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Top 8 Shih Tzu Haircuts

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Top 8 Shih Tzu Haircuts

shih tzu haircut

So you are a proud Shih Tzu or Teacup Shih Tzu parent. You are in love with their adorable face, loving nature and friendly character. You love to run your hand through your pup’s soft hair … but how should you style it? With a coat as long as the Shih Tzu’s, there are countless options for cutting and grooming it.

Today we want to explore the most popular Shih Tzu haircuts, and how you can make your pooch look his or her very best!

Table of Contents

Most Popular: Teddy bear haircut for Shih Tzus 

The hairstyle is not only a popular Shih Tzu cut, but also a common hairstyle for Poodles. In the teddybear cut, all hair is cut to about 1/2 – 1 inch in length, including the dog’s face. This results in very soft, teddybear-like features.

This cut is ideal for dogs that are outside a lot or tend to get dirty. If you live in an area with many burrs that could get caught in your Shih Tzu’s coat, a teddybear haircut will be a great low-maintenance choice.

shih tzu teddy bear

How to give your Shih Tzu a teddy bear cut

  1. Brush your Shih Tzu, wash him with a suitable shampoo and blow-dry him.
  2. Using high-quality clippers, start with clipping the neck and back. 
  3. Clip the dog’s legs, belly, chest and the rest of his body.
  4. In order to really perfect the teddy bear cut, use scissors to neaten up the coat. Be very careful to not cut your dog or make a dent into his coat!
  5. Ears can be difficult to get right in the beginning. Take extra time to carefully work around the ears.
  6. As a last step, give the head the characteristic round shape. This will take some practice and will probably not look perfect right away. The more often you do it, the better you will get!
  7. Using a slicker brush, fluff up the dog’s coat. Apply perfume or deodorant if you’d like, Voila – your teddy bear look is ready.

The Runner Ups

The teddy bear cut is not for every dog and owner – here are our runner ups. Every pup will find the right haircut for his personality and lifestyle.

Show Coat Hairstyle

shih tzu show coat

If you want to take your Shih Tzu to an AKC show ring, a full show coat is a must. The maintenance of this hairstyle required time and effort, but will pay off many times!

In order to keep the hair shiny and smooth it needs to be washed on a weekly basis and brushed daily.

After an adolescent Shih Tzu changes from the puppy coat to the adult coat, it takes 12-24 months to grow the coat to its full length. If you are planning on keeping your dog in such a full coat, you will need to be very careful with anything that could get it dirty or tangle it. Avoid walks in the rain and letting your pup play in the mud or underbrush.

Sport Cut for Athletic Shih Tzus

We know Shih Tzus as show dogs and lovable couch potatoes, but the little dogs can actually run fast and jump high, too!

Shih Tzus have become more and more popular as beginner agility dogs

Long hair and an athletic lifestyle don’t go together though, so if your Shih Tzu is a little agility star, you will need to keep him in an easily maintained haircut.

The sports cut is perfect for this: similar to the teddy bear cut, but with a bit more length.

A sports cut requires minimal brushing and upkeep. Some owners have their Shih Tzus’ feet shaved as well so that no dirt gets caught in those fast little paws!

One proud agility dog momma tells us:

I used to keep my Shih Tzu's coat long, but after starting our beginner agility class it was clear this was not going to work.
My Minnie likes to train every day, and I love to be active with her. Our groomer gave her a sports cut, and now she is so much happier (as am I). If you have an active pup, it's the way to go!

Flared Bottom Haircut

flared bottom haircut

If you love the long hair on a Shih Tzu’s legs but don’t want to commit to a full show coat, a flared bottom haircut is perfect. The hair on legs, ears and tail is left long whereas the hair on the body is kept short.

This can make it much easier to keep up with brushing and cleaning the coat, while still having a “long coated dog” look. This haircut is very easy to give to your Shih Tzu at home: Simply brush, wash and blowdry your dog and then cut the hair on his back, neck, face and tummy at a length of 1/2 – 1 inch. Brush out the long hair and treat it with some leave-in conditioner. 

All ready to be a stunner!

Wild & Free Shih Tzu Haircut

Is your Shih Tzu a free spirit who loves to run into the sunshine like this little one?

A Wild & Free haircut will be perfect for him/her!

A few inches shorter than the show coat, this hairstyle will require daily brushing and weekly baths. The topknot is necessary to keep the hair out of your pup’s face – while running, playing and (last but not least) eating.

Some owners choose to clip their Shih Tzu’s hair in the colder months of the year (so that rain, mud and snow does not ruin the coat) and let the hair grow wild and free over the summer.

shih tzu running

City Dweller Haircut

Is your Shih Tzu a big-city pup? 

Walking on asphalt and concrete a lot can be a death sentence to long and flowy Shih Tzu hair. If you live in the inner city and your pup goes on walks near roads a lot, chances are a full show coat would get very dusty quickly.

Keeping your pup in a short haircut with long tails works best! You can easily give your pooch this cut at home. In addition to not getting dusty, this will cut down on time spent brushing. Just give the tail a quick spin with a brush and you’re good to go!

Especially for light-colored or white Shih Tzus it is advisable to keep the coat short if you walk near traffic a lot.

Medium-Length Top Knot

Do you like the show coat top knot look, but don’t feel up for managing the hair down to the ground? A medium-length top knot haircut is a fantastic look for your Shih Tzu!

The hair on the ears and face is considerable shorter and more manageable than in the show coat. The legs are kept at about 1.5 inches of length, and of course you want to out the adorable top knot on your pup’s head!

Some owners decide for this style after they have stopped showing their Shih Tzu in conformation shows.

medium length top knot

Extra Short Shih Tzu Cut

short shih tzu hair

You have a Shih Tzu, but a busy lifestyle and no time to care for his coat at all? Or maybe you live in a very hot climate like Arizona or New Mexico?

Don’t worry, the extra-short Shih Tzu haircut will make your pup comfortable in hot weather. At the same time, it will allow you to not worry about brushing and keeping on top of knots and tangles. No fur will mat with this hairstyle!

This is another very easy cut that you can do at home by yourself. If you are unsure on how to clip your pup’s full body, simply ask a local groomer to show you the first time and then take over!

The Bottom Line

The Shih Tzu’s long and glorious coat allows for many different cuts and styles. Pick the best one for you and your dog based on your lifestyle! Some owners enjoy grooming, brushing and bathing while others would rather not deal with any hair care. Your Shih Tzu’s coat color may also play a role – it is hard to keep a light long coat sparkling clean!

If you have no interest in managing a full show coat, there are many other options available. Simply get in touch with a local groomer or grab a pair of clippers and get started!

By the way – do not forget to include nail trims into your pup’s spa routine.

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