Brindle Shih Tzu: Appearance, Colors & Color Changes! (2024)


A small brindle-and-white shih tzu puppy lying on a wood floor.

One of the top favorite small dog breeds is Shih Tzu and for good reasons. They are famous for being adorable fluff balls with long, silky coats and large curious eyes.

If you’ve ever seen a Shih Tzu before, it’s hard not to fall in love with its endearing aesthetic.

Shih Tzu can be found in a range of coat colors and patterns, but arguably, the most interesting one is the brindle Shih Tzu. 

What is a brindle Shih Tzu? A brindle Shih Tzu has a base color highlighted with nondescript stripes or streaks of another color. Brindle is not a color but instead a streaked pattern of multicolored tones ranging from brown or black to tan or gold. No two brindle Shih Tzus will be exactly alike.

The wide variety of Shih Tzu coat colors, combinations, and markings comes with a great deal of confusion.

So, if you plan to get a brindle Shih Tzu, learn about the many different color variations available, color changes, and other facets of this gorgeous-looking pup.

Brindle Shih Tzu

If you plan to get a Shih Tzu and you prefer one with gorgeous and unique colors and patterns, the brindle Shih Tzu is for you.

While the Shih Tzu is among the most exciting types of breeds, the unique multicolored brindle coats make them even more attractive to take home. 


Two little Shih Tzu puppies sitting side by side against a white background.


In terms of body features, brindle Shih Tzu is quite similar to other Shih Tzus. They have the usual round, broad head and amply sized eyes to balance with the body.

Like other Shih Tzus, they have long, flowing double coats over a body that it slightly longer than tall.

Brindle Shih Tzus has a dense, luxurious coat, but its elegance comes from its unique patterns and color combinations. 


Generally, a brindle Shih Tzu has a light base color with stripes of a combination of different dark colors.

The brindle pattern might be reversed on rare occasions, with a dark base and light stripes.

The colors can be just about any color, like black, blue, brown, gray, gold, cream, and white and in any of their shades too.

It means brindle coats in Shih Tzus can look different in every dog. 

Types of Brindle Markings in Shih Tzu

The brindle pattern of each Shih Tzu can be a rainbow of different colors and shades to the point that no two of this type of Shih Tzu will ever look the same.

However, you can classify brindle characteristics by these terms:

  • Regular – The standard pattern where a Shih Tzu has a light-colored base and dark stripes
  • Reverse – A very rare type where they have a dark base and light-colored stripes
  • Loose – The stripes are spaced apart
  • Tight – The stripes are very close together
  • Light – The base color underneath can show through the striped pattern
  • Heavy – It’s difficult to see the base color under the streaked pattern

The brindle in each Shih Tzu can appear over their entire body or only in patches like on the head or their back.

A tiny Shih Tzu puppy with brindle markings sitting in a mini sleigh against a wintry background.


As mentioned, brindle Shih Tzus are a lot like other Shih Tzus, except for the colors and patterns.

Thus, they have the same temperament, always being playful and ready for any activity. If you bring a brindle Shih Tzu home, expect them to be:

  • Quiet but friendly – not designed to be watchdogs
  • Devoted – ideal breed for long-term companionship
  • Quite stubborn, especially with commands

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Brindle Shih Tzus may be a bit stubborn and challenging to train, but they need to keep active and train regularly.

Don’t let their little bodies fool you as they need regular exercise and playtime to stay healthy and fit. 

Mentally stimulating activities will help to exhaust their energy almost as much as physical exercise does and are important for their overall well being.

Try teaching new commands, playing hide-and-seek, and offering puzzle toys with compartments for hiding treats.

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Besides the basics, the brindle Shih Tzu also needs frequent, diligent grooming. The main reason for this is that the coat is the pup’s crown jewel.

That long, fluffy coat won’t stay gorgeous on its own, and with even a small amount of neglect, it can form tangles and painful mats. 

Heavily brindled coats are also notorious for hiding dirt and debris. So, even when they look clean, it’s advisable to bathe them at least once every three weeks.

Frequent grooming is also necessary since the brindle effect makes it difficult to notice split ends and other coat problems. 

An adult brindle-and-white Shih Tzu in full coat with a blue bow in hair.


Brindle Shih Tzus require dedicated care to keep them healthy. It’s advised to feed Shih Tzus several small meals per day as opposed to one large meal daily.

Although they don’t have specific food requirements, it’s best to give them proper nutrition according to their age, size, build, metabolism, and level of activity. 

Health Concerns

Like other Shih Tzus, brindles may be prone to certain health issues and diseases. Some common health concerns they often experience include:

  • Allergies (food, contact, and inhalant allergies)
  • Eye problems (dry eyes, keratitis, ectopia cilia, proptosis, distichiasis, and retinal atrophy)

Other possible health issues include reverse sneezing, snuffles, ear infections, hip dysplasia, renal dysplasia, bladder infections, tooth and gum problems, umbilical hernia, and portosystemic liver shunt.

Brindle Shih Tzu Life Expectancy

Brindle Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 10 to 18 years.

Brindle Shih Tzu Price

A young brindle Shih Tzu puppy on a white background.

While you can get a Shih Tzu puppy for as little as a couple of hundred dollars, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 to $3000 if you are getting a brindle from a reputable breeder.

You don’t always find prices listed on websites, but you can always reach out to the breeders to know more about their range.  

If you’re getting a brindle Shih Tzu, there’s no better way to find one and have all your questions about the breed answered than by visiting a breeder’s site or in person.

Some reputable Shih Tzu breeders you can check out:

Brindle Shih Tzu Color Changes: What to Expect

What appears as a brindle pattern in a very young Shih Tzu puppy can turn into something else as they mature.

In most cases, the brindle effect will fade to some degree or fade completely as their adult coat grows. Other times, the pattern remains or might even look heavier. 

Another thing to note: a brindle Shih Tzu can carry a graying gene, and if they do, the darker hairs can start turning gray once they reach seven years old, and the graying will only progress from that point on. 

An elegant adult Shih Tzu standing in the snow outside with muted lights in the background.

Is Brindle a Recognized Color in Shih Tzus?

The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes eight different colors for Shih Tzus: black, white, blue, liver, red, gold, silver, and brindle. 

Are Brindle Shih Tzus Rare?

The brindle pattern in Shih Tzus is quite common. Thus, it’s not rare to see brindle Shih Tzus, although some colorations, markings, and patterns are less common than others. 

Can Brindle Shih Tzus Have Blue Eyes?

Shih Tzus can have blue eyes as a result of a genetic defect, although that’s quite rare.

To be classified as a real brindle Shih Tzu, they need to have black skin points. This means they should have black noses, lips, eye rims, and paw pads.

Rarest Brindle Colors in Shih Tzus

The rarest brindle color in Shih Tzus is a reverse brindle, which occurs when light-colored stripes appear over a darker-colored coat.

Shih Tzus of this type usually have light-colored stripes over a black coat, making it appear nearly solid and dark. 


Overall, the array of brindle patterns can make this already beautiful-looking dog even more gorgeous.

Nobody could blame you if you decide that you want one of these adorable creatures after seeing a photo online, on TV, or even at your local park. 

But the first thing is, be sure that this breed is what you want in terms of care, temperament, and even appearance, since what you see from a brindle puppy’s coat might not be what you’ll see when it’s older. 

Last update on 2024-07-24 at 15:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API