What is the rarest color of Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are extremely popular dogs, and it’s not hard to see why: They’re small and beautiful and have a fierceness that belies their diminutive stature.

One of the most striking things about these dogs is their gorgeous coats. They have a thick, flowing double coat that can be endlessly styled — and it comes in just about any color you can imagine.

Their coats can come in one, two, or even three different colors, and they’re found in a variety of patterns as well. While we don’t have the space to list every single color combination you’ll find on these adorable little pups, we’ve taken a closer look at the more distinctive options. Join us as we discuss the most common Shih Tzu colors.

Shih Tzu Colors

The 10 Common Shih Tzu Colors

1. Solid Black Shih Tzu

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Any solid color on a Shih Tzu is rare, but black is the most commonly-seen monochromatic option. However, you’ll typically see mostly black dogs, with small splotches of color elsewhere. We love the black Shih Tzu!

2. Solid White Shih Tzu

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It’s even rarer to find a completely white Shih Tzu than a black one, but they do exist. Most of the time, other colors will creep in, and white is a common shade on multi-colored dogs.

The nose will still be black on a white Shih Tzu, though, and it will stick out like a little lump of charcoal on a snowman.

3. Solid Blue Shih Tzu

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Blue Shih Tzus look gray or charcoal most of the time, but if seen in the right light, they’ll give off a brilliant blue shimmer.

The blue color is actually just a diluted black, and it occurs when the pup has something known as “the dilution gene.”

4. Solid Red Shih Tzu

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While technically considered red, these Shih Tzus actually look orange in most light. You’ll be forgiven if you mistake them for a small pumpkin.

Red is more common in Shih Tzu puppies than full-grown adults, as the dogs usually grow out of it as they mature.

5. Silver Shih Tzu

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These Shih Tzus look like white ones, but they do have a slight silvery sheen to them. Don’t worry, though — they can get just as dirty as their white counterparts.

6. Gold Shih Tzu

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Although gold is commonly found on multi-colored dogs, it’s rare to find a solid gold Shih Tzu.

The color usually starts vivid and shiny, but it often fades to a soft yellow as the dog grows up.

7. Liver Shih Tzu

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Liver Shih Tzus are sometimes called “chocolate,” and while they’re largely brown, they’re usually not exclusively so. You’ll often find white patches on the chest and possibly elsewhere.

The “liver” doesn’t actually refer to the coat color, but the color of the dog’s skin at their points (such as the nose, lips, and paw pads).

8. Brindle Shih Tzu

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A brindle dog will have a solid base coat that’s streaked through with another color. Those two colors could be just about anything, so it’s not uncommon to see all manner of brindle Shih Tzus. You might see a black and brown Shih Tzu with the brindle pattern.

9. Double Colored Shih Tzu

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Double-colored Shih Tzus have two primary hues, but one of those will usually be white. You could find a red and white Shih Tzu, amongst other mixes.

Black is the most common counterpart to the white fur, but you’ll find any of the above colors (including brindle) mixed in as well.

10. Tricolored Shih Tzu

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Tri-colored Shih Tzus are fairly rare and easy to overlook, as the third shade is often faint.

White is almost always included as one of the colors in the combination, but black and gold are frequently seen as well.

What About Shih Tzu Coat Patterns?

While Shih Tzus can come in a wide array of colors, those markings will be arranged in one of the following five patterns.

1. Collar or Shawl

This is when the dog has a solid base coat over much of their body, but with a different color (usually white) going around their neck.

This makes the dog look like they’re wearing a cute little shawl.

2. Blaze

These dogs have a streak of white that runs right between their eyes. It may extend down the neck or even the back, but it will always split their eyes down the middle.

3. Flare

The flare pattern is similar to the blaze, except the patch of white widens as it reaches the top of the dog’s head. It can then take over parts of the neck and back.

4. Tuxedo

Tuxedo dogs are one solid color, with a patch of white on the chest and sometimes the feet. It makes the dog look like it’s wearing — you guessed it — a tuxedo.

Don’t let the formal dress fool you, though, as these dogs rarely understand how to behave at black-tie events.

5. Saddle

Saddle markings look like a patch of color, usually white, that sits on top of the dog’s back like a horse’s saddle.

A Brief History of Shih Tzus

The Shih Tzu originated somewhere in Asia, most likely Tibet, although it’s not known exactly where or when they first showed up. One theory holds that they resulted from crossing Lhasa Apsos with Pekingese.

Regardless of where they first came from, they became favorites of the Chinese royal family toward the end of the 17th century. Those royals refused to part with these dogs under any circumstances, which often frustrated their Western trade partners.

They wouldn’t make their way out of China until 1930, when the first pair landed in England. It’s a good thing, too, as they went extinct in the country after the Communist revolution.

After World War II, many American service members traveled home with Shih Tzus in tow, which helped popularize them in the United States. They certainly caught on like wildfire after the 1950s, as they’re now one of the most commonly-owned dogs in America.

Glamorous Little Companions: Shih Tzu Colors

While Shih Tzus may not be suited for hard labor, their stunning coats make them the perfect accessory for stylish owners. Those coats can be found in a wide array of colors, so each dog looks unique and distinctive.

They do need quite a bit of grooming, but their beauty makes all that hard work worthwhile. The only question that remains is whether you’re comfortable having a dog that will upstage you at every opportunity.

Featured Image Credit: TerriAnneAllen, Pixabay


  • Shih Tzu Colors
  • The 10 Common Shih Tzu Colors
    • 1. Solid Black Shih Tzu
    • 2. Solid White Shih Tzu
    • 3. Solid Blue Shih Tzu
    • 4. Solid Red Shih Tzu
    • 5. Silver Shih Tzu
    • 6. Gold Shih Tzu
    • 7. Liver Shih Tzu
    • 8. Brindle Shih Tzu
    • 9. Double Colored Shih Tzu
    • 10. Tricolored Shih Tzu
  • What About Shih Tzu Coat Patterns?
    • 1. Collar or Shawl
    • 2. Blaze
    • 3. Flare
    • 4. Tuxedo
    • 5. Saddle
  • A Brief History of Shih Tzus
  • Glamorous Little Companions: Shih Tzu Colors

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Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she holds close to her heart. With a degree in Education and a love for writing, Nicole aims to share her and others' expert knowledge with pet lovers worldwide with Hepper.

Tri-Color Combinations Interesting enough, this is probably the most common kind of Shih Tzu. Here are the color combinations as recognized by the AKC. The most common combination would be the black, gold, and white color combination.

Is a liver Shih Tzu rare?

The liver Shih Tzu is a beautiful and rare coat color. You won't find this dog everywhere, but you will fall in love once you see them.

Are solid black Shih Tzus rare?

A solid black Shih Tzu is very rare; there is usually a white marking somewhere (and often on the chest); however, full black coloring does exist. Black Shih Tzu dogs always have black pigmented noses.

Are all white Shih Tzu puppies rare?

When you have a dog breed that can be found in a wide range of colors, it is exceedingly rare to not only find a solid dog, but also find one that is fully white, since white is recessive to other colors. For these reasons, solid white Shih Tzu are not seen very often and are considered to be rare.