Tri colored dogs, as you may have inferred from the term, means that the coat holds 3 colors. When you have a breed like the Shih Tzu that can be found in so many different colors, this makes for almost endless possible combinations.
Here are a few helpful facts:
1) Some tri color combinations have their own AKC color code. They are as follows:
Black, Gold & Silver 235
Black, Gold & White 310
Black, White & Silver 033
Silver, Gold & White 188
All 4 are alternative colors (non-standard). Just because a color is listed first does not mean that it appears more than another. For example, one tri color black, gold & silver Shih Tzu may have 20% black
and another may have 80% black.
A Shih Tzu may be a double color (i.e. red and gold) and have a marking (i.e. tan markings) which also gives you a dog with 3 colors.
The official markings of this breed are as follows:
Black Markings 002
Black Mask 004
Tan Markings 012
White Markings 014
The first 3 are standard, white markings is an alternative marking.
Though only 4 tri-colors have a color code, this does not mean that these are the only choices.
Per the AKC breed standard, any
colors and markings are permissible (and are to be considered equally; meaning that no color is seen as more preferably over another). Therefore, the possibilities are just about endless.
4) It is common for white to appear in a tri color coat on a Shih Tzu.
You will quite often see white
along with 2 other colors;it is much more rare to see, for example, a black, tan, gold or the standard official black, gold, silver. 5) Brindle can be a 1 'color' of a tri coat; however, this brings about much more than just 3 colors because brindle is a pattern of striping. Therefore, a brindle, white, tan will have brindle (perhaps gray, brown and black) along with white and tan resulting in a coat of 5 colors. 6) Tri color may come in or fade away.
Since this breed often goes through quite remarkable color changes
, a Shih Tzu may be born with just 2 colors showing and mature into a tri-color.
Or, just the opposite may happen; a Shih Tzu puppy may have a coat that shows 3 colors but as the pup grows one color may fade away leaving just a parti coat.
7) For all canines in general
, tri color typically refers to a black and white coat
with tan points or patches.
8) There are quite a few other breeds that can be found with tri coats, including the Pomeranian, Brazilian Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua and English Bulldog to name just a few. This includes both the 'traditional' tri colors and those of any colors.