Rare Shih Tzu colors which we are going to discuss on this page occur in our country in single cases or do not occur at all. This is explained, first of all, by the fact that their occurrence is caused by recessive genes and for appearance of an individual of such color you need both parents to have these genes. Secondly it is certainly the tradition, as experts have their own preferences for colors in show rings and very often very rare colors look less advantageous in the rings, and therefore dogs possessing these colors hardly will win the rings. The third and one of the main reasons is elementary lack of genes in show Shih Tzu lines which enable the appearance of rare colors. More often than not, especially exotic colors appear only in «decorative lines» of Shih Tzu which have quite doubtful origin and even externally differ from representatives of exhibition lines. Consequently, the thought arises that so rare colors in Shih Tzu lines are the result of interbreeding. So in this case one can’t speak about breed purity. Therefore those countries where breeding of rare colors is very common, show and decorative Shih Tzu lines as a rule don’t cross and are bred separately from each other. Another reason is just misinformation of breeders when they often pass off one color as another, supposedly more rare, thus raising the price of selling the puppies («they have a very rare color!»). Let’s take a look at some of them.

Color «tiger» (Brindle). I’ve never met Shih Tzu of that color, or rather those dogs that owners were proud to call «brindle» were in fact regular «sable» and their tigrovaya was due to an increased content of melanin in the coat of the animal. And nothing more!

The color «Silver» also turned out to be a lightened version of «sable» color, caused only by a weak pigment. Genetically, «Silver» coloring is a lightening not only of the coat, but also of the nose lobe. A dog with «silver» coloring should also have a lightened, that is gray, nose. But in fact, those dogs that are called «silver» have a normal black nose. And therefore, their coloring is actually «not silver».

Below you can see pictures of dogs whose colors I find controversial. Of course, any breeder can write the color of the puppies as he wants in the documents, but I think this way he misleads not only the owners, but also other dog breeders. After all, each of the colors is due to a specific set of genes. And if we say that the pepper is sweet, it won’t make it sweeter, because the name alone won’t make it sweeter.

The next group of colors we will look at are Chocolate and Liver. Both of these colors are the result of exposure to lightening genes, so that dogs of these colors not only have a more lightened coat, but also a changed color of the nasal lobe.

«Chocolate — A dog has a chocolate coat and the same or similar color as his nose lobe. The pads of his feet and the rim of his eyes are also lighter in color. The eyes also have a lighter shade than the eyes of the main color dogs. There is no black hair in the coloration of the dogs at all, because the black pigment is lightened by the lightening genes.

«The Liver color is an even lighter color compared to the Chocolate color. Thus, a dog of this color has a coat of milk chocolate color (light brown, cinnamon color) and the same color nose. The eyes of dogs of this color are lightened — from cinnamon color to almost yellow. Pads of paws are also close in shade to the base color. Sometimes you can see a lighter coat in liver color dogs due to the extra lightening genes. There is no black hair in the coloring of dogs at all, because the black pigment is also lightened by the lightening genes.

One of the rarest Shih Tzu colors is «Blue» (Blue) and its variations. Sometimes dog owners and breeders are confused by saying that their dogs have «blue» coloring, while possessing a black nose. Dogs of «blue» coloring do not have black pigment. It is also lightened by the action of bleaching genes. The color of the paw pads and nose color of a true Blue dog should be grayish, but by no means black. A little below I will show you the difference in the color of the nasal lobes in different colored dogs. Just like the eye liner, the lips of a Shih Tzu «Blue» dog should have a grayish tint. Shih Tzu «blue» coloring is really so rare, that even going through a lot of material on the Internet, you can not find a good picture of adult dogs of this color, showing the steel coloring of the coat in all its glory. Below you see a picture of a Blue & Tan dog. This is even rarer, as it is due to two pairs of rare recessive genes, D (dilute) for the black to grey pigment and at for the patches.

By the way, the color variations, which are also rare, occur in Russian Shih Tzu lines. More precisely we can speak only about «black-painted» color. As I’ve already mentioned this coloration is caused by recessive genes. In order to have puppies of such color both parents should have such colors or at least be carriers of those genes. Underpainting variations can be on any shade of coat — black, chocolate, liver, blue, etc. «White» (White) color Shih Tzu is also quite rare. It is not due to the «work» of any one pair of lightening genes, but often two or even three. Lighteners work in such a way, that pigment almost completely goes out of coat. Consequently, the noses (brown, liver, gray), lips, and eye outlines are also lightened in dogs of this color. But there are also white dogs with black noses. This is explained by the fact that in such a dog the genes of increased spotting «work» and the white spots almost overlap the colored ones. Such a dog may have only a few colored hairs which may disappear with age, or their number may be so small against the general background of a white coat, that they are very difficult to find. This is the kind of dog you see in the picture below, a white dog with a black nose.

Below you see a comparative picture of the difference in nose lobe colors in Shih Tzu of different colors. You can see for yourself the difference in shades.

The breeding of dogs with rare colors is widely available in some kennels in the United States. Much less common in European countries. Exactly in the USA new colors initially appear, as Americans in general love to experiment in breeding color variations, and not only in Shih Tzu, but also in other breeds. Of course, they do not take new genes from the ceiling, but cross Shih Tzu with other breeds, where there are the necessary genes of rare colors. All these color variations occur in the breeding lines of Shih Tzu, which the Americans themselves call Imperial Shih Tzu, thus emphasizing the difference between the standard Shih Tzu and dogs from these «color lines». As a rule, these dogs differ not only in their small body size, but also in the changes in body proportions in general when compared to the Shih Tzu we are used to. If you think about it, this kind of «colored dog» cannot even be called a Shih Tzu, because we don’t know what genes of dogs they have «walking» in their genotype. They are «designer dogs» in my opinion.

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