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Black Shih Tzu: The most wanted color

Black Shih Tzu: The most wanted color

Shih Tzus are adorable dogs. They are smart and loving, and make great pets! If you want to learn more about this dog then you can check out our Shih Tzu breed guide. But, in this article, we’ll focus more on one specific color, on the black Shih Tzu.

We already know that the Shih Tzu comes in various colors, but in most cases these little pups will have a long coat with many different colored markings. One solid color is pretty rare to find.

Have you ever heard of black Shih Tzus? Don’t worry if you haven’t. A completely black Shih Tzu is very rare to come across. Usually, there’s always some white mixed in.

Origins of the Shih Tzu breed

The Shih Tzu has a long history that is shrouded in mystery and dispute. According to recent research, the Shih Tzu is one of the 14 oldest dog breeds, and dog bones discovered in China show that canines existed as early as 8,000 B.C.

Some people claim the species was created by Tibetan monks and handed to Chinese rulers as a gift. The Shih Tzu is also thought to have been created in China by mixing various breeds with the Lhasa Apso or Pekingnese. Regardless of where the Shih Tzu originated—Tibet or China—it is certain that the Shih Tzu has always been a beloved companion.

Marco Polo said that Mongolian Emperor Kubla Khan kept little “lion” dogs with trained hunting lions in the 13th century, not as prey, but to keep the lions calm. Some speculate that these dogs were Shih Tzus.

Chinese royal families had Shih Tzu-type dogs throughout the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and the “small lion dogs” were recorded in various texts from that time period. They were said to be little, clever, and peaceful dogs that looked a lot like lions.

After a royal concubine became Empress of China in 1861, the Shih Tzu gained popularity in the Imperial Court. Anyone seen tormenting palace dogs would be put to death. Poor-quality dogs were sold on the street, and good-quality pups were sometimes smuggled out of palaces and given as gifts to foreign guests or Chinese noblemen.

Maureen Murdock and her nephew, Philip Price, were the first in the United States to import and breed Shih Tzus. The American Shih Tzu Club was formed in 1963, and the American Kennel Club classified the breed as a part of the Toy Group in 1969.

Black Shih Tzu – What to know

As already mentioned, Shih Tzu dogs are popular because of their size and personality. Despite being so small, they are very active and fun to be around. Besides this, they are affectionate and get along great with everyone.

Shih Tzus come in many different colors, but generally speaking two-colored Shih Tzus, and tri- are the most common. Coat colors you can find in this breed are:

  • black
  • blue
  • brindle
  • gold
  • liver
  • red
  • silver
  • white

As well as combinations of any of those colors plus white, as well as:

  • black gold and silver
  • black gold and white

But, for now, we’ll only focus on the black Shih Tzu!

READ HERE ABOUT Black And White Shih Tzu

What they look like

Black Shih Tzus are recognized as purebreds. But, the condition is that there is absolutely no streak of another pigment in their coat. Only that can they be registered as a black Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzus that are completely black is known to be a bit taller than other Shih Tzus, which are between 8 and 11 inches tall. There is no standard of how much taller, but it’s usually just a couple of inches. They also have a sturdy stance, almost as if they are proud, and their head is a bit bigger.

These dogs have big and round eyes that are dark in color. Their noses are also black and a bit snub.

The tail of the black Shih Tzu is curled over their back and their fur is usually very long and straight. Their coat will continue to grow if you don’t cut it. They are also hypoallergenic, which means they won’t cause allergic reactions in humans that are allergic to dog hair.

Where does the black comes from?

The color of a dog’s coat is determined purely by heredity. In dogs, there are two types of pigments: “eumelanin” and “pheomelanin.” Pheomelanin colors range from cream to red, whereas eumelanin colors include black, lilac, chocolate, and blue.

A dog’s fundamental color can now be either a solid eumelanin coat or a non-solid coat with various markings. The K locus, which has three alleles, is responsible for these markings.

The letters Kb stand for dominant black, kbr for brindle, and ky for recessive non-black. Solid black canines will have a Kb ky or Kb Kb allele, which may sound complicated.

Do black Shih Tzu change color?

Another issue with black Shih Tzu is the color shift. Many Shih Tzu owners will feel deceived if their puppy turns out to be a completely different hue. This is particularly true of black Shih Tzu dogs, since even the tiniest color shift will be noticeable on a pure black coat.

Shih Tzus are recognized for their ability to change colors. With the exception of the black and white color combination, all Shih Tzu hues are likely to alter throughout time. In Shih Tzus, there are two types of color changes: fading hair, graying hair.

A particular G gene is responsible for fading. The coat color of the dog fades over time due to this mutation. Fortunately, this fading is generally apparent in small puppies, and it should finish before the dog turns one year old.

A particular Chinchilla gene causes graying. It will not fade the color, but rather convert it into a rich, silver hue. While this may mean you won’t get the exact color puppy you want, there’s no reason to be disappointed.

Environmental variables such as stress, inappropriate dog food, and sun exposure are all thought to exacerbate the color shift. Even if you want a show dog, you should know that the AKC recognizes all Shih Tzu colors and accepts them at confirmation events.

Is the black Shih Tzu rare?

This may come as a surprise to you, as black Shih Tzus may be found almost anywhere, even your own neighborhood. There is, however, a catch that does indeed make them rare dogs.

To be classified a black Shih Tzu, a dog’s coat must be completely black, with no strands of any other color. The majority of Shih Tzus you encounter have at least a tiny section of their coat that is grey, white, or even brown. This indicates they aren’t completely black.

True, there are a variety of Shih Tzu hues and designs that include black. A black and white Shih Tzu, for example, a parti black Shih Tzu, a Shih Tzu with a black mask or other forms of black markings, tricolor Shih Tzus, and so on are all possible. Even though the base color is black and the dog is mostly black, even the tiniest white marking will classify the dog as a black and white Shih Tzu rather than a black Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzus with solid colors are a rare find on their own. It’s unusual to see a white Shih Tzu dog, or a solid brown color for example. Solid black, on the other hand, may be the most scarce for another reason. Not just on the dog’s coat, but also on his skin, the black pigment must be prominent. Eye rims, lips, paw pads, and other exposed skin areas of your Shih Tzu should all be black. They should also have dark brown eyes with beady pupils and a black nose.

If any of these parts aren’t black, your Shih Tzu isn’t a black Shih Tzu. Even a brindle black Shih Tzu is not considered a real black dog per the breed standard.


Every dog breed serves a certain purpose. The Shih Tzu’s original function was to be a companion, and that’s exactly what they want to be. They only want to be with you. As a result, don’t expect them to hunt, guard, or retrieve anything; it’s not their way.

Their dominating quality is affection, and your lap is their preferred destination. They enjoy being with their family and providing and getting attention. However, the Shih Tzu isn’t a complete couch potato. They’re vigilant and active, and they may bark at visitors. Don’t worry; they’ll make friends with your visitors the moment they enter.

Shih Tzu is not a hunting dog, guard dog, or watchdog. Shih Tzu is a lap dog and is extremely good at it. These dogs are playful, affectionate, outgoing, gentle, intelligent, and friendly. They are also great with kids and love to meet and greet strangers.

The Shih Tzu makes an excellent family pet. They get along with other dogs and animals, and their calm demeanor makes them a terrific kid’s companion.

To avoid carrying and dropping a Shih Tzu puppy, children should sit on the floor while playing with them. Children should also learn to keep their fingers away from Shih Tzu’s large, potentially harmed eyes.


The black Shih Tzu coat is long and silky, so don’t expect a low-maintenance breed. To avoid tangles, daily brushing and combing are required, as is frequent bathing—as often as once a week. You could also groom their coat at a professional groomer to be short, but that would take from their iconic look.

If you groom your Shih Tzu yourself, begin during puppyhood and make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both you and your Shih Tzu. After all, you’ll be doing this frequently. The Shih Tzu coat transitions from puppy fluff to a silky mature coat around the age of ten to twelve months. During this stage, the coat will most likely mat faster than you can brush it. This is a transient situation that will last roughly three months. Brushing becomes easier once the adult coat has fully developed.

Because their nails grow quickly, you’ll need to clip them every two to four weeks or whenever you hear them tapping on the floor. If you are not sure how to do that, leave it to a professional dog groomer.

You should also examine your dog’s ears once a week to prevent wax or other debris from building up, which can lead to ear infections. Cleaning the ears with a cleaning solution and a few cotton balls is pretty easy as well. You can read all about that here.

To prevent plaque and tartar buildup, veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth anywhere from three times a week to every day. Periodontal disease can result in tooth loss as well as more significant complications such as heart disease. In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth at home, take him to the vet for expert dental cleanings once a year.

Health Concerns for Black Shih Tzus

When it comes to health, every dog owner should be aware of the hazards associated with their particular dog breed. These canines live for 10 to 16 years and live a generally healthy and happy life.

Read more Shih Tzu Life Span: How Long Do They Live?

However, there are still some concerns about their health. Several health conditions affect black Shih Tzus and the broader Shih Tzu community. One of the most common ones are definitely dental and eye problems. These small pups can suffer from various conditions in these two body areas.

And don’t think that these toy dogs can’t develop joint issues as well. Just like with many other dog breeds, hip dysplasia is a major risk. Either way, regular visits to the vet are a good choice to make sure your dog stays as healthy as possible for as long as possible. 

So let’s now talk about the most common health issues your Shih is prone to.

Most common health problems

Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes unstable as a result of both developmental and environmental factors. Dogs are prone to this bone and joint disorder. The femur does not meet the pelvic bone appropriately, causing the bones to wear out prematurely.

Later in life, your dog may develop arthritis, which can be excruciatingly painful. This ailment shows itself as a peculiar walk, shaky posture, or limping, all of which are plainly seen in your beautiful pup. To preserve your dog’s quality of life, discuss care with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Patellar Luxation

This is a condition in which the kneecap isn’t properly anchored, which makes it slip out of position and mechanically lock the leg. After a few steps, the kneecap ‘unlocks’ allowing the dog to carry on. While mild cases can be managed with pain control, some dogs will require surgery.

Dental problems

Because the Shih Tzu’s baby teeth may remain intact when the permanent teeth appear, retained baby teeth and tooth and gum disorders are common. The veterinarian may need to extract the newborn teeth on occasion. Shih Tzus can have missing or misplaced teeth as a result of their undershot jaw. Brush your puppy’s teeth on a regular basis and notify your veterinarian if you notice any dental issues, such as poor breath or loose teeth.

Diabetes Mellitus

This is a condition where the body’s blood sugar levels are uncontrollably high. A diabetic dog will eat extra food to compensate for the fact that glucose (sugar) isn’t getting into the cells to be burned for energy due to low insulin levels. Because food isn’t being used efficiently, the dog will lose weight. Excessive thirst and urination, as well as an increase in hunger and weight loss, are all symptoms of diabetes. Diet and insulin treatment can both help to manage diabetes.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye ailment that might have a negative impact on the quality of life of your dog. This usually happens later in life as a result of retinal degeneration. Retinal dysplasia is the name for the early-onset type, which is observed in puppies. This is when the retinal cells do not mature properly.

The dog becomes partially or completely blind in both cases. While the disease isn’t unpleasant, it can have a significant influence on your dog’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s alternatives, as well as what to do if he becomes blind.


Allergies to pollen, mold, and dust cause people to sneeze. Instead of sneezing, allergies in dogs produce itching. Atopy is a name used to describe a common skin allergy in these puppies. The feet, tummy, skin wrinkles, and ears are the most commonly affected locations. Symptoms normally emerge between the ages of one and three, and they can get worse as time goes on. Licking the paws, stroking the face, and recurring ear infections are the most prevalent allergy symptoms. The good news is that these diseases can be treated in a number of different ways.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye ailment that might have a negative impact on the quality of life of your dog. This usually happens later in life as a result of retinal degeneration. Retinal dysplasia is the name for the early-onset type, which is observed in puppies. This is when the retinal cells do not mature properly.

The dog becomes partially or completely blind in both cases. While the disease isn’t unpleasant, it can have a significant influence on your dog’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s alternatives, as well as what to do if he becomes blind.


In older canines, cataracts are a common cause of blindness. The lenses of his eyes become more opaque—in other words, hazy rather than clear. Many dogs adapt well to losing their vision and live happily ever after. Surgical removal of cataracts and restoration of vision may also be a possibility.

Read more Shih Tzu Hypoallergenic: True Or False?

Black Shih Tzu prices and costs

A black Shih Tzu would most likely set you back $2,000 to $4,000. However, setting a price on any dog is difficult since there are so many variables to consider, such as age, sex, color, and the reputation of the breeder.

Females, for example, are often more expensive than males because of their breeding potential. If the puppy is AKC registered, an additional $1,000 might be added to the purchase. While AKC registration may give the appearance that the puppy will be of great health and lineage, it does not ensure anything.

A pedigree is nothing more than a list of names, and registration is nothing more than a number. Anyone who pays the money can do it. Registration does not imply that the dog will be of high grade! Irresponsible breeders will do all it takes to get as much money as possible. 

Some private sellers will sell you a puppy for as little as $500, but buying from them is a significant risk. A good breeder may charge two, three, or four times the price, but the fee includes immunizations, deworming treatment, a health screening, and a health certificate. Such expenses will all add up. Your puppy’s breeder may have already begun training them, making life much easier when you take them to your home.

The key to ensuring you pay a reasonable price is to conduct extensive research before purchasing. Because black Shih Tzus are both rare and popular dogs, you may have to wait a long time if you really want one. They can’t be made on demand, and many people want one for themselves.

Should I buy a black Shih Tzu?

If you choose a solid black Shih Tzu or a different color, the question is whether these small dogs are perfect for you. To make a more informed decision, consider whether you are capable of meeting the demands that this breed requires.

In general, these canines are adaptable to a variety of living settings. They can adapt to living in an apartment if you walk them for at least 20 minutes every day. Shih Tzus are also good with youngsters and other pets.

However, due of their hair, black Shih Tzus require regular care. Despite this, black Shih Tzus are highly suggested if you’re seeking for a medium-sized dog with a charming and feisty disposition.

If you need help with finding a good breeder you can check out our articles:

  • Reputable breeders: Choosing the right one
  • Breeders near me: How to find the right
  • Puppy Scams: How To Spot Scammers?
  • How to protect yourself from a puppy scammer!
  • All the red flags: How to spot a puppy scam online

Other rare Shih Tzu Colors

Black and white Shih Tzu

Let’s also touch upon the black and white Shih Tzu. This color of Shih Tzu is also recognized by the AKC. But, they are not rare like the black Shih Tzu, in fact, they are one of the most common Shih Tzu colors.

What’s interesting about these dogs is that they are not white with black marks, but black with white marks. It doesn’t matter what the ratio of black and white is. Even if the dog is mostly white, they are still black with white spots. Of course, this is not the case with the completely white Shih Tzu dog. That’s something completely different. Solid white Shih Tzus are basically as rare as solid black Shih Tzus.

The spotting starts when the puppy is still in the womb. Usually the paws, chest, tail, muzzle, and paws will first get white spots. How much white a puppy will have is determined by genetics.

White Shih Tzu 

White Shih Tzus are almost as uncommon as pure black Shih Tzus! In fact, solid-colored dogs are uncommon, as most dogs have white or black patterns on them.

In Shih Tzus, white is linked to a recessive gene, which means that other colors will typically take precedence. Because of this, the majority of ‘whites’ will be white and brindle or white and liver.

The fact that most breeders do not try to produce a white Shih Tzu puppy is one of the reasons for its rarity. Instead, they’re attempting to create a white base with one or two other colors layered on top. So it’s typically an accident when a pure white appears.

Final words 

Aside from their distinctive coat color, black Shih Tzus are identical to any other Shih Tzu. They are loving, people-oriented dogs who like making their owners happy. These dogs are so charming that many celebrities have chosen to keep them as family pets! Beyonce, Nicole Richi, Bill Gates, Miley Cyrus, and even Queen Elizabeth II are among them!

These are some of the most suitable family dogs. They lack a predatory drive, making them quite sociable to other animals. Tzus get along well with kids, however, they need some alone time.

They are excellent apartment dogs because of their calm and quiet disposition. They also don’t need much exercise. All they have to do now is go pee and they’ll be back on your sofa! For these cute teddy bears, a 15-20 minute walk is more than enough .

They are also extremely healthy dogs with a long lifetime. While the majority of Shih Tzus live to be 15 years old, they can live up to 20 years or even longer. These pets can actually live longer than Chihuahuas! The oldest dog to ever live was a Shih Tzu that lived to be 23 years old!

In the end, the color of the coat is irrelevant. It has no effect on a dog other than giving him a distinct appearance. While several studies have attempted to prove that dogs with black coats are more aggressive, there is yet to be any evidence indicating the contrary. There is no evidence that a dog’s coat color influences their behavior.

The only thing to keep in mind is that black Shih Tzus, particularly those with long hair, are more prone to overheating, so keep them out of direct sunlight.

You can also read Teacup Shih Tzu: The small, fragile dog

My name is Jackie and I am a veterinarian with a degree in veterinary medicine. With extensive experience in treating various animals, I am known for my compassionate and personalized approach to animal care.