The Shih Tzu is known for its small size and silky, long hair. The dog's luscious locks, however, will quickly become matted if left ungroomed, and severe mats can be painful for the dog and provide a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites. If you've never groomed your Shih Tzu yourself, consider taking her to the groomer for a lesson. There are many hairstyles available for the breed.
Shaving your Shih Tzu's hair can help to eliminate matting and decrease the time you spend grooming your dog. In some cases, you may have to shave your dog if she has becomes extremely matted. However, unlike many other small dog breeds, Shih Tzu owners tend to cut their dogs' hair short rather than shaving it fully. You can, however, shave your dog's hair using hair clippers designed for dogs and by working with small pieces of hair.
The puppy cut takes works since your puppy's hair has not grown in fully and may be unruly. Typically the entire cut is trimmed with clippers or with scissors to an inch long. The hair around the eyes is combed down to create bangs around the eyes and then cut with scissors so it does not fall into the eyes. The hair on the ears, neck and face is trimmed to blend into the dog's face. A variant of this cut, the teddy bear, may be used with adults or puppies. The hair on the body is trimmed short, but the hair around the face is kept long and combed. if any patches are uneven, they are cut with scissors.
A full coat is the preferred style for show dogs. The hair on the entire body is kept long and groomed to prevent matting. Any stray pieces may be trimmed. The hair around the face is pulled into a topknot on the head and secured with a bow, and the hair around the face is combed downward to form a mustache or beard.
The long, straight hair of the Shih Tzu provides owners with nearly limitless possibilities for grooming styles. Some owners, for example, shave their dogs except for the hair around the face and feet. Others clip the hair all over the body, and some trim only the hair around the face. Unless your dog will be entering a show ring, you can be creative with hair styles and find something that works for your dog's lifestyle and your grooming preferences.