.org ) is a good place to begin or continue your research of our breed. It concludes your research of our breed. It includes two additional articles on size, the official breed standard for Shih Tzu, information on how to choose a reputable breeder, and much, much more. There also are many good books about dog breeds, care and training to be found in most public libraries. AKC's "The Complete Dog Book" is an especially good resource for the prospective dog buyer that includes a chapter on every recognized breed of dog.
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