Dogs lose damaged or old hair by shedding in a natural way. This is an entirely normal process. Although the amount of shedding depends on the dog breed and its health.
Many dogs develop a thick coat in winter to get protection from cold weather and later shed it in spring. Dogs who are kept inside of the house or an apartment mostly and do not go out will shed relatively even all over the year.
The question is do Shih Tzus shed? If so, how much do they really shed?
Shih Tzus do shed but they shed very minimally. Although Shih Tzus are believed to be non-shedding dogs, in reality, the shedding does occur with Shih Tzu even if you don’t notice it. They will surely shed some hair on a daily basis, and you might see the increased shedding in the fall and spring season.
Shedding of a dog’s hair can be frustrating for everyone. Regardless of the love for your dog, hairs everywhere can drive anyone nuts, especially if you are a cleaning freak. All dogs do shed except entirely hairless dogs. Some dog breeds shed very little and are called sometimes called hypoallergenic dogs.
A lot of people believe that Shih Tzu does not shed. Because of this reason, this breed is often put into the category of Hypoallergenic dog breed and are great pets for people who have allergic to hairs or fur.
But is this really true that Shih Tzu does not shed? The answer is Yes, Shih Tzus do shed but they are considered as light shedding dogs. So they are more allergy-friendly to humans than other heavy shedders such as Siberian Husky.
Shih Tzu Coat Type
Most of the dogs have fur, while Shih Tzu has hairs. However, they are fundamentally the same things. The only difference between them is hair is longer, and their texture is finer than the fur.
In reality, Shih Tzu’s hair does fall just like humans. Shih Tzu tends to fall usually when they have reached the end of their growth cycle.
For Shih Tzu and other dog breeds that have hairs, their coat is in a continuous state of renewal, and parts of the coat are always in one of three stages.
The three stages of the hair growth cycle are as follows:
- Anagen Phase: This is a growing stage. At any given time, about 85% of the coat is growing. If the dog and his hairs are healthy, then the hairs will not break off and can grow till the length of the floor.
- Telogen Phase: This is known as the resting stage. Hairs that are grown already remain at the same length. Follicles keep the hairs secured in their place.
- Catagen Phase: This is the hair falling stage. Be assured that this will happen to the Shih Tzu dog breed.
These three cycles are the main reason that keeps your dog’s hair renewed and healthy. Imagine if your Shih Tzu has the same hair as eight years old that he did as two years old? Surely you would not want to see that.
How Much Do Shih Tzus Usually Shed?
Animals with hair shed regularly. This is a natural process that each and every animal goes through, including dogs. Even we, as a human, shed our hair every single day.
Dogs with continuous hair growing like Yorkshire Terriers and Poodles have a longer life span of hair shafts and shed very little. While dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Huskies have a shorter life span of hair shafts, hence they shed more than usual.
Shih Tzu is not considered as heavy shedder. They go through a process, and once in a while, they get replaced by new hairs. Shedding is not a big problem for the owner of Shih Tzu, but there are some other factors that are essential to know.
One thing is for sure that this breed has the cutest face out there, and their body is covered by hairs, not fur, just like humans. Their hair usually grows up to a length of 2 inches and then breaks off.
Shih Tzu is categorized in the low shedding category because their hair shedding process is quite slow. Depending on the coat’s health, only about 10% to 15% remain in the Catagen Phase (hair falling stage) at any given time. This is conditional, with no other issues involved.
Shih Tzu shedding is minimum, and it will not be overwhelming for the owner of this dog breed. With this being said, there are other steps that you should take to remove any loose hairs. You can never leave the shedding process to work on its own. Your little steps will make a big difference.
Sometimes Shih Tzu has medium to long coats, and the majority of the fallen hairs will stick or fall back in the coat. For this reason, you may not be able to see the loose hairs. Just because they are hiding, it does not mean that there are no loose hairs.
Shih Tzu with smaller coats has the same amount of minimum shedding, although more hairs will fall straight down without being stuck in the outer coat.
As they are relatively short hairs, you might notice them at the start, but in the end, the hairs are going to accumulate around the house if they are not cleaned regularly.
Regardless of the coat type of your Shih Tzu, it is extremely important to remove any dead or loose hairs that are stuck inside the coat. These loose hairs will block the airflow to the skin and might be covered in body oil, which can cause them to smell bad.
For moderate to long coats, tangle and knots can occur easily as dead hairs can tie with live ones.
Shedding Seasons of Shih Tzus
Whether it’s fur or hair, these arrangements shed once in a while to make way for the new ones. Shih Tzu shedding occurs twice in a year generally in spring or fall.
If you own Shih Tzu, then it is a big possibility that you might even not notice the shedding in a season since the longer hairs are not the which breaks off in shedding season. Shorter and thinners are the hairs that shed in the shedding season.
Normally all dogs will shed more than average in fall and spring. Most of the dog breeds have a double coat. One is an undercoat, and the other one is the topcoat.
The topcoat is what you feel on touch on the outside and can see by your eyes. The undercoat consists of short and soft hairs that grow around the primary coat.
Seasonal shedding happens because of the change in temperature. The process is also known is Blowing Coats. When the temperature drops, dogs shed their light undercoat and grow thicker coats to prevent the cold climate.
Then, when the weather begins to turn warmer, they shed their thicker coat and develop a light coat that is more suitable for summers.
Not all dog’s coat goes through the same process when there is a change in temperature. Like Shih Tzu have less undercoat, so they shed less when the season changes.
Dogs like Newfoundland have a heavy and thicker coat, and their shedding is much more obvious than Shih Tzu. Brushing is essential for both types of coats.
Shih Tzu’s owners do not often notice seasonal shedding. This is because if you allow the Shih Tzu to grow his hairs, the hairs from undercoat break off and get caught in the topcoat, which has long hairs.
Because of this barrier in place, you will not find Shih Tzu’s hair immediately on the floor, couch, or your clothes.
Shedding becomes noticeable when your Shih Tzu gets a hair cut. Since their topcoat hairs are shorter because of the hair cut, they can not trap the hairs that are falling because of seasonal shedding.
Hence, it is easier to notice the falling hairs. This confirms that Shih Tzu does shed, but it is way less than the other dog breeds. Shih Tzu’s hairs are finer and hard to spot.
Other Reasons For Shedding
Seasonal shedding is not the only reason if your dog’s hairs are falling. Dog’s health can play a significant role in shedding as well. It is always necessary to take note of unexplained shedding.
Skin problems, fewer vitamins in the diet, and endocrine disease could be the reason why a dog is shedding more than usual. It can also affect the growth of your dog’s hair.
Keeping track of your dog’s diet can help you to keep him fit and healthy. If you notice any abnormal shedding, then take your dog to the vet. A proper check-up might find out a few things which you are unable to see.
How to Minimize the Shedding of Shih Tzus?
Obviously, you should not just rely on the shedding process to work naturally. If you leave the coat as it is, then the hairs are likely to get tangled and knotted over the period of time.
You will find it difficult to untangle them, and it can lead to only one option, shaving your beautiful Shih Tzu. You surely would not want to see a shaved Shih Tzu.
There are some steps that you can take to help out your dog in the shedding process. These steps will not only help your dog but will be beneficial for you in the short and long term. Two of the main steps are brushing and bathing your Shih Tzu regularly.
Brushing will keep your dog’s hair free-flowing, and this goes with all coat types. It keeps your dog’s skin clean and free from dead hair. For this and many other reasons, you should brush your dog’s coat regularly.
If your Shih Tzu has a short coat, then it is vital to brush his hair every three days. For medium length, brushing should be done every two days, and if your Shih Tzu has a long coat, then you should brush his hair on a daily basis to remove any dead or loose hairs.
Before you start brushing your Shih Tzu coat, if the coat is long enough that mats are possible, then you will need to check first for any tangles or knots. The wide side of the two-level steel comb should be used for this purpose.
When you are done using a comb or if the coat does not require it, then you can start the process of brushing. Make sure to use a quality brush that works well and does not damage the coat or skin in any way possible.
Always try to go over the entire body when brushing. If your Shih Tzu has a short or shaved coat, then a bristle brush will be good enough for your dog.
The Catagen Phase (Shedding/Hair Falling) does not happen in a day or two. It can happen over the time of one to two weeks. Follicles will shrink slowly.
Eventually, the nourishment will be blocked, and the hair shaft will be freed, causing it to drop. A certain number of hairs will be loose but not ready to fall.
When you bath your Shih Tzu, it can release those hairs, making them falling at once instead of falling later on in different stages.
Shedding in Shih Tzu Puppies
Shih Tzu puppies are born with just the inner layer of coat. As time passes, primary long hairs will grow in, in the already present hair follicles. This is the reason why Shih Tzu puppies have shorter, finer and thinner coats than adult Shih Tzu.
When you talk about shedding in the Shih Tzu puppies, you are referring to the transition of puppy to adult. While some hairs will fall, this is the time of increased shedding in Shih Tzu.
This shedding starts when Shih Tzu is almost four months old, and by the time he reaches nine to twelve months, Shih Tzu will have an adult coat. Keep in mind that then the normal and seasonal shedding process will continue as described earlier.
During this period, it is quite normal that your Shih Tzu will change the color of its coat. Newer hairs can be darker or lighter in color and marking on your dog can be increased or decreased. Shih Tzu keeps the same color usually and change in color is quite rare and can be an exception.
It is quite common for a Shih Tzu to shed heavily right after giving birth to a litter. This shedding occurs because of the change in hormones during pregnancy.
The extent of this shedding can vary from dog to dog. Unless there are other issues involved, the coat of your Shih Tzu will grow back with time.
How to Deal With Shedding in The House?
Simply vacuuming inside the house every now and then should be enough to deal with the hairs inside of your home. However, there are some tips to deal with the hairs when they have reached hard to access areas.
Cleaning hairs from the couch could be tricky as they stuck in there. A simple lint roller might do the trick. Try to use a lint roller as it can easily pull the hairs from the couch.
If you have an area inside of the house that is hard to reach with the broom or vacuum, then just a paper towel is what you need. Wet the paper towel and wipe the area, all the hairs will be easily stuck to the paper towel to be discarded.
This trick can be used on the side of the hallways and in the corners of the house as well.
Shih Tzu Hair Loss Problems
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, can be a troubling condition for your Shih Tzu. Shih Tzu has hair as opposed to fur. This does reduce the shedding in this dog breed but increase the chances of hair issues.
Signs of Hair Loss
Time can vary for every dog for shedding and growing back the hair. In some cases, coat loss can occur rapidly, and in some cases, the growth of hair can be rapid.
Signs of losing hair can be that the coat of Shih Tzu is thin all over, or you may see the patches of thin hair. Most of the time, hair loss occurs all over the body of Shih Tzu except face and head.
Causes of Hair Loss
If you notice the hair loss in your Shih Tzu, then it can be because of many reasons. In many cases, it is usually a health condition or health issue. The following are the most common reasons for hair loss in Shih Tzu.
- Hyperpigmentation (Acanthosis Nigricans)
- Allergic Dermatitis
- Alopecia X
- Cushing’s Disease
If you notice hair loss in your Shih Tzu, then it is extremely important to take him to the vet. It is much better to get an expert opinion and to check your dog correctly for any health issue.
Try not to diagnose the disease by looking at the online articles. Your Shih Tzu health should be your top priority, and he might be in need of medical attention.
There are some home remedies available like Melatonin, Omega 3 salmon oil, and products to restore the coat. It is best not to use any home remedy before finding out the root of the problem.
Shih Tzus are low shedding dogs and they shed a negligible amount of hair throughout the year. Along with their lovely and affectionate temperament, this makes them be the best choice for families that are allergic to dogs.
If you or your family members are allergic to pets, then this small and cute dog breed is your right choice. They are affectionate and loyal which makes them easy to handle. Their small size also going to make your daily grooming task easier.
Regular grooming is essential to keep their shedding low, especially during spring and autumn. This can save you a lot of hassle cleaning your house later on.