How to Puppy Cut a Shih Tzu

By Michaele Curtis

A Shih Tzu puppy cut refers simply to cutting the dog's coat so it mimics the look a puppy has. It's usually cut short all the way around. The puppy cut is popular for the Shih Tzu for two reasons. First, it keeps your Shih Tzu cooler in warm climates since Shih Tzus are prone to breathing difficulties and overheat easily. Secondly, the puppy cut is much easier to maintain than the traditional long-haired look, typically seen in show Shih Tzus.

Start with your Shih Tzu in a standing or lying position. Use your clippers or scissors to cut the coat on her back. Monitor the length carefully because this will guide how you clip the rest of your Shih Tzu’s coat. Keep it about ½ to 1 inch long all the way around to maintain the puppy cut style.

Trim the coat on your Shih Tzu’s legs, keeping the fur straight on the legs and rounded near the paws. Cut the fur on the paws as short as you can without exposing the dog’s nails. Avoid cutting the Shih Tzu tail. It stays long and fluffy in a puppy cut. Trim the coat along the hindquarters, especially around the anal area to keep it clean.

Turn the Shih Tzu over to trim the coat on her chest, stomach and genitals. Here, you can cut as closely as possible to the skin to keep your Shih Tzu cool in warm weather and prevent tangles. Move slowly and be careful because the genital area and the nipples are particularly sensitive.

Save the head for last because it is the area that your Shih Tzu is most likely to struggle during dog grooming. The length here is a matter of taste but you have to at least trim the hair around the nose and eyes. As a rule for the puppy cut, trim off any fur that won’t lay flat or fit in a topknot. You also should shape up the ears by giving them a level look. For example, when you trim around the fur around the ears, you don't want to leave a ragged line along the bottom of the ear. It should be trimmed in a straight line. Keep the head on the hair rounded too such that the entire shape reminds you of a circle when you look at the Shih Tzu head on.