A Shih Tzu Dog’s Coat Requires Special Care… Here’s How To Brush A Shih Tzu, Remove Mats, Bathe A Shih Tzu, And Do A Top-Knot

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If you want your Shih Tzu to look its best, regular grooming is critical.

Shih Tzu hair requires frequent brushing to keep it from getting mats.

See my complete guide showing how to groom a Shih Tzu.

Today, I’m going to share specific grooming details that will help you brush Shih Tzu hair, remove mats, bathe a Shih Tzu, and do a top-knot…

How To Care For Shih Tzu Hair

When a Shih Tzu’s coat gets dirty, they get more tangles — which leads to more hairs breaking off. If this happens too often, the hair shaft can actually get rough and damage your dog’s coat.

Here are the specific techniques that you should use when you are grooming your Shih Tzu to protect the dog’s coat and keep it healthy (in this order):

#1 – How To Brush Shih Tzu Hair

Before brushing your Shih Tzu, it’s best to spray the dog’s coat with a dog detangling spray first. You don’t want to brush a Shih Tzu when their coat is completely dry because their hair will break too easily.

It’s best to brush Shih Tzu hair in small sections, parting the hair and working your way out from the skin.

Brush each section several times — until the brush moves freely.


#2 – How To Remove Mats From Shih Tzu Hair

Shih Tzus are prone to matting because of their long, luxurious hair.

These tangles are a serious issue because they can pull on the dog’s skin and even restrict air flow that prevents infections.

Important: Don’t pull or tug at any mats that you come across while brushing!

When you do come across a mat in your Shih Tzu’s hair, gently comb through it. The goal is not to pull the whole tangle out at once, but to slowly pull out and free each individual hair that is in the knot.


Remember, a Shih Tzu has 2 coats of fur. Most of the tangled hair is in the inner layer (the undercoat) — so you need to brush all the way through the coat instead of just on the surface.

Here’s what you need to know about matted coats and double coats.

If you cannot get a mat out, you may need to cut it out. Instead of simply cutting a whole chunk of the coat, you should make small snips in the knot itself until you can successfully comb it out.

Using a fine tooth comb to do one last check for mats in Shih Tzu hair

Once you have brushed your Shih Tzu’s coat and removed all of the mats, go over their entire body one last time with a fine-tooth comb. It will get rid of any remaining tangles and give your dog a shiny, finished look.

#3 – How To Bathe A Shih Tzu

When you bathe your Shih Tzu, use a downward motion to work in the shampoo and conditioner — so you don’t accidentally create more tangles by using a circular motion.

How to give a Shih Tzu a bath

Be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly. Use colder water for the final rinse — to ensure that all of the soap has been removed.

Use a towel to blot the dog’s coat, but don’t rub or tussle the coat. You can also squeeze excess water out — just be sure to use a downward motion.

Make sure that your Shih Tzu is completely dry before you move on to clipping or cutting the dog’s hair.


Here’s how to clean a Shih Tzu’s eyes and remove tear stains.

#4 – How To Do A Top-Knot

The classic Shih Tzu top knot with no hair bow.

If you want your Shih Tzu to have a traditional top-knot style ponytail, do this:

  • Part the dog’s hair from the outside corner of each of their eyes and across the middle of the skull.
  • Take a few hairs from the back of the ponytail and pull them straight up to create the signature Shih Tzu poof and to hold the front of the ponytail to the top of the skull.

Here are some good quality dog grooming bands for the top knot and some colorful dog hair bows.


Adam’s first Shih Tzu was a gift he received while recuperating from an accident — he enjoyed the companionship and quickly fell in love with the breed! After researching everything there is to know about Shih Tzus, he became passionate about adopting more. At his website, The Shih Tzu Expert, Adam shares his personal tips and experiences raising Shih Tzus in order to assist others who are considering getting a Shih Tzu.