Shih Tzu

What are the Different Shih Tzu Colors and Coat Patterns?

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What are the Different Shih Tzu Colors and Coat Patterns
By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | January 7, 2024
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The Shih Tzu is a charming and beloved toy breed known for its luxurious, flowing coat and friendly disposition. These little dogs have been cherished companions for centuries, originally bred as royal lapdogs in ancient China. While their delightful personalities make them stand out, the various Shih Tzu colors and coat patterns add to their unique appeal. From classic solid colors to exotic combinations, understanding these variations can help prospective owners choose the perfect Shih Tzu companion that suits their preferences.

Shih Tzu colors include gold, black, white, silver, brindle, and more. Coat patterns range from solid to bi-color, parti-color, sable, and rare shades like blue and lavender. Each Shih Tzu’s coat is unique, adding to their charm.


What You Need to Know About the Shih Tzu Coat Basics?

Before diving into the fascinating world of Shih Tzu colors and coat patterns, let’s begin by understanding the basics of Shih Tzu coats.

  • Coat Structure: Shih Tzus have a double-layered coat consisting of an outer layer of long, silky hair and a dense, soft undercoat. This coat structure gives them a distinctive and fluffy appearance.
  • Coat Growth: Shih Tzu puppies typically have shorter and softer coats, which change as they mature. The full, luxurious coat of an adult Shih Tzu may not develop until they are around one to two years old.
  • Maintenance: Shih Tzus require regular grooming to keep their coats healthy and tangle-free. Professional grooming or at-home brushing and trimming are essential to prevent matting and maintain their appearance.

What are the Different Solid Shih Tzu Colors?

Shih Tzus come in a variety of solid coat colors. These single-color coats can be rich and captivating. Here are some of the most common solid Shih Tzu colors:

  • Gold: Gold is one of the most well-known Shih Tzu colors. It can range from light, almost cream-colored gold to a deep, rich gold. Gold Shih Tzus often have black masks on their faces, adding to their charm.
  • Black: Black Shih Tzus are striking and elegant. Their black coats can have slight variations, such as a small patch of white on the chest or paws.
  • White: White Shih Tzus are pristine and angelic in appearance. They may have some color on their ears or a few colored patches, but overall, their coats are predominantly white.
  • Silver: Silver Shih Tzus have a shimmering, silver-gray coat. These dogs often have black points (ears, nose, and lips) that contrast beautifully with their silver fur.
  • Brindle: Brindle Shih Tzus have a base coat color (usually gold) with black stripes that create a tiger-stripe pattern. This coat pattern is less common but quite unique and eye-catching.

What are the Different Bi-Color Shih Tzu Variations?

Some Shih Tzus exhibit bi-color variations, combining two distinct colors on their coats. These combinations can create a striking and captivating appearance.

  • Black and White: Black and white Shih Tzus have a classic and timeless look. Their coats are predominantly black with white markings on their face, chest, paws, and tail tip.
  • Brown and White: Brown and white Shih Tzus have a rich brown base color with white markings. This combination can vary in intensity, from deep chocolate brown to a lighter shade.
  • Silver and White: Silver and white Shih Tzus blend silver-gray and white in their coats. These dogs often have a silver body with white paws, chest, and face markings.

What are the Different Shih Tzu Coat Patterns?

In addition to the various colors, Shih Tzus can also exhibit unique coat patterns. These patterns add another layer of complexity and beauty to their appearance.

  • Parti-Color: Parti-color Shih Tzus have a primarily white coat with patches of one or more other colors. The patches can be any color, creating a playful and whimsical appearance.
  • Sable: Sable Shih Tzus have a mix of colors that create a marbled or shaded effect. The colors are often a combination of black, gold, and various shades in between.
  • Ticking: Ticking refers to small, colored flecks or spots scattered throughout the coat. Shih Tzus with ticking may have white coats with colored ticking or vice versa.

What are the Rare and Unusual Shih Tzu Colors?

While the Shih Tzu breed standard recognizes several common colors and patterns, some individuals may display rare or unconventional variations. These unique colors often result from specific genetic combinations.

  • Blue: Blue Shih Tzus have a diluted black coat that appears bluish-gray. This unique color can be quite striking and is relatively rare in the breed.
  • Lavender: Lavender Shih Tzus have a diluted chocolate coat that appears pale lilac or lavender in color. This is an exceptionally rare and sought-after color.
  • Liver: Liver-colored Shih Tzus have a reddish-brown coat. This color can vary from deep mahogany to a lighter liver shade.
  • Isabella: Isabella Shih Tzus have a dilute fawn coat with a purplish tint. This unusual color is also quite rare and distinctive.

What Influences the Genetics of Shih Tzu Coat Colors?

Understanding the genetics behind Shih Tzu coat colors and patterns can be fascinating. These colors and patterns are a result of complex genetic interactions involving multiple genes.

Coat Color Genes of the Shih Tzu

  • Shih Tzu coat colors are primarily determined by genes that control the production and distribution of pigment.
  • Genes such as E (extension), A (agouti), and D (dilution) play a role in coat color.

Inheritance Patterns of the Shih Tzu

  • Coat color inheritance in Shih Tzus follows both dominant and recessive patterns.
  • Understanding the genetic makeup of a breeding pair can help predict the potential colors of their offspring.

Grooming and Care Requirements for Shih Tzu Coats

Maintaining a Shih Tzu’s coat is a crucial aspect of their care. Proper grooming not only keeps them looking their best but also ensures their health and comfort.

  • Daily Brushing: Brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat daily helps prevent mats and tangles. Use a soft-bristle brush or a slicker brush to gently remove loose hair and debris.
  • Bathing: Regular bathing keeps the coat clean and fresh. Use a mild dog shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing to avoid skin irritation.
  • Professional Grooming: Many Shih Tzu owners opt for professional grooming to maintain their dog’s coat. Groomers can trim the coat, clean the ears, and trim nails, among other services.
  • Preventing Matting: Matting can be painful for Shih Tzus and may require shaving in severe cases. Use detangling spray and a slicker brush to prevent mat formation.

Choosing the Right Shih Tzu

When considering a Shih Tzu as a pet, your choice of color and coat pattern may be a factor, but it should not be the sole criterion. Temperament, health, and compatibility with your lifestyle should also play a significant role in your decision.

Finding a Reputable Shih Tzu Breeder

  • Research and choose a breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their Shih Tzu puppies.
  • Ask questions about the puppies’ upbringing and the health checks performed on the parents.

Meeting the Shih Tzu

  • Spend time with the puppy or dog to assess their temperament and compatibility with your family.
  • Remember that a Shih Tzu’s personality and behavior are more important than their coat color.

The Shih Tzu’s diverse array of colors and coat patterns make them one of the most visually captivating toy breeds. Whether you are drawn to the classic elegance of a solid black Shih Tzu, the whimsical charm of a parti-color pup, or the rarity of a lavender-coated companion, there’s a Shih Tzu to suit every taste.


While the aesthetics of a Shih Tzu’s coat are undoubtedly appealing, it’s essential to remember that their true beauty lies in their loving nature and delightful personality. Whether you choose a Shih Tzu with a traditional color or a rare hue, the bond you build with your furry friend will be the most beautiful aspect of all. So, when you bring a Shih Tzu into your life, cherish the love and companionship they offer, no matter their coat’s color or pattern.