If you plan to groom your Shih Tzu at home, learn about Shih Tzu grooming styles. This breed's coat is high maintenance, so learning to groom your dog yourself can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. Consider these grooming techniques to keep your dog's coat beautiful.
About Shih Tzu Grooming
The Shih Tzu has a long coat that grows continuously throughout its life . It's actually a double coat of silky hair on top with a soft, cottony undercoat. Loose hairs tend to hang in the coat and cause tangles that should be brushed daily to avoid forming larger mats.
Pet owners should invest in a quality dog clipper and at least two blades, a #10 and a #4F. The #10 blade is good for shaving and cutting fur short in areas like the anal region and feet. The 4F blade cuts smaller sections of fur and creates medium length cuts.
Only use mild shampoos and moisturizing cream rinses designed for pets to avoid skin irritation. Applying a leave-in spray conditioner to minimize tangling is also a good idea for this breed. The leave-in conditioner can be used before a brushing session to make it easier to groom fur and add shine.
About Shih Tzu Grooming Styles
The Shih Tzu has several popular grooming styles.
Classic Long Coat Style
The Shih Tzu is known for the classic long coat grooming style. The coat is parted in the middle, with the ends sweeping the feet. The long hair on the head is typically gathered into a top knot with a rubber band and perhaps a bow for a stylish touch. The leg fur grows in one smooth line and neatly trimmed at toe level.
There are many variations on the classic long coat style that you can try.
- The hair on the head can be trimmed to land slightly above the dog's ears when gathered in a high top knot.
- The hair on the head can be allowed to grow quite long and split into two smaller ponytails that fall on either side of the face. They can even be braided once they grow long enough.
- The beard can be trimmed at ear level.
- The beard can be trimmed to mid-chest level.
- The side coat length can be trimmed to reach the middle of the dog's leg.
- The side coat length can be trimmed to end cleanly at floor length.
Medium Length Coat Style
Many dog owners choose to maintain a medium length coat style on a Shih Tzu dog in the classic "puppy cut" due to the tangle-prone nature of the double coat. The hair is cut to a length of two inches over the entire body with long hair left only on the head, ears and tail. The medium length coat style gives the illusion of thicker hair because the coat isn't held down by the weight of an extra long length. In some ways, this style can preserve the look of a Shih Tzu puppy.
Here are a few variations of the medium length coat grooming style.
- Trim the hair short around the eyes and nose and leave a slightly longer beard.
- Trim the headfall to a medium length that is still long enough to gather in a top knot.
- Trim the entire head, ears and beard short.
- Trim the side coat to hang just at body length.
- Trim the side coat so it hangs about two inches past the body.
Shaved Coat Style
A shaved coat grooming style may be a good idea for a Shih Tzu with a thin, cottony coat that is more prone to tangles than a smooth, silky coat. Maintaining a shaved coat may also make sense for a pet owner who does not have time for the daily brushing and detangling required by longer coats. The shaved coat style is also a seasonal option for hot weather.
Use a #10 blade on a clipper to easily shave the Shih Tzu's coat. Regular brushing and using a spray conditioner periodically is still a good idea for this short length. It will keep the skin and fur moisturized and soft.
There are many Shih Tzu grooming styles to choose from to create an adorable look for your pet. Choose the style that works best for your dog and your home grooming schedule.