Be Careful How You Spell Shih Tzu Puppy Cuts
One of the most eye-catching features of a Shih Tzu or Shih Tzu mix is their glorious, flowing and soft coat. In show Shih Tzus, this coat covers the eyes and reaches to the ground. In ancient China, where the breed originated, a long thick coat was necessary for survival in the drafty royal palaces. But that coat is a bear to deal with every single day.
Only show Shih Tzus should be kept in a full coat. Otherwise, the average Shih Tzu owner will go insane. Shih Tzu grooming of a full coat takes just as long as grooming the full coat of an Afghan hound (a much bigger dog). And your local climate is probably a lot more temperate than Northern China. If you live hot climates, a full coat will kill your dog. All breeding and pet Shih Tzus coats should be kept in a Shih Tzu puppy clip.
You need to make Shih Tzu grooming a rewarding experience for your dog. They should be praised and brushing should be like another expression of affection and no hitting the dog is allowed. Get your dog used to being bathed, brushed, combed, ears wiped, eyes wiped and nails clipped as soon as you can. Get them used to the sound of clippers days or even weeks before using them yourself. They should stand still before you attempt clipping them.
Your electric clippers will come with a dizzying array of detachable blade lengths, designated by numbers. Some professional dog groomers recommend a number four blade for the Shih Tzu puppy cut. A number ten will get rid of stubborn tangles, but will make a shorter cut. Number forty is what vets use before they operate - try not to get that mixed up with a four! Keep your clippers clean and stored well and this most expensive of Shih Tzu grooming supplies will last many years.
To achieve the Shih Tzu puppy cut hold the clippers like a pencil in your dominant hand. This may feel awkward at first, but gets easier with practice. Hold as lightly, yet as firmly, as you can and sweep over the dogs coat. Leave the face for scissors and get someone to hold the dog if necessary. Smile and act as casual as possible to keep the dog calm. Scissors are used for the coat, but not for the nails. You need a guillotine-style nail clipper to make an efficient, safe cut on the nail.
Scissors can be used to trim any uneven areas and are especially recommended for delicate areas like the face and anal region. Lots of people like to leave a pageboy or pudding bowl cap on the dogs head for a cute effect that balances the look of the trim Shih Tzu puppy cut well. Afterwards, give your dog a special treat and a break afterwords. Remember, this gets easier the more times you do it!
Rebecca Simpson has lived, worked with and written about the dog world, including seeing good and bad Shih Tzu puppy cuts. This author is currently writing a series of e-books on dog care, including Shih Tzu grooming. Shih Tzu grooming supplies are essential for proper Shih Tzu care.