Adorable Shih Tzu Grooming Styles

Updated September 27, 2018
Portrait of two Maltese Shih Tzu

Choose from a variety of Shih Tzu grooming styles for your dog. You can find a look that reflects your pet's personality and your sense of style by reviewing various Shih Tzu haircut photos and descriptions.

Puppy Cut

In the puppy cut, the dog's hair is trimmed to about 1 or 2 inches in length. This cut is also called a summer cut, and it's easy to see why it's a favorite for this small dog breed. It's a very low-maintenance look that requires nothing more than regular brushing and trimming.

Teddy Bear Cut

Like the puppy cut, with the teddy bear cut the Shih Tzu's hair is trimmed to 1 to 2 inches during grooming, but the hair is cut around the face and ears in a round shape that might be a little shorter. Once the cut is completed, your dog will look very much like an adorable teddy bear. This is another fairly low maintenance cut that is good for hot weather. It is also sometimes called the "pet clip."

Top Knot

In this cut, the dog's hair is left longer but not fully naturally long. The length is up to you and your groomer's discretion. The top knot is formed by gathering hair by the dog's head and tying it with a ribbon, bow, or hair clip. This look takes more work on your part as you will need to brush regularly and comb the fur and tidy the bows as they come loose. Some groomers and owners will braid the hair in the top knot as well for an additional decoration. This cut is sometimes also called the "Practical Top Knot."

Top Knot Show Cut

This is a variation of the top knot that is mainly done with show dogs as it's time consuming and requires a lot of regular maintenance to keep the dog from getting matted. The coat must be brushed several times a day to stay shiny. In this version, the coat is kept fully naturally long all over.

Shih Tzu with top knot

Short Coat, Full Top

In this cut, the dog's hair on the body and legs is cut short, but the left long on the top of the head, face, and ears. The hair on the ears can be layered for a fuller, fluffier look, or brushed out and left to hang naturally.

Short cut full top Shih Tzu

Short Coat, Ears Long

This is similar to the Short Coat, Full Top look but in this case, the top of the head and face are groomed short as well. Only the ears are left long and are either layered or left natural.

Lion Cut

This cut is also called a stuffed cut, or a long mustache with shaved body. In this cut, the dog's facial hair is left completely natural aside from a few snips around the eyes and nose if the dog's vision is blocked. The tail, leg, and body fur are trimmed and shaved to varying amounts. The body should be trimmed short and the tail as well except for the end which gives it a "tuft" like look. The leg fur should be trimmed down to about an inch in length This cut does give the dog the appearance of a little lion, hence its name.

Lion cut dog hairstyle

Ponytail Look

This is a very cute look where you draw the hair on the side into ponytails and secure them with clips, bows, or small ponytail bands. Aside from being adorable, it also is practical as it keeps their hair from getting tangled and in their eyes.

Dog with pink ribbon pony tails

Japanese Cut

In this style, the dog's ear hair is left long, and either brushed, layered or tied in bows. The body hair is kept short, and the leg hair is kept long and also brushed out to create a fluffier look. The stylist may even make the hair look triangular or round at the bottom of the foot for a very unusual look.

Shih Tzu Asian fusion style

Shih Tzu Male and Female Cuts

Shih Tzus often have a feminine appearance due to their long silky hair and the tendency for owners to put ribbons and bows on them. If you want to give your dog a look that matches their sex, consider Shih Tzu hairstyles for females such as the top knot, top knot show cut, and Japanese cut including colorful bows, clips, and ribbons. Shih Tzu hairstyles for males could be the teddy bear, lion, or puppy cuts and refrain from using accessories.

Shih Tzu Grooming Needs

Because of their long, silky hair, the Shih Tzu requires regular grooming to keep it from becoming tangled and matted. You can also opt to groom them to wear a regular short coat but this will still require regular brushing and trimming. Shih Tzus do shed although whether they do or not depends on how you keep their coat. A dog with a long cut will seem like it does not shed because the hairs that are shedding off stick in with the longer coat hairs. Regular brushing removes these hairs. On the other hand, a dog with a short cut will not shed all over as their hairs won't be trapped by the longer hair covering.

Shih Tzu Grooming Frequency

A Shih Tzu should be brushed daily, and your bi-weekly grooming schedule should include nail trims and teeth cleaning. Bathe them at least every few weeks, although show dogs will be bathed as frequently as weekly. Every bath should include cleaning around their eyes and ears, although if your dog tends to have discharge around his eyes, you may want to clean them more frequently.

Shih Tzu Puppy Grooming

Because your dog will require constant grooming throughout his life, a Shih Tzu puppy first grooming session should be gentle and fun for the pup. Unlike adults, you do not want to bathe a puppy before grooming when they are very young. Bathing is an option for Shih Tzu grooming three months from their birth date.

DIY Shih Tzu Grooming

Many Shih Tzu owners find it easier to take their dog to a professional groomer, but it's definitely cheaper to do it at home, as well as less stressful for the dog. In order to do the job you'll need to have the right tools. The basic Shih Tzu grooming kit should at a minimum have:

  • Two brushes - one that's flexible and a slicker brush
  • A comb with fine and coarse teeth on opposite ends
  • Grooming scissors
  • Nail trimming scissors
  • Dog shampoo
  • Ear and eye cleaning supplies
  • Towels and washcloths

Extra supplies you can include in your kit if you decide to are:

Some Shih Tzu owners prefer to use electric tools. If you want to learn how to groom a Shih Tzu with clippers, it's not that difficult and can make grooming much more efficient. Since you'll be using a new tool that may frighten your dog due to the noise and vibration, start slowly and pair the noise and motion of the trimmer with praise, treats, and whatever else your dog enjoys. Work on trimming him in slow sections and always move at a pace your dog is comfortable with.

Finding the Right Cut for Your Shih Tzu

Your dog will love you for finding a cut that fits with the current weather and your daily grooming regimen. Talk to your dog groomer about the best looks for your Shih Tzu and ask about ways you can be creative!

Adorable Shih Tzu Grooming Styles