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.
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.