The Shih Tzu is covered with an abundant double coat of long hair lined with a woolly undercoat. Daily grooming is essential to keep the Shih Tzu's coat soft and fluffy. The Shih Tzu is one of the few breeds that have hair (like humans) rather than fur. To allergy sufferers this means they may not have a reaction to these dogs. They shed a little hair each day, rather than losing a lot of hair (fur in the case of most breeds) at particular times of the year. With daily grooming, you can avoid having hair in your home, which will reduce the likeliness of an allergic reaction.

Shih Tzu come in variety of colors including black, white, gray, tan, and gold spotted.  Shih Tzu coat colors change after birth, they get lighter and lighter each month till about one year old. (Except black color) Shih Tzu changes from their puppy coat to their adult coat at about 10 - 12 months of age.  During this period, they mat faster than you can brush, but keep brushing; the results are worth the effort. This is a temporary situation that lasts about three weeks to a month. Once the coat has changed grooming will be easier. Soft cottony coats will tangle more quickly and require more care than the silky type coat of the show Shih Tzu. 

The Importance of Daily Grooming
Whether you keep your Shih Tzu “in coat” or in a cute puppy clip, daily grooming is critical with this breed. Your dog’s eyes need to be gently cleared of any matter that collects in the corners with a damp cotton ball, bits of food and debris need to be combed out of his moustache, his topknot (if he has one) needs to be rebanded, and his coat needs to be combed or brushed free of mats and debris. It helps if your dog has enough of a beard and moustache to give you something to hold on to while grooming his face.  Daily brushing stimulates the skin and encourages the hair to grow. In addition, a daily check will alert you to any sores, lumps, bumps, irritated eyes, smelly ears, parasites, or other problems right away, before they become major problems.

Never brush a totally dry coat. This will cause breakage. Dampen the hair slightly with a spray bottled filled with warm water and a capful of cream conditioner. The coat should be brushed out in layers from the hair ends to the roots and working from the bottom up. Never rip at the coat or lift the top of the brush away and up from the coat as you reach the hair ends. This will cause the ends to weaken and break. Instead, turn the brush into the coat and twist it downward. Use your fingers to break up tangles that the brush will not go through.
Begin with the feet, legs, and belly, brushing upward to the skin. Pay special attention to the areas inside the legs and around the neck and ears where mats are more likely to form.

The coat should be shampooed at least once every two or three weeks, but once a week is best. Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner. I recommend Pure Paws Products. If you begin bathing your Shih Tzu while a puppy, bathing will be easy.  Before you put your dog into the sink or tub, dampen the coat using a spray bottle of water with a touch of conditioner.  Brush out the coat out thoroughly. Be sure to check the hair between the pads of the feet. Trim this hair level with the pads, then stand the dog in a show pose and trim the hair on the top of the paws, level with the table, to give the feet a neat appearance. Pull any excess hair out of the ear canal with your fingers to prevent matted hair in the canal cutting off air circulation. If you want to clean visible excess wax and dirt out of the ear with a Q-tip, be sure not to poke down deep into the ear canal, as you can injure the ear drum.

Wash the head last and use your fingernails to thoroughly clean any encrusted matter out of the hair beneath the eyes and around the mouth. Try not to get any soapy water into the eyes or ears. I prefer to use a tearless shampoo on the face to avoid irritating the eyes. After you have rinsed out the shampoo, pour a capful or two of conditioner into a quart of warm water and pour it over the dog, avoiding the face. Allow the conditioner to remain on the coat for three or four minutes, then rinse.  Squeeze any excess moisture out of the coat, and then wrap the dog in a couple of thick bath towels for 10 - 15 minutes to lessen the amount of time he will spend under the dryer. Use a corner of the towel to wipe the face and blot the ears.

This is a good time to cut toenails  your pet is more or less captive while swaddled in towels, and the nails are softer when wet. Cut the nails to where they hook over; be careful not to cut into the red streak (quick) that can be seen in any translucent nails (see diagram below).  A Shih Tzu should be dried with a blow dryer; one with a stand will free both hands to work on the dog. Brush the dog gently while the coat dries to separate the hair and speed up the drying process. Once the coat is thoroughly dry, part the hair down the back and put in the topknot. 


To trim your dog’s nails:
·  Hold the foot steady, but hold it gently. 
· Snip off a small bit of the end of each toenail.
   Using either the guillotine or scissors-type clippers, place a tiny bit of the nail in the nail          clipper and snip.
    If the nail feels spongy while you’re trying to cut it, stop immediately — you’re cutting the       quick!
· Stop any bleeding immediately.

If you cut the quick (often called quicking), you’ll have an unhappy dog and a bloody mess. The quick bleeds a great deal, so if you cut it, you need either a nail cauterizer — a tool that stops the bleeding by applying heat  — or styptic powder you can apply with a cotton swab. Have a damp washcloth at hand ready to clean up styptic powder and blood as necessary.
Quicking hurts a lot, and most dogs remember the experience long afterward.
Don’t forget the dewclaws if your dog has them. They tend to grow long because they don’t normally touch the ground and if you fail to cut them, they will eventually grow back into your dog’s foot, which is quite painful.


Possibly the most outstanding feature of the Shih Tzu besides the long luxurious coat, is the topknot. There are two types of topknots--the maintenance topknot and the show topknot. The maintenance topknot is worn everyday to keep the face and head hair from falling into the eyes, nose and mouth. It serves a daily function without bows or glamour. The show topknot is usually designed and coiffed to set off the finer features of the individual dog's head. Topknot styling can be an art of sorts. It is usually finished with an elaborate bow.

A puppy topknot is usually the easiest to do. It is also good practice for you and your Shih Tzu. To begin with these topknots, part the hair evenly with a straight part between the two eyes just above the top back of the nose. This is the area along the front side of the stop. The part is accomplished with a parting comb. This is usually a rattail comb. A small face comb may also be used. The hair above the nose and between the eyes is gathered up and sectioned into a neat inverted V. It is secured with an elastic band. As the hair lengthens, more hair may be added by making the parting for the front section larger.
Eventually the hair is long enough for a second  section. Then you may have enough hair for an adult topknot.


· Premium Shampoo and Conditioner{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2D%5Bif%20gte%20vml%201%5D%3E%3Cv%3Ashapetype%20id%3D%22_x0000_t75%22%20coordsize%3D%2221600%2C21600%22%0A%20o%3Aspt%3D%2275%22%20o%3Apreferrelative%3D%22t%22%20path%3D%22m%404%405l%404%4011%409%4011%409%405xe%22%20filled%3D%22f%22%0A%20stroked%3D%22f%22%3E%0A%20%3Cv%3Astroke%20joinstyle%3D%22miter%22%2F%3E%3Cv%3Aformulas%3E%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22if%20lineDrawn%20pixelLineWidth%200%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22sum%20%400%201%200%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22sum%200%200%20%401%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22prod%20%402%201%202%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22prod%20%403%2021600%20pixelWidth%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22prod%20%403%2021600%20pixelHeight%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22sum%20%400%200%201%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22prod%20%406%201%202%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22prod%20%407%2021600%20pixelWidth%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22sum%20%408%2021600%200%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22prod%20%407%2021600%20pixelHeight%22%2F%3E%0A%20%20%3Cv%3Af%20eqn%3D%22sum%20%4010%2021600%200%22%2F%3E%3C%2Fv%3Aformulas%3E%3Cv%3Apath%20o%3Aextrusionok%3D%22f%22%20gradientshapeok%3D%22t%22%20o%3Aconnecttype%3D%22rect%22%2F%3E%0A%20%3Co%3Alock%20v%3Aext%3D%22edit%22%20aspectratio%3D%22t%22%2F%3E%3C%2Fv%3Ashapetype%3E%3Cv%3Ashape%20id%3D%22_x0000_s1026%22%20type%3D%22%23_x0000_t75%22%20alt%3D%22%22%20style%3D'position%3Aabsolute%3B%0A%20margin-left%3A-36pt%3Bmargin-top%3A-92.3pt%3Bwidth%3A199.5pt%3Bheight%3A159.75pt%3Bz-index%3A1%3B%0A%20mso-wrap-distance-left%3A0%3Bmso-wrap-distance-right%3A0%3B%0A%20mso-position-horizontal-relative%3Atext%3Bmso-position-vertical-relative%3Aline'%0A%20o%3Aallowoverlap%3D%22f%22%3E%0A%20%3Cv%3Aimagedata%20src%3D%22file%3A%2F%2F%2FC%3A%2FDOCUME~1%2FAliciam%2FLOCALS~1%2FTemp%2Fmsoclip1%2F02%2Fclip_image001.gif%22%0A%20%20o%3Atitle%3D%22Untitled-1%25201%22%2F%3E%0A%20%3Cw%3Awrap%20type%3D%22square%22%2F%3E%3C%2Fv%3Ashape%3E%3C!%5Bendif%5D%2D%2D%3E{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2D%5Bif%20!vml%5D%2D%2D%3E {cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2D%5Bendif%5D%2D%2D%3E
· Nail Clippers
· Scissors
· Rattail comb
· Metal Comb with wide and narrow teeth{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2D%5Bif%20gte%20vml%201%5D%3E%3Cv%3Ashape%20id%3D%22_x0000_s1027%22%20type%3D%22%23_x0000_t75%22%0A%20alt%3D%22%22%20style%3D'position%3Aabsolute%3Bmargin-left%3A-36pt%3Bmargin-top%3A-335.2pt%3Bwidth%3A213pt%3B%0A%20height%3A115.5pt%3Bz-index%3A2%3Bmso-wrap-distance-left%3A0%3Bmso-wrap-distance-right%3A0%3B%0A%20mso-position-horizontal-relative%3Atext%3Bmso-position-vertical-relative%3Aline'%0A%20o%3Aallowoverlap%3D%22f%22%3E%0A%20%3Cv%3Aimagedata%20src%3D%22file%3A%2F%2F%2FC%3A%2FDOCUME~1%2FAliciam%2FLOCALS~1%2FTemp%2Fmsoclip1%2F02%2Fclip_image002.gif%22%0A%20%20o%3Atitle%3D%22pesu28%25201%22%2F%3E%0A%20%3Cw%3Awrap%20type%3D%22square%22%2F%3E%3C%2Fv%3Ashape%3E%3C!%5Bendif%5D%2D%2D%3E{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2D%5Bif%20!vml%5D%2D%2D%3E {cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2D%5Bendif%5D%2D%2D%3E
· Pin Brush
· Quality hair bands for dogs non-latex
· Rubber hair band scissors
· Hair Bows
· A small or medium slicker brush