Shih Tzu Coat Types Bathing Needs: A Guide to Keeping Your Shih Tzu’s Coat Healthy

Shih Tzus are known for their adorable, fluffy coats that come in a variety of colors and patterns. However, maintaining their coat’s health and beauty requires a good understanding of their grooming needs, particularly when it comes to bathing. In this article, we’ll explore the different Shih Tzu coat types, their bathing requirements, and tips for keeping your furry friend looking and feeling their best.

Shih Tzu Coat Types

Shih Tzus have two main coat types: the double coat and the single coat. Understanding the differences between these coat types is crucial for determining the appropriate bathing routine.

Double Coat

The double coat is the more common and traditional coat type for Shih Tzus. It consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a longer, straighter outer coat. This coat type requires more frequent grooming and bathing to prevent matting and tangling.

Single Coat

The single coat, also known as the “horse coat,” is a shorter, smoother coat without an undercoat. While it requires less grooming than the double coat, it still needs regular bathing to maintain its health and appearance.

Bathing Frequency

The frequency of bathing for Shih Tzus depends on several factors, including their coat type, activity level, and overall cleanliness.

Double Coat

Shih Tzus with a double coat typically require bathing every 4-6 weeks. This helps remove dirt, debris, and excess oils that can lead to matting and skin irritation.

Single Coat

Shih Tzus with a single coat can generally go longer between baths, typically every 6-8 weeks. However, they may need more frequent bathing if they tend to get dirty or have an oily coat.

Activity Level

Active Shih Tzus who spend a lot of time outdoors or engage in activities that get them dirty may require more frequent bathing to maintain their coat’s cleanliness.

Bathing Preparation

Before bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to prepare the necessary supplies and ensure a stress-free experience for your furry friend.

Supplies Needed

Gather the following supplies: a high-quality dog shampoo (preferably one formulated for Shih Tzus or long-haired breeds), a conditioner (optional), a non-slip mat or towel for the bathtub, a cup or pitcher for rinsing, and plenty of clean towels.

Brushing Before Bathing

Thoroughly brush your Shih Tzu’s coat before bathing to remove any loose hair, dirt, or mats. This will make the bathing process easier and more effective.

Bathing Technique

Proper bathing technique is essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat health and preventing skin irritation or discomfort.

Water Temperature

Use lukewarm water for bathing your Shih Tzu. Hot water can dry out their skin and coat, while cold water may cause discomfort and shivering.

Shampooing and Rinsing

Wet your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly, then apply a small amount of shampoo, working it into a lather. Be sure to avoid getting shampoo in their eyes or ears. Rinse thoroughly, ensuring all shampoo residue is removed.

Conditioning (Optional)

If desired, apply a high-quality dog conditioner after shampooing to help detangle and add shine to your Shih Tzu’s coat. Follow the product instructions for proper application and rinsing.

Drying and Grooming

Proper drying and grooming techniques are essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat health and appearance after bathing.

Towel Drying

After bathing, gently pat your Shih Tzu’s coat with a clean, absorbent towel to remove excess water. Avoid rubbing or vigorously drying, as this can cause matting and damage to the coat.

Blow Drying

For best results, use a high-velocity dog dryer or a human hair dryer on a low or cool setting to thoroughly dry your Shih Tzu’s coat. Be sure to keep the dryer moving to prevent overheating or damaging the coat.

Brushing and Detangling

Once your Shih Tzu’s coat is completely dry, brush and detangle it thoroughly using a slicker brush or a wide-toothed comb. This will help prevent mats and tangles from forming and keep the coat looking its best.

Looking to learn more about caring for your Shih Tzu’s coat? Explore our articles on Shih Tzu exercise needs, Shih Poo exercise needs, Shih Tzu coat brushing benefits, Shih Tzu leash training importance, and Shih Tzu coat problems for valuable insights into keeping your furry friend healthy and happy!


Maintaining a healthy and beautiful coat for your Shih Tzu requires understanding their specific grooming needs, including proper bathing techniques. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure your furry friend stays clean, comfortable, and looking their best. Remember, regular grooming and bathing are essential for your Shih Tzu’s overall well-being and happiness.

Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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