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Brown Shih Tzu – Ultimate Guide To This Rare Canine Beauty

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Raymond Umpa

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Brown Shih Tzu

Whether you are particular about the color of your dog, or you simply love to have a brown Shih Tzu, this comprehensive guide would come in handy.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the essential things about Shih Tzu puppies, including their appearance, temperament, ideal living conditions, health problems, grooming, cost, and a lot more.

Also, aside from their colors, are there differences between a brown Shih Tzu and a black Shih Tzu? How about a white Shih Tzu?  

Find out the answers to these questions and more in this article. Let’s dive right in.

Breed at a Glance:

  • Size: 8 to 11 inches tall
  • Weight: 9 to 16 pounds
  • Energy Level: Moderate Energy Level
  • Lifespan: 11 to 14 years

Related post: Best Dog Food Brands for Shih Tzus

Breed Overview

One of the most distinctive-looking Shih Tzu puppies is a brown Shih Tzu, also referred to as liver-colored or chocolate Shih Tzu because of the brown tones that are typical of this breed.

This hue has the peculiarity of being available in a range of tones, from light to dark. And this variation is what distinguishes Brown Shih Tzus.

Moreover, this breed has exquisite brown tones that make them appear less like dogs and more like toys you might find in toy stores.

Surprisingly, while there's an ever-growing demand for adorable Shih Tzus with lustrous brown coats, this color is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. Brown simply doesn’t exist in the color codes for Shih Tzus. So, what should we call these Shih Tzu puppies, then?

As mentioned earlier, Shih Tzu with solid brown coats is usually liver in color. And for the record, “liver” signifies the skin pigmentation of Shih Tzus and not their coat color.

The liver color ranges from a light brown (sometimes with a pink tint) to a very dark chocolate brown, and it is found on the skin points (nose, eye rims, lips, and paw pads), not just in their coats. While the dog may appear to have a brown coat to your eyes, it is not the way the dog is legally registered.

Brown Shih Tzu – Ultimate Guide To This Rare Canine Beauty 1

History and Origin

The exact history of Brown Shih Tzus is unknown. Yet, it is still obvious that it exists alongside the standard ones. Hence, it follows that they probably have the same history and origin.

Shih Tzus are a small piece of Chinese history that you can possess. The Shih Tzu (literally, “lion dog”) was created by imperial breeders in the Chinese emperor's court centuries ago from Tibetan breeding stock. The Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese, two even more ancient Sino-Tibetan breeds, were probably crossed to create the breed.

Shih Tzu was lavished with care and attention by emperors and their families for hundreds of years while living the life of a royal lap warmer. It is reported that emperors would award priceless gifts to Shih Tzu breeders who produced the most adorable and devoted canines.

The breed remained secluded within palace walls, largely unknown to the outside world, until the 1930s. Breed clubs established in Peking and later in England helped to further hone the breed, but there was some disagreement among fanciers over the right kind.

Shih Tzus were first imported and bred in the US by Maureen Murdock and her nephew Philip Price. By 1960, there were three Shih Tzu clubs: The Shih Tzu Club of America, the Texas Shih Tzu Society, and the American Shih Tzu Association in Florida.

The American Shih Tzu Club was created in 1963 by the union of the Shih Tzu Club of America and the Texas Shih Tzu Society. The American Kennel Club designated the breed as a member of the Toy Group in 1969.

The Shih Tzu has since become one of the most well-liked toy dogs both here and in the UK. They continue to treat their owners, regardless of who they may be, like royalty.

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Brown Shih Tzus vary more in terms of colors than in any other way. Hence, the physical characteristics are almost identical to those of the standard Shih Tzu.

With a height range of 8 to 11 inches and a weight range of 9 to 16 pounds (four to seven kilograms), Shih Tzus are typically categorized as toy dogs.

Shih Tzu puppies mature quickly, maturing to full size in around 10 months, as is the case with other toy breeds.

Shih Tzus are toy dogs that are strong, active, and alert and covered in a long, flowing double coat. They have robust bodies, and good-sized heads, and are slightly shorter than tall.

They have an undershot bite and their muzzle is rather short. A Shih Tzu's head is typically rounded, broad, and wide between the eyes. Its size is consistently in proportion to the rest of its body. It is therefore neither too big nor too little.

Shih Tzus have warm, trusting, lovely, wide-eyed expressions that are particularly friendly. The body has no waist and is short-coupled and strong. And the tail is carried gleefully curled over the back.

They have well-angled, well-laid-in, and well-relaxed shoulders that also integrate seamlessly with the body. Their legs are well-apart under the torso, well-boned, muscular, and relatively straight.

They are covered with their beautiful long, lustrous, and dense double coat. A Brown Shih Tzu's coat is unique because it goes well with its skin and other exposed areas.

Brown Shih Tzu – Ultimate Guide To This Rare Canine Beauty 2
Image from Shih Tzu World

Shih Tzu Colors

When we talk about Brown Shih Tzus, we refer to a variety of hues and patterns. And this is because the color brown could come in different shades. However, the variation now makes the distinction unclear. Check out this summary of the choices to assist you.

The Shih Tzu may be a liver and white Shih Tzu if it has a brown nose and a brown and white coat. On the other hand, it can be either of the following if it has the same white and brown coat but a black nose:

  • Brindle/White Shih Tzu
  • Gold/White Shih Tzu
  • Red/White Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus can also be entirely brown. However, its color could fade over time, just like other solid colors. Because of this, you shouldn't anticipate your Brown Shih Tzu to keep its color.


As previously stated, other than their coloring, Brown Shih Tzus are quite identical to the standard ones. They are therefore comparable, as well, in terms of personality and attitudes.

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Shih Tzu dogs have been bred for ages not just because of their beautiful coats, but more so to be wonderful companions. You don't want to play ball? Not an issue.

Sitting on the couch together is their notion of a fantastic evening. After all, they don't pull sleds, herd cattle, or hunt birds. Just by nature, they are devoted to their family.

They are primarily affectionate, and they prefer to sit on your lap. They are already happy just to be with their family, providing and receiving attention.

But the Shih Tzu isn't a complete couch potato. They are active, and alert, and they may bark at visitors. But don't worry, they will easily become friends with your visitors the moment they enter.

The Shih Tzu breed is all you might want for in a canine companion. They are renowned for being perceptive, vivacious, amiable, trustworthy, and affectionate.

Also, unlike other toy breeds, a Shih Tzu dog doesn't yap or make many demands other than lots of love. It makes sense why Shih Tzu owners form such close relationships with their canine companions.

Brown Shih Tzu – Ultimate Guide To This Rare Canine Beauty 3
Image from Rover


It takes a lot of work to maintain Shih Tzu's beautiful coat. Regular bathing, up to once a week, and daily brushing and combing are required to prevent tangles. In fact, a lot of Shih Tzu owners give up and pay a pro groomer to cut those long hair short.

However, grooming visits should be scheduled every six to eight weeks if you trim the coat short and intend to keep it that way. Shih Tzus have a beautiful double coat of hair. So, if you shorten their hair, you will need to brush them frequently to prevent shedding.

Even while shedding may seem to be out of control with a long coat, it can be done since the outer coat will catch the majority of the undercoat's shedding until you're ready to brush.

If you are going to groom your dog by yourself, make the process as enjoyable as you can for you and your Shih Tzu by starting while he is still a puppy. You'll be doing this quite a bit, after all.

Be sure to brush all the way down to the skin when using a brush. The majority of seasoned Shih Tzu groomers teach the dog to lie on its side while being brushed in portions; this makes it easier to brush and is more pleasant for the dog.

The Shih Tzu should have their nails cut once a month, and their ears should be assessed weekly for dirt, redness, or an unpleasant odor that could be a sign of infection.

To avoid issues, clean them out once a week with a cotton ball dipped in a mild, pH-balanced ear cleanser. If your dog suffers from frequent ear infections, it may be necessary to occasionally pluck hair that grows inside his ear canal.

Similar to a toddler's face, the Shih Tzu needs daily care, as well. It's vital to wipe their face frequently with a soft towel wet with warm water because they get dirty after eating and their eyes can easily tear up or be irritated.

Finally, it's crucial to take proper care of your Shih Tzu's teeth because many little breeds, like the Shih Tzu, are prone to dental issues. Their gums and teeth will remain healthy by brushing regularly with a soft toothbrush and canine toothpaste.

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Common Health Issues

Shih Tzus are susceptible to certain health problems, like any other breed of dog. However, in particular, they are prone to having eye problems, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), and hypothyroidism.

Shih Tzus are also susceptible to breathing issues such as brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome because of their compact face structure.

Shih Tzu dogs are not strong swimmers and struggle to handle the heat because of their short faces and heavy coats.

The majority of Shih Tzu are generally in good health, and responsible breeders check their litter for ailments like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (a slipped kneecap), eye anomalies like cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal detachment, and corneal dryness and inflammation from too much exposure to air because of improperly closed eyelids.

Shih Tzus can also have food, contact, and inhalant allergies, as well as tooth and gum problems, bladder problems, umbilical hernia, and ear problems.

For advice on how to take good care of your pet and keep him from experiencing these problems, it is always best to speak with a veterinarian.

Also, a breeder should be questioned about any specific health issues if you want to buy puppies from them. For peace of mind, many pet owners choose to get pet health insurance.

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How to Care for a Brown Shih Tzu Puppy

Exercise & Living Conditions

Shih Tzus were developed as domestic companions. As a result, they just need light exercise. This little, short-legged companion's exercise needs can be met by daily brief walks and indoor playtime.

Shih Tzus thrive best in the company of their favorite persons. Your Shih Tzu will truly be content as long as you give him a secure environment and a lap to sit in.

Shih Tzus are quite fine to live in an apartment without a yard since, as the AKC points out, they were originally developed “to spend most of their day inside royal palaces.”

Shih Tzus are also popular as family pets because they get along well with children. They are tiny yet strong, friendly, and energetic, and they enjoy being the focus of attention. Just make sure that your kids understand how to treat dogs with respect.

Diet & Nutrition

The Shih Tzu should thrive on premium dog food, whether it is made commercially or at home under the guidance and consent of your veterinarian. Every diet must be suitable for your dog's age (puppy, adult, or senior).

Watch your dog's calorie intake and weight level because certain dogs are prone to obesity. Additionally, you should ensure that your dog has access to fresh and clean water all the time.

Treats can be a valuable training tool, but offering them in excess might lead to obesity. So, it's crucial to see which foods fit the bill for canine consumption and which don't. If you have any worries about your dog's weight or diet, consult your veterinarian.


Shih Tzu training may be entertaining and frustrating at the same time. The breed has a tendency to persuade its owner to let him have his way, which can leave the owner with a fat, partially housebroken, unmanageable pet.

Shih Tzus are such people dogs. Thus, positive reinforcement and rewards-based techniques of training are the most effective. For this breed, harsh corrections are not appropriate. A puppy class should use positive reinforcement-based training techniques, so make sure to check this before signing up.

Be firm, introduce new habits gradually, and never give in to your dog's misbehavior. If he jumps up or nips you, simply ignore him until he calms down, then give him praise. Early socialization and puppy training lessons are advised to help the Shih Tzu develop into a well-mannered, and well-adjusted pet.

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Image from Pup Vine

Buyer’s Guide

What to Look For

Searching online for a liver or brown Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog might be simple, but be wary of puppy mills and online frauds. Shih Tzus commonly end up in rescue organizations and shelters, so an adoption is always an option.

Adopting an adult dog is just as rewarding—and less stressful—than purchasing a puppy. If you're determined to find a Shih Tzu puppy, it's crucial to look for a reputable breeder.

And to prevent puppy mills and online fraud, it's critical to conduct research and double-check references.

Ask a lot of questions when you locate a breeder you like, and make plans to meet the mother or the parents in person. Inquire about any known health problems in the dog's ancestry when you visit. Remember to trust your intuition and keep walking if something feels off. 


In many dog breeds, liver or brown is undesirable because it is caused by a recessive dilution gene. For instance, liver Cane Corsos are considered to have a genetic liability, and liver German Shepherds have serious faults.

But, in the Shih Tzu, the liver is not only acceptable; many breeders also charge more for their puppies that are chocolate-colored than those that are more commonly seen. So, you can expect the price of brown or liver Shih Tzu puppies to be higher than the more popular hues.

While the typical cost of a standard-colored puppy ranges from $500 to $1000, one breeder recently marketed liver Shih Tzu puppies for $3,500 on the AKC Marketplace.


When compared to other dogs of the same breed, the brown Shih Tzu stands apart for a variety of reasons. Others might not be aware that these dogs' names aren't solely given to them because of their coats.

For example, their skin pigmentation is what makes them Brown Shih Tzus. And in addition to the brown coats, they also have brown skin and body parts.

Yes, liver Shih Tzus are rare gems, but carrying the liver gene has no bearing on their personalities. In actuality, the color of a dog's coat—regardless of which one—will never impact that dog's temperament.

Shih Tzus are lovely dogs in general. You'll receive unwavering affection in return if you treat them as they deserve.

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