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Liver

Liver Colored Shih Tzu

liver shih tzu with pink nose
Kooper, at 2 years old; Photo courtesy of Cheryl 
Overview

Liver is a very interesting color that can be found with the Shih Tzu breed. Here are some interesting and helpful facts about livers:
  • This is an accepted AKC color. The color is standard (not alternate) with liver being S 123 and liver and white being S 125
  • Liver refers to skin pigmentation. It most often appears as a brown sometimes with a pinkish tone. 
  • No matter what color a Shih Tzu's coat is, if his skin points (nose, eye rims, lips and paw pads) are liver, he is a liver. 
  • With many Shih Tzu, it is the nose that will be the most obvious area to notice that liver color
  • Though the coat of a liver Shih Tzu can be almost any color, most often it will be shades of browns and golds; this can range from very light cream all the way to a deep dark chocolate. 
  • Some colors such as black will never be seen with a liver nose.
  • If a breeder is inexperienced, a pup may be registered incorrectly. For example, if a Shih Tzu has a gold and white coat but a brown nose, he should be registered as a liver; if one did not know to do this, he could be registered as a gold and white; though this would indeed be his coat coloring, the designation would be incorrect. 
  • Liver is found with other breeds including Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels and Dalmatians, though sometimes it goes by a different name; such as 'beaver' with the Pomeranian breed. 
  • In regard to color genes, liver occurs on the B locus. 
  • A Shih Tzu that is outwardly liver will be a bb. 
  • A Shih Tzu can carry, but not show liver. If a Shih Tzu only carries liver, he is a b (not bb) and if he does not carry liver he is a B (black), or more specifically, a Bb. 
  • Liver is recessive to black. This means that in order for a Shih Tzu to be liver one of the following three scenarios must occur: 1)Both parents are liver 2) One parent is liver and the other is a carrier or 3) both parents are carriers.  This means a livers can be produced by a sire and dam that do not appear to be liver at all. 
  • If dogs carrying liver mate, the resulting litter may consist of both black and liver pigmented pups. For example, if both sire and dam are Bb or bB (black is dominant, the dogs will have black skin points (B) but carry liver (b), this may produce some pups with bb (liver) and some with Bb (black but carrying liver).
  • The liver allele affects the B gene (black) and turns all areas of the coat that would otherwise be black, to liver. Since this is an 'all or nothing' process, liver dogs genetically cannot have even 1 black hair.
  • If a Shih Tzu has liver type colors in the coat, this does not classify the dog as a liver. Colors such as beige, gold, all shades of tan and browns can appear in non-liver dogs.
Liver Shih Tzu - There are liver colors in the coat and the nose is liver.
nugget-liver-shih-tzu-cream coa
Nugget, Photo courtesy of C. Veasey, Panama City Florida
Not a liver - There are liver type colors in the coat, but the nose is black
liver colors but black nose on Shih Tzu
Eva, at 1 year old
Photo courtesy of Andie & Bob Kosko
  • Though liver is often referred to as a dilute gene (and in a way it is since the black is diluted down to a liver), technically, it is a variation of the eumelanin (black pigmentation). Dilution is due to a completely separate loci and is responsible for creating blues (diluted black). 
  • Though the Shih Tzu breed should have dark eyes per the AKC standard, lighter eyes with livers and blues is deemed correct. This is referred to as self-coloring. Sometimes the liver can affect eye color, making dark brown eyes into a lighter brown, amber, hazel or green which are all beautiful.
  • There are no particular skin or coat conditions that are seen more in liver Shih Tzu than other colors. It is simply a skin color and is not connected to health or any elements regarding being predisposed to conditions. 
Now that we've learned about liver, let's take a look at some more gorgeous liver Shih Tzu to see how varied liver can be with this breed. 
liver brown shih tzu
This liver Shih Tzu has a full chocolate brown coat with a tint of red.
Misty,Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hammond & Steve Vienneau
liver colored Shih Tzu with brown nose
This Shih Tzu has lovely brown hairs on the cheeks and ears. 
Vivienne Grace, at 9 months old
Photo courtesy Meg
brown-shih-tzu-in-car
This little cutie is has a soft brown coat with dark liver nose. 
Bama's Jaxon Tide
Photo courtesy of Tami Ingram
liver shih tzu dog, brown nose
Look at this rich brown in contrast to the crisp white.
Zoey, at 16 months old
Photo courtesy of Tammy Barber
close up of liver colored shih tzu
A wonderful close-up showing a perfect liver nose and how this matches the soft beige of the coat.
Leo Biga, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Monica Hernandez 
brown-changing-to-tan-shihtzu
A great example of a liver Shih Tzu; it's interesting to note that this Tzu had a chocolate brown coat when a young pup and it  has lightended dramatically.
Dierks, at 8 months old
Photo courtesy of Katie  
very-dark-liver
Though rare yet just as lovely, there can be a very dark liver such as with this princess with green eyes.
 Sophie, 1 year old
Photo courtesy of Donna Kirkpatrick
close up of liver colored shih tzu
 A beautiful liver and white Shih Tzu with green eyes.
Barock, 3 years old
Photo courtesy of Theresa Owens
liver colored shih tzu with eye patch
Look at the adorable way that color falls on this liver and white Shih Tzu, with a liver eye patch.
 Gizmo, 4 years old
Photo courtesy of Wendy
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