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Black and White Shih Tzu: Pictures, Facts, Origin & History

Cassidy Sutton

By Cassidy Sutton

Black and White Shih Tzu

Have you been wondering about the black and white Shih Tzu? There’s no denying it—these dogs are adorable. Their black, floppy ears and cuddly personalities can melt a heart of stone.

What’s interesting about the black-and-white coat coloring is that each Shih Tzu has a different pattern. Some dogs have masked eyes, and some may have white. Some dogs have jet-black tails, and some have white tails. All marks are accepted by the AKC as long as coat coloring is only black and white.

Thankfully, black and white Shih Tzus are common and have no special medical ailments, but this wasn’t always the case. Let’s find out why below.

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The Earliest Records of the Black and White Shih Tzu in History

Tucked away in the Himalayan Mountains lies the small, remote region of Tibet. China now rules Tibet, but before the 1950s, the Buddhist territory lived quietly next to Mount Everest for thousands of years.

About 1,000 years ago, Tibetan and Chinese royalty experimented with the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso, creating the playful and outgoing Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzus lived a life of luxury as lap dogs to emperors and royalty. Like Tibet, the Shih Tzu was practically unknown to the outside world. Tibetan and Chinese royalty kept the Shih Tzu behind closed palace doors and exchanged the dogs as valuable gifts.

shih tzu on wooden bench
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

How the Black and White Shih Tzu Gained Popularity

Because the breed was withheld from the rest of the world, Shih Tzus almost went extinct. One of the reasons was the death of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi. She supervised a breeding program for Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Pugs. Unfortunately, her death resulted in the breeding program crumbling.

The other reason is China’s Communist Revolution beginning in the 1930s. After WWII, China sent in thousands of troops to take over Tibet. The dispute sent the Shih Tzu toward the brink of extinction.

Thankfully, the few remaining Shih Tzus were exported to Europe, where US military personnel brought the Shih Tzu to the US. The breed quickly became one of the most popular toy breeds. It’s now the 22nd most popular dog breed in the country.

shih tzu face
Image Credit: Angel Sallade, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of the Black and White Shih Tzu

The American Shih Tzu Club first recognized the Shih Tzu as a breed in 1963. Shortly after, in 1969, the AKC recognized the breed. Several colors are considered standard, including black and white.

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Top 3 Unique Facts About the Black and White Shih Tzu

1. The Shih Tzu goes by many names

Shih Tzu is a Mandarin term meaning “little lion,” a possible reference to the Buddhist God of Learning. The breed is also called “chrysanthemum-faced dogs” because their facial fur grows in every direction.

2. Shih Tzus were house pets for most of the Ming Dynasty

The Ming Dynasty governed from 1368 to 1644, and Shih Tzus had a front-row view as a lap dog. Despite the Ming Dynasty’s political and cultural influence, the Shih Tzu remained unknown.

3. The breed can be traced back to 14 dogs

Because the breed almost vanished off the face of the Earth, each Shih Tzu can trace its ancestry back to 14 dogs that saved the breed.

Shih Tzu
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

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Does the Black and White Shih Tzu Make a Good Pet?

Shih Tzus make excellent family pets, regardless of their fur color. They do well with children and other pets and only require about 20 minutes of exercise daily.

Despite their long fur, Shih Tzus don’t shed much. You’ll have to take them to the groomer for routine maintenance and brush daily. But if this is too much, you can take your Shih Tzu to the groomer for a puppy clip.

The biggest hurdle with Shih Tzus (aside from grooming) is their adorable faces and stubbornness. It’s easy to fall victim to spoiling your Shih Tzu because of its cuteness, so be careful!

Because of their small stature and minimal exercise needs, these dogs do best as indoor dogs. They can easily injure themselves, even jumping from high points on furniture.

Shih Tzus have a naturally reserved personality and are semi-vigilant, but not to the point where they’re non-stop barking machines. People living in apartments can greatly benefit from having a Shih Tzu as a roommate.

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Now you know more about the black and white Shih Tzu than you did a few minutes ago. Did you learn anything new? If you want to adopt a black and white Shih Tzu or already have one, it’s good to know some interesting facts to help you along the way. These dogs are great family pets and will love you no matter what.

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Featured Image Credit: NcikName, Shutterstock

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