Best Shih Tzu Haircuts and Grooming Tips for Professionals

Best Shih Tzu Haircuts & Grooming Program

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed originating from Tibetans mating the Pekingese and the Lhaso Apso. Shih Tzus are known for their short snouts and large round eyes, as well as their long coat of hair not fur, floppy ears, and short and stout posture. They are what is referred to as non-shedding dogs. They are well known for their playful personality and their calm and friendly temperament. They are inquisitive pups, and are beloved by their owners. Shih Tzu grooming is very important to their owners. The Shih Tzu haircut is deeply personal. There are four popular Shih tzu haircuts that we outlinw; The Puppy Cut, The Teddy Bear Cut, Top Knot and the Lion Cut. Shih Tzu haircuts are some of the most fun to work on as they reveal the personalities and adorable nature of this breed.

Shih Tzu Owners: It’s Personal 

PRIDE+GROOM has two Shih Tzu puppies among their team. Shih Tzu Leo and Cookie are cousins from the same breeder in North Carolina, but they could not be more different - in size, coat and temperament. They exemplify why in-between groom maintenance is key for this breed and the variety of Shih Tzu haircuts available to professional groomers to choose from.  The dog's coat is long and ucsi

Leo, calm stoic and a prince, is the standard size of the breed which ranges from 15-20 lbs.  Cookie, energetic and needy of attention, is an imperial (small version) which can range from 7-10 lbs.  Leo a long ear puppy is prone to knots behind his long luscious ears and his mom (our CEO and Co-founder Patricia) keeps his brindled Shih Tzu haircut short and tight (aka Puppy Cut) as he is very active at their farm in North Salem.  She uses the final coat conditioner in small amounts to loosen knots behind his ears and combs through the tangled hair without pain or strain to Leo. Cookie’s uniform black Shih Tzu hair is kept longer (more Teddy Bear cut) and her issue is tearing (aka eye boogers) and a face full of food.  Carrie (our SVP of Strategic Partnerships) uses PRIDE+GROOM Final Coat with a thin comb to remove debris from her face. The formula is mild enough to be close to the eyes and the amount small enough it does not need to be rinsed.  

Shih Tzu Puppies

Cookie (front) & Leo (back)

These are just some examples of the steps we take to maintain our the Shih Tzu coat, but let’s take a deeper dive into the Shih Tzu haircuts, hair maintenance and some options for how professional dog groomers can best care for this breed and communicate with Shih Tzu owners about a good coat maintenance plan. 

Shih Tzu's Hair: The Basics

There are a few essential areas to keep in mind when grooming a Shih Tzu. These include the face, coat, nails, and teeth. Each of these spaces requires a different grooming technique as well as varying frequencies for the Shih Tzu.

The area that requires the most attention is the Shih Tzu's face. One reason the Shih Tzu face requires grooming is because Shih Tzu breed are prone to tear stains and often have their faces and ears in their food and water bowls.  That is why choosing shih tzu haircuts focus on the face a lot.

Tear stains, Eye Gunk, Eye boogers, whatever you call them. these marks can stain your Shih Tzu's face and can produce an unpleasant odor.

The best way to eliminate this problem is to keep a Shih Tzu’s coat cut short around the face. This usually means using arched sheers and small clipper tools. Shih Tzu's eyes are one of their most prominent feature and we want to be able to see them clearly.

For in-between professional grooms, groomers should recommend to Shih Tzu owners to use a cotton pad dipped in warm water or a warm cloth and gently wipe the tears away. Afterward, pat with a towel to properly dry the area. In addition to the eyes, Shih Tzus can accumulate dirt and food around their facial hair and beards. Using a thin comb and some leave-in conditioner on the facial hair can help remove this without pain to the Shih Tzu puppy.  

It is also important to remind Shih Tzu owners to maintain Shih Tzu’s adorable (and knotty) flopping ears. The floppy nature of Shih Tzu ears makes them more susceptible to ear infections and matting. The tell tale signs of ear infections are excess wax and an abnormal odor. Recommend to the Shih Tzu owners to consult a vet if you notice during a grooming session.  

In addition to daily facial grooming, encourage regular brushing to Shih Tzu owners -- once a week is a good start. This will help eliminate dirt, debris and possibly flees and ticks. It also loosens the Shih Tzu puppy hair follicle and releases the dogs natural oils which enhances shine and overall healthy skin. A good brushing will also help these long haired dogs from accumulating knots and matting – especially around the dog's head, the ears, and leg creases.   

Encouraging a good home routine of brushing, will not only keep a Shih Tzu’s coat clean, but will also help avoid needing to shave down the Shih Tzu hair when they come for their professional grooming sessions. 

Many owners will ask about bathing their Shih Tzus. Some sources say not to bathe often for fear of drying their skin.  A good, all-natural and essential oil based product like the PRIDE+GROOM Non Shedder will not strip these Shih Tzu beauty kings and queens of their natural oils and help to hydrate and nourish the skin during and long after their bath. 

Shih Tzus: Nail & Teeth

Teeth and nails for any breed is tricky and most pet owners prefer to leave this to professional groomers and or vets.  You can recommend your Shih Tzu owners use a soft toothbrush from the pet store made especially for dogs and the same goes for the toothpaste. 

Although some professionals recommend brushing every few days, once a week is a great routine and a good start to a good grooming routine. 

We definitely recommend leaving trimming to professionals. There it is a fine line where the veins in the nails run and it's best to let a professional trim them safely.  Many professional groomers and veterinarians offer this as a service on its own so you do not need to book a full grooming session if this is a concern. 

Shih Tzu Haircuts: Top 4 Shih Tzu Hairstyles

Assuming a well-maintained Shih Tzu arrives in your salon, you do have a variety of Shih Tzu haircuts to choose from. Make sure to discuss with your Shih Tzu customers and ask them for pictures of what they envision. Sometimes (often) Shih Tzu owners and groomers have different languages! Due to Shih Tzu's long hair, Shih Tzu grooming styles range from low to high maintenance so make sure you ask your customer about the dog’s lifestyle and how they want their pet's beautiful hair to look. Here are three most popular hair style options and pictures, The Puppy Cut, The Teddy Bear, the Top Knot, the Lion Cut. The puppy cut is the most popular with the Teddy bear cut a close runner up for Shih Tzu puppies.

1. The Puppy Cut

Shih Tzu Puppy Haircut

The lowest maintenance Shih Tzu haircut is the Puppy Cut (aka Summer Cut). The Puppy Cut is when the Shih Tzu coat trimmed short (about 1-2 inches in length) throughout the entire body and you use a clipper to shave the dog's hair down to a uniform length. 

The Puppy Cut is ideal for Shih Tzus who live in warm weather and to minimize maintenance as it keeps the dog's hair short. Variations of the puppy cut keep the hair on the ears and chest longer. Shih Tzu owners most often prefer the Puppy Cut.

2. Teddy Bear Cut

Shih Tzu Teddy Bear haircut

Another low maintenance Shih Tzu haircuts is the Teddy Bear cut. This style keeps your Shih Tzu’s hair short (1-2 inches around the body), but creates a fluffy look. With this style, the hair around the face is left longer and is cut in a round shape, creating the teddy bear appearance. The Shih Tzu has this over all Teddy bear look and feel.

3. Top Knot Style

Shih Tzu topknot style

The longer, high maintenance Shih Tzu haircuts are the Top Knots. The practical Shih Tzu topknot is when the Shih Tzu's hair is left long, but not so long that it drags on the ground. Then the top hair hanging down on the head is gathered into a topknot, which is held up by a hair tie, clip, bow or sometimes a braid. This Shih Tzu style that requires the most grooming is the topknot show-cut, which is the traditional Shih Tzu hairstyle for show dogs.

Shih Tzu topknot style 2

This Shih Tzu style keeps the hair as long as possible with the topknot on the head. This style is not practical for day-to-day wear because it requires an abundance of daily maintenance. Make sure to have an honest conversation with the Shih Tzu dog owner about their ability to maintain this hairstyle at home.

4. The Lion Cut

An adorable haircut the Lion cut leaves the dog's body and hair about 1 inch in length and the facial hair longer like a lion's mane. This adorable little lion will definitely make a Shih Tzu owner cooing. Dog Owners who like to make a statement will enjoy showing off the silky coat with a luscious mane of what looks like human hair.

Shih Tzu lion cut


Whichever hairstyle you and your customer choose, just remember communication about maintenance is key with the Shih Tzu's hair.  They have the most beautiful hair and coat and will be the envy of all at the dog park if given regular professional grooms and a good at-home coat and skin routine.


The Very First Clean Beauty Brand…for Dogs!

PRIDE+GROOM is a female and minority owned all-natural pet grooming company born and bred in New York City. We designed our coat-specific dog shampoos with a light, fresh signature scent that says goodbye to the overwhelming fragrances currently in the dog grooming market. Our packaging and branding humanizes our pet products making them attractive and user friendly.

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Our company is rooted in our love for dogs and cats, and we’ve put all our energy into creating products that let us care for them, their coats and their skin in a way that is natural, nurturing, and specific. Our formulas are a unique blend of essential oils sourced from around the world. Each ingredient has a purpose.  Like Marshmallow Root Oil, in our Non-Shedder, helps detangle and nourish those dogs, like doodles, with hair that grows and is prone to matting.  

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