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Brown Shih Tzu & Black Shih Tzu


We have placed both of these colors in this section for two reasons. 1) brown is most often (but not always) liver and 2) solid black Shih Tzu are very rare. 

Interesting Facts About Brown Shih Tzu

This is sometimes referred to as chocolate.

There is no color code for a brown Shih Tzu. Brown Shih Tzu dogs are actually not technically brown (see next point).

Solid brown coated Shih Tzu are in most cases, liver.  Liver is refers to when the pigmentation of skin points (nose, eye rims, lips, paw pads) are liver. So, though your eyes are seeing a brown coat, the dog is not officially registered that way. 

If a Shih Tzu is brown and white (parti; two colors), if the nose is any shade of brown, the dog is a liver and white.

If the nose is black, a brown and white Shih Tzu may actually be a red and white, brindle and white, gold and white or another combination.

If a Shih Tzu puppy is born solid brown, in some cases, his coat will change as he matures. Many times, it will lighten.

A Shih Tzu that is light brown or even a color close to black may mature into having a darker brown coat. 

Classifying Shih Tzu with brown coats must be done with photos, so let's jump into that next:

Brown and White

These two Shih Tzu have, what may appear to be at first glance, brown and white coats. However, lets look at each:
This beautiful Shih Tzu is is red and white (S 146). Notice how the 'brown' hairs are quite shiny and could be referred to as a rust color. 
brown and white Shih Tzu
Molly, at 9 months
Photo courtesy of Georgina 
This little cutie does have a chocolate brown color that transitions into a black against a crisp white base. Since the nose is black, this is not a liver, but a tri-coat. 
Zeus, at 6 months old
Photo courtesy of Alexandra

Solid Brown Shih Tzu 

These two Shih Tzu do indeed have full, solid brown coats. There is no arguing on that fact. However, since the nose is also brown, this makes both of these livers. 
This little one's coat is a shiny brown with a hint of red; notice how his nose matches the coat.
liver brown shih tzu
Misty,Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hammond & Steve Vienneau
This cutie has a beautiful chocolate brown coat and matching nose. However, this was his puppy color. When he matured, there was a dramatic change and his hairs turned much lighter. 
brown shih tzu puppy
Dierks, at 8 months old, Photo courtesy of Katie 
This is another great example of how the coat appears and is a beautiful brown and since the nose matches (also referred to as self-coloring), it classifies this Shih Tzu as a liver. 
Bama's Jaxon Tide; Photo courtesy of Tami Ingram

Interesting Facts About Black Shih Tzu

This is a standard Shih Tzu color, code S 007. 

It is exceedingly rare for a Shih Tzu to be a full solid black. In many cases there will be a secondary color of tan (S 012) or white (A 014) which gives us the incredible black and white, or even two other colors making the dog a tri (black, gold, silver A 235, etc.)

Black Shih Tzu dogs will always have black noses and other skin pigmentation (eye rims, paw pads, lips).

Black is dependent on the K locus. A black Shih Tzu will be a K allele, a non-black will be a k allele and a brindle that involves black will be a kbr. 

Black Shih Tzu puppies may fade as they mature; it is not uncommon for a black pup to transition to sliver. 

Sun exposure can alter black coloring, particularly in the summer when the sun is strong; it can cause a 'sun burning' effect in which the hairs develop red or rust color highlights. This can be corrected with a black coat color enhancing shampoo and prevented by spritzing the coat with a quality leave in conditioner. 

Let's take a look at some examples of solid black Shih Tzu dogs:
With both of these little cutie pies below, you'll see that they are similar. The coat is essentially a solid black and there is a touch of brown/red on the mustache. 
solid black shih tzu-male-03.
Photo #1: Min Su, at 18 months old
Photo courtesy of Ron Hamilton
Photo #2: Joey Baggadoughnuts
Photo courtesy of David Small
black shih tzu-touch of brown
These next 3 Shih Tzu also come very close to being fully, solid black... 
This Shih Tzu has just a teeny tiny patch of white on his chest.
Benji, 10 years old, photo courtesy of Elizabeth Grimm
Though the lighting makes it appear as if there may be some lighter hue on the front of the legs, this little guy is 100% solid black.
Marco, 2 years old; Photo courtesy of Danny Sansevieri
And this little girl is a dark shiny black with a small patch of white on her beard.
Precious, 8 years old
Photo courtesy of Danny Sansevieri
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Choosing the Right Shampoo for a Shih Tzu - One of the most important elements that affects how your Shih Tzu looks and that determines future coat health are the products that you use on the coat. 
Treating and Preventing Dry Noses - Always a concern in the winter but also a problem for some Shih Tzu year round, is the issue of dry, peeling and/or cracked noses.
White Shih Tzu - Like black, it is rare yet possible to see a solid coat; though in many cases there will be secondary colors. 
Fun things to do with your Shih Tzu - Stuck in a rut? Try something new to help keep your dog engaged. 
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