best brush for Shih Tzus

Bred to be a companion dog, the Shih Tzu exemplifies everything you could want in a cuddly lap dog. These small dogs are fun-loving, adaptable, and friendly, making them perfect for any living environment.


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This breed can be somewhat difficult to train, but firm and determined owners who put in the time and work will find themselves with an obedient and adoring friend. Likewise, Shih Tzu coats can pose some unusual difficulties for owners.With several different coat types depending on their stages of life, Shih Tzus require very frequent grooming to keep their coats silky and mat free. What’s more, these dogs have double layer coats, which means they shed heavily twice a year.

In all likelihood, you knew before getting your Shih Tzu that frequent brushing would come with the territory, but you may not be sure how exactly to dive into the process. We’ve created this guide to help lead you through some of the common brush types for Shih Tzus and to tell you about our favorite Shih Tzu brushes.

Read on to get all the information you could need before purchasing a brush for your Shih Tzu!

Different Types of Shih Tzu Brushes

Not sure which brush type is most appropriate for your Shih Tzu? Here are the brush types you’ll see when shopping around, and what purposes they serve.

  • Slicker brush — These brushes feature a flat brush head with many fine, wire bristles. This type is excellent for Shih Tzu coats as the main function of the slicker brush is to work out mats and tangles. This is somewhat of a utility brush, as it can also collect loose fur from the undercoat and clear out dirt and debris.
  • Comb — Much like traditional human combs, most dog combs feature a series of teeth that may be fine or wide. Usually, these combs are made of metal so the teeth are quite sturdy. Combs help Shih Tzu coats stay smooth and uniform, while working out smaller knots and tangles.
  • Shedding brush — Most shedding brushes consist of a single row of fine teeth which collect loose fur from the coat. Many of these brushes feature fur release buttons for easy cleaning. Though the teeth are usually made of metal, some are made of rubber or silicone. Since Shih Tzus have long hair and double coats, shedding brushes are hugely important for keeping your home clean.
  • Pin brush — Quite similar to an ordinary human hair brush, pin brushes for dogs only feature pins that are slightly more spaced out. For the most part, these pins have safety tips to protect sensitive skin. Pin brushes are very useful to Shih Tzus in terms of adding smoothness and uniformity to their coats.
  • Undercoat rake — Another brush that is very useful for shedding prevention, undercoat rakes work by pulling out the loose fur from your Shih Tzu’s undercoat. These brushes usually feature one or two rows of thick, spaced out teeth, making them look like small rakes. The undercoat is the primary culprit for shedding, so eliminating loose fur from this section of your pup’s coat will greatly cut down on shedding.
  • Bristle brush — Though not as commonly used for Shih Tzu coats, bristle brushes can be great tools to add shine to coats as a final step in the grooming process. These brushes consist of a head full of densely packed, pliable bristles that give coats a high level of smoothness and silkiness.

Different Types of Shih Tzu Coats

Though all adult Shih Tzus have the same type of coat, it transforms dramatically early in their lives. Here are the stages of a Shih Tzu coat, and the amount of care you can expect them to need.

  • Puppy coat — The easiest coat type to care for, Shih Tzu puppy coats are short and fluffy, as they are essentially insulation for young dogs. You should still try to make a point to brush your dog once a week while they have this coat type with a comb or pin brush. Not only will this keep their puppy coats clean and smooth, but it will also help warm them up to the idea routine of regular brushing sessions.
  • Growing stage — Arguably the most difficult coat type to manage, you will find that your Shih Tzu’s coat begins transitioning when they are just shy of a year old. During this stage, the coat is very prone to matting, so you will need to get familiar with your slicker brush quickly, and maybe even use it everyday.
  • Adult coat — Once your Shih Tzu transitions to the adult coat, it will be longer and silkier. Though your dog will be less prone to matting at this point, the brushing process will need to be more meticulous so that your dog isn’t subjected to pain as you work out their tangles and restore shine.
It’s important to understand that your Shih Tzu’s coat will require different maintenance depending on what stage of life they’re in.
Consider this fact when shopping for a brush for your Shih Tzu.

Our Top Picks for Shih Tzu Brushes

Since we have had a chance to talk about all the background information on the subject, now we’ll get into our top picks for Shih Tzu brushes in a number of categories!

Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush

Key Benefits:

  • Retractable bristles for easy cleaning
  • Curved bristles tackle tangles and mats
  • Available in a small size
  • Comfortable handle with thumb rest for maximum control

Overall Best Brush for a Shih Tzu — While any slicker brush would be a valuable addition to your cache of grooming tools, this one tops our list. The bristles can be retracted with just the press of a button for easy cleaning, and their curved design ensures that tangles and loose fur will be painlessly tackled.

Pros:

  • Small size is ideal for Shih Tzus
  • Easy-cleaning button adds a great deal of convenience
  • Curved bristles are highly effective and painless

Cons:

  • Bristles may be irritating with too much pressure
  • Button to retract can break

FURminator deShedding Edge Dog Brush

Key Benefits:

  • 3 sizing options
  • Styles available for both short and long hair
  • Skin guards to protect skin
  • One row of fine, stainless steel teeth

Best Shedding Brush for Shih Tzus — Long Shih Tzu coats are quite prone to shedding, so it is important that you have a tool to combat it. This shedding brush is excellent for dogs of all sizes and coat types, but particularly for long haired dogs like Shih Tzus. The fine metal teeth work through your dog’s coat to pull out and collect any loose fur that would otherwise be shed.

Pros:

  • Very well suited for long haired dogs like Shih Tzus
  • Reduces shedding up to 90%
  • Skin guards keep your Shih Tzu safe and comfortable

Cons:

  • More expensive than other brushes
  • Can be difficult to remove fur from teeth

Paws & Pals Dog and Cat Deshedding Tool

Key Benefits:

  • Single row of fine, stainless steel teeth
  • Removes both loose fur and dander
  • Reduces pet odor as well as shedding
  • Helps promote silkiness and shine

Best Deshedding Tool for Shih Tzus — Not only does this tool remove loose fur from the coat, it also helps remedy dander and odor. The teeth should glide through the coat easily, pulling out potential shed along the way. This tool is good for all hair types, and assists with evenly distributing oils to promote shine.

Pros:

  • Helps with shedding, dander, and odor
  • Easily collects loose fur
  • Promotes shine in Shih Tzu coats

Cons:

  • Teeth may dig into skin
  • Blade of teeth tends to fall out

Pat Your Pet Two-Sided Undercoat Rake

Key Benefits:

  • Offers two sides of teeth varying in width
  • Rounded teeth prevent scratching of the skin
  • One side works out tangles while the other grabs loose fur
  • Will leave your Shih Tzu coat smooth and shiny

Best Undercoat Rake for Shih Tzus — This is a great tool for preventing shedding disasters when your Shih Tzu blows their coat twice a year. The rounded teeth of this rake gently reach the undercoat and retrieve dead fur. This rake is also great for reducing tangles, and adding smoothness to the fur.

Pros:

  • Two sets of teeth make this a versatile product
  • Rounded design protects skin
  • 94% rate of recommendation based on reviews

Cons:

  • Tends to yank out fur
  • Will not stand up to larger mats

Hartz Groomer’s Best Slicker Brush

Key Benefits:

  • Made specifically for small breeds
  • Safety tipped bristles prevent scratching
  • Extra fine, small wire bristles trap loose fur
  • Gently removes mats and tangles

Best Slicker Brush for Shih Tzus — This small slicker brush is ideal for toy breeds like Shih Tzus. The extra fine bristles feature a protective plastic coating on the tips to ensure your pup’s safety while also detangling and thinning their coat. At less than $5, this brush is a true bargain.

Pros:

  • Ideal for small dogs like Shih Tzus
  • Cost effective
  • Safety tipped bristles add comfort

Cons:

  • May catch the fur as your brush
  • Doesn’t reach the undercoat

JW Pet Rotating Comfort Comb

Key Benefits:

  • Stainless steel teeth rotate 360 degrees
  • Detangles without pulling
  • Gripsoft handle provides comfort and control
  • Creates a soft, smooth coat

Best Comb for Shih Tzus — A comb is a major player in the Shih Tzu grooming world. This one is especially useful, as it features rotating teeth that prevent uncomfortable pulling as you detangle your Shih Tzus coat. The stainless steel teeth are certain to hold up to even aggressive knots and add smoothness to your pup’s appearance.

Pros:

  • Durable rotating teeth
  • High control for meticulous brushing
  • Costs less than $2.50

Cons:

  • Teeth may be too wide for some tangles
  • Won’t do much for working out mats

Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush

Key Benefits:

  • Dual-sided brush head
  • Features both pins and bristles
  • Lightly detangles and promotes shine
  • Padded handle keeps you comfortable as you brush

Best Pin Brush for Shih Tzus — This dual sided brush head features safety-tipped pins on one side and nylon bristles on the other, meaning it does double duty for your Shih Tzu. Start with the pin side to detangle small knots and add uniformity, then switch the bristles to promote silkiness and shine.

Pros:

  • Double sides add value
  • Both pins and bristles are very helpful for Shih Tzu coats
  • Safety tipped pins protect pups’ skin

Cons:

  • Safety tips may pop off
  • Rubber backing tends to detach

3 More Top Rated Shih Tzu Brushes

Andis Premium Large Firm Pet Slicker Brush

Key Benefits:

  • Broad brush head filled with fine wire bristles
  • Gently removes mats and tangles
  • Helps collect loose fur from your Shih Tzu’s coat
  • Solid construction with sturdy handle

This slicker brush features a large head with a tight crop of fine wire bristles. The bristles gently but effectively work out tangles that are everywhere from minor to severe while also removing dirt, debris, and loose fur that may be sullying the appearance of your Shih Tzu’s coat. A cursory glance at this brush tells you it’s sturdier than many others like it.

Pros:

  • Helps maintain smooth Shih Tzu coat texture
  • Prevents and eliminates more serious mats
  • Costs less than $8.50

Cons:

  • May be too large for Shih Tzu’s
  • Too much pressure can cause the bristles to dig into skin

JW Pet Gripsoft Bristle Brush

Key Benefits:

  • Thick set of soft bristles
  • Curved handle prevents wrist discomfort
  • Perfect for adding shine at the end of a brushing routine
  • Will collect any leftover loose fur

A bristle brush is a natural friend of the Shih Tzu coat, as it greatly increases smoothness and shine. This one features an oddly-shaped handle aimed at making the brushing experience less clunky for you. The bristles will leave your pup’s coat smooth and shiny if used at the end of your brushing routine.

Pros:

  • Ideal for smoothing and shining Shih Tzu coats
  • Promotes distribution of natural oils
  • Curved handle keeps you comfortable

Cons:

  • Won’t reach the undercoat for shedding prevention
  • Not a good tool for detangling

Andis Premium Large Pin Pet Brush

Key Benefits:

  • Spaced out safety tipped steel pins
  • Solid construction
  • Works out smaller tangles
  • Removes dirt and collects loose fur

With Shih Tzu hair so closely resembling that of humans, it’s no wonder that a pin brush is a favorite among owners of this breed. This pin brush will allow you to gently brush out your Shih Tzu’s coat in sections, just like you might with your own head. The safety tips ensure comfort while the pins help collect loose hair.

Pros:

  • Reduces tangling in long Shih Tzu coats
  • Can help promote natural oils
  • Leaves coat looking smooth, silky, and uniform

Cons:

  • May be too large for most Shih Tzus
  • Safety tips can come off

6 Tips for Brushing your Shih Tzu

If you feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect of brushing your Shih Tzu, here are 6 simple tips to make the process easier.

  • Make it a bonding experience — There are few things in this world that your Shih Tzu loves more than quality time with you. After all, the expressed purpose of the breed was to be a companion. This means that you can help your pup enjoy the brushing process by making it feel like a special experience the two of you share. Speak kindly and touch your dog gently as you brush them to let them know that you are enjoying your time together.
  • Don’t rush the brush — Shih Tzu coats are naturally quite long and prone to tangling. If you try to brush your dog in a hurry, you’ll wind up causing them pain, and likely won’t have great luck removing their tangles. Instruct your Shih Tzu to lay on its side, and gently brush its coat out in sections. Though this can be a time consuming practice, it ensures the best results from your brushing efforts.
  • Develop a system — Every dog is different, therefore every brush routine must be too. Sometimes what’s best for your dog is the exact opposite of what conventional wisdom dictates, so don’t worry about standing on ceremony. Instead, make it an experiment: try out different brushes at different times of the routine until you find a system that works for you and your Shih Tzu.
  • Use more than one brush — Due to the fact that their coats are long and double layered, one brush simply won’t do the trick for Shih Tzu grooming as a general rule. Consider the main issues that your Shih Tzu faces in terms of grooming, then brainstorm about the 2-3 types of brushes that can best mitigate those issues. From there, it will be easier to begin experimenting with your grooming system.
  • Tweak your routine — At different times in their life, a different grooming routine will be necessary for your Shih Tzu. It can be easy to fall into a rhythm from which you’re reluctant to change, but don’t let the comfort of a routine keep you from doing what’s best for your dog. Periodically ask yourself if you’re giving your Shih Tzu the best possible brushing experience. If the answer isn’t a definite yes, consider altering your routine.
  • Reward your Shih Tzu after brushing — It’s not exactly fun for your dog to receive a brushing (most of the time), so good behavior should be rewarded. Give your Shih Tzu a special treat or take them to do one of their favorite activities after they sit still for a brushing. This will help signal to your Shih Tzu that brushing is, in fact, a positive experience.

FAQs Regarding Brushes for Shih Tzus

Still feeling a little uncertain on some of the points related to brushing your Shih Tzu? That’s okay. Here are answers to some common FAQs on the subject.

  • What is the best brush for a Shih Tzu? Depending on how old they are, there are several brushes every Shih Tzu owner should own. A slicker brush is excellent for removing larger mats, a comb is great for working out smaller tangles and adding smoothness, and a bristle brush promotes shine. Every dog is different, so it’s a good idea to experiment with different brush types.
  • At what age do Shih Tzus develop their full coats? Shih Tzus will begin transitioning to their full coats at around 1 year old. During the transitional period, you may find that your Shih Tzus coat is more prone to matting and requires more frequent brushing. Don’t worry, though, this is only temporary. Once your dog has fully transitioned to their adult coat, the matting won’t be as much of an issue (though there will be new difficulties with which to contend).
  • How often should I brush my Shih Tzu? At least once a week. Most of the time, adult Shih Tzus will need brushed 2-3 times a week in order to maintain a smooth, silky coat. If your Shih Tzu is transitioning from their puppy coat to their adult coat, you may find that you need to brush them every day in order to avoid matting.

Conclusion

These little lap dogs want little else in life but to receive love from you, and show you love in return. You will probably never fully grasp the degree to which your Shih Tzu loves you, but you can try to return their affection in some small measure.

A high quality brush is a small investment you can make to improve your dog’s overall quality of life. Shop this guide and find the right brush for you and your Shih Tzu!

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