Call us: 555-555-5555

Topknots & Bows

Shih Tzu Bows & Topknots- How To

Minnie Pearl & Mia Karma, photo courtesy of Tomi 

Step by Step Guide to Making a Topknot & Accessorizing with Dog Bows

By Wendy Wu, Founder of
Aside from clothing, a great way to accessorize your Shih Tzu is to make topknot and finish it off with Shih Tzu bows. 

This is a quick and inexpensive way to give your pooch some much needed style, especially during the summer months, when clothes aren't an immediate option. 

And of course, if your Shih Tzu has long hairs on top, this is a must to keep those hairs out of the way and have your puppy or dog looking nice and tidy. 
Unbeknownst to many dog owners, dog bows can come in many different styles, shapes and materials. 

There are single loop bows, double loop with flag back bows, and bows that display Swarovski crystals, gem stones, mini roses, rhinestones, or even diamonds!
Dog bows also come in many different sizes. For larger dogs, double loop dog bows look the best. For toys like the Shih Tzu, single loop bows are ideal.

There are many places where you can get your hands on some dog bows. Pet boutiques usually carry a limited number of them, while groomers might even provide you with bows for free after an appointment. 

There are many online shops selling custom hand-crafted dog bows, specifically for long haired Tzu’s. offers of a wide range of designs to choose from, including casual to glamorous and everything else in between.

We are going to show you how to tie a topknot bow on a Shih Tzu... While it may seem daunting at first, you will soon see that it is not that difficult. And with just a little bit of practice, you can have your Tzu looking put-together, neat, tidy, and beautiful.

Owners should remember that topknots and bows are not just for female dogs. Males with long coats or males with shorter coats but with long top hairs certainly need the help of a tie to hold the hairs back. Since they can be found in just about every color and style you can think of, you will be able to find "boy" colors such as blue, black, purple, etc.

Holding back the hair on a Shih Tzu with a topknot and a bow will do more than just complete your Tzu look.... When eating and especially when drinking, the longer hairs on the face and surrounding the face can easily become wet with water, damp from food and even pick up tiny food particles. When the hairs remain damp (you may not even notice) red yeast can grow. It is then that staining can develop. 

So, both both appearance and hygiene, it is highly recommended to use Shih Tzu bows and to learn how to tie one properly. 

Step-by-Step Instructions with Photos

For this, you will need:
  • A steel comb (but just your hands can be used in a pinch)
  • A snag-free elastic rubber band
  • A bow
The goal:

Will be to gather up the hairs, hold them back without being too loose or too tight, and then adding a bow to make it all look cute. 

Tip to keep in mind:

There is a correct way of creating a topknot on your Shih Tzu without making it uncomfortable; issues may occur when hairs are being pulled too tight and pinch the skin.

At the same time, you'll want the topknot to be secure enough that it stays in place even for very active dogs. 


1. Start by gathering the hair right above the temple of your dog’s eyes toward the middle of the scalp, be careful not to pull too hard as your Tzu’s eye area will be stretched.

Use can use a steel comb to help create this section. But, if you suddenly find the need to do this and do not have a comb, this can even be done just with your hands. 
how to put bow on Shih Tzu
2. Tie the hair with a snag-free elastic band so it won’t hurt your Tzu when it’s time to take off the band. Typical sizing for these are 1/4". 
step two putting bow on Shih Tzu
3. You can now create either a puffy or puff ball look. If you prefer for your Shih Tzu to have a sleek look, use the snag-free band to tie her hair and pass the band through as many times as it takes until it stays in place. 

If you prefer for your Shih Tzu to have a puffy look, tie the hair and pass the band through as many times just up until the last pass. At this point leave the band mid-way to create a puff ball look. Adjust the ball as needed.
Final step putting bow on Shih Tzu
4. To secure the bow over the topknot, slip your index finger and thumb inside the latex-free bands of the bow and gently place over the tied hairs. 
bows in place on Shih Tzu

Tips for Helping a Puppy Get Used to a Topknot

One strategy to get your pup to love his topknot is to create the topknot and add a bow right before you take him or her out for a fun a walk. 

Your Shih Tzu will be more interested in seeing and sniffing the earth than to pay attention to the new object on their head. 

For those that do notice, this will work as well. Using classical conditioning is a great way to teach puppies. If the bow is put on right before a fun activity, the dog will associate a bow with positive activities. 

A Word About Bow Safety

While there are many dog bows to choose from on the market today, we have to be careful to choose bows that are made of high quality material, are latex-free, and do not contain wire-framed ribbons. 

It is also important to be cautious when buying bows with barrettes. While they may seem convenient, barrettes can be a choking hazard if your Tzu enjoys chewing on things. 
You May Also Like:
How to Get Rid of Tear Stains on a Shih Tzu - The fastest, most effective, and permanent way to resolve tear stains is to both remove the triggers and treat the area. 
The Best Way to Give a Shih Tzu a Bath - How to make baths successful for healthy skin and coat, and for your puppy or dog to look gorgeous. 
Clothing for Shih Tzu - From cute dresses for the summer to serious outer gear in the winter, great clothing options. 
Share by: