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Despite their small size and sweet temperaments, Shih Tzus are sometimes known as little lions, thanks to popular Shih Tzu grooming styles that keep the small dog’s hair trimmed short across the body and leave a full mane around the head and face. If left untrimmed, a Shih Tzu’s hair will grow down to the floor (less like a lion and more like an adorable mop without a handle). Either way, a good Shih Tzu brush is essential.
Part of the reason grooming a Shih Tzu is difficult is because the breed’s hair is unique. For one thing, it’s hair and not fur. And not unlike human hair, Shih Tzu hair is prone to tangles and knots.
Shih Tzus also have a double coat, which means that underneath the silky hair we typically see, also known as the guard coat, is another layer of hair. The shorter undercoat acts as insulation to keep your dog cool in summer and warm in winter.
All of this, of course, means that Shih Tzu grooming requires special handling and the right set of tools. We’ve gathered up a handful of the best brushes for Shih Tzus along with the combs and other tools you need to manage your little lion-dog’s mane.
When they’re puppies, Shih Tzu hair is soft and fluffy. While it doesn’t require a lot of care, you’ll want to start grooming them early, helping them to be come comfortable with the process. Grooming becomes more important later when the longer outer coat grows in.
Using a pin brush or comb is a great way to manage your Shih Tzu puppy’s coat. This pin brush looks similar to what you might use on your own hair, but it’s specially designed for dogs. The small size makes it perfect for even the smallest of puppies, and lots of its fans specifically praise it for use with young Shih Tzus.
When it comes to combs, this one is truly tiny. But its small size makes it one of the best brushes for Shih Tzus, whether they’re still in the puppy stage or beyond. The stainless comb has two sides, offering both wide-tooth and fine-tooth options with a comfortable three-inch handle.
As your Shih Tzu puppy grows up, their hair will start to transition from a soft puppy coat into their adult coat. In that in-between phase, this slicker brush is an essential part of your Shih Tzu grooming toolbox.
Slicker brushes primarily work to smooth out tangles and knots, but they can also help to remove any loose fur from the undercoat. Designed with small dogs (and cats) in mind, this brush’s extra-fine bristles are coated at the tips to ensure a gentle, comfortable experience for your dog.
An undercoat rake is one of the best brushes for Shih Tzus and other double-coated dogs, even if they’re not known to be heavy shedders. Most loose hair comes from the undercoat, and rakes work between the outer “guard coat” to catch any loose hair underneath.
This wood-handled rake is the perfect size for small dogs, and it does more than manage shedding—it’s also an excellent choice for preventing tangles and mats.
Another deshedding option, the FURminator is one of the leading names in dog brushes and grooming tools. Designed by groomers, this tool features a stainless-steel edge with jagged teeth that collect loose hair from the undercoat without damaging the dog’s top coat or their skin.
The curved handle promises human comfort, and it features a “FURejector” button to easily release the collected hair from the mechanism.
The FURminator comes in both a long hair and a short hair version, as well as three sizes.
This double-sided pin and bristle brush says it’s for puppies, but it’s the perfect size for small dogs of all ages. The pin brush helps to brush out any knots, tangles, dander, and dirt, while the bristle back smooths and shines your dog’s hair.
The versatile brush is made of bamboo and other sustainable materials, making it one of the most environmentally friendly brushes for Shih Tzus you can buy.
For active Shih Tzus prone to matting, this dematting tool is not to be missed. Recommended for dogs with medium to long hair, the wide-spaced stainless steel blades have a serrated edge that lets them zip through mats and tangles in the hair.
The blades are sharp, so the tool should be used carefully, and southpaws might have a hard time with it; while there are instructions to flip the blades around, some reviewers noted that wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
All in all, though, more than 80 of the 7,000+ reviews on Amazon mentioned Shih Tzus, and almost all of them were positive, making it one of the most popular and useful tools for the breed.