All Shih Tzus are cute and adorable. However, black and white ones stand out because of their striking colors that contrast sharply with each other. If you’re planning to get a black and white Shih Tzu, you’ll want to know the following facts:
- Shih Tzus with this coloring are black dogs with white markings, NOT white dogs with black markings. This holds true whether the dog is mostly black with some slashes of white or the other way around.
- The white markings on black Shih Tzus are determined by the S-locus, which is also called the “spotting gene”. However, this doesn’t mean that the dog will have literal spots like Dalmatians.
- The development of white markings on the black Shih Tzu begin in the womb. The markings usually start at the muzzle, chest, paws, and tail and spread outward from these points. The S-locus determines where and how far the markings would spread.
- Shih Tzus with white bodies and black paws/chest are extremely rare.
- Black and white Shih Tzus can be classified according to the amount of white markings they contain. Those that are 50 percent black and 50 percent white are called parti-piebald, while those who have more black coloring than white are called Irish mark piebald. Shih Tzus with mostly white coloring and just a little bit of black are called extreme piebald.
It’s important to note that Shih Tzus continue to change their colors even when they’re out of the womb. Their white markings can spread to a wider area (only the white markings spread, not the black), and these changes only stop when they reach adulthood. This means that the lovely pattern that your puppy has may no longer be the same when he grows up.
Of course, these don’t mean that you should give up your Shih Tzu just because his black and white coloring changed over time! It’s simply a reminder that you shouldn’t focus on the puppy’s appearance when buying/adopting one. Instead of prioritizing his coat colors, you should pick a Shih Tzu puppy that has good health and has the temperament that matches your own personality and lifestyle.
Taking care of your black and white Shih Tzu
Black and white Shih Tzus don’t need special care. As long as they’re healthy, you can groom them the way you groom other Shih Tzus with different coloring.
However, you do need to be careful with tear stains. Most Shih Tzus produce tears, which run down their fur and cause tear stains. These don’t only look unsightly but can also create the ideal environment for yeast and bacteria to grow.
Tear stains are not that noticeable in black and white Shih Tzus, especially those that have a black mask on their face, but this is what makes it problematic. Since you can’t easily notice tear stains on your dog’s face, you won’t be able to clean his face properly and provide him with the right treatment. So, instead of just relying on sight, it’s important to touch the fur below your dog’s eyes and check if they feel crusty and flaky. If they do, it’s a sign that your Shih Tzu is developing (somewhat invisible) tear stains.