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Black Shih Tzu: Black Dogs and What You Need to Know About Them

Although the word Shih Tzu means little lion, this is one of the most lovable dogs you might ever encounter. This toy dog is known for its short snout and flat face that gives it an adorable facial expression. This is why it’s extremely popular among adults and kids

The Black Shih Tzu refers to dogs that have black coats. These solid black dogs aren’t that common to find, and this makes them highly desirable. 

You’ve come to the right place to learn more about these adorable black dogs. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the black Shih Tzu, the rarity of this color, and how to groom it to keep the coat in perfect shape. So, let’s dive in. 

Black Shih Tzu: Overview

People bred Shih Tzu dogs to be companion dogs. They have happy and affectionate personalities and enjoy following their humans around. Yet, in recent years, more people have become aware of this dog’s intelligence, making it participate in dog sports and competitions


The history of the Shih Tzu dogs goes back to their origins in Tibet. The earliest depictions of this dog can be seen in the artwork of the Tang Dynasty in the sixth century. Historians also mentioned them in several ancient Chinese documents. 

The European traveler Marco Polo mentioned that the Chinese Emperor kept lion dogs with his hunting lions, a name that stuck to these little dogs. European merchants brought these cute little dogs to Europe in the 1900s, and then they found their way to the USA. The AKC recognized this breed as a pure breed in 1969


Most Shih Tzu dogs are about 11 inches tall and weigh between 9 and 16 pounds. This dog has a sturdy body and an adequate-sized head, usually reaching maturity by the age of 10 months. 

It has a round face with dark brown prominent eyes and a short snout that gives this dog its distinctive flat face. It has a long tail that it usually curls over its back, and its walk is considered long for such a small dog. This dog has a long double coat that requires regular grooming

This dog was mainly bred to be a companion dog, so this is what it’s good at. You can train it to do different tricks, but don’t expect it to be a hunting, retriever, or guard dog. 

The dog is quite intelligent, and this is why some dog owners have recently decided to see its potential in dog shows, dog sports, and agility competitions. This dog will live between 14 and 15 years with proper health care. 


Shih Tzu dogs are pretty popular as family and companion dogs. They’re highly adaptable and tolerant of other pets and children, so this will be the perfect dog for a busy household. 

It’s not aggressive at all and will accept other dogs and smaller pets in the house. It’s an affectionate lap dog that can be trained to be a support dog or the best companion for a shy child. 

This dog will try to play with everyone, including strangers. So, if you’re looking for a watchdog, this might not work for you. 


  • The dog’s coat requires regular grooming to keep it in the best shape. 
  • Due to the short muzzle, this dog is prone to heat strokes in hot weather
  • It loves exercising and playing but should be allowed to rest. 
  • Some breeders will market dogs as imperial or teacup versions. This simply refers to a larger-than-usual or smaller-than-usual Shih Tzu. 
  • These little dogs are excellent with families and especially children. But their small size makes them unsuitable for toddlers that might handle them too roughly. 

Is the Black Shih Tzu Rare?

The Shih Tzu’s coat comes in various colors and patterns but having a solid black coat is extremely rare. This means that you’ll have to pay more to get such a prized dog. 

Although you should pay around $750 to $1000 to get a Shih Tzu dog, you’ll have to pay a lot more to get a black one. This little dog can cost around $2000 if you get it from a reputable breeder. 

The standard code for the black color is 007. Most dogs will be two or three colors, although the coat tends to be darker on the face.

Some breeders will market black and white or black and tan dogs as Black Shih Tzu dogs. These are still acceptable if you want a dark dog

Other Colors

Shih Tzu dogs come in other color patterns. 

  • Pure golden Shih Tzus are also rare. Most golden dogs will have darker markings on their faces and ears, and the vivid golden color tends to fade with age. 
  • Solid liver or chocolate color is another rare coat color. In most cases, liver dogs will have darker patches on the face. 
  • Blue, which is actually gray, dogs have what scientists call the dilution gene. They have white and black patches all over the body, and the black color tends to fade as the dog ages. 
  • Brindle is made up of stripes of different colors that cover the dog’s original coat. Brindle dogs can be golden with dark brown or black markings, especially on the face. 
  • Most black Shih Tzu will have white markings on their forehead or other body areas. These are still considered desirable, but they’re not as rare or expensive as solid black dogs.
  • Red and white Shih Tzus are more common than other color patterns. In most cases, the dog will have a white tail tip and a white patch on the forehead. 
  • A mix of silver and white is also recognized as a standard color for this breed. 

Do Shih Tzu Dogs Come in Other Colors?

Shih Tzu dogs come in various other non-standard colors, like white and tricolored dogs. These can be white, silver, and gold, black, silver, and gold, and black, gold and white. 

Breed standard colors are used to judge dogs in shows and competitions. This means that you might have a pure Shih Tzu of a non-standard color. 

It’s considered a pure dog, but it won’t be able to compete in dog shows. A black mask and tan or black markings are allowed as standard patterns for this dog breed. 

Other non-standard patterns include the collar pattern, with a different fur color around the dog’s neck. A blaze pattern is when a dog has a streak of different-colored fur between the eyes. Finally, a tuxedo pattern is an overall black coat with white fur on the chest, making the dog look like it’s wearing a tuxedo. 

How to Groom the Black Shih Tzu’s Coat

The black Shih Tzu has a luscious, smooth, silky, and long coat, which might be slightly wavy. Dogs have a double coat to keep them warm in the cold weather of Tibet and the Chinese mountains, and this means that this dog will shed frequently. 

Dog owners who prefer to maintain the dog’s classical look will keep the coat long. In this case, it easily reaches the ground and should be brushed and combed daily to prevent the formation of knots. However, some dog owners think that this is too much work and will choose to keep the dog’s coat short. 

A professional groomer is needed to clip the hair and keep it neat. The hair on top of the head should be tied up to allow the dog to see clearly. Dogs with hair covering their eyes are prone to eye infections and won’t be able to see well

The dog’s large eyes can be easily scratched. This is why cutting the hair on the face and trimming it is essential. Getting your dog used to grooming sessions will pay off, but it might need one grooming session per month to maintain the look of the coat. However, if you keep it short, you can have a single grooming session every two months. 

In addition to regular brushing and combing using suitable tools, you should bathe your Shih Tzu at least once per week. This highly energetic dog likes to play around, and its long coat can easily get soiled. Use gentle dog shampoo and get the dog used to this process from puppyhood

You can also trim and groom the dog’s coat by yourself. If you start in puppyhood, your dog won’t be too alert when you try to comb its long coat. You might also be able to teach your Shih Tzu to sleep on its side, so you can brush its coat in sections

Black Shih Tzu Coat Issues

The beautiful black coat of the Shih Tzu is prone to several issues that you might be able to deal with before they get worse. Consulting the vet is essential, as some coat problems are actually symptoms of more severe health issues. 


A black Shih Tzu dog might change color over time. This happens because of specific genes that cause the coat to fade or turn gray as the dog ages. 

This usually starts in newborn puppies. So, your black will begin to change colors, and it will become more gray or silver with time. This might continue until its first birthday because of the presence of the G gene. This is also common in other colors, so a golden dog might become more silver by the time it’s one year old. 

Fading is recognized by the dilution of the dog’s original color. It’s more common in solid color dogs, mainly black, that tend to grow gray patches with age. 

The presence of the Chinchilla gene in these dogs will lighten the coat’s color over time. So, the color won’t fade, but it will become rich silver. Graying is different from fading as all colors might eventually change to gray. 

In addition to genes, some breeders believe that several environmental factors can cause the coat to fade. These include stress, diet, and weather

Knots and Tangles

Neglect and lack of grooming can lead to the formation of knots in the Shih Tzu’s long coat. These happen because of loose hair that doesn’t shed, leading to stubborn knots and tangles. 

Regular combing and brushing of the dog’s long coat is the best way to deal with these knots. Pulling them can harm the dog, so you should handle them with care

Hair Loss

Hair loss can happen due to several reasons. Your Shih Tzu might experience overall hair thinning as it sheds more hair, or it might lose hair from specific areas that tend to become bald. 

  • Allergic Dermatitis or severe skin allergies can be due to food allergies or contact allergies. The skin becomes dry and itchy, so the dog starts licking its body to alleviate the pain. This can lead to bald patches, where it excessively licks the skin. 
  • Some skin infections can also make the dog’s hair too dry and brittle. In this case, it will break off easily, resulting in an overall thinning and unhealthy coat. 
  • Flea infestations can lead to excessive itching, which results in hair loss. 
  • Cushing’s disease is common in older dogs and is caused by the increased production of the cortisol hormone. A tumor on the adrenal glands might cause this disease, and hair loss is one of its tell-tale signs. 
  • Dermatomyositis is a rare condition that happens because of hypersensitivity to the sun. Dogs will have sores and scabs all over their bodies, and they will start to lose their hair. 
  • Hypothyroidism happens due to a hormonal imbalance that causes the coat to become dull, dry, and brittle. It will break off easily, resulting in an unhealthy look. 

Wrap Up

Black Shih Tzu dogs are pretty rare, and some black puppies will change color as they age. Black is one of the standard colors of this breed, but other colors and patterns exist. This dog’s coat requires a lot of grooming and is prone to various health issues that lead to thinning.