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

Written by: Visnja Radosavljevic

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

mother shih tzu dog and her puppy

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

Breed Overview


8–11 inches


9–16 pounds


12-15 years


Black, blue, red, brindle, liver, gold, silver

Suitable for:

Active families, families with kids, and those looking for a low-shedding dog


Loyal, loving, social, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets and people

Shih Tzu is a breed that originates from Tibet and China and has been around for ages, mostly as a lap dog for emperors and wealthy people. This breed gained instant popularity worldwide due to their small size, cute appearance, and loving personality traits.

Although there are many different Shih Tzu colors, the one that stands out the most is brindle. This color resembles tiger stripes, and it’s quite common in this breed, which is why brindle Shih Tzus are so popular.

But where do these dogs come from, and what is their history? Keep reading to get to know this stunning dog breed and color variation.

Shih Tzu Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TEST

The Earliest Records of the Brindle Shih Tzu in History

Shih Tzu dogs have been around for centuries, which makes it hard to track their first record in history. According to most studies, the breed dates back to 1000 B.C., and since brindle Shih Tzus are also quite common, they probably date back to the same era.

These dogs originated and were first bred in China. The Chinese used this miniature breed as lap dogs for emperors, especially due to their unique lion-like features. In the 1930s, the first Shih Tzus were sent to England, which is also when they started to spread across the globe.

The breed came to the U.S.A. in 1940 and gained extreme popularity that remains to this day. Although people love Shih Tzus of all colors, brindle stands out as one of the most beautiful patterns.

Brown Shih Tzu
Image By: KDdesignphoto, Shutterstock

How the Brindle Shih Tzu Gained Popularity

Brindle Shih Tzus were extremely popular among the Chinese royalty because they resembled lions, which were connected to Buddhism and tradition.

Since Shih Tzus were first bred in China, most people outside of the country had never seen them until people started bringing these dogs to other parts of the world, including Europe and the U.S.A. Everything from their appearance to their behavior was quite likable, which is why people started buying them.

Even today, their popularity remains high, and thousands of people all over the world own brindle Shih Tzus.

Formal Recognition of the Brindle Shih Tzu

The formal recognition of this breed varies per geographic location. For example, the Ming and Manchu dynasty accepted Shih Tzus over 700 years ago.

The breed was later recognized by the rest of the world; Shih Tzus were recognized in Britain in 1946 and by the American Kennel Club in 1969. Brindle has been a recognized Shih Tzu color ever since the breed got its recognition.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03 Top 5 Unique Facts About the Shih Tzu

1. Shih Tzu Means “Little Lion”

Shih Tzus resemble small lions due to the shape of their face and their fur. Also, in Mandarin, Shih Tzu means “little lion,” representing the lion that traveled with the Buddha.

2. Shih Tzus Were Brought to the U.S.A. by Military Personnel

Shih Tzus came to the U.S. grounds unexpectedly, as they were brought by military personnel. American soldiers came back to the U.S.A. with this breed during the 1940s and 1950s. The breed has been popular in the country ever since, and many people choose the Brindle Shih Tzu as their family pet.

3. Shih Tzus Almost Disappeared During the Communist Revolution

The Shih Tzus almost went extinct during the Communist Revolution. This breed was affected by the revolution and the death of Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, who was the main protector of Shih Tzu dogs. She had a breeding program that unfortunately fell apart after her death, resulting in a decrease in Shih Tzu puppies in that period.

4. Shih Tzus Are Also Known as Chrysanthemum-Faced Dogs

Many people refer to Shih Tzus as chrysanthemum-faced dogs, as every hair on their face grows in its own direction, resembling the flower. Shih Tzus require regular brushing and grooming to keep their coats in good shape.

matted Shih Tzu dog
Image By: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

5. Shih Tzus Are Over 1,000 Years Old

The first records of Shih Tzus go back over 1,000 years in history. They existed in China in 1,000 B.C., and those dogs were ancestors of the current Shih Tzu breed and had almost identical traits.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TESTDoes the Brindle Shih Tzu Make a Good Pet?

Brindle Shih Tzus make excellent pets due to their curious, fun nature. They are often playful, energetic, and low maintenance. Brindle Shih Tzus are great pets for families with kids and other pets because they get along well with people and animals.

These dogs can occasionally be stubborn, but as long as you train them from an early age, you shouldn’t experience this problem frequently. Due to their size, they are perfect for people living in apartments or otherwise small spaces.

Brindle is only a color, so your Shih Tzu will act like any other Shih Tzu out there — they will just look cuter!

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03 Closing Thoughts

Brindle Shih Tzus have unique lion-like coats and a long, rich history. These dogs have been around for centuries, and they will remain human companions for years to come. Hopefully, this guide has helped you get a better understanding of the brindle Shih Tzu!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: JennyandtheSummerDay, Pixabay

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