Things to Know About Shih Tzu Grooming & Care

How to Groom Shih Tzu at Home    |Published 11-09-2023

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and smart knit crocheting.

Small in size, energetic, and playful is the Shih Tzu dog breed. They can make attentive family companions because they are friendly to both people and other pets. If you want to know how to groom shih tzu at home, you've arrived right. This adorable pet requires excellent grooming and, at the very least, daily brushing of its long, fine coat, with special attention paid to the facial area.

If you are a Shih Tzu owner, always ensure the facial hair stays out of your pet's eyes. It can be followed with a tidy and clean coat. It's easy to trim the hair between your Shih-Tzu's eyes, making your dog enjoy his daily activities more.

A young black Shih Tzu is sitting on a grooming table next to scissors and combs

When it comes to the haircut of a Shih Tzu, there are two grooming opinions -

  1. The one who believes that the dog's fur acts as an insulator against heat, keeping the animal cooler.
  2. Others believe the dog's skin, not its coat, protects the outside world because it functions as a "shield."

To justify this, even Science itself has yet to get answers. However, what we know is that dogs regulate their body temperature through their tongue and their panting, not through their skin! It means they do not sweat excessively hot! Each dog and each breed will have its tolerance level to heat. Depending on this, it makes it convenient (or not) to cut its hair in summer.

Should you cut your Shih Tzu's hair in summer? It's not a strict "yes" or "no." It is best to observe your pet and ask your vet directly. They will suggest the best tips on how to groom Shih Tzu is based on its coat, and characteristics! Most Shih Tzu have a thick double coat that has a soft cottony undercoat and a thicker outer coat.  Those that only have a single coat are often referred to as Prapso.  

But, there individual differences in their hair texture.  Some have very straight corse outer coats, whereas others have some wave.  Some have very cottony coats that mat easily.  If you are unsure what type of clip your Shih Tzu should receive, it might be best to consult a professional groomer.

How much hair should be cut for Shih Tzu grooming?

If you hope to show your dog, do not clip the hair, especially around the face.  Trimming paw pads and doing a sanitary clip are acceptable and encouraged.

The truth is that if you have a pet Shih Tzu, however, there are a few things to worry about like-

  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Sunburn
  • Heatstroke

For this reason, you should wait to cut your Shih Tzu's hair until it is long enough to cover its skin! Ideally, it's Two to three centimeters of hair or about one inch. Many groomers will trim the hair shorter, so if you are getting a professional groomer to do this, remember to tell them how short you prefer.

Remember that your dog's coat will usually grow back after cutting, but occasionally it won't! In that case, your dog may be experiencing melatonin or thyroid issues. This is rare, however.

One more thing! You will have to adjust to your Shih Tzu's level of physical activity if you shave his hair!

How to cut the hair between the eyes of a Shih Tzu?

 Step 1:  Prepare Your Shih Tzu

A black Shih Tzu is sitting on a grooming table

Ask your Shih-Tzu to sit or lie down if the pet is familiar and trained for grooming sessions. The dog should be groomed in a safe place where he is at ease, quiet, and not distracted by other people or animals. If your Tzu does not stay on his own, let someone hold it if it isn't used to being groomed to avoid any injury to the dog.

Step 2:  Assemble Your Supplies

Several combs and scissors are placed on a blue grooming table

You will need a fine-toothed comb and a pair of rounded-tipped sicissors

Using a fine-toothed comb, comb the hair around the face. Detangle all knots and brush the hair away from the eyes and nose.

Step 3:  Part the Hair

Take the hair and section into three parts: a right, a left, and a middle. First, take the left section (above the dog's left eye) and hold it between your middle and index fingers. Then, gently pull the hair forward. Cut the hair using round-tipped scissors to about half an inch (1.25 cm) above the eye.

Step 4:  Trim the Sides

Following the same process as the left, trim the right section of hair. Once you're done cutting off both sides, brush the fur again. If the hair is still long, continue to trim carefully till it's short enough. Be careful about the dog's eyelashes. You probably do not want to trim the eyelashes.

Step 5:  Trim the Center

Take the middle section of your Shih Tzu's hair and carefully start trimming. Start from the top of the nose, then move towards the corner of the eye. This hair needs to be cut relatively short. If you want, you can tie the extra hair with a barrette or a small band. 

Step 6:  Brush & Touch Up

Gently brush the hair with a fine-tooth comb and touch up the uneven areas with scissors or thinning sheers if you have them.  Now, your Shih Tzu’s face and head are all groomed, looking neat and tidy.

To know more about how to groom Shih Tzu at home, you can read our blogs here.

The Bottom Line

When your Shih Tzu is still a puppy, begin grooming it. This way, you both get used to the grooming sessions, and it becomes a fun activity that builds your bond with your pet. In addition to all the tools and supplies, patience and commitment are essential for proper Shih Tzu grooming. Although it won't be simple, you'll know the effort was worthwhile when you see how beautiful your dog has grown to be!

For more such grooming tips, visit

How to Groom Shih Tzu:  Pin for Future Reference

How to grooom a shih tzu pin imageHow to Groom a Shih Tzu

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