Shih Tzus are high-maintenance when it comes to their hair! They have human-like hair that needs brushing often. I use a stainless steel comb for daily grooming. I proceed cautiously to avoid pulling on any possible mats. They sell great detangling sprays to make the process go more smoothly.
Don’t forget to brush through the face, ears and tail as well. Also, remember a Shih Tzu has a double coat. It’s important to make sure to brush the undercoat as well. The undercoat is a hot spot for mats. If you’re having trouble brushing through a mat it is simply more humane to carefully cut it out or get into a reputable groomer as soon as possible.
Shih Tzus need grooming every 6 to 8 weeks unless you’re opting for a traditional longer style. In that case, daily thorough brushing becomes even more essential. You can opt for a Teddy Bear cut or a Puppy Cut to scale down on maintenance. Shorter hairstyles are usually easier to maintain. If the coat gets a lot of mats in between grooming appointments you will probably have no choice other than a short haircut.
I strongly advise waiting until after the 3rd round of vaccines is complete at around 16 to 18 weeks before making an appointment with a groomer. On a side note, all the Shih Tzu puppies for sale in my responsible breeding program have had an introduction to grooming. My goal at Arizona Sunrise Shih Tzus is to create compliance in the puppies early on in life during the critical socialization period. Hopefully this early exposure will help the puppies tolerate future grooming appointments.