Does Shih Tzu shed hair? If you are a first-time Shih Tzu parent, I guess you’re probably wondering if your Shih Tzu is supposed to shed too much hair or not. If you’re worried about being allergic to dog fur, or the chaos of having lots of dog hair circulating around your home, I hope you find this helpful.
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I know that a lot of first-time Shih Tzu owners are worried about their dogs shedding too much. If you have kids, or you’re not sure if you’re allergic to dog fur or not, this is going to be a serious health issue.
Growing up, having dogs at home is a major concern because I have asthma. Luckily, I was told by my doctor that I’m not allergic. That is why having a Shih Tzu at home is totally fine. However, not everyone is just as lucky.
But before we jump to a conclusion as to whether a Shih Tzu is the best pet for you or not, let’s talk dog shedding and how to manage it.
Shih Tzu’s are not just known for their fluffy coat that makes them absolutely adorable. But we also know them for shedding hair minimally, which puts them into the category of hypoallergenic dogs.
A proper Shih Tzu haircut is one of the solutions to make your Shih Tzu hair nice and tidy.
Are Shih Tzu’s Hypoallergenic?
When you say hypoallergenic dogs, it means that this particular breed is less likely to trigger allergic reactions to humans. Therefore, these breeds are marketed as “hypoallergenic” because they shed less compared to other dogs.
From my experience, as someone who has asthma, I find that taking care of a Shih Tzu at home didn’t stir any allergic reaction to me. In fact, my other dog Kuya, who is a mixed breed of Aspin and German Shepherd is the one that sheds too much.
Still, none of my pets are the one causing me health issues.
But to answer the question of whether Shih Tzu’s are hypoallergenic or not, I’d say it depends. Given that I’ve had my dogs for two years now, I can say that they’re hypoallergenic to me. But this doesn’t mean that it’s the same for everyone.
How Would I Know if I’m Allergic to a Shih Tzu?
Some of the most common allergic reactions to a dog are:
- runny nose
- watery and itchy eyes
If you’re experiencing any of these after having close contact with a dog, consult your doctor immediately.
Do Shih Tzus shed hair?
Yes. Your Shih Tzu’s naturally shed hairs like other dog breeds throughout the year, but they only shed less—the reason they’re considered as light shedding dogs. But they go not only into the natural process of shedding hairs, but they also have a process called coat blow, which is the transition of their winter coat to summer coat.
In the summer, a Shih Tzu breed sheds thick coats to keep them cool and comfortable. While in Spring, they shed fewer coats which are being replaced by thicker coats to give them warmth.
However, you don’t see them lose their hair, especially if their hair is long. This is because when they lose hair from their undercoat, it goes on their topcoat, which has more hairs. That’s why you don’t notice it unless you give them a Shih Tzu haircut.
There are other factors why your Shih Tzu sheds hair aside from seasonal changes.
Why is my Shih Tzu shedding hair?
There are factors to consider why your Shih Tzu sheds hair. It depends on:
- Hair growth cycle
- Types of coat
- Skin problems
You don’t have to worry that much because the natural shedding of your Shih Tzu starts when they are four months old. Of course, you don’t want them to have a baby coat when they reach the adult stage. So, when they reach nine to twelve months, they will automatically have an adult coat.
There also come changes in their coat’s colors. It may turn lighter or darker. Although it’s rare to change their color, there’s nothing to worry about. Shih Tzus usually stay in their natural colors.
Keep in mind that the older they get, the more hair they lose. But, as a pet owner, the shedding of their hair will also depend on the way you take care of your lovely Shih Tzus.
If you have a female Shih Tzu, when she reaches the pregnancy stage, her hormonal changes affect the shedding of her hair. But again, it is normal, especially when they give birth. You just have to minimize it by brushing and combing her hair regularly.
Again, because Shih Tzus are double-coated dogs, the fallen hairs are being trapped in their topcoat, making it unnoticeable. The only way to notice it is by giving them a simple Shih Tzu haircut, such as the Puppy cut, or what’s known as the summer cut. Not only does this kind of haircut make them comfortable and cute, but it also makes the shedding of hair clear.
A Shih Tzu haircut will make your life and your Shih Tzu’s convenient, and grooming time easier.
Grooming your Shih Tzu, yourself is not enough. You don’t want your Shih Tzu to shed hair excessively, right? When this happens, they’re probably lacking essential minerals and vitamins, which makes them have coat problems and will eventually turn into heavy shedding.
You need to bring them to the vet to prevent this kind of excessive shedding and any other diseases. Also, to learn about the cause why your Shih Tzu sheds hair. It may be because of your grooming tools. That’s why knowing the proper grooming supplies for your Shih Tzu is also your responsibility.
To lessen the shedding, comb their hair gently, brush it afterwards, and bathe them regularly. Always remember to use grooming tools formulated for dogs or Shih Tzus and have a comfy Shih Tzu haircut to have a manageable coat as the hidden loose hairs may lead to tangles.
Hair growth cycle
Your Shih Tzus have a hair growth cycle in which you have to understand.
It goes in 3 stages:
1. The Anagen phase, or the hair growth stage. If their hair is unhealthy, it will probably fall. But if it’s healthy, it can reach the floor and even beyond.
2. Telogen phase, or the resting stage. It holds their hairs tightly by the hair follicles.
3. Catagen phase or the fall stage. This kind of dog breed goes into this phase wherein the hair growth stops, and the hair follicle shrinks, making the hair shaft detach. If these happen, it’s just a reminder of your healthy and renewed Shih Tzu coat.
Types of coat
As mentioned earlier, your Shih Tzus are double-coated dogs. Meaning, they have an undercoat and topcoat. The former is where the loose hairs take place and go in their topcoat, which has more hairs.
You will not see those fallen hairs scattered around your floor or furniture because they fall off into the topcoat, making it only noticeable during brushing. Other Shih Tzus have medium to long coats, which most of the loose hair get stuck in the topcoat.
This can make them smell as the dead hair might be covered with body oil and create knots. Whereas the fallen hairs of the Shih Tzu with smaller coats shed easily and noticeably.
I always prefer my Shih Tzu to have a short haircut, primarily because it helps avoid common skin problems.
Some of these are:
- fleas and ticks
- fungal infection
Usually, if you’re Shih Tzu has very long hair, you seldom notice these skin problems. I had my first visit to the vet 30 days after I got my Shih Tzu. It was also his first time he had his Shih Tzu haircut. The groomer recommended the puppy cut because his fur is all tangled.
An hour later, I was told by the groomer to see the vet, because his skin is full of dandruff. The vet prescribed topical ointment and shampoo with Ketoconazole. The vet also advised that we change his dog food and bathe him twice a week.
Thankfully, his skin condition improved in just 2 weeks.
Using good quality shampoo and conditioner, a healthy diet, and constant brushing helps with detangling fur. Moreover, I also find that coconut oil helps relieve common skin problems. It smells good, too.
Even though our Shih Tzu’s shed less compared to other dog breeds, it doesn’t mean that they’re low maintenance. Since their fur grows longer than others, they need constant brushing and good quality shampoo and conditioner. Otherwise, I find that their fur may look unhealthy or feels brittle.
For me, a happy and healthy Shih Tzu is not bothered by how long or how thick his fur is. As long as you’re a responsible owner, and you maintain a nice Shih Tzu haircut for them, having a Shih Tzu at home is going to be the best decision you’ll make.
Nevertheless, if you’re still unsure whether you’re allergic to a Shih Tzu or not, offer to babysit someone’s pet. You can also visit your nearest dog shelter and try to bond with a Shih Tzu there. If you experience an allergic reaction, then a Shih Tzu may not be the best dog breed for you.
Does your Shih Tzu shed too much hair?
What do you do to keep your Shih Tzu happy and healthy?
Let us know in the comments.