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Brindle Shih Tzu: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

brindle shih tzu dog outdoors

The Shih Tzu is an extremely well-recognized and sought-after breed, but did you know that there are different subcategories of the breed? One such category is the brindle Shih Tzu.

Brindle refers to the type of coat the Shih Tzu has, and it’s a subtle tiger-stripe style coloring. It’s one of the most common color options for a Shih Tzu, and it looks great. In this guide, we’ll highlight a bit more of their early history, popularity, formal recognition, and more.


The Earliest Records of Brindle Shih Tzu in History

Finding the earliest records of the Shih Tzu is quite a challenge. Not because there isn’t a ton of information out there, but there’s so much information that it’s hard to find what’s oldest.

The earliest records of the Shih Tzu date back 2,000 years, and since the brindle color pattern is pretty common, it’s fair to assume that the history of the brindle Shih Tzu dates back that far too.

The Shih Tzu comes from the far east, and more specifically China. Because of their lion-esque mane around their face, Chinese royalty revered the breed. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the Chinese dynasty of the time gifted Shih Tzus to English and Dutch royalty, and the breed started to work its way around the globe.

By the 1960s the Shih Tzu rose to popularity in the United States, and it has remained a popular breed ever since!

brindle shih tzu dog
Image Credit: Steshka Willems, Pexels

How Brindle Shih Tzu Gained Popularity

The Chinese dynasties revered the Shih Tzu because of the lion-like facial features of the breed. People say that Buddha rode around the Earth on the back of a lion, and any resemblance to the lion made for a popular animal.

During the Ming and Manchu dynasties, only the royal court could own the breed. When the small dogs left China, nobility around the world revered the breed largely because of their symbolic ties to China. Eventually, they made it to everyday households because of their adorable appearance and loyal temperament.

Formal Recognition of Brindle Shih Tzu

When considering the formal recognition of the Shih Tzu, it’s important to look at where you’re looking for formal recognition. For instance, the Ming and Manchu dynasties formally recognized the breed and that was close to 700 years ago.

But the American Kennel Club (AKC) is a much newer organization, and they first formally recognized the breed in 1969. The brindle Shih Tzu is a formally recognized color option for the Shih Tzu with the AKC and it has been ever since they first formally recognized the breed.

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Top 5 Unique Facts About Brindle Shih Tzu

While the Shih Tzu might not seem like the most interesting dog to many people, they have a rich history worth exploring. We’ve highlighted five of the most unique and interesting facts about the breed for you here.

brindle shih tzu dog
Image Credit: 12122, Pixabay

1. Shih Tzu Means “Little Lion”

When you see a Shih Tzu a lion likely isn’t the first animal that comes to mind. But it all comes down to their facial appearance. Their mane has a lion-like appearance, and it’s why the Chinese named them “Little Lion.”

2. The Communist Revolution Almost Completely Wiped Out Shih Tzus

Whether it was the communist revolution or the death of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi that wiped out the breed, the Shih Tzu almost disappeared off the face of the planet with the communist revolution. During this time, it was pretty much impossible to get your hands on a Shih Tzu no matter where you lived.

3. 14 Dogs Repopulated the Shih Tzu Line

Because of the massive loss of Shih Tzus in the early 20th century, the modern Shih Tzu almost didn’t make it! Every Shih Tzu today comes from a breeding program of seven females and seven males.

brindle shih tzu dog on grass
Image Credit: Alexas Fotos, Pexels

4. US Military Personnel Brought Shih Tzus to the United States

China didn’t let the Shih Tzu outside of their borders for a long time, and even then, they only gave them to nobility in other countries. Following the second world war, US troops found these dogs and many of them brought them home.

5. Another Name for the Shih Tzu Is the “Chrysanthemum-Faced Dog”

If you ever take the time to look at how the hair on a Shih Tzu’s face grows, you’ll notice it’s in every direction! This is why many people call them the Chrysanthemum-Faced Dog instead of the Shih Tzu.

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Does Brindle Shih Tzu Make a Good Pet?

Yes! While Shih Tzus are notoriously stubborn and difficult to train, there’s no doubt they make great companion dogs. They do a great job of paying attention to their owner’s wants and needs and responding in an appropriate manner.

They’re outstanding with kids and other pets, and their low energy levels make them a great choice for smaller living areas. Whether you live in a larger home and want a smaller dog or if you’re in a more compact apartment, a Shih Tzu makes a great pet.

Finally, since a brindle Shih Tzu simply refers to the color of the Shih Tzu, it really doesn’t affect their overall personality and how they act as a pet.

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In Conclusion

The brindle Shih Tzu is a beautiful-looking dog with a unique coat and a rich history. Whether you want to learn a little more about the breed or get one for yourself, hopefully, this guide helped you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the breed and what they have to offer.

Featured Image Credit: Murat Yelkenli, Shutterstock

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