The Many Colours of Doggy Love – Part 1

English: A black and white Shih Tzu.

Rosie, an English black and white Shih Tzu.  “Wanna snuggle with me?”  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I might talk almost exclusively about shih tzus, I am reasonably certain that a lot of it applies to dogs of other breeds, and probably to mixed-breed dogs.  However, I do not for a minute think that these observations have any application to cats of whatever breed or colour.  Cats live by their own code, much of which is incomprehensible to pet parents and other humans.  (Note:  This may not be true for non-human pet parents.  Watch for a future column that will be dealing with this subject).

The Red Shih Tzu

One of the less common colours of shih tzus is red.  It’s not rare, mind you, but it is not as common as brown, beige, tricolour, black and white, etc.  Now you may think that this is a study about the different colours of shih tzus, but you would be wrong.  I’ll deal with that in another article.  What we’re talking about here is how true a shih tzu is to its colour.  (By extrapolation as mentioned above, this study could apply to other dog breeds.)

 …And Other Colours

English: Shih Tzu Deutsch: Shih Tzu

A tricolour Shih Tzu in full show coat (black, white, and gold). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know what I mean.  In the case of humans, red heads are supposed to be fiery-tempered and feisty.  Blondes are supposed to have more fun.  Brunettes are supposed to be sultry, but quick-witted.  Black-haired people often have a rich historical or family background.  And so on.  Much of this is clichéd, but the reason it is clichéd is that so often it is true.

Scientific Study of Sorts?

Thus, I’m trying to see if there is any connection between the colour of the coat and the breed of dog, with particular attention paid to shih tzus.  The problem is that I haven’t seen enough of these little dogs to make this anywhere near a scientific study.  So I will be asking you, the reader and doggie pet parent, to help me out with observations of your own dog.

When you comment, please specify:

(1) what breed your dog is… please specify if it is purebred or a cross (and what the cross part is, if you know it),

(2) his/her age and sex,

(3) what colour(s) each dog is,

(4) then list the dog’s personality traits, habits and idiosyncrasies, as many as you can think of.

The regal Princess, Ling Ling.  (Photo credit:  Sandra Bell Kirchman)

The regal Princess, Ling Ling. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Ling Ling

Now, let’s go back to our red shih tzu, the redoubtable princess, Ling Ling.  One of the reasons Ernest picked her at the age of one year was her beautiful red and white colouring.  She is a female, purebred Shih Tzu, spayed, 7 years old, in reasonably good health (although she appears to have been born with hip dysplasia, but it also doesn’t seem to bother her). Here are a list of her characteristics.

  • full of energy and enthusiasm
  • a runner (will escape whenever she can, just to run for the sheer joy of it)
  • loves her toys and her daddy to the extreme
  • vain about her appearance (the only one of my dogs able to keep her girlish figure by eating only when she is hungry)
  • stubborn, sometimes mulishly so
  • affectionate, often surprisingly gentle, and the older she gets the more she likes to snuggle
  • dedicated to a fixed picture (we had a toaster that would sometimes set the fire alarm off – this frightened Ling Ling; to this day when we go to use the toaster, a new, silent, non-smoking model, she will run as far away from the kitchen as she can get)
  • very jealous of the other dogs getting attention from Daddy, especially Tilly Tot
  • royal and dainty
  • to Ling Ling, all strangers are friends she just hasn’t met yet
  • loves her huge back yard, but not so much in winter
The three holy terrors - keeping an eye on Mommy.  (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

The three holy terrors – keeping an eye on Mommy. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Next week we’ll take a look at Oreo’s and Tilly’s colours, plus any information that you dog parents have sent in.  We’ll probably have a Part 3 the following week to take a look at the results and see if we can draw any conclusions.

We would really love it if you would add your dog’s
information below, so we can compare comments
and make this research just a little more scientific.
If you would like to share, please just
enter a comment at the bottom of this post
where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”

(Next week watch for The Many Colours of Doggy Love – Part 2” by Sandra Bell Kirchman)


Text and photos (except where otherwise indicated)
are copyright © 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
All rights reserved. (Volume 14-6.1, June 22, 2014)




  1. Hello Sandra!

    This sounds like a really cool idea. I am also excited to see the results. I’ll give you my two dogs although they are both “mutts” (affectionately said of course).

    Paisley (4 year old Terrier X), Tan with small amounts of black
    – Loves men, men love her
    – Wary of new dogs but eventually loves them all
    – Very hard to house break
    – Loves being in her kennel
    – Almost too trusting of new people
    – Quick to come to her name
    – Completely dependent on Stanley for making most of her day to day decisions. I am not sure she is capable of really deciding much in life.

    Stanley (6 year old Saint Bernard X), Black and White
    – Always happy
    – Somewhat obessesive compulsive
    – Wants to be beside you at all times
    – Extremely intelligent and learns things very quickly
    – Loves to people watch out the window of our front room


    • Hi, Kent,

      Nice to hear from you!

      Already I have learned something. I didn’t know that St. Bernards came in black and white. I always thought that they had that sort of orangey red colouring somewhere in their coat.

      I will certainly add Paisley and Stanley to my list and will publish it along with Part 3 of this story. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Pingback: The Many Colours of Doggy Love – Part 2 | Puppy Dog Tales

  3. Pingback: The Many Colours of Doggy Love – Part 3 | Puppy Dog Tales

Oreo, Tilly & Ling Ling will wag their tails if you reply :)

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