Many are surprised when they learn that there are different Shih Tzu breeds.
It is commonly believed that there is just one type of Shih Tzu and fail to give any consideration to the varied colors that the breed displays or even the different sizes these dogs come in.
As you look at the Shih Tzu to determine if this dog is the right one for your life make sure to pay attention to the variety of the breed as it will help you make your decision.
An Overview of the Shih Tzu Breed
Shih Tzus are small dogs with luxurious coats and a certain air of snobbery about them. These are gorgeous dogs prized for their grace and attractive coats. The Shih Tzu has a long and dignified history deeply tied with Buddhism and the Ancient Chinese culture.
Shih Tzu average about 15 pounds and reach 11 inches in height. Their most noticeable feature is the mane which has lent credence to the various legends about this dog being part lion.
Many owners tie part of the mane into a top knot to keep it out of their dog’s eyes and this has become standard practice in the show ring as well.
These dogs are full of energy and love. They only want to be around you night and day and the more you pamper and dote upon them the happier they will be. A friend to everyone Shih Tzu are very popular the world over.
On the other hand, they do require a strong pack leader that you must provide. They will have no trouble taking advantage of a weak willed owner so make sure you start training early and are consistent with it.
The Signature Look of the Shih Tzu
While not actually little lions or even part lion, the manes of the Shih Tzu breed does bring to mind the magnificent crown of the regal King of the Jungle. The different types of Shih Tzu all share this feature so one does not have to sacrifice the look of the breed in order to get a preferred color.
This means that Shih Tzu colors can be almost as varied as a rainbow.
All Shih Tzu have a double coat. The fur is dense and cascades down the body with minimal rippling. When trimmed properly the coat makes the Shih Tzu appear to glide across surfaces as it walks. The eyes should be clear and it is rather difficult to find the ears through all the hair.
While most keep long haired Shih Tzu if you want to keep the dog as a family pet and not a showpiece, then a short (or puppy cut) cut is perfectly acceptable and will even save you time and money on grooming.
A Shih Tzu of a Different Color
As you look through Shih Tzu pictures you may notice that sometimes the description of the coat does not always match what is featured in the photo.
The coat of a Shih Tzu does change over the course of the dog’s life and even over the course of the seasons. These coat variations lead to the different types of Shih Tzu.
Also keep in mind that like human hair Shih Tzu coats come in different vibrancy and shades. A red Shih Tzu could be the color of strawberries to a burnt copper yet still is considered red. And of course that red coat might change and create a red and white Shih Tzu.
A Note about Pigments in Shih Tzu Breeds
So, what determines the color of Shih Tzu breeds?
It is the pigmentation that is found in the nose and paws that determines if the dog is blue or red or even liver. It is common to bring home a white Shih Tzu only to have him develop into a brindle Shih Tzu over the course of just a few months.
This is important to remember especially if you want a certain color coat.
Since the color of the Shih Tzu is dependent not upon the coat but the pigment in the nose this may lead to a certain amount of confusion. Especially if you consider that a brindle Shih Tzu might be considered a blue Shih Tzu even though the coat clearly shows browns and whites!
A reputable breeder will offer up this point of interest voluntarily along with the fact that the coat colors can and do change. They do this to make sure that three months down the line you are not terribly confused to find that your once gold Shih Tzu is now a liver and white Shih Tzu.
Now, it is safe to say that black Shih Tzu puppies will stay black as long as they have the black pigmentation. There is a chance that that black may fade over time but a few grey hairs never killed anyone.
The different pigments include black, liver, and blue. Chocolate Shih Tzu puppies usually have liver pigments while a brown Shih Tzu will often have black pigments. Brown and white Shih Tzu may have a liver nose or a black nose.
If you want a particular color Shih Tzu ask the breeder what color the parents are as this might lead to an idea of the end result of your puppy. This is not always guaranteed and you must understand that just because the coat color changes your Shih Tzu is still the same loving dog.
What about Teacup Shih Tzu Puppies?
Toy Shih Tzu are an established breed standard as they belong to the group of the same name. This means that they are small and bred for companionship. There are breeders that offer an even smaller size calling them Imperial Shih Tzu puppies or sometimes teacup Shih Tzu puppies.
As you search for a Shih Tzu make sure that the breeder is reputable and that the methods they use to breed the teacup size are ethical and safe.
The Shih Tzu breed makes for a fantastic pet and is available in an array of colors. Many sport masks or saddle pattern like the red and white Shih Tzus or come in solid colors like white, cream, or black.
No matter what size or color you decide upon, the different Shih Tzu breeds all share the gentle and fun attitude that makes this dog a beloved friend.