Press ESC to close

Life with the Shih Tzu Part II

In part I of this series of articles about life with the Shih Tzu I discussed the beginning steps of daily grooming of your Shih Tzu. In this article I will continue that discussion. Once you have the hair on the tummy and legs all brushed out, flick all the body hair up and over the back before brushing it downwards again, a layer at a time, using the nylon and bristle brush.

You might like to spray each layer lightly with water or a crème rinse and water mixture before brushing. You now have the Shih Tzu still lying on its side. You reason you want to work in layers like this is that you are able to brush right to the skin and remove all traces of hair that would start to mat and tangle. If the Shih Tzu is standing you can brush all day and only reach the top layer of the coat. It is really necessary to brush to the skin on a Shih Tzu. Use the comb only when it is necessary to take out a tangle you encounter.

When the first side is finished, turn the Shih Tzu over so he lies on his other side and repeat the process. If you are lucky enough to have a Shih Tzu that will relax and go to sleep this is such a blessing for the both of you. If you are gentle enough and teach the Shih Tzu that this is a time of “relaxation and pleasure” you might just have one that does sleep during brushing sessions. If you have a regular daily brushing routine you will be sure to find skin problems or parasites before they become very serious.

When you have both sides of the Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly groomed and free of knots, stand the Shih Tzu up, facing away from you. Straighten the parting down the center of the back, using a comb or the tip of a blunt knitting-needle. Position the Shih Tzu to face you and groom the hair on the chest and neck. There is usually a knot or two behind and under the ears. Take particular care to clear these out.

What remains now to be groomed is the head and face. Use the fine-toothed end of the metal comb in this area. Be gentle around the nose, eyes and mouth. This is a good time to give the whiskers, beard and hair around the eyes an extra thorough wash to keep stain from building up. You can use a dry shampoo for this or a warm washcloth. Daily cleaning helps to keep the stain down. For more stubborn stains you will need to try other methods, of which I will discuss in latter parts of this series. Part the whiskers in the center of the top of the nose and comb down to each side to form a frame for the muzzle.

At about five months of age the hair of the head on the Shih Tzu above the nose can be tied into a topknot. This tying up of the hair keeps it out of the Shih Tzu’s eyes and food. It also gives the Shih Tzu face its distinctive appearance. Personally, I love the neat topknot of a Shih Tzu. I believe it is one of the main ingredients of making the Shih Tzu look like the breed standard calls for. A badly placed topknot can ruin the expression of the Shih Tzu. It is worth learning how to do the topknots correctly until you can get them right each time. And I say this to mean, “Do as I say, and not as I do.” I have so many Shih Tzu in my household I keep most of my cut really, really short. I have a few I can make a topknot on, but mine are not perfect at all. I need to practice this technique more than I do. It really is what helps to make the Shih Tzu look like a “real Shih Tzu.” I do love this look.

Life with the Shih Tzu will be continued in Part III of this series.

Connie Limon

Connie Limon. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *