When it comes to all dogs, finding one of a solid color is quite rare. The same is true for white shih tzu dogs as they are even rarer because white is recessive in terms of fur coloring. This means that when white appears on a dog, it is considered markings rather than the primary color of their fur even if it covers most of their bodies.
A pure white shih tzu is quite rare, but shih tzus that are mostly white are considerably more common. The piebald gene which is responsible for the white markings is recessive. Which means to create a pure white shih tzu, you must breed dogs that are mostly white and from different families. Even so, it is quite possible that two pure white shih tzus will produce pups that have different colors because again, the piebald gene responsible for the white markings is recessive.
White shih tzus are even rarer than you might think because most shih tzu breeders are not aiming to create a pure white dog. The unreliability combined with the lack of demand from shih tzu owners is why a white version is so rare.
Appearance & Nose
The shih tzus that are mostly white will have at least one, but often two other colors in their fur. Keep in mind that while the other colors may cover on a small part of their coat, they are primary compared to the secondary color or markings that are white. Most of the other colors include red, silver, black, gold, and liver or brown.
Many white shih tzus will have a brindle coloring as well. In fact, it may be that white and brindle is the most popular color combination for mostly white shih tzus. Brindle is not so much a color, but instead the striping effect that you see on many shih tzus and other breeds of dogs. For the most part, the brindle will be found on the head and ears which help to highlight the face.
The liver colored nose will denote a primary liver or brown coloring of the shih tzu, even if most of the coat is white. A liver nose will often have hints of pint tint. But it should be noted that a liver nose will denote the shih tzu as white and liver in coloring regardless of the other colors that are present in the fur.
Conversely, a shih tzu with a blue nose which is really a diluted black coloring, will be noted as white and blue, again regardless of any additional colors present in the fur. As you can tell, the nose is what helps determine the color of the shih tzu in regards to how it is officially classified.
How to Care for the White Fur
As with most things that are white, taking care of the fur is a little trickier compared to other colors. That is because any dirt, stains, or debris is going to show up far more prominently on white. This means that your white shih tzu will quickly lose its shine unless you properly take care of the fur.
High Quality Shampoo: You will need to choose the shampoo carefully based on its reputation for producing solid results. A poor-quality shampoo will dry out the hairs and cause the coat to lose what shine it has. It also makes the hair brittle and more difficult to brush and smooth out.
Avoid shampoos that have bleaches or other harsh chemicals as they can do far more damage than products with only soap and moisturizers. Harsh chemicals can not only dry out the coat, but cause skin reactions as well.
Therefore, you will need to find a high-quality shampoo that preserves the moisture inside the hairs which keeps the coat shiny and bright.
Regular Bathing: Keep in mind that each bath the shih tzu takes, even when using a high-quality shampoo with moisturizers, will dehydrate the hairs to a certain degree. Therefore, you should make the baths regular, but keep them spread out so they do cause more harm than good. There are ways to keep your white shih tzu looking his or her best with a little in-between care.
- Spritz: This is a product which you can spray on every other day. It provides UV protection to keep the moisture in the hairs. But more importantly, it repels the dirt and debris while preventing split ends. For white shih tzus, this is a must.
- Grooming Wipes: These simple wipes which only take seconds to use are perfect for wiping down the coat of your shih tzu every day. It removes the little pieces of dirt quickly before they can accumulate.
- Paws: Just like taking off your shoes will help keep dirt and mud from being tracked into the house. So too will cleaning off the paws of your shih tzu prevent dirt, debris, and allergens from coming into the home and sticking to their fur.
Keep in mind that daily grooming consists of only a few seconds as you wipe the coat and clean the paws each time they come back from being outdoors. From that, you should be able to determine how often they can take a bath.
Arguably the biggest concern in keeping the fur of a white shih tzu clean is the tear stains that form under the eyes. This is a common occurrence in shih tzus, especially those that have shallow eye sockets. You can purchase specific formulas that can remove the stains from the fur. Or you can use more common products that will do the same thing. You will need to clean away the tear stains at the first opportunity before they can sink well into the fur.
Taking proper care of the fur of a white shih tzu is a little more work compared to shih tzus of other colors, but the rewards will be worth it. Simply acquire the proper cleaning materials, set a schedule, and your shih tzu’s fur will stay clean, healthy, and shiny for a long time.