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The Ultimate Guide to Shih Tzu Haircuts & Styles

If you’ve ever wondered, “What does my client really mean when they ask for a puppy cut?” you’re in the right place. In this post, we'll be exploring some of the best Shih Tzu haircuts out there - from classic top knots to trendy teddy bear cuts - that will impress even the most picky pet parents. 

Jump Ahead: 

How often does a Shih Tzu need a haircut? 

As a general rule, Shih Tzus should be groomed every 4 to 6 weeks. That said, every dog and every coat are different. Factors such as the weather (how hot or how cold it is) and how quickly the dog’s hair grows will influence how often it needs to be groomed. 

Popular Shih Tzu Haircuts

When it comes to Shih Tzu haircuts, there are quite a few popular styles and variations out there. From the classic top knot to the teddy bear cut, each style can be interpreted in many different ways. As a result, it can be challenging to define these styles and cuts precisely. However, this also allows for plenty of creativity when it comes to grooming these adorable pups. Because of this, it’s best for pet parents to bring reference photos to help groomers understand their expectations. 

Summer Cut

The Summer Cut (also called a Puppy Cut) is a popular and easy style for Shih Tzus during warmer months and year round. This cut involves trimming the hair to a relatively short and even length all over the body while leaving facial hair slightly longer. It requires less maintenance than other cuts, but regular brushing at home is still recommended.

One adaptation of the puppy cut is leaving both the ears and tail longer than the rest of the body - but every cut is unique to the personal style and preferences of the groomer. 

Teddy Bear Cut

This adorable cut is named appropriately because it resembles the snuggle-worthy shape of a teddy bear. The goal is to sculpt the hair around the face so that the dog’s head, ears, and snout appear as perfectly round as possible. Similarly, the legs and body are trimmed to appear as round and cylindrical as possible. 

Top Knot Show Cut

The Top Knot Show Cut is a beautiful but extremely high-maintenance style that's almost exclusively found on show dogs. This cut typically involves long hair that falls all the way down the dog's back to their feet. 

Regular brushing and trimming are essential for this cut, so owners will need to set aside some time for daily grooming. In fact, owners may need to brush their coat a few times a day! This style can be challenging to keep up, but it's definitely worth the effort if you're aiming for a show-stopping look and have the time, patience, and dedication to maintain it.

Practical Top Knot

This cut features a medium length all over the body, with enough hair on the head to create a top knot. This style lends itself to some extra flair with snazzy clips, ribbons or barrettes that showcase your unique style.

For this cut to remain practical and true to its name, be sure to keep hair on the face trimmed short enough to avoid any hair hanging into their mouths or eyes. Your furry clients will thank you for keeping them comfortable and stylish at the same time!
This cut is a great option for pet parents who want a chic and stylish look with some maintenance required, but not as much maintenance as a true show cut.

Short Coat, Long Top (Lion Cut) 

As its name suggests, the lion cut gives your furry clients the regal appearance of a miniature lion. This cut is aptly applied to Shih Tzus  because the breed name actually means “little lion.”

The Lion Cut is fairly easy to maintain, and will require less brushing and will dry faster after bathing compared to other cuts (with the exception of the teddy bear cut).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best haircut for a Shih Tzu?

The definition of “best” depends on what the dog's owner wants to achieve. Generally speaking, though, a summer cut is considered one of the best cuts because it is cute and functional. 


The  summer cut involves trimming the hair to a uniform length all over the body, making it easier to maintain and reducing matting and tangling of the hair. This is particularly important in Shih Tzus as they have long, thick hair that can easily become matted if not groomed regularly. 


Additionally, the summer cut helps keep dogs cool during hot weather while also providing a soft and fluffy look. It's also an ideal choice for pet owners who prefer their dogs to have shorter haircuts without sacrificing their adorable appearance. 

Is it okay to cut Shih Tzu hair short?

Generally speaking, avoid cutting Shih Tzu hair too short. A short haircut can be beneficial for Shih Tzus during hot weather as it helps them stay cool and comfortable. It can also make grooming easier by reducing matting and tangling of the hair. 


However, it's important to note that a Shih Tzu's double coat serves as protection against both heat and cold, so trimming it too short or shaving it can damage the coat.

What is the difference between a puppy cut and a teddy bear cut on a Shih Tzu?

The main difference between a puppy cut and a teddy bear cut on a Shih Tzu is the length and style of the hair. Puppy cuts involve trimming the hair between relatively short while leaving the face and ears a tad bit longer.


On the other hand, a teddy bear cut involves  focusing on a fluffy, rounded appearance similar to that of a teddy bear. This is achieved by trimming the hair around the face and chin to make the dog’s face appear as circular as possible. 


While both cuts are popular for Shih Tzus because they are cute and easy to maintain, the puppy / summer cut is a bit shorter and generally more practical for summer months. 

Should Shih Tzus be shaved in summer?

Shaving a Shih Tzu during summer or any other time of the year is not advisable. This is because their double coat may be damaged by shaving.


Moreover, if a Shih Tzu's hair is shaved too short, it can lead to exposure of their skin to harmful UV rays from the sun, which could cause skin damage or sunburn. Instead of shaving them, consider opting for a summer cut (also called a puppy cut) that is easier to maintain and keeps the pet cooler.

Should you trim the hair around a Shih Tzu's eyes?

To prevent their Shih Tzu's hair from obstructing their vision and causing discomfort or injury, groomers should trim the hair around their eyes. (And pet parents should opt for hair cuts that accommodate this.) 


However, it is essential to exercise caution when trimming this area since a Shih Tzu's skin around the eyes is sensitive and prone to injury. Some groomers may prefer using scissors for this task, while others may choose electric clippers.


It is also advisable for pet parents to clean their Shih Tzu's eyes regularly with a damp cloth to eliminate any discharge or debris that may accumulate in the corners of their eyes. Doing so can help prevent eye infections and other eye-related issues.


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