Do Shih Tzu Shed? [How Much, How Often, and More]

Do Shih Tzu Shed? [How Much, How Often, and More]

My friend wanted a small dog for her daughters, one that doesn’t shed a lot. She’s a busy woman, and she doesn’t have time to clean many dog hair daily. She came across Shih Tzus and thought the breed is cute. It made her wonder if this dog might be a perfect companion for her girls, despite the long hair.

Before she decided if a Shih Tzu would make the right pet for the family, she needed to know—Do Shih Tzu Shed?

Do Shih Tzu Shed?

Do Shih Tzu shed? If sohow much? Shih Tzu is a dog breed that sheds very little. Shih Tzu shed infrequently and much less compared to other shedding dog breeds. However, loose hair often stays in between layers of hair, so it seems like the Shih Tzu is a nonshedding dog.

For people who love small dogs with long hair, Shih Tzu makes a perfect pet. With the Shih Tzu in the house, you won’t spend countless hours trying to clean the hair from floors, carpets, and furniture.

You should be aware of the fact that Shih Tzu does shed, though, but not a lot. You will occasionally find some hair around the house.

Shih Tzu’s HairDescription
Hair characteristicLong hair
CoatDouble coat
Shedding in homeVery little
Seasonal sheddingMales-possible in early spring
Females- possibly twice per year for unspayed females
Brushing needsLong-haired Shih Tzu-daily
Trimmed coat Shih Tzu-weekly
General grooming needsLong hair-high needs
Trimmed coat-moderate needs
Matting possibilityLong-haired Shih Tzu-high
Trimmed coat Shih Tzu-none

How Much Do Shih Tzu Shed?

Shih Tzu is a light shedder. This means that hair is still to be found around areas where the Shih Tzu spends most of its time but very little.

Because Shih Tzu has hair and not fur, like many other dog breeds, Shih Tzu will shed infrequently and in small amounts.

Shedding depends on many factors, including the dog:

  1. age
  2. care
  3. diet
  4. health

just to name a few.

Does The Shih Tzu Shedding Change With The Season?

Yes. Shih Tzu Shedding changes with the season. Even though some sources say that Shih Tzu doesn’t shed seasonally because of having hair instead of fur, owners will tell you differently.

Every dog goes through seasonal shedding, and it’s called a molting season. Seasonal shedding happens twice a year for most dogs.

Shedding in a female Shih Tzu happens when the dog matures, most often twice a year, if the dog is not spayed and when it is in heat. What part of the year seasonal shedding will happen will depend on when the dog was born. It occurs roughly every six months.

For spayed females, seasonal shedding will probably happen only once, which is usually in the spring but depends on your dog.

Mature male Shih Tzu shed only once a year, and the seasonal shedding usually happens in early spring.

What Part Of Shih Tzu’s Coat Is Shedding?

Shih Tzu’s undercoat is the part of the coat that is shedding.

At this time, you will have to be very careful when grooming your Shih Tzu. The coat appears more like cotton wool, and matting can be a big issue with such a coat.

Tip For Dealing With Shedding Undercoat
  • Always use a grooming spray when brushing Shih Tzu’s coat. Grooming sprays are excellent help in this process.
  • Be gentle with the amount of spray you’re using. Use it only on the part of the coat you’re brushing at the moment.
  • Static electricity often contributes to hair breakage in a dry Shih Tzu’s coat.

Does Diet Affect How Much Shih Tzu Shed?

If you were wondering how diet and feeding affect your Shih Tzu’s shedding and coat quality, here is the answer.

Nutritional value in your Shih Tzu food will positively or negatively affect coat and skin condition, but also the dog’s general health.

Food Allergies and Shedding

Food allergies in dogs are not uncommon, and your Shih Tzu might get one too. Ingredients in dog food can cause allergies in your dog. Soy and wheat are two common ingredients that trigger allergies in dogs.

If you notice your Shih Tzu is itchy and scratching itself for no particular reason, food allergy might be a reason. Shedding will be the result of itching.

If you suspect your Shih Tzu has a food allergy, take it to the vet. A veterinarian can test your dog for a certain food to identify the allergens. Take pictures of food ingredients from every food and treats you’re feeding your dog. The ingredient list can help the veterinarian to identify possible allergens.

Are There Health Issues Shih Tzu Can Have That May Cause Excess Shedding?

Although Shih Tzu is generally a healthy breed, some health-related issues that affect shedding can occur during its lifetime.


Alopecia is a hair cycle abnormality that can affect small, double-coated breeds in any life stage. Fungus, bacteria, or parasites can cause this hair abnormality. Alopecia symptoms are bald patches on your dog, over shedding, and red patches around bald patches. Treatment will vary depending on the cause. Your dog’s veterinarian will examine and give your dog needed medications.


If your Shih Tzu starts shedding suddenly, and you know it’s not medical or food-related, there is a good chance your dog is stressed. There are many reasons for your dog to be stressed. Separation, moving, loss of a guardian and fear are some of the possible causes.


Dog allergies are common and can be a cause of shedding excessively. Many allergens are around the house and the dog’s environment that owners are not aware of. Allergens like dust, molds, and house spray chemicals are a few common ones.

How Flea Infestation Affects Shedding?

You might think your Shih Tzu will never get fleas because you take good care of your little dog. You might also believe because your dog is mostly an indoor dog, there’s no chance of flea infestation.

Well, unless your Shih Tzu never spends any time outdoors or with other pets and animals, and you are using a flea treatment, then your dog is safe from fleas.

If you take your Shih Tzu for walks and areas where the dog has a chance to be around animals and pets, there is a chance of flea infestation.

But you are wondering what’s shedding has to do with fleas, right?

Scratching affects shedding because your Shih Tzu while scratching itself, it’s losing the hair. If your Shih Tzu seems to scratch a lot, take a closer look at the skin.

Check your Shih Tzu’s skin and look for redness and irritation. If you see little black bugs all over the skin, the dog certainly has fleas. This is not good news, and it will take a while to get rid of fleas.

What to do in a flea infestation situation:

  • bath your Shih Tzu with flea dog shampoo
  • start using a flea repellent on your Shih Tzu
  • treat your home for fleas
  • treat your yard for fleas
  • get rid of any contaminated dog bedding

Flea infestation will make your Shih Tzu scratch, and scratching will irritate the skin. The skin may become sensitive, and your dog might start losing hair.

Do Older Shih Tzus Shed More Than Younger Ones?

After your Shih Tzu reaches seven years, the aging process slowly begins.

The aging process can affect the amount of shedding in dogs but also depends if the owner is taking good care of the dog or not.

The older your Shih Tzu gets, the more hair it will lose. Hair in senior dogs gets thinner, as well. This happens naturally, and brushing and bathing will help to keep its coat healthier.

What can contribute to the older Shih Tzu’s loosening hair are health issues. Make sure your senior Shih Tzu receives the best care and has regular vet visits.

Do Shih Tzu Puppies Shed?

Shih Tzu puppies have less volume and shorter length of the coat comparing to adult Shih Tzus. This simply means that your puppy’s coat will need a little care since it doesn’t shed until the puppy matures. Brushing will still be necessary to remove the dirt and get the puppy used to being brushed. It will also keep your puppy looking clean.

Shih Tzu’s Coat

Shih Tzu is a dog breed that has hair instead of fur. It also has two layers of coat— outer coat and undercoat.

Shih Tzu’s outer coat is long and silky, while the undercoat is soft and dense.

Coat Matting

Because Shih Tzu sheds very little, dead and broken hair mostly stays tangled on the dog. For this reason, Shih Tzu requires daily brushing as the knots can be a big problem and impossible to loosen.

Most owners decide to cut Shih Tzu’s hair short, as this makes it easier to maintain. For those owners who choose to keep the original appearance and keep their elegant long, silky coat, brushing as often as possible will be a must.

Keep your Shih Tzu’s coat trimmed shorter for lower maintenanceand minimum shedding.

Grooming For Keeping the Coat Healthy and Elegant

As mentioned before, grooming is an essential part of Shih Tzu’s everyday life. If you want to minimize the number of knots on your Shih Tzu, a regular grooming routine will be your best solution.

Routine brushing promotes your Shih Tzu’s healthy hair and skin. Brushing helps to spread Shih Tzu’s natural oils on skin and hair, making it look elegant, shiny, and healthy.

Bathing Your Shih Tzu And Why It’s Important For Coat Care

Bathing keeps your Shih Tzu’s coat clean. Since Shih Tzu has a long coat, debris can easily remain on the undercoat. A clean coat means less debris and fewer mats, resulting in less shedding.

Opinions on how often you should be bathing your Shih Tzu differ. The truth is that you can bathe your Shih Tzu twice a month and even weekly if your dog is spending time outdoors.

What matters when bathing your Shih Tzu is to comb or brush its coat before washing to eliminate any present knots.

Be careful what kind of shampoo and conditioner you’re using, and not over bathe your Shih Tzu with a shampoo that will irritate and dry out the skin.

The use of a shampoo that contains harsh chemicals can easily damage the skin, and the skin will be prone to dander and itching. Shih Tzu will scratch irritated and dry skin, and this will result in more hair falling off.

Whenever possible, use a shampoo with natural ingredients. A variety of natural products for dog’s skin are available and affordable.

Some of the good ingredients you should be looking for in dog shampoo are:

  • oatmeal
  • hemp oil
  • olive oil
  • coconut
  • shea butter
  • honey
  • aloe
  • lavender
  • green tea
  • tea tree
  • eucalyptus

All the above-mentioned ingredients and other natural ingredients are all excellent choices for your Shih Tzu’s coat care and are easy to find.

The basic bathing process to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat clean, less itchy, and shedding less:

  1. brush your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly
  2. gather all the bathing supplies (shampoo, conditioner, and washing cloth)
  3. gather all after bath supplies (towels, ear cleaning solution, cotton balls, nail clipper, brush and comb, hairdryer)
  4. decide where you will bath your Shih Tzu (sink, bathtub, plastic tub)
  5. put a rubber mat on the bottom of the sink, bathtub, or a plastic tub to prevent slipping
  6. fill the tub or a sink with warm water (make sure it’s not too warm)
  7. in case you’re showering your dog, make sure to check the water temperature before you start showering
  8. put your dog in the water
  9. dog’s full coat should be wet and ready to shampoo
  10. spread the shampoo equally on the dog’s coat avoiding the face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth
  11. gently clean the whole coat
  12. wash the dog’s paws
  13. wash the dog’s coat under the tail
  14. use a wet cloth to clean the hair around the face and ears
  15. rinse the shampoo thoroughly with warm water
  16. drain the water
  17. apply the conditioner
  18. after a few minutes, rinse the conditioner with warm water
  19. squeeze the excess water while your Shit Tzu is still in the tub
  20. wrap the dog in the towel
  21. take the Shih Tzu to the drying area
  22. remove the cotton from ears
  23. remove the towel
  24. use the hairdryer to dry the coat, brushing the coat while drying it
  25. after drying, brush the coat once again thoroughly

The bathing, drying, and brushing process roughly takes about an hour.

Tips for bathing:

  • put cotton balls in dog’s ears to prevent the water from getting in
  • wear old clothes or waterproof apron
  • place the towels around the bathtub or a sink to absorb any water that ends up outside the tub
  • keep talking to your Shih Tzu while bathing, as this will help to keep the dog calm
  • do a double shampooing in case your dog’s coat is filthy
  • use well absorbing towels when bathing your Shih Tzu, as this will speed the drying process
  • lie your dog on the side while drying it, starting with the stomach area

Does Hair Cut Style Affect Grooming Maintenance?

Yes. The haircut style determines whether your Shih Tzu will need daily grooming or not. A lot of owners, especially busy ones, choose a pet trim style. This short trimmed coat style is perfect for owners who want to enjoy the company of their Shih Tzus without putting too much effort into coat care.

It’s important to know that even with a trimmed Shih Tzu, occasional brushing is needed. Brushing also removes dander other than broken and lose hair.

Are There Practical Tips For Taking Care of Shih Tzu’s Coat?

These tips are related to long-haired Shih Tzus, as they will need a lot of coat maintenance.

  • to reduce the amount of debris in Shih Tzu’s coat, trim the armpits, underside, around the feet, whiskers, and ears
  • tye a top knot on Shih Tzu’s head
  • brush your Shih Tzu daily to minimize tangles
  • use the grooming spray if your Shih Tzu’s hair is hard to brush

Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic Because Their Coat Is Shedding Very Little?

Yes, Shih Tzu is a somewhat hypoallergenic breed. However, Shih Tzu’s infrequent shedding is the reason why this breed is considered hypoallergenic. While the hair is not what causes allergies in people, it can be a carrier of different allergens. The real triggers of allergies are Shih Tzu’s saliva, dander, urine, and feces.

People who are allergic to dogs should consider spending time around the Shih Tzu breed before getting one.

Final Thoughts About Shih Tzu Shedding

Shih Tzu will be a great choice for owners who want a lighter shedding dog. But if you want a true Shih Tzu look, this dog will be higher maintenance. Long-haired Shih Tzu is stunning, but that glamorous appearance comes with hard work.

Your Shih Tzu will still shed even if you keep its coat short, but the coat will require less work. If you want a dog that is infrequently shedding, the Shih Tzu would be a great choice.

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