There is no denying how gorgeous a Shih Tzus coat is, but the long locks the breed is known for may intimidate some. If you’re considering getting a Shih Tzu or just want to know more about the breed, we will answer the do Shih Tzu shed question that’s on your mind!
Keep reading as we explore what type of coats Shih Tzus have and how this affects their shedding patterns. We will also dive into what proper Shih Tzus coat care looks like, as well as symptoms of coat issues that tie into shedding.
Do Shih Tzu Shed?
Shih Tzus shed, but not much. This is because of their double coat and having hair instead of fur, two features that are associated with low-shedding dogs. Shih Tzus still require regular grooming to get rid of loose strands and keep their skin and coat in top shape.
Shih Tzu Coat Type
Shih Tzu coats differ from most other dogs because they are double coated and have hair instead of fur.
Double coats involve two layers. The undercoat has shorter hairs and feels more wooly, improving temperature regulation, while the top coat has longer hairs (guard hairs) that repel dirt and moisture.
Check out this video on why you shouldn’t shave down a double coat.
Dogs with hair instead of fur have much thinner strands, and the hair usually grows longer than fur-ever would. Hair also has a longer growth cycle, so it takes longer for the strands to die and fall out.
Shih Tzus and Shedding
Double-coated dogs shed their undercoat more than their top coat, but the short hairs get caught in the top coat. Regular grooming is necessary to remove the hairs completely, but this limits random shedding throughout the house.
The longer life cycle for Shih Tzu hair also reduces the occurrence of shedding. You are likely to notice little, if any, shedding until you tend to your dog’s coat during your regular grooming sessions.
When Shih Tzus Shed?
There are a few times you are more likely to notice Shih Tzu shedding.
If you have a puppy, understand that their coat transitions between 10 months and one year. While they’re switching to their adult coat, you will probably see more puppy hair around your home, but this resolves in a few weeks.
Like most other dogs, Shih Tzus will shed more in warmer temperatures. This helps them get a better hold on staying cool, but they’ll need help to remove the shed hairs from their double coat for optimal regulation.
Stress can also bring on increased shedding, as well as health issues such as allergies or alopecia.
Do Shih Tzu Mixes Shed?
There is no definitive answer to whether or not a Shih Tzu mix will shed. The other breeds in the mix can affect this, as well as the genetic makeup of the parents.
In theory, the mix is less likely to shed if the other parent is a double-coated or hair-instead-of-fur breed. You’ll notice similar levels of shedding and coat texture when mixed with a Maltese, whereas Shih Tzu/Pomeranian mixes might shed moderately.
Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic?
Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely free of allergens. We’re taking the prefix “hypo” to mean less than normal here, not void of, and Shih Tzus fit into this perfectly.
People who are allergic to dogs are actually allergic to the pet dander, or the microscopic dead skin cells that every dog (even hairless breeds) shed. You notice a greater issue with heavy shedding dogs because the dander usually attaches to the fur and then exposes the allergen when the hair falls out.
Because Shih Tzus shed less, there is less opportunity for exposure. While they aren’t the perfect choice for someone allergic to dogs, they’re one of the best options out there. Dog-allergic people shouldn’t suffer too much with a Shih-Tzu in their life.
Shih Tzu Coat Care
Taking proper care of your Shih Tzus coat is not only important for keeping them looking cute and cuddly, but it’s an essential part of keeping them happy and healthy.
Without proper coat care, Shih Tzus can fall victim to:
While supplements (such as Omega-3) help a lot with coat appearance, you’re still on the hook for regular bathing, brushing, and professional grooming.
Shih Tzus need regular baths, meaning every week or two, to keep their skin and hair healthy and clean. It also reduces the amount of dander present, making your dog more enjoyable to be around for those with allergies.
Not only do these improve coat growth, but regular bathing gets rid of the dirt that makes matting and tangles occur more often. A dirty coat is also more likely to break than a clean one, resulting in damaged hair shafts and a rough appearance.
Make sure you use shampoo and conditioner when bathing your Shih Tzu and you rinse their coat well. Combing with a wide-tooth comb while you let the conditioner soak in can help you tackle any tangles.
Towel drying should be done using blotting and squeezing to prevent tangling, and you can use a blow dryer if your dog will tolerate it.
Combing and Brushing
The farthest you may be able to go in between grooming sessions is about three days, but even that may be pushing it. Regular combing and brushing help rid the coat of any tangles, but it also spreads natural skin oils down the shaft of the hair to keep it healthy.
If you’re working with a dry coat, make sure you wet it with a light mist of hydrating spray before going in with a wide-tooth comb to handle any tangles. Pin brushes help get through all the coat layers while brushes, while a slicker brush can help rid the coat of any loose hairs.
Regular grooming by a professional is a great way to stay on top of grooming and keep your Shih Tzu’s coat in top form. They can cut it back to make it more manageable without damaging the double coat, or they can enhance the effort you put in regularly with your long-hair Shih Tzus.
While it is possible to accomplish similar levels of grooming on your own, it’s easier to recruit the help of a reputable professional groomer. This is especially true if you’re new to the breed or unfamiliar with professional grooming techniques.
Common Shih Tzu Skin and Coat Issues
Improper grooming may cause the issues mentioned above, but Shih Tzus can also suffer from coat conditions due to allergies, mange, insect infestations, or other major illnesses.
Take your dog in if you notice persistent hair or coat issues such as:
Coarse or dry coat
These can indicate a dietary or health issue, and they should be addressed as soon as possible.
Shih Tzus have great temperaments, and their low-shedding coat only adds to the list of positive traits.
If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed, a great family dog, or just a loving companion, Shih Tzus are well worth the effort.
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