Brindle Shih Tzu Dogs: Unveiling the Mesmerizing Blend of Colors and Charisma!

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Hey there, Shih Tzu dog lovers! Today, we're about to embark on an exciting journey as we get to know one of the most charming canine companions out there—the Brindle Shih Tzu.

brindle Shih Tzu dog coat color

When we say 'brindle', we're talking about a special coat pattern found on some Shih Tzu.

This pattern features darker splotches, streaks, or patches interweaved with a lighter base color creating a blend of colors without separation. The darker accents often manifest in rich shades of black, brown, or gray.

While not considered rare, brindle Shih Tzus are generally less common compared to a solid-colored Shih Tzu

So, are you ready to dive into the endearing world of brindle Shih Tzus? Sit back, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and let's get started!

What Does Brindle Mean in Dogs? 

In short, brindle is a specific color-filled pattern in many dog breeds.

It is described as being a striped pattern, similar to tiger stripes. However, no two dogs are the same, and this pattern can manifest itself differently in each dog and breed.

Brindle dogs can be dark or light, more of one color and less of another, but in every case, your dog will have its very own natural highlights. 

The Merriam Dictionary defines brindled as "having obscure dark streaks or flecks on a usually gray or tawny ground." 

Often, brindle is thought of as a brown color, but for the brindle Shih Tzu, it can be any color as long as that distinctive pattern is present.

The American Kennel Club lists two brindle colors among their roster of standard colors for the Shih Tzu. These two colors are:

  • Brindle
  • Brindle and white 

Remember that while you'll often see brindle listed as if it's one color, it can be different colors, such as gray, brown, white, black, etc.

To be considered a brindled Shih Tzu, it must have black paw pads, eye rims, and a black nose.

If these body parts have a brown tone instead of black, it is considered a liver Shih Tzu.

If the paw pads, eye rims, and nose have a diluted black color with a blueish tone, they would be considered a blue Shih Tzu.

When looking at your brindle Shih Tzu, look at their noses in the light, as when it comes to blue Shih Tzu's body parts, they can easily come across as black at first glance. 

Are Brindle Shih Tzu Rare?

Brindle Shih Tzus are not rare within the breed itself, but they are less common compared to other coat patterns.

While you might find more Shih Tzu with solid colors like black, white, or gold, brindle patterns are still relatively uncommon.

So, while not rare, they can be a bit harder to come across than some other coat variations.

Moreover, each brindle dog will likely display a unique and distinctive pattern, even when they share the same colors!

For example, two dogs may have a mixture of gray, white, and black, creating a remarkable brindle pattern. However, one of these dogs may have black highlights while the other has gray highlights. This makes each puppy unique.

This can be confusing, but just remember that brindle refers to the pattern of their coat more than their actual coat color.

So, now that we've unraveled the color and patterns in a brindle Shih Tzu, let's move on to another aspect of their appearance - their eye color.

Eye Color in Brindle Dogs

According to the American Kennel Club's official breed standard of the Shih Tzu, the typical eye color for a Shih Tzu is very dark unless it is a liver or blue Shih Tzu.

All Shih Tzu, including brindles, can have blue eyes, but this is most often due to a health problem that causes the cloudiness in their eyes.

Usually, this blue-like appearance in their eyes is caused by interstitial keratitis, which is just fancy words for inflammation in the cornea that causes a blueish film to appear over the eye.

This can be caused by multiple different issues such as infections, a tear in the eye, cataracts, etc.

Regardless of the cause, consult with your veterinarian if you see a change in your brindle Shih Tzu or adopt a brindle Shih Tzu that has the appearance of blue eyes.

Blue eyes that are not the result of a health issue are a smaller possibility but happen most often in blue Shih Tzus.

Interestingly enough, when it comes to competitions, blue eyes are not allowed in any Shih Tzu except the blue Shih Tzu. 

Brindle Shih Tzu Genetics

The complexity of the brindle Shih Tzu is seen in how its genes create its patterns and colors.

The gene that causes the brindle appearance in the Shih Tzu is caused by the K Locus, a relatively new identified gene that controls colors like black and the brindle pattern.

The extent of how much of the Shih Tzu is brindled depends on the A locus.

The A locus is in control of the coat pattern of a dog and is in charge of releasing melanin.

The A locus switches between two different pigments, eumelanin and phaeomelanin.

These pigments are what is produced, and the A locus is in control of how much these pigments are shown on your brindle Shih Tzu.

Genes are confusing, but know the two responsibilities they have when it comes to the color of your dog:

  1. What color is produced on your dog?
  2. Where the color is shown on your dog. 

Eumelanin is in charge of the striping pattern on your Shih Tzu, and pheomelanin is in charge of the base color.

Eumelanin is typically a black pigment but can have different dilutions that produce colors like blue or liver.

Pheomelanin is a red pigment with a gold or yellow color.

The combination of these two creates many different coat colors in the dog world.

The amount of each of these varies for every brindle Shih Tzu, which is why they say that no two brindle dogs are alike. 

Brindle Shih Tzu in a dress

In Conclusion, Brindle Shih Tzus are just another example of how beautiful and complex the Shih Tzu is.

Whether they have a gray or a creamy tan color in their coat, brindle dogs are defined by their one-of-a-kind striping pattern for every dog.

Each brindle dog is unique in its own right and has the ability to manifest so many different colors you'll never have to worry about your dog being "basic."

The brindle Shih Tzu often has dark-colored eyes, and the presence of another color not caused by a health issue is exceedingly rare.

So rare, in fact, that eye colors like blue are not permitted in many Shih Tzu competitions unless the dog is specifically a blue Shih Tzu.

If your dog does have blue eyes, make sure that it's not being caused by an infection in the eye that is clouding its eyes.

Genetics in the Shih Tzu, or in any dog, is complicated, and how brindled your Shih Tzu turns out depends on what mood its genes are in.

Eumelanin and pheomelanin are the culprits involved in the striping and color of your Shih Tzu.

Your Shih Tzu's genes tell them exactly what color and patterns to make, and regardless of how their genes are feeling, they sure do know how to make one adorable-looking pup.

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