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Painted Shih Tzu Dogs


Dyeing a dog's coat is a recent trend, seen in some countries more than others. This is also referred to a painting a dog. It's important to note that this is not actually 'painting'; it is usually a temporary process of dyeing the hairs of the coat certain colors for a fanciful look. 

Typically, this is done to dog breeds like the Shih Tzu that have hair as opposed to fur since coats of hair are more porous and without guard hairs that would repel the coloring. And, it works best with dogs that have light colored coats. 

The most painted breed is the Poodle. However, dog coat coloring products can be used on a Shih Tzu or just about any other breed. 

Is Painting a Shih Tzu Safe?

It really depends on what is used to paint a Shih Tzu.

Human hair coloring should never be used. This could cause serious reactions to the dog including skin burns, and may permanently damage the coat. 

In addition, bleach or other hair lightening formulas would be a very dangerous dyeing product to use and should be avoided as well. 

Even with dyes deemed safe, dogs that have shown past health issues with their skin and/or coat should not be dyed, as any substance would increase the odds of some type of reaction. 
The dog should not be dyed if there are any open sores, dry skin issues, fur loss issues, or any other health concern regarding the dog's skin or coat both past or present.

Is it Okay to Dye a Dog? 

If quality, temporary products are used on a Shih Tzu with healthy skin and coat, painting could be done. However, it's not clear if a puppy or dog would appreciate the change. 

In an impromptu poll of 135 site Members, we found that 71% opposed painting a Shih Tzu and 29% did not find it to be an issue.
Pro reasoning:

When we asked owners about either having dyed a Shih Tzu before or not finding fault with the idea, many focused on the aspect of it being a harmless, fun way to temporarily change a dog's appearance. 

Those that had considered painting their Shih Tzu or did not oppose the idea compared it to dressing a dog up in clothes or it being akin to humans getting a new hair style.

This said, we've yet to have a Member share photos of a painted Shih Tzu; so, even if some believe there's no harm, it would seem that very few have actually done so; and this is not surprising. Shih Tzu's have such beautiful coloring (why change it or cover it up?) and most have coat patterns that are not ideal for dyes or paints. 

Con reasoning:

Those that would never paint their Shih Tzu or felt that it should not be done, cited that they'd be worried it could damage the coat or stated that maybe it could make a dog feel self-conscious.

While there is no method of knowing if a dog is aware that their coat is a new color (especially in cases of painting the coat a very muted pastel color), there is anecdotal evidence of some dogs seeming to be bothered by it. 

After being painted, a dog may have a change in behavior including acting shy or timid in public; though, this could just be attributed to the increase in attention that a painted dog often draws. 

Areas of the Body that are Painted

The sky is really the limit here. A dog can be painted over his entire body (except for the face) or just certain areas. Dyeing just the ears is a popular trend for those that have done this, as is doing just the tail. 

Only painting defined areas such as the ears or tails may be a good choice for those that really want to dye their Shih Tzu but are not sure how the dog would react or are unsure how the paint would look. 

Methods of Painting a Shih Tzu's Coat

This can be done at home or by a professional groomer.

There are some people who use homemade methods of Kool-Aid or vegetable coloring to dye their dog's coat. These methods are not very exact and in some cases the colors can come out rather muted and faded or with streaks. 

This said, with enough experimentation and patience, some dogs (mostly Poodles) have been magnificently painted in this way. 

There are also dog hair dye pens. With these, you run the side of the 'marker' along the hair. It can take quite a while to do depending on the desired color intensity and how big of an area is being done, and the color usually lasts about 2 days. 

There are also canine hair dye gels, which come in a range of bright colors including pink, blue, red, silver, black, and purple. These are less messy than liquids but can really stain hands, so gloves need to be worn when painting a dog. 

These colors fade rather quickly as well. It can last 1 to 3 days and usually can be completely removed with just one bath. 

Alternatives to Painting the Coat

If you really want to paint your Shih Tzu, we don't want to deter you; just be sure to use good products, start with a small area, and only proceed if your dog doesn't seem to mind.

Though, if you were only considering using dye because you want to do something to make your Shih Tzu look unique, you can experiment with different hair styles or add a cute accessory to your puppy or dog. 
You can add an adorable bow or hair clip to a boy or girl Shih Tzu, place some cute clothing on your Shih Tzu like shirts, vests, or dresses, or even add a sharp-looking collar-tie. 
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