9 Types of Shih Tzu Dog Breed

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Shih Tzus, with their endearing personalities and adorable looks, have captured the heart of dog lovers across the globe. There are several types of Shih Tzus, with each of them possessing distinctive characteristics and features. However, Shih Tzus are united by some evidently similar traits. For instance, all kinds of Shih Tzus are tiny, hairy, and extremely cuddle worthy.

Don’t be fooled by the name Shih Tzu, which roughly translates to “little lion”. Their personality is quite contrary to their name. They are extremely perky, affectionate, and friendly in nature. All kinds of Shih Tzus will share these primary traits with some stand-out ones varying for each type. If you are planning to adopt a dog, here are the nine different types of Shih Tzus you must consider.

Types of Shih Tzu

Since there are different kinds of Shih Tzus, you may want to start by knowing each breed. From purebreds to crossbreds, here are some of the most common types of Shih Tzus:

  1. Imperial Shih Tzu      

    Imperial Shih Tzu  

    It’s a widely popular belief that Imperial Shih Tzus are purebred, however, the National Kennel Club does not validate it. This Shih Tzu breed type is, in fact, crossbred, and is the smallest version of the lot. You will love their bubbly energy! These pint-sized dogs have a gentle, yet enthusiastic temperament and need to be pampered constantly. You can recognize these kinds of Shih Tzus from their hairy muzzles and coat. The Imperial Shih Tzus should be well taken care of as they are prone to genetic defects.    
  2. American Shih Tzu      

    American Shih Tzu    

    American Shih Tzus are purebred and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969. They have small chests, short necks, and high legs. American Shih Tzus can be your snuggle buddies as they have super short bodies and long legs. These adorable munchkins have square-shaped heads and small, deep-set black eyes. Their muzzles are short; however, their fur is long and silky. These lovable dogs are known for their outgoing personality, making them amazing family pets.      
  3. Black Shih Tzu      

    Black Shih Tzu    

    This type of Shih Tzu breed is one of the rarest ones of the lot, especially the ones with solid black fur and no white patches. Most different types of Shih Tzus usually have a secondary color coat along with a black one. Did you know? The blackness of their fur may fade over time. Sometimes, the coat changes into white or silver. This may be due to the prolonged exposure to the sun. So, to retain your dog’s coat color, it is advisable to groom them regularly.      
  4. European Shih Tzu      

    European Shih Tzu 

    This kind of Shih Tzu is purebred and acknowledged by the United Kingdom Kennel Club. The American and European Shih Tzus have similar features with some minor differences. The European variant has a long neck and round head, as opposed to the American’s square-like face and short neck. The European fur baby has distinct, large eyes and a broad chest. These dogs are energetic, so expect them to follow you around wherever you go.      
  5. Teacup Shih Tzu      

    Teacup Shih Tzu 

    If you are looking out for a pocket-sized bundle of joy, then the Teacup Shih Tzu might be perfect for you. This type of Shih Tzu breed is among the smallest ones and, as the name suggests, it is as tiny as a teacup. These dogs remain small due to genetic manipulation done by the breeders. Due to their tiny size, this Shih Tzu breed type needs extreme care and caution. These lovable canine companions can melt your heart with their large eyes and adorable size.      
  6. Japanese Shih Tzu      

    Japanese Shih Tzu    

    Jatzus are a type of Shih Tzu breed that is a cross between a Shih Tzu and Japanese Chin. These undeniably cute pups are also called Chin-Tzu. Japanese Shih Tzus are international crossbreeds and are relatively low-maintenance dogs. That makes these kinds of Shih Tzus easier to train. As opposed to different types of Shih Tzus, that usually bark at high decibel stimulation, the Jatzus usually have a calm and peaceful temperament. Additionally, since these furry friends are relaxed in nature, they are not hyperactive and do not require much exercise.      
  7. Brindle Shih Tzu      

    Brindle Shih Tzu    

    Tiny, charming, and easy-going, this Shih Tzu breed type is considered to be one of the most popular ones. The Brindle has beautiful layers of coat, with one base color and some streaks of other shades. Their multicolor appearance comes from the mixture of brown, black, or gold fur. However, the streak patterns may vary for different types of Shih Tzu breeds. The Brindle Shih Tzus are independent and make for a great companion if you prefer free-spirited pups.      
  8. Brown Shih Tzu      

    &Brown Shih Tzu 

    These types of Shih Tzu breeds are chocolate brown or reddish brown in color. However, this shade is from the skin pigmentation and not from the coat. These pups also have gradient shades on their lips, nose, paw pads, and eye rims. Remember, it is their skin that is brown and not the coat, so you need to take care of them to retain its shade. But expect the brown color to fade over time. In terms of health, Brown Shih Tzus are not prone to multiple health issues.      
  9. Blue-Eyed Shih Tzu      

    Blue-Eyed Shih Tzu    

    By now you know many different types of Shih Tzus, so it’s time to meet the last one. As the name suggests, this type of Shih Tzu has expressive blue eyes. This happens when the dog lacks the black color gene and has the Merle gene which hampers the synthesis of black pigment in the dog. Additionally, the lighter eye color is usually a sign of a weaker or faulty gene. So, this type of Shih Tzu is more prone to risks than the other types. It is recommended to take extreme care of the blue-eyed Shih Tzus.

In conclusion, all the different kinds of Shih Tzus come from the same parent breed, the Shih Tzu. These adorable munchkins are similar in body size and long fur. However, different types of Shih Tzus display some unique characteristics in terms of looks and character. If you are thinking of bringing a lovable puppy home, then research all kinds of Shih Tzus and their care methods, eating habits, and persona. These paw friends are affectionate companions, so look forward to long cuddles that await!

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Frequently asked questions on Types of Shih Tzu

Since there are many types of Shih Tzu breeds, you can identify them from their appearance. They usually have a tiny body frame, dark eyes, and double fur coats. You can also check with the breeder or the store about their breed and origin.

There are various types of Shih Tzus that are either purebred or crossbred. The Black Shih Tzu without any white patches is one of the rarest Shih Tzu breed types. Similarly, completely white Shih Tzus are also rare to find.

All the different types of Shih Tzus are ideal companions. These dog breeds require special attention and care. So, if you want to a fur baby, look out for these cute and adorable munchkins that are lively, friendly, and adorable.

Primarily, there are 9 different breeds of Shih Tzus. However, you can find numerous other Shih Tzu breed types that are crossed over with other breeds.