The Shih Tzu is also known as the ‘little lion’.
In part this reflects their character (a big pawsonality in a little dog) but it is also a reminder of their magnificent coat.
If you need further proof of this, then consider their other pet name, the “Chrysanthemum” dog, so named because of the way their fur frames that adorable face.
It is beholden on every Shih Tzu owner to do justice to that magnificent mane of fur.
The secret to this is using the right tools for the job!
This means finding the best brush for Shih Tzu which will glide through long fur with ease.
Quick look: Top 5 Best Brushes for Shih Tzu in 2018
To understand what to look for in your dog’s grooming equipment, let’s take a closer look at their coat.
The Shih Tzu’s coat is long and silky; indeed it has a lot in common with human hair.
To keep it at its most beautiful best takes a lot of time and attention.
The wise pet parent brushes their dog every day, since prevention is better than cure when it comes to knots and tangles.
For those that let their dog’s coat grow to its full luxurious length, then 4 – 6 weekly trips to the parlor to keep it in good shape are required.
Alternatively, some owners opt for more functional clips which remove the length but keep fur framing the face in a cute teddy bear way.
Ideally, teach your Shih Tzu to enjoy a daily pampering, from puppyhood.
Doing this is simple and involves teaching the dog to link the brush to treats and rewards.
A great tip is to encourage the youngest to lie on one side, so that you can more easily part the fur and brush down to the skin.
Then flip the dog over and do the same on the other side.
Your Shih Tzu’s fur will change from puppy to adult coat, and go through a ‘difficult’ stage where mats form as soon as look at the dog.
But take heart because this phase doesn’t last, and if you stay on top of things with daily grooming then all will be well.
That said, let’s take a look at the best grooming brush for Shih Tzu to make brushing as easy and pain free (for both of you!) as pawsible.
Your puppy is indescribably cute, small, and wriggly.
He also has downy soft fur and delicate skin.
You need to get him used to being groomed but also need tools that are effective yet gentle.
One solution is from the giant of dog grooming world, FURminator.
This set comprises of two tools: a curved, contoured comb and a slicker with specially angled bristles.
This enables you to comb puppy’s fur without hurting him, and brush effectively without worry of damaging the skin.
We liked this best brush for Shih Tzu puppy because it is similar to an adult slicker, but more gentle to use and less liable to scratch or do damage should the puppy wriggle.
The set is also unusual in that it has an interchangeable handle, so it’s super easy to swap between tools and still have a comfort grip.
Both the comb and the brush have special features that take into account a puppy’s special needs.
For example, the comb head is gently contoured to better match the shape of a pup’s body.
The teeth are also spaced to minimize tugging and are easy to draw through the hair.
The brush has soft nylon pins that are slightly angled, for comfort over the dog’s skin.
This brush is especially suited to the Shih Tzu puppy coat, and is a great introduction to the FURminator range.
We found many pet parents of the same opinion, who were delighted with this set and whose pups looked forward to grooming time.
However, not all pups greeted the brush with 100% enthusiasm, but it should be remembered that some pups just don’t like being brushed, period.
To help make grooming time happy, be sure to introduce things gradually.
Try leaving the brush beside the food bowl, so the pup gets used to seeing it.
Then try distracting the pup with a treat whilst you give one or two strokes of the brush.
Give him lots of praise when he co-operates, so he learns to link brushing to get lots of lovely positive attention.
This way he’ll soon be lapping up those one-to-one grooming sessions.
As your puppy starts to shed his baby coat and grow a longer adult one, then think about upgrading to a more appropriate tool.
We chose this IB-Sound, 2-in-1 paddle brush.
It has bristles on one side, and tipped pins on the other, to give a combination of smoothing and detangling that is second to none.
Start with the pin side, which has stainless steel pins with gently rounded ends.
Working with the lie of the coat, gently brush from the skin to the tip of the hair.
You may find it easier to part the hair into sections as his coat gets longer, for ease of detangling.
The pins will gently draw through the coat, straightening the hairs, and gently lifting out small knots.
When you brushed from head to tail with the pin brush, simply flip the brush over to the bristle side.
Use long sweeps of the brush, again working head to tail, to smooth down the hair cuticles and distribute natural conditioning oils over the length of the coat for beautiful results.
Pet parents and, more importantly, their dogs, love this brush!
Many four-leggers go crazy when they see their hoo-mum reach for it.
The brush also works well on a variety coats from the long hair of the Shih Tzu, to the softer coat of a Golden retriever, along with wiry coats such as wire-haired terriers.
Another nice point is that the stainless steel pins don’t rust, which is great news if you accidentally leave it outdoors.
Why use a slicker brush?
Slicker brushes have fine wire pins and are ideal for long flowing coats, to help remove knots and tangles.
However, it is a good idea to spritz the coat with a mist of detangler or conditioner ahead of brushing.
This helps the brush slide over the surface without damaging the hair.
That said, be careful not to over-wet the coat as this can make the hairs shrink and tighten a knot, rather than loosen it.
For a long flowing coat such as the Shih Tzu, you may wish to use a metal comb or a pin brush first, to identify the knotted areas.
Then move in with your slicker brush, to work away at those matts, tease them apart, and free them.
The features that made this Pet Republique stand out for us are the soft metal pins and the excellent pin retraction mechanism.
The former means less likelihood of accidentally scraping the skin, whilst at the press of a button the spikes retract into the head which makes for super easy cleaning.
OK, so our next best brush for Shih Tzu dogs is so much a brush as a comb, but what are such details between friends?
The important thing is that a good quality dog comb is a vital part of any grooming kit when your fur friend has long flowing hair.
Think about it.
If you have shoulder length hair or longer, then you want to comb out the knots before smoothing it flat with a brush.
To do otherwise risks the brush gliding over the top of knots and hiding them – rather than tackling a tangle at root source.
However, not all combs are created equal and some are better than others.
A poor quality comb can snag or break the hair, rather than separate out the strands.
Firstly, it’s excellent quality, as you would expect from a company like Andis that is so well known for their professional grooming tools.
The comb is made from stainless steel, which means it won’t rust or wear out, and yet it’s also a comfortable light weight to use and won’t fatigue your hand.
The teeth are ideally spaced for a Shih Tzu’s coat, with many pet parents telling us how it doesn’t catch or snag in the coat, such as happens with combs with narrower teeth.
In addition, the ends of the teeth are rounded which means no scratched skin if you go a bit deep.
Grooming should be a pleasure that both you and the dog enjoy which helps you bond together.
What nice way to do this than with a massage brush.
Imagine your pet stretched out on their side, a dreamy heavy-lidded look in their eye, as you massage and groom the dog all in one sweep.
Such is the idea behind our final best brush for a Shih Tzu, the Spectacular flexible slicker massage brush.
This product has all the features we’ve come to expect from a top brush, such as an ergonomic handle that is easy to hold.
It’s also double sided, with a good quality metal pin slicker brush on one side (for removing shed hair and tackling tangles), but the surprise is the other side.
This has lots of latex knobbles, which act like a massage mitt.
When brushed with the massage side the dog experiences a wonderful sense of relaxation, whilst you’re doing their coat good.
A massage improves the circulation to the skin, which improves hair growth.
It also spreads natural conditioning oil produced by the skin, over the length of the hair for a smoother, softer, silkier coat.
On the upside this is easy to use and dogs’ love it.
On the downside some pet parents did find it tricky to remove shed hair from between the teeth of the slicker. (If this is a concern for you then remember item 3, the Pet Republique slicker, has retractable teeth.)
So now we’re all brushed up on how to care for a Shih Tzu’s coat, which brush will you chose.
Remember, as well as top notch grooming tools, you may need a quick spritz of a coat detangler to reduce hair breakage.
Also, commit to daily brushing and combing.
It’s so much easier in the long run, when you don’t have to fight with knots.
Leave the coat to get tangled and your pet pal is far more likely to be unhappy about having those matts removed, and then start to resent being brushed.
Happy grooming everyone, and give your pet pal a pat from us!
Dr Sarah Robinson attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University receiving a D.V.M. in 2008. Sarah’s longtime interest is to help people to better communicate with their pet companions, and in doing so, to help them to strengthen their relationships with their dogs and cats. Sarah has published numerous articles on canine feeding in pet related magazines, veterinary journals and leading natural health web sites.