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Brindle Shih Tzu


While the Shih Tzu can be found in a wide range of colors, both solid, double, and tri, one of the most interesting colors is brindle. 
Jenson, at 13 months old
Photo courtesy of Claire Clark
This is a standard color, code S 057; brindle and white is also standard with code S 059. 

It is not unusual for owners of brindle Shih Tzu to be a bit confused about the term.

Luckily, we have so many lovely Members of the site, that we are able to show you some wonderful examples of brindle Shih Tzu puppies and dogs. 

We'll talk about the important elements of brindle and then take a look at some cute photos.

What is a Brindle Shih Tzu?

Here are some facts to know:
  • Brindle itself is not a color. It refers to a certain pattern in which color falls on the coat.
  • The pattern of brindle is a striping effect.
  • The colors that make up brindle on a Shih Tzu include golds, browns, grays and black.
  • Brindle may be 'loose'; this means that stripes will be spaced apart or it may be 'tight', which means that the stripes are very close together.
  • Brindle may be light or heavy; light brindling allows for color underneath to show through; with heavy brindling you will not see any other color.
  • Brindle may appear over a Shih Tzu's entire body (very rare) or will appear as patches on certain areas of the body, such as the head and/or down the back (much more common).
  • Unless there is liver or blue in the coat, brindle Shih Tzu dogs will have black noses and points (eye rims, lips and paw pads).
  • Brindle color can change the Shih Tzu matures. What you see when you have a brindle puppy will most likely not be what you'll see when your dog is an adult. Brindle may fade off as the adult coat comes in or it may come in heavier.
  • Brindle can be seen on other dogs breeds such as the Boxer and Boston Terrier and is also seen on other animals including horses and Guinea pigs.
  • Brindle is a K locus recessive gene, however the extent of the brindling (light or heavy) will depend on the A locus gene.
  • Some brindle Shih Tzu dogs also carry a graying gene; for those that do, darker hairs can transition to gray starting at 7 years and progressively from that point on. 

Examples of Brindle Shih Tzu

Here, we'll take a look at all of the beautiful ways in which brindle can be expressed on this breed. 
Heavy, tight brindle - With this Shih Tzu, brindle covers the entire body from head to paw and the stripes are tight together. 
Ake, at 18 months old
Photo courtesy of Johanna
white and brindle shih tzu, sisters
Partial brindle - With these siblings, brindle falls primarily on the head and back; the chest is relevantly solid. It frames the faces so nicely. 
Macy and Bailey (sisters)
Photo courtesy of Kathy Lugo
example-of-brindle-shih-tzu -
Moderate brindle, moderate tight - Brindle covers most of the body; there is a small white patch on the chest and legs; brindle is a bit looser on the front legs. 
Rugby, at 4 years old
Photo courtesy of The Funkhouser Family
brindle shih tzu puppy
Loose brindle - The striping effect is dark, yet the bands of color are loose, allowing for white bands as well. Very cute!
Captain Jack Swan, at 3 months old
Photo courtesy of Madison Swan
Dark brindle - This is rare and quite lovely. The brindle is very dark and very tight. You can see thin stripes over the head; the back is super tight. 
Bella, at 8 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Melissa Cain
shih-tzu-brindle-head, puppy cut
White with brindle - The puppy cut on this Shih Tzu allows us to see how brindle runs through the hairs. Stitch, at 5 year old
Photo courtesy of Christine E.
Dino, Photo courtesy of Diana Ferrucci 

Brindle Care Tips

1) If you have a heavily brindled Shih Tzu the coat will be exceptionally tricky at hiding dirt and debris; it is practically camouflage for dogs. So, do be sure to still follow grooming guidelines of bathing your Shih Tzu once every 3 weeks, even if the coat looks clean. 

2) Brindle is also sneaky in regard to hiding issues such as split ends. And while this will can make the coat appear to be nice and healthy, less-than-ideal hairs may actually be throughout the coat. 

Even if unseen on a brindle, dry, split or unhealthy hairs should be resolved. So, be sure to always use the best shampoo for your Shih Tzu, taking care to follow up with a great conditioner and a leave-in for in between bath protection.

Example of How Brindle Can Change

Little Maggie here is a brindle Shih Tzu. 

The 1st photo (below on mobile) shows her at 8 weeks old. As you can see, she had heavy brindling. The second photo shows her at 6 and 1/2 months old, right after a haircut. Most of the darker areas have transitioned to soft, beautiful gray. 
brindle as shih tzu puppy
Photos courtesy of Linda Kirkham 
brindle as adult shih tzu
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