How To Groom A Shih Tzu

Hailing from China, the Shih Tzu is a truly unique dog breed, especially when it comes to the head. The Chinese were said to have described a Shih Tzu’s head as resembling that of a lion or a owl with the mouth being like that of a frog. In addition to their unique heads, Shih Tzus are renowned for their long, flowing hair similar to that of the Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs.

The name, Shih Tzu, is reflective of the dog breed’s Chinese origins. Shih Tzus were bred as to be born into the Chinese imperial family, having lived inside of palaces during China’s imperial period. If you aren’t sure about how to groom a Shih Tzu, here is the process that you can follow in order to do that.

Learn How To Groom A Shih Tzu With This Process

1. Brush Your Shih Tzu’s Hair

(Photo courtesy of digishooter via Flickr)

Your Shih Tzu’s long and flowing hair makes him/her vulnerable to rapid matting and that is before we even get to the fact that your Shih Tzu has a double coating.

So, you will need to be brushing your Shih Tzu’s coating on a daily basis in order to keep up with the rapid accumulation of mats as a coating that is swarming with them can be painful for the dog.

As far as hair shedding is concerned, your Shih Tzu only shed a light amount of it. So, whenever your Shih Tzu does shed, the dead hair won’t fall down on your floor or furniture. Instead, the dead hair gets trapped inside your Shih Tzu’s coating.

Before you start brushing your Shih Tzu’s coating, I want to point out that he/she has fine, human-like hair. That means that your Shih Tzu’s hair will break off easily if you brush his/her coating when it is dry.

So, you will first want to make your Shih Tzu’s coating damp, but not wet. In order to do that, all you need to do is to put water into a spray bottle and then use it to spray water onto your Shih Tzu’s coating.

Now, as for which brush you should use to brush your Shih Tzu’s coating, I recommend the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush as it is a popular brush that is effective at removing all that mats not just from the long, flowing outer coat, but also the undercoat.

The brush can do that without scratching your Shih Tzu’s skin thanks to its fine bent wire bristles. The brush is also self-cleaning which is a good thing to have because you will be collecting a lot of mats and won’t want to be wasting time trying to clean your brush.

Once you have the brush to use, you are now ready to start brushing your Shih Tzu’s coating. As you are brushing your Shih Tzu’s coating, be sure that you also brush his/her mustache and topknot.

When you are brushing your Shih Tzu’s topknot, you want to brush it backwards so that you can move the hair away from the dog’s eyes so that you can protect the eyes from being irritated.

As for the rest of your Shih Tzu’s body, you will want to brush in the direction that the hair grows.

2. Brush Your Shih Tzu’s Teeth

Your Shih Tzu needs to have his/her teeth brushed regularly – ideally daily. That is to stop tartar from gathering on your Shih Tzu’s teeth which isn’t good as that can lead to tooth decay.

That is true for all dogs, not just your Shih Tzu. Veterinarians often recommend that dog owners get the Virbac toothpaste for their dogs’ teeth. So, you will want to go along with it as well. You can use a toothbrush to brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth.

3. Bathe Your Shih Tzu

As for the frequency of bathing your Shih Tzu, doing it once every three to four weeks is ideal as doing so will help your Shih Tzu’s long and flowing human-like hair to be kept clean and to look its best.

To get started, bring your Shih Tzu to your bathtub. Use a cup filled with warm water and pour it onto your Shih Tzu’s coating until it is all wet. With your Shih Tzu’s coating all wet, thoroughly apply the shampoo onto the coating.

As for which shampoo you should use on your Shih Tzu, the Buddy Wash Dog Shampoo and Conditioner is one of the best shampoos that I can find for the dog. So, you will want to get that.

With the shampoo applied, rinse your Shih Tzu until any and all lingering shampoo has been washed away from his/her coating. Once the bath is over, dry your Shih Tzu’s coating with a bathing towel.

Remember to leave your Shih Tzu’s coating damp as you will be brushing it again. With your Shih Tzu’s coating dry but still damp, go ahead and re-brush his/her coating.

4. Trim Your Shih Tzu’s Hair

(Photo courtesy of ccho via Flickr)

Even though Shih Tzus are well known for their long and flowing hair that can reach the floor, it may be in your best interest to trim your Shih Tzu’s hair short, especially if you dread having to brush his/her coating daily.

But, first, you will want to make sure that you have one of the best clippers which as you will see won’t be cheap. With that in mind, I recommend that you get the Andis UltraEdge Super Detachable Blade Clipper AGC2. This is a powerful clipper that can handle just about any coating.

Even with all of that power, this clipper stays remarkably cool for an extended period of time which is important because you don’t want the clipper to be hot while you are using it on your Shih Tzu.

The clipper is also quiet which will help with dogs who are fearful upon hearing the noise of a clipper. You may not know that, but there are different levels of blades that you can use for trimming your Shih Tzu’s hair.

Generally speaking, the higher the blade number is, the shorter that your Shih Tzu’s hair will be after it has been trimmed. The clipper that I just mentioned about comes with a blade number 10. Additional blades for the clipper are sold separately and so you can go here to buy additional blades.

As you are trimming your Shih Tzu’s hair, focus on trimming evenly across the bottom of the hairline and trim in the direction of hair growth. Another place where you will want to trim is your Shih Tzu’s topknot.

That is so that the hair wouldn’t get into your Shih Tzu’s eyes because that can be irritating if that happens.

5. Clean Your Shih Tzu’s Ears

As is the case with all dogs, your Shih Tzu needs to have his/her ears cleaned. That is because the ears are breeding grounds for wax and that isn’t good for a dog as it can cause ear infection.

So, keep an eye on the ears of your Shih Tzu. If they look dirty, that is your time to clean them out. You will want to use the Virbac ear cleaner for your Shih Tzu’s ears as that is what veterinarians often recommend. You can use it with cotton balls for cleaning your dog’s ears.

6. Clip Your Shih Tzu’s Nails

All dogs need to have their nails clipped to keep them short and your Shih Tzu is no exception. Nails that are too long can cause pain for your Shih Tzu’s paws. So, you want to keep an eye on your Shih Tzu’s nails.

If you hear the clicking sound while your Shih Tzu is walking, that indicates that it is time for you to clip them short. You can use a nail clipper like Millers Forge Dog Nail Clip to clip your Shih Tzu’s nails.

Be careful that you don’t cut the quick part of your Shih Tzu’s nails as that can bleed easily if cut.

Concluding How To Groom A Shih Tzu

There you have it for how to groom a Shih Tzu. If you are struggling to get your Shih Tzu to accept being groomed, this post will help you with that. What are your thoughts? Have you groomed a Shih Tzu before? Feel free to leave a comment down below.

4 thoughts on “How To Groom A Shih Tzu”

  1. Hi. I like the background history of the Shih Tzu dog. Although grooming takes delicate care and work, it can be rewarding. Since the hair of a Shih Tzu can grow long, especially, if you allow it to, extra care has to be taken of course. I tend to prefer short hair. At least the way it can help make grooming easier. I love seeing the smooth hair.

    Cleaning the ears can sometimes be a bit tricky because you always want to make sure that you’re doing it right. It’s good that you bring up the Virbac ear cleaner because that works wonders. I know that when I groom my dog and he enjoys it, that tells me that I’m doing something right. 

    • Hi there, it is nice to hear that you like the background history of the Shih Tzu. For sure, even though the Shih Tzu is renowned for the long and flowing hair, you can cut it short if you want to, especially if you don’t want to have to brush his/her coating daily.

      I am glad to hear that the Virbac ear cleaner is working wonders for your dog. It’s easy to see why veterinarians often recommend the Virbac ear cleaner for cleaning a dog’s ears.

  2. Hello. Thank you for e explaining how to groom and take care of the dog shih Tzu’st hair of dogs with similar coat. I think it’s very helpful and useful  to people with that sort of dog. One queston can you use the same method for other breads ,because by mother had 3 toy Poodles that also has to be groom. And I remember that she use to spend a lot of money for grooming the dogs

    • Hello there, you are welcome. It’s my pleasure to explain how to groom a Shih Tzu for those of you who need help with that. I know for sure that there are two other dogs that have similar coating to that of the Shih Tzu – the Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese dog.

      Each dog breed is different from one another although there are still plenty of similarities regarding how they should be groomed. Seeing that you mentioned about your mom having had three toy Poodles and so with that in mind, I would suggest you give this post a read.


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