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When seen floating across the show ring, the long, flowing Shih Tzu coat is dramatic and eye-catching. Comprised of two distinct layers, the Shih Tzu coat comes in many colors. Their topcoat is long and silky, while the undercoat is fleecy and feathery. But maintaining that coat requires bathing, brushing, and consistent care. 

Get to Know Your Dog’s Coat

Not all Shih Tzu coats are the same, so it may take a little trial and error to get just the right grooming system down. Some coats are thicker, while others are softer. Many Shih Tzu coats can also change when the dog is around 10 to 12 months old. Mats can form, so keeping on top of it will prevent headaches later. 

Shih Tzu (10 months old) walking in the grass.
©Train arrival -

Finding the Right Haircut

Many Shih Tzu owners keep their dogs’ hair clipped short. As with other toy breeds with long, silky coats, a skilled groomer can give your dog a “puppy clip.” This haircut is an especially good choice if your dog’s coat tends to tangle easily or if you’re just not up for maintaining a show-ready coat. Shih Tzus with this haircut typically need to be groomed about every four to six weeks. 

Shih Tzu sitting on a stump outdoors.
©chaoss -

Establishing a Grooming Routine

Shih Tzu with longer coats require daily brushing with a good-quality wire brush. Be sure to use one with flexible pins and don’t forget to layer the dog’s hair so you reach their skin. You must also comb their mustache and topknot daily. To help keep the dog’s coat clean, it’s important to also give them a bath about every three or four weeks.

While they’re certainly cute, a top knot is also an easy way to protect a Shih Tzu’s dark, expressive eyes. Along with their mustache, this hair on top of the head in should be combed daily, so it’s important to carefully remove and change the top knot each day. Shih Tzu owners can also keep this hair trimmed short. 

Related article: 10 Grooming Secrets From Show Dog Experts
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