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Shedding

Shih Tzu Shedding

 Do Shih Tzu Shed...?

There are some myths about Shih Tzu shedding…And for this reason, this section is dedicated to this topic. The biggest myth is that the Shih Tzu does not shed. This is not true. With this said, it is a fact that they do not normally shed in the typical way that many other dog breeds do.

Now, as you probably know, the Shih Tzu has hair as opposed to fur. Many people do not understand just how close fur and hair are in comparison to each other. The only 2 elements that set them apart are:

Length – Fur typically is not able to grow long, it breaks off after an approximate length of 2 inches maximum; hair can grow much longer.
Texture – The strands of fur will be slightly thicker than strands of hair.  

Those are the only differences…And they do affect Shih Tzu shedding.
Shih Tzu with thick hair
Normal Shedding

With many other dog breeds, shedding is obvious. Short hairs will be found on the floor, the furniture, it will get on your clothes, etc.

This is because the strands break off rapidly and when they do so, because the coat of the dog is usually short, they fall off the dog and down onto whatever object (or person) happens to be there when the shedding happens.       

With Shih Tzu shedding, the more fine, thinner hairs WILL break off. However, the texture and length of them often causes them to fall back into the coat of the dog…
And for this reason, an owner will rarely see large amounts of hairs around the home.
Shih Tzu with long coat
When this happens, the loose hairs become entangled into the attached hairs of the dog. Without proper grooming, they will entangle enough to cause matting and knots. Also, if enough is allowed to build up, they will block normal air flow to the body and this can cause skin irritation and other problems including a bad odor and even rashes or dry skin.

The way to deal with Shih Tzu shedding is to be aware that there are indeed loose, dead hairs that fall back into the coat (some do fall on the floor, etc. but are too thin to normally be noticed)…And that brushing and combing must be done in order to remove them.
While many types of brushes will do the trick, the main goal will be to reach through the coat, to the skin, in order to pick up the loose hairs and remove them. This can be done with a bristle brush and a comb. One must find just the right pressure to reach down to the skin without causing discomfort to the dog. It sometimes takes a few times of practice, but any owner will soon understand how much pressure to use….And you will know that you are doing it right when you see the results.

It is recommended to use an anti-static misting conditioner before any brushing or combing. The first go-around should be done gently, as this is the time when you may find tangles. You will want to proceed slowly so that the brush does not pick up a tangle and pull on it. Be sure to go over the entire body. Some owners tend to ignore or do not go over all areas of the legs, a common place for tangles.

With a sweeping motion of down and then curling up and out, your goal will be for the brush to grab onto shedded hairs and pull them out of the coat.

Afterward, one should go over the coat with a comb, making sure that is slides easily over each section without getting caught. A light mist of leave-in conditioner can then be done to keep moisture in the coat and avoid over-drying which can affect the skin. 
Shih Tzu Shedding in Regard to Puppies

Can you imagine if a dog had the exact same hairs on his or her body as an adult as then did when a puppy? Of course, this is not the case. The process of Shih Tzu shedding ensures that, gradually, over time, a coat is replenished with new hairs…and it is a slow yet steady process that ensures the dog has a healthy coat that does grow. 
Now, there is a time of in the Shih Tzu’s life that there is a big change. This is the change over from puppy coat to adult coat. The puppy coat tends to have a very light texture…. It is sometimes feathery…and normally is not able to be grown out long (the show dog look).

It is naturally very soft and owners will often find that keeping the hairs on the top of the head in a tie can be frustrating at times, because they so easily slip out! Using a snag-free elastic band works well…And one must only be careful to hold the base of the hairs so that there is no uncomfortable or painful tugging while the band is wrapped tight enough to hold in place.
close up of a Shih Tzu puppy
Now, this time of heavy shedding is often referred to as “blowing the coat”. For most, but not all Shih Tzu, this is a time of rapid shedding….with the puppy coat replaced by the adult coat within a matter of just a couple of months…So that is a lot of shedding!

The age that this happens varies quite a bit. It can start as young as 3 months….Or it can start as late as 9 months old. It can last 1 month… Or 3 months. However, you get the idea. For more Shih Tzu, this major shed does happen…It is normal and expected and an owner should not be concerned.

It is a natural process and the only thing that you can do to help is to brush and comb your puppy more often than normal to help keep the dead hairs out of the coat…. When airs can circulate freely and the dog is not weighed down by shedding hairs, it coat can grow in without obstacles.
adult Shih Tzu nice coat
Seasonal Shedding

While this breed is often referred to as a non-shedder or as a light shedder…and as we discussed above that this dog generally loses hairs slowly as they fall back into the coat….This breed actually does have a twice a year shed. Many owners do not notice due to the reasons listed above. However, for those who live in areas that have 4 seasons and the weather changes drastically over the course of a year, Shih Tzu generally have a shed for about 3 weeks during the spring time – this is when the coat thins out to better equip the dog during warmer/ hot weather.
There can also be a shed again in the fall time when some hairs will fall out to be replaced by thicker one in preparation for colder months...if this is to happen, it will not be as noticeable as the springtime one, as the process invovles the thickening of the coat more than the thinning of it.

Again, this depends on the area that you live in…And in some cases it will depend on how often the dog is outside. With some inside dogs, they are not exposed enough to temperature changes and this shed will not occur. 
Pregnancy Shed

The term “blowing the coat” does not just refer to the puppy to adult change over mentioned above. It also is a term that refers to loss of coat that is due to hormonal changes that take place toward the end of pregnancy and right after the birth of a litter. Hormonal changes will vary from dog to do….However, it is not uncommon for a dam who just whelped a litter to shed quite a bit….Owners should not be concerned (unless there are apparent skin issues)….As the coat will grow back.

All Shih Tzu shed some hairs here and there throughout the year, with the bulk of their shedding occurring twice a year, for three weeks in the spring as their winter coat switches over to a cooler summer coat, and three weeks in the fall as their summer coat switches over to a thicker winter coat.
Note: See Shih Tzu Hair Loss for worrisome hair loss in which hair is falling out at an alarming rate, bald patches, etc. 
External: Akita Inu Shedding |
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