Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Shih Tzus Shed a Lot? Everything You Want to Know

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shih tzu face

Shih Tzus are cute little dogs that originated from Tibet before being exported as gifts to China royalty. Their name means “little lion,” and the sentiment is understandable given their small stature yet large and courageous personalities. This is a breed that’s delightful to spend time with due to their intelligence, patience, and affinity for children.

But do Shih Tzus shed a lot? It’s a good question because the less a dog sheds, the easier household maintenance is overall. The good news is that with a Shih Tzu, you don’t have to worry about excessive shedding that will overtake your furniture and carpets unless you thoroughly clean daily. Here’s what you should know.

Divider 8

Shih Tzus Do Shed But Not That Much

Shih Tzus grow hair rather than fur,1 so it never stops growing. Instead of shedding pieces of fur throughout the year, they simply lose hair infrequently so new pieces can grow back in. So yes, Shih Tzus do shed but infrequently and not that noticeably. In fact, the Shih Tzu’s coat of hair is thin, fragile, and vulnerable to breakage and damage, just like human hair.

Basically, you can expect the amount of shedding that you would expect from a human. These dogs don’t drop tufts of fur and won’t leave behind a pile of fluff after a session of licking and scratching on the couch.

Cute Shih Tzu the dog looks at the owner with sleepiness.
Image Credit: Phonpipat Jampatip, Shutterstock

Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic?

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic,2 the Shih Tzu is considered to be so because they grow hair instead of fur. This means they don’t harbor as much dander in their coats and don’t constantly shed, which disperses dander into the air. Shih Tzus lose their hair regularly, but not nearly at the same rate that a dog with fur does. Therefore, they don’t tend to ignite allergic symptoms in humans like dog breeds with fur do.

The Importance of Grooming Your Shih Tzu

Since Shih Tzus grow hair instead of fur, their coats can get long and overwhelming. You will need to keep their hair trimmed at least to a point that they won’t trip over it or find it to be an obstacle while eating. Unkempt hair can also keep a Shih Tzu from being able to see properly. If owners are not comfortable with trimming their Shih Tzu’s hair themselves, it’s a good idea to schedule quarterly appointments with an experienced doggy hair stylist or groomer.

pet groomer combing hair of shih tzu with hairbrush
Image Credit: Vlad Antonov, Shutterstock

Aside from trimmings and/or haircuts, you should brush or comb a Shih Tzu at least three times a week to make sure their coats stay free of dust, dander, and debris. Grooming outdoors helps make cleanup quick and easy overall. Regular brushing will also help keep their coat soft and supple. Since they don’t need much exercise, which will naturally keep their nails at manageable lengths, trimming their nails with an appropriate tool once a month may be necessary.

Regular grooming helps keep shedding to a minimum, and since Shih Tzus does not shed much in general, the grooming can help ensure that you, your family members, and your visitors notice hardly any dog hair in your household.

Divider 8

Final Remarks

Shih Tzus are adorable little dogs that don’t shed much, which makes them great pets for households that deal with allergy problems. However, this breed doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of allergen development, just like any other dog breed. It’s a good idea to spend time with a Shih Tzu to ensure that allergies won’t be a problem before deciding to purchase or adopt one.

Featured Image Credit: Angel Sallade, Shutterstock

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database