Beauty tips

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos

Matthew Nesbitt
By Matthew Nesbitt, Journalist specialized in animal research. November 27, 2019
7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos
Shih tzu

Animal file: Shih tzu

A toy dog breed, the Shih Tzu is a dog which is much beloved as a companion animal. Considered by many to be a lap dog, the Shih Tzu's friendly nature has meant their popularity has remained since the early 20th century outside of China and for centuries longer within the country. Their regal appearance has also made them a darling of dog shows around the world. This is in no small part due to their quite unique hairstyle which grows to considerable length. The result is an ability to cut the Shih Tzu's hair into various cuts and styles. Which Shih Tzu haircut you want for your dog will rest largely on preference.

At AnimalWised we bring you the top 7 Shih Tzu Haircut Styles with photos as well as our complete hair care guide for this breed. You can use this to take with your to a dog groomer and get your desired Shih Tzu cut more easily.

You may also be interested in: 10 Haircuts for Poodles
  1. Top cuts for Shi Tzus
  2. Shih Tzu hair care guide
  3. Shih Tzu puppy cut
  4. Shih Tzu teddy bear cut
  5. Shih Tzu show cut
  6. Shih Tzu lion cut
  7. Shih Tzu Japanese cut
  8. Shih Tzu Topknot and pigtail cuts
  9. Shih Tzu flared cut
  10. Is the Shih Tzu hypoallergenic?
See more >>

Top cuts for Shi Tzus

As they are well-noted for their long and silky hair, choosing the right haircut for your Shih Tzu means you have a lot of options. While there are many different varieties, the best options include:

  1. Puppy cut
  2. Teddy bear cut
  3. Show cut
  4. Lion cut
  5. Japanese cut
  6. Topknot and pigtail cuts
  7. Flared cut

The difficulty in choosing the right cut is that some groomers will use different terminology for their hairstyles. While most may know the difference between a puppy cut and a show cut, a lack of standardization menas they may give them different names. This is why you can use this article to show you the picture of the Shih Tzu haircut you want. First, however, we provide you general hair care tips for looking after a Shih Tzu's coat.

Shih Tzu hair care guide

Different dog breeds, including mixed breeds, have varying hair care needs. Even their type of hair varies. Not only is some short or long, but it can be tightly curled, flowing straight or anything in between. Some dogs have a single coat which only contains the topcoat of guard hair or a doublecoat which also incorporates a thick undercoat of down hair. Some claim that dogs can have a triple coat, but this is referencing those individuals which sometimes have awn hair, which is an intermediary between down and guard hair.

A dog's coat is generally described by it's length, texture and thickness. For example, some have short curly hair with a wiry coarseness, others may have long straight hair with a fine softness. The Shih Tzu could be adequately described as the latter. They are noted for their particularly long hair, so if you see a Shih Tzu with short hair you know it has been cut.

Grooming a Shih Tzu

Similar to a Pekingese, a Shih Tzu's hair not only grows long, but it grows fast. The downside is that they will need a haircut more often than other breeds. The upside is that you will be able to style and enjoy giving them different cuts with regularity. Some guardians opt for a Shih Tzu short haircut. The benefits of a short cut is that it makes grooming easier and helps them to avoid both dirt and tangles. Shih Tzus with long hair will need to be groomed daily as their coat tangles easily. Avoiding regular brushing will result in hygiene problems.

Although many dogs will only need bathing when necessary, it is important to bathe a Shih Tzu every three weeks. The dog's double coat will accumulate natural oils. Three weeks is enough time to let these natural oils strengthen the hair, but not enough time to accumulate too much dirt. Letting more time elapse between bathing can result in unpleasant smells.

As with all dogs, a Shih Tzu will have an individual personality. While they are generally predisposed to being affectionate and well-behaved dogs, this will usually only be the case when the dog is well-socialized. You will need to accustom the dog to being manipulated and being brushed. Some dogs may feel insecure during this process, so positive reinforcement should be used to ensure they are comfortable.

Brushes for Shih Tzu grooming

For Shih Tzu grooming you will need at least two types of brushes. A wide-set brush with rounded bristles, known sometimes as a slicker, is needed for the main part of the brushing. Not only does this help to condition the hair and remove tangles, but the rounded bristles help to keep the dog relaxed and comfortable. Maintaining comfort is essential for a dog which needs brushed so regularly.

Follow up the slicker brush with a straighter brush or comb. This will help remove some harder knots, as well as provide softness and shine. You can even buy brush with special detangle attachments which can be very useful for Shi Tzus.

Before we look at these haircuts for Shih Tzus, you can also check out these articles on the different Poodle hairstyles and how to cut a Yorkie's hair. Also, don't forget these haircuts will also work for crossbreed and designer dogs such as the Shih Poo and Shinese, depending on how long their hair grows.

1. Shih Tzu puppy cut

As is typical of most dogs, the dog's coat changes a lot up to the age of 1 year. During this puppy stage, not only is the dog physically developing, but their behavior can be quite rambunctious. A shorter coat helps to keep the dog in less trouble while also avoiding knots. Although it is often given to Shih Tzu puppies, the puppy cut can be for a Shih Tzu of any age.

Usually with the puppy cut, as you can see in the photo, the legs are shaved and the hair is kept short at the tail, on the head and around the ears and snout. This means they have a shorter moustache than some Shih Tzu's grow. You can help to maintain the puppy cut yourself by trimming regularly with scissors, but a professional dog groomer should be used to at least give the first cut.

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos - 1. Shih Tzu puppy cut

2. Shih Tzu teddy bear cut

The teddy bear cut for Shih Tzus is very similar to the puppy cut. It is a short cut which helps to keep the dog free of tangles and dirt, but it also adds an extra level of cuteness. The reason for this is because the facial area is trimmed to give a greater roundness. The teddy bear cut will not last as long as some other cuts since the roundness will grow out eventually. The teddy bear cut takes a little more skill to keep it neat, so it may be one only a groomer can perform.

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos - 2. Shih Tzu teddy bear cut
Image: Pinterest

3. Shih Tzu show cut

All Shih Tzu guardians need to make a choice. While many people love how the long cut looks, its maintenance is time consuming. This means many of the people who want to keep their Shih Tzu in longer hair will be those who have the time and resources to devote to it. If you have a pedigree Shih Tzu and want to present them at shows, then the show cut may be for you.

The Shi Tzu show cut allows the hair to be long, so it will need to be grown out and trimmed minimally. The dog will need to be thoroughly bathed, but a professional groomer will be able to do this themselves.

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos - 3. Shih Tzu show cut

4. Shih Tzu lion cut

The Shih Tzu's origins lie in China, with the noblepersons favoring this breed for their particular look which they believed resembled a lion. Since there were no lions in China at the time, this was the closest they could come. While not everyone might believe this style looks like a lion, it does give the slight impression thanks to longer hair on the head.

To achieve the lion cut with a Shih Tzu, the body and undercarriage are shaved pretty close to the skin. The head and ears are left longer and the muzzle has a distinct lion chape. This is a style which needs to have the proper equipment to achieve.

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos - 4. Shih Tzu lion cut

5. Shih Tzu Japanese cut

There are actually various styles which can be considered the Japanese cut, but they are all variations of the same protocol - keep the ears very long and don't cut the legs too short. The reason for their name is due to the popularity of this style in Japan. The legs may be rounded, have a triangular shape or different variations. The tail can be long or pom-pommed. This one may require to explain what it is you want specifically to the groomer, but we have some photos below to help.

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos - 5. Shih Tzu Japanese cut

6. Shih Tzu Topknot and pigtail cuts

There are many variations of the top knot and pigtail cuts for Shih Tzus. While you can have the length of the dog's body and face to be kept as short as you like, you will need to keep the dog's hair long on its head. By growing out the hair in this area, you can let your Shih Tzu have a variety of styles. If you want the dog to have pigtails, you can use hair bobbles to keep them at the side.

Topknots for Shih Tzus are very common in show dogs. The topknot show cut is one of the most elegant and popular in this category. With this cut, the topknot is usually long and spilling over like a fountain. You can also have a shorter top knot which looks more like a bun if you wish. While it will be down to the individual dog, most will tolerate the use of hair bobbles very well and shouldn't even notice their presence.

7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos - 6. Shih Tzu Topknot and pigtail cuts

7. Shih Tzu flared cut

As you can see in the photo for Japanese cuts, the legs can often be flared. However, the flared cut itself refers only to the legs of the Shih Tzu. You can keep the head, face and body to any length you like or even combine it with other cuts. For example, although it is not common, you could have the rounded teddy bear cut on the face and head, but the flared style for the dog's legs.

Is the Shih Tzu hypoallergenic?

While many claim that there are dog breeds which are hypoallergenic, this is not strictly the case. Allergens from dogs which cause a reaction are found in the dander and saliva of dog's not the hair itself. Both can, however, attached themselves to the dog's fur, which is why so many people connect dog hair and allergies.

Some dog breeds shed less, which means there is less opportunity to come in contact with the proteins which make up the allergens. This is another reason some people opt for shorter Shih Tzu hairstyles. However, the amount of protein a dog produces varies greatly according to the individual.

Scientific studies have yet to prove a significant link between breed and the level of allergens[1]. Factors concerning the original dog seem to be more important. In saying this, many people with allergies still claim Shih Tzus do not aggravate their allergies as much as other dog breeds. It is possible Shih Tzus are better for a dog with mild allergies, but those with stronger allergic reactions are still likely to be affected.

While we recommend you choose a trusted dog groomer to cut your dog's hair, we can provide this video below to give you tips on how it is done:

If you want to read similar articles to 7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos, we recommend you visit our Beauty tips category.


1. Heutelbeck, A. R., Schulz, T., Bergmann, K. C., & Hallier, E. (2008). Environmental Exposure to Allergens of Different Dog Breeds and Relevance in Allergological Diagnostics. J Toxicol Environ Health A, 71(11-12), 751-758.

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Holly has 2 different layers of fur. I like the puppy cut, so which blade will work for me ? The groomer did this one and I don't like the body cut.
I enjoyed this article. You give a lot of practical information and very nice photos to go with it. I would have liked to see a couple of the photos up close like the rest of them are. It would be fun to see one with a dog with some liver/chocolate coloring. Thank you.
Image: Pinterest
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7 Shih Tzu Haircuts with Photos