Home Shih Tzu Colors Explore Shih Tzu Coat Color Variations

Explore Shih Tzu Coat Color Variations

by Scott Lipe
Shih Tzu Colors

The Shih Tzu breed is known for its multitude of coat color variations. The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepts all different colors and patterns of the Shih Tzu, making them a vibrant and diverse breed. The Shih Tzu’s coat can come in solid colors such as black, blue, white, gold, red, silver, and liver, as well as various color combinations and patterns. Understanding the different coat color variations is important for identifying the breed, choosing the right Shih Tzu, and maintaining their coat’s health and beauty.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shih Tzu coat colors vary widely, offering a vibrant and diverse range of options.
  • Coat variations include solid colors and various color combinations and patterns.
  • Identifying the coat color is essential for breed recognition and selecting the right Shih Tzu.
  • Understanding color genetics helps breeders produce specific coat color variations.
  • Proper grooming and care are crucial for maintaining a Shih Tzu’s coat color and health.

The Nine Solid Colors of Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu breed offers a delightful array of coat colors, with nine solid variations that showcase their unique characteristics and charm. Let’s explore each color in detail:

Black Shih Tzu

Black Shih Tzus come in various shades, from deep ebony to shiny black, and may also have white markings that add a touch of elegance to their coat.

Blue Shih Tzu

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Blue Shih Tzus boast a lovely grayish-blue coat that sets them apart. Some may also have beautiful blue or pale-colored eyes that further enhance their allure.

White Shih Tzu

White Shih Tzus have a pure and pristine coat that radiates brightness. With their black nose and eyes, they create a striking contrast that captures attention.

Gold Shih Tzu

Gold Shih Tzus can range from a vivid and rich shade to a soft and pale yellow hue. Their warm and golden coat gives them a regal appearance.

Red Shih Tzu

Red Shih Tzus display a richly colored coat reminiscent of the beautiful Irish Setter. Their vibrant and deep red coat adds a touch of elegance and flair.

Liver Shih Tzu

Liver Shih Tzus showcase a unique and deep chocolate brown coat that exudes warmth and sophistication. Their brown noses complement their rich color.

Silver Shih Tzu

Silver Shih Tzus have a captivating silvery sheen to their coat that sets them apart. Interestingly, their coat color may change as they age, making them even more intriguing.

Each solid color of Shih Tzu has its own distinctive beauty and allure. Whether you prefer the elegance of black, the uniqueness of blue, or the regality of gold, there is a color that will capture your heart.

Lavender or Isabella and Rare Colors of Shih Tzu

Lavender Shih Tzu

In addition to the solid colors, the Shih Tzu breed also showcases some rare and unique coat colors. Lavender or Isabella Shih Tzus have a stunning pale brown coat that sets them apart. These rare colors are the result of dilution genes, which give them their distinct and captivating appearance. Lavender or Isabella Shih Tzus may also have hazel eyes, adding to their charm and individuality.

It’s important to note that these colors are not officially recognized by all breed standards, making them even more special for those who appreciate their rarity. While lavender and Isabella Shih Tzus may not adhere to traditional standards, they have gained popularity among enthusiasts who value their unique beauty.

In addition to lavender and Isabella, there are other rare color combinations and patterns found in Shih Tzus. These include albino Shih Tzus, parti-color Shih Tzus with patches of different colors, and brindle Shih Tzus, which display a distinct striped pattern on their coat.

These rare variations contribute to the diversity and charm of the Shih Tzu breed, making each individual Shih Tzu truly one-of-a-kind. Whether you have a lavender or Isabella Shih Tzu or one with a rare color combination or pattern, you can be sure that your furry companion is a unique and special member of this beloved breed.

Color Genetics and Inheritance in Shih Tzu

The beautiful coat colors of Shih Tzus are not random; they are determined by genetics and inheritance. Breeders carefully select dogs with specific genes to produce desired color variations in their Shih Tzu litters. Different genes control the expression of coat colors, while dominant and recessive genes interact to create the various coat patterns and shades seen in this breed.

“The coat color in Shih Tzus is a result of complex genetic interactions.”

When breeding Shih Tzus, understanding color genetics is essential for achieving specific coat color outcomes. By pairing dogs with specific genes, breeders can influence the coat colors of the offspring. It’s fascinating to see how different combinations of genes can result in a wide range of coat colors, from solid hues to intricate patterns.

How Do Shih Tzu Coat Colors Inherit?

Coat color inheritance in Shih Tzus follows specific genetic patterns. Here are some key concepts:

  • Dominant Colors: Certain coat colors, such as black and gold, are dominant and can be easily passed down from one generation to the next.
  • Recessive Colors: Some colors, like blue and liver, are recessive and require both parents to carry the recessive gene to produce offspring with those coat colors.
  • Combining Genes: When both parents carry different coat color genes, their offspring can inherit a combination of colors, creating unique coat patterns.
  • Hidden Genes: Shih Tzus can carry hidden genes that may not be expressed in their own coat color but can be passed down to future generations, allowing for surprises and variations in coat color in successive litters.

By studying and understanding the genetics behind Shih Tzu coat colors, breeders can make informed choices to produce desired color combinations and patterns. This knowledge enables them to create a wide array of visually striking Shih Tzu puppies.

Example Shih Tzu Color Genetics Table

Gene Combination Coat Color Outcome
BBDD Black with liver
bbDD Blue with liver
BBdd Black with blue
bbdd Blue

Understanding the intricate world of Shih Tzu color genetics and inheritance allows breeders to create visually stunning and genetically diverse litters. By selecting the right genes and maintaining careful breeding practices, breeders can produce Shih Tzus with a wide array of coat colors that captivate and delight.

Changing Coat Colors in Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu coat color variations

As Shih Tzu dogs age, they often undergo changes in their coat colors. It is quite common for puppies to have different coat colors than their adult counterparts. These color changes can range from subtle variations to more noticeable transformations. Some Shih Tzus may start with a lighter coat and gradually darken as they mature, while others may develop color patches over time. These shifts in coat color can be influenced by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

Regular grooming and care are crucial for maintaining the desired coat color in Shih Tzus. By following proper grooming practices, you can help preserve the vibrancy and beauty of your Shih Tzu’s coat. Regular brushing and bathing are essential for keeping their coat healthy and free from tangles. Additionally, providing a balanced diet and ensuring they have a clean and comfortable living environment can contribute to maintaining the desired coat color.

It’s important to note that certain factors, such as exposure to sunlight, can cause coat fading in Shih Tzus. Overexposure to sunlight can lead to the bleaching of their coat, resulting in a lighter or faded appearance. To protect your Shih Tzu’s coat from fading, it’s advisable to limit their exposure to direct sunlight and provide shaded areas for them to rest.

In summary, Shih Tzus can experience changes in their coat colors as they age. These changes can be subtle or more pronounced, and are influenced by factors such as genetics, environment, and exposure to sunlight. Regular grooming and care are essential for maintaining the desired coat color in Shih Tzus, while also preserving the health and beauty of their coat.

Factors Influencing Coat Color Changes Effects on Coat Color
Genetics Can contribute to natural changes in coat color as the dog matures.
Environmental factors Exposure to sunlight and other environmental elements can cause coat fading.
Grooming practices Regular grooming helps maintain the desired coat color and prevents matting or tangling.
Diet and nutrition A balanced diet and proper nutrition can support a healthy and vibrant coat.

Maintaining and Grooming Shih Tzu Coat Colors

Proper grooming is crucial for maintaining the beauty and health of a Shih Tzu’s coat, regardless of its color. Regular brushing, bathing, and trimming can help prevent matting and tangling, keeping the coat looking its best. To ensure the well-being of your Shih Tzu’s coat, follow these essential grooming practices:

1. Brushing

Regular brushing is essential for keeping your Shih Tzu’s coat free from tangles and mats. Use a slicker brush or a bristle brush to gently remove any loose hair and debris. This not only prevents tangling but also stimulates the skin and promotes healthy hair growth. Brush your Shih Tzu’s coat at least 2-3 times a week to maintain its texture and appearance.

2. Bathing

Regular bathing is necessary to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat clean and healthy. Use a high-quality dog shampoo that is specifically formulated for Shih Tzus or for dogs with sensitive skin. Be careful not to over-bathe your Shih Tzu, as it can strip the coat of its natural oils and cause dryness. Aim to bathe your Shih Tzu once every 4-6 weeks, or as needed based on their activity level and coat condition.

3. Trimming

Trimming your Shih Tzu’s coat is important for maintaining its shape and preventing excessive length. Focus on trimming the hair around the eyes, ears, and paws to ensure clear vision, clean ears, and proper foot hygiene. You can either learn to trim your Shih Tzu’s coat yourself or take them to a professional groomer for regular trims.

4. Grooming Products

Choose grooming products that are specifically designed for Shih Tzus or for dogs with similar coat types. Look for shampoos, conditioners, and detanglers that are gentle, moisturizing, and free from harsh chemicals. Additionally, invest in a quality brush, comb, and grooming scissors to help with daily maintenance and touch-ups.

5. Coat Care

Aside from regular brushing, bathing, and trimming, there are additional measures you can take to care for your Shih Tzu’s coat. Keep an eye out for any signs of skin irritation, allergies, or infections. Schedule regular visits to the veterinarian to ensure your Shih Tzu’s overall health, which directly reflects in the quality of their coat. Maintaining a nutritious diet and providing plenty of fresh water also contributes to a healthy coat.

By following these grooming practices and utilizing appropriate grooming products, you can help maintain the beauty and luster of your Shih Tzu’s coat, regardless of its color.

Grooming Practices Benefits
Regular brushing Prevents tangles and mats, stimulates skin, promotes healthy hair growth
Proper bathing Keeps coat clean and healthy, removes dirt and odors
Regular trimming Maintains coat shape, prevents excessive length
Using suitable grooming products Gentle and moisturizing products maintain coat health, prevent dryness
Overall coat care Monitors skin health, prevents infections, maintains proper nutrition


Summing up the colorful world of Shih Tzu coat variations, it is clear that this breed offers a stunning array of colors and patterns. From the nine solid colors, including black, blue, white, gold, red, liver, and silver, to the unique and rare lavender and Isabella shades, the Shih Tzu breed has something for every color preference.

Understanding the genetics and inheritance of coat colors is crucial for breeders who want to produce specific variations in their Shih Tzu puppies. By carefully selecting dogs with desired genes, breeders can create stunning coat color combinations that will capture the hearts of future owners.

To maintain the beauty and health of a Shih Tzu’s coat, proper grooming and care are essential. Regular brushings, baths, and trims help prevent matting and tangling, ensuring the coat remains in pristine condition. By using appropriate grooming products and techniques tailored to the specific coat color and type, owners can help preserve and enhance the natural beauty of their Shih Tzu’s coat.

In conclusion, the Shih Tzu breed is a visual delight with its extensive coat color variations. Whether you prefer a solid color, a combination, or a unique pattern, there is a Shih Tzu for everyone. Explore the world of Shih Tzu coat colors with this comprehensive guide and indulge in the beauty and diversity that this breed has to offer.


Q: What are the different coat color variations of Shih Tzu?

A: The Shih Tzu breed has a range of coat color variations, including black, blue, white, gold, red, liver, silver, lavender, Isabella, and rare color combinations and patterns.

Q: What are the nine solid colors of Shih Tzu?

A: The nine solid colors of Shih Tzu are black, blue, white, gold, red, liver, silver, lavender, and Isabella.

Q: What are the rare colors of Shih Tzu?

A: The rare colors of Shih Tzu include lavender, Isabella, as well as unique color combinations and patterns such as albino, parti-color, and brindle.

Q: How is coat color determined in Shih Tzu?

A: Coat color in Shih Tzu is determined by genetics and inheritance, with different genes controlling the expression of different colors and patterns.

Q: Do Shih Tzu’s coat colors change as they age?

A: Yes, it is not uncommon for Shih Tzu’s coat colors to change as they age, with some starting with a lighter coat that darkens over time or developing color patches.

Q: How can I maintain the coat color of my Shih Tzu?

A: Proper grooming is crucial for maintaining the beauty and health of a Shih Tzu’s coat, regardless of its color. Regular brushing, bathing, and trimming are essential.

Q: What is the overall summary of Shih Tzu coat colors?

A: Shih Tzus offer a wide array of coat color variations, from the nine solid colors to rare lavender and Isabella shades, as well as unique color combinations and patterns.

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