How to Clip Your Shih Tzu

By Heather Vecchioni

Shih Tzu dogs require routine grooming to keep their coats looking healthy and tangle-free. Grooming your Shih Tzu yourself can save you lots of money and can also provide a bonding experience for you and your dog. In addition, many Shih Tzu feel more comfortable with the grooming process when they are working with their owners, as opposed to the groomers. Correctly grooming a Shih Tzu takes time and practice, but it's possible.

Brush your Shih Tzu to remove any tangles or knots from the fur, if possible. Slicker brushes often work best.

Shave the Shih Tzu's back using a number four or seven blade. Start at the neck and work your way towards the tail. Shave down the sides until you reach the top of the legs. Leave the legs alone for now if you want to have them longer than the back. However, if the Shih Tzu tends to mat on its legs or you want the body to be one length, shave the legs now.

Use blunt-nosed scissors to trim the hair between and around the eyes. If the hair is left to grow, it can irritate the Shih Tzu's eyes. Trim it as short as you can. Be very careful not to touch the Shih Tzu's eyes with the scissors.

Trim the hair on the head of the Shih Tzu. Use your brush to fluff the hair by brushing it straight up. Use scissors to trim the hair into the shape of a semi-circle. Brush the ears, then trim them with the scissors. Cut them short or leave them as long as you choose.

Brush the tail, then use the scissors to trim the hair into the shape you want. Many groomers simply trim the hair on the sides and the bottom.

Shave the abdomen, genital and anal areas of the Shih Tzu with a ten blade. Take care not to get the clippers caught in the skin. Check the blade's temperature often by placing your hand on it. If it is hot, it can burn the skin. Reduce the heat by applying a cooling spray to the blade.

Use scissors to trim the feet. Cut any hair that is hanging off of the feet and toes. Trim the hair between the paw pads.

Trim the hair on the legs with scissors. Trim along the outside of the legs to give them shape. If you want the hair a bit shorter, apply a boot to the number four blade to leave the hair a little longer than it is on the back.