White Shih Tzu: Pure White vs. Combinations (& Coat Care)

Cute little white Shih Tzu dog with gray and tan ears on a white background.

When it comes to white Shih Tzus, most of them only have white markings that cover most of their body with at least one, but sometimes two, other color(s) to complement their fur.

Then there are the pure white Shih Tzus, whom you don’t see often, which look rather like furry clouds. 

Are white Shih Tzus rare? White Shih Tzus who are mostly white with secondary colors on their coat are pretty common, but it is unusual for a Shih Tzu to be pure white without any other colors at all. A pure white Shih Tzu is indeed rare, but pure black Shih Tzus are even rarer.

Thinking of getting a white Shih Tzu? Find out what you should know about their colors and markings, plus the most important part – coat care for Shih Tzus.

White Shih Tzus

Pure White

White Shih Tzus can have solid white coats or just a mostly white coat or white marking on most of its body with a range of other colors in the mix, which could be any color and any shade. 

Pure white Shih Tzus are quite rare since most Shih Tzu breeders don’t aim to create a pure white dog of this breed.

Additionally, there is a lot of unreliability involved in breeding a pure white Shih Tzu. 

White markings in dogs are recessive and are due to the piebald gene. You can only have a pure white Shih Tzu by breeding two dogs who carry the piebald gene.

Even then, there is no guarantee since color genes from generations back will still affect the resulting litter. 

To be considered a pure white Shih Tzu, besides having a pure white coat, they also need to have dark eyes, black eye rims, and a black nose. 

White With Secondary Colors

A cute, tiny black-and-white Shih Tzu puppy standing up.

Most white Shih Tzus have a white base color and one or two colors to complement the primary color. Their secondary colors could be anything within a wide range of options. 

For Shih Tzus with white in the coat, the AKC recognizes these breed colors/markings:

  • Black and white
  • Black, white, and silver
  • Blue and white
  • Brindle and white
  • Gold and white
  • Liver and white
  • Red and white
  • Silver and white
  • Silver, gold, and white
  • Black, gold, and white

Do White Shih Tzus Have More Health Problems?

A mostly white Shih Tzu running across a grassy lawn.

No study suggests that coat colors in Shih Tzus affect their health and well being.

This means that a white Shih Tzu may experience the same health issues and diseases like any other Shih Tzus, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Luxating patella (prevalent in small dogs).
  • Dental problems like misaligned and overcrowded teeth.
  • Eye and ear issues because of their bulging eyes and fur-covered ears.
  • Renal dysplasia, which is often passed down from their Shih Tzu parents.

Are White Shih Tzus Deaf?

White Shih Tzus are not likely to be deaf. Shih Tzus, in general, has “stubborn” issues more than major hearing issues.

White Shih Tzu puppies might seem deaf when they pretend not to hear their owners, but that’s only their typical behavior. 

However, like any senior dog, white Shih Tzus can develop hearing loss as they age. 

Will White Shih Tzu Puppies Change Color?

Four white-and-brown Shih Tzu puppies snuggled up on a couch.

Shih Tzus often change coat colors as they reach 12 months of age, either going a shade darker or paler.

White Shih Tzu puppies will not change their colors unless they have two-toned coats – then their secondary colors could turn darker or paler. 

White Shih Tzu Price

If you decide on a Shih Tzu puppy, there are two ways you can go about it – by adopting from a shelter or rescue or buying one from a breeder.

Rescues usually charge you around $350 for Shih Tzu puppies, but if you get them from a registered breeder, expect to pay $1,200 on average or as high as $3,000 for Shih Tzus with prestigious pedigrees. 

How Long Do White Shih Tzus Live?

On average, a Shih Tzu’s life expectancy is between 10 to 18 years – pretty average compared to other dog breeds of similar size. 

Factors such as genetics, nutrition, exercise, weight, and living environment will, of course, have an effect on the life expectancy.

Grooming White Shih Tzus

A mostly white Shih Tzu standing on rocky shore on a beautiful day.

Like most things white, taking care of white Shih Tzus is trickier. It requires plenty of time and effort because dirt and stains will easily and more prominently show up on their white fur.

So, proper and consistent grooming is necessary if you want to keep your white Shih Tzu clean with the white coat shining. 

Coat Care

White is among the most eye-catching Shih Tzu colors, but their white-colored coat means more grooming and sometimes more bathing too. 

A Shih Tzu’s long, silky coat already requires a good amount of grooming as it can easily get dirty, and once the coat is dirty, it is more prone to getting tangled.

Ultimately, that can lead to matting, hair breaking off, and general discomfort for the dog. 

Some tips to keep Shih Tzu coats healthy and shiny:

  • First and foremost, Shih Tzu’s coat care starts with providing good nutrition: rich proteins, vitamins, and omega fatty acids. Proper nutrition will keep the fur dense and healthy.
  • Bathing is an important part of coat care for Shih Tzus, and they need the right shampoo to hydrate their skin and provide vital nutrients for a healthier coat. Coat brightening shampoos are also available for white Shih Tzus, but beware of those with harsh chemicals.
  • Ideally, Shih Tzu coats need daily brushing, especially if they have a long coat. Although you can get away with doing it every other day, brushing their hair should be routine to eliminate hair mats. 
  • Keep them hydrated. Like nutrition, hydration is essential in keeping a dog’s coat healthy, nourished, and moisturized. 

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Shih Tzu Hair Styles

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

A Shih Tzu’s gorgeous locks might require some special attention when it comes to grooming and regular brushing, but it also gives plenty of hairstyle options for you and your dog’s fancy.

Summer Cut or Puppy Cut

This relatively easy cut for Shih Tzus is ideal, especially during hot days.

The puppy cut involves trimming the dog’s hair to 1-2 inches all over the body, except for their facial hair, which is kept slightly longer. 

Teddy Bear Cut

The teddy bear cut is like the summer cut but longer. Usually, the dog’s hair is trimmed to 2 inches or so all over their body and the ears. Here again, their facial hair is left longer at around 4 inches.  

Lion Cut

This famous haircut transforms your cute Shih Tzu into an adorable little lion. Their body hair is trimmed to 1-2 inches and their facial hair is styled like a mane around the dog’s face and head. 

Top Knot

This Shih Tzu hairstyle leaves the mane fairly long, only getting the hair out of the eyes. You can find some chic ribbons and clips to hold the hair.

This style might require plenty of maintenance to avoid tangles and matting.

Eye Care & Tear Stains

Tear stains are especially common for Shih Tzus because of their shallow eye sockets, and the stains will be very noticeable in white Shih Tzus.

You’ll have to clean away the tear stains often before they can sink deeper into the fur. Keeping the hair around the eyes will help as will wiping the area with a tissue several times throughout the day.

Tear stain removers come as wipes, liquids, and powders, and many owners find that nutritional supplements help as well.

Here are several options that come highly recommended:

SPA by TropiClean Lavish Tear Stain Remover Facial...
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Nail Trimming

Trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails regularly is necessary for their overall health.

Nail trimming in Shih Tzus is more effective when taking off small amounts weekly instead of taking off large portions once the nails grow very long. 

It is also the best time to trim the hair between the dog’s paw pads. 

Face Cleaning

They are curious little creatures and will probably have their noses and faces on all sorts of things.

Also, food can become trapped around the mouth and nose, leading to bad odors and possibly bacterial growth.

Make it a habit to wipe your Shih Tzu’s face every day with a grooming wipe (these are excellent and hypoallergenic) to help remove tiny debris that would otherwise sink deeper in the fur and accumulate. 

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Bathing

White Shih Tzus will especially benefit from having regular baths, but remember that bathing too frequently will do more harm than good.

Over-bathing can dry out the skin and the coat. Ideally, Shih Tzus need to be bathed every three weeks to keep them smelling good and their skin and hair healthy. 

Why Did My Shih Tzu Turn White?

A silver-and-white Shih Tzu with a top knot and long hair.

Shih Tzus turning white may be due to a genetic cause with the puppy inheriting a fading or graying gene, which can produce a lightening or silvering color on their coats as they mature. 

What Is the Rarest Color of Shih Tzu?

Solid colors in Shih Tzus are rare, but the rarest color is a solid black Shih Tzu. Solid black is when the coloring extends throughout their entire body, not just the coat color.

They will a pure black coat and black noses, paw pads, skin, and lips. 

Final Thoughts

When looking for a white Shih Tzu, you’ll notice that most of them are “mostly white” instead of pure white.

Just remember that they require the same general care, grooming, and coat maintenance, with a bit of extra attention spent on keeping the white clean and brilliant.

Last update on 2022-01-27 at 06:40 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API