The Different Shades of Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu’s are one of the most loved long haired breeds of dogs. These are elegantly looking dogs which have a face that resembles a lion – the reason why they are also called lion dogs. They were primarily bred as gifts for the Chinese emperor’s palace where their long shiny and graceful mane truly complimented the imperial aura of the Chinese royalty. This gorgeous coat comes in different colors mainly grouped into solid, two color combination or mixed color coats.

Solid colors include black, white, silver, red and gold which come as plain colored coats with no other evident color. These shades also have characteristic black nose, lips, paw pads and eye rims. Three other special solid coats include the brindle, liver and blue. The brindle is an ombre type of coat which is a combination of any one of the solid colors plus streaks of another color. Most common example is the gold-black brindle. The liver Shih Tzu, on the other hand comes in any color but with evident liver pigmented nose, eye rims, pads and lips. Interestingly, blue Shih Tzu’s have a blue colored nose; however it is not so evident unless the dog is in direct sunlight. Both liver and blue coats are recessive gene traits which mean that both parents should carry the trait. These occurrences are rare making the liver and blue Shih Tzu’s as premium lines.

Two color combinations are white coat combined with any of the solid colors – black, silver, red, gold, brindle, liver or blue. For the mixed coats, combinations come in silver-gold-white, silver-black-white, black-gold-white and black-silver-gold.

Apart from the lavish and wide variety of coat mixes, Shih Tzu’s have evident markings on their coats. The black mask is a black coloring on the muzzle which may go to the eyes, ears and forehead. Dobie markings – just like the liver and blue coats, increase the pup’s value as they are also considered very rare. Dobie markings are tan patches on a dark colored coat and found on the eyes, jowls, lower legs and under the tail. Black tips, on the other hand are found on the ends of the hair shafts which add a striking beauty to the coat; however if cut off, black tips do not regrow. White markings include the blaze – a strip of white hair between the eyes, flare – a wider blaze, collar around the neck, saddle on the back and the tuxedo – found on the chin and on the feet.

There is no better coat color among all the combinations. Though it is nice to marvel at a Shih Tzu’s long coat, it is still more important to constantly brush and groom your Shih Tzu. Their special hair also needs special attention. When choosing your Shih Tzu pup, keep in mind to initially check the pooch’s breeding, medical history and personality before the external appearance and coat color. Remember that coat color only runs skin deep. Inner beauty is still far more valuable and important.