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Tri Color

Tri Color Shih Tzu


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.

Helpful Tri Color 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. 

2) 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.

3) 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. 

Examples of Tri Color Shih Tzu

Now that we've gone over some facts about tri colored Shih Tzu dogs, it's time to look at some adorable photos of puppies and adults that have this coloring:
We just have to start this off with the littlest of the bunch: these gorgeous tri-color newborns. Look at these marvelous colors in blended patches across the coat. And you'll notice that the white surrounds the muzzle, moves in between the eyes and then widens up over the forehead, which is known as a flare (if the white stripe stayed narrow, it would be a 'blaze'). 
Newborns, photo courtesy of Ruth Quinones
Here are a variety of tri color Shih Tzu puppies and adults. As you'll see, the patterns are endless and the color will never fall exactly the same way on any two dogs. 
Shih Tzu tri color close up
Zoey, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Tina Koehler
white, black and silver shih tzu
Photo courtesy of Drea Dooley
Tinkerbell, at 6 years old
Photo courtesy of Jamie Stokes
Tessi; Photo courtesy of 
Cat Anderson of Cutie Patootie Shih Tzu
white-tan-silver tri color shih tzu-01a
Dolly, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Karen White 
Shih tzu outside in autumn
Weston, 4 years old
Photo courtesy of owner: Angela
shih tzu tri color male with hat
Marty, at 1 year old
Photo courtesy of Marty
Puccini, at 4 months old
Photo courtesy of R. Hill
These two lovely models are Parker (green bow) and his sister Molly (pink bow); photos courtesy of Glenda Becker
tri color shih tzu female
Photo courtesy of Maxine Baena
More Information

Oh, what would we do without the lovable personality of the Tzu! However, as all Tzu owners know, this breed can be a bit challenging with particular behavioral issues, training, grooming and health care. Take a moment to see what's inside the most comprehensive Shih Tzu book that exists. Now in both print & eBook.
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