Are Shih Tzus Double Coated? Helps & Guide

Are Shih Tzus double coated

Are Shih Tzus Double Coated? Helps & Guide

Shih Tzus, with their endearing charm and fluffy appearance, have captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. Among the many questions surrounding this beloved breed, one often arises: Are Shih Tzus double-coated? Understanding their coat structure is crucial for their care and maintenance. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to demystify the coat of Shih Tzus, exploring whether they possess the double coat characteristic common in many other breeds.

By delving into their history, physical traits, and shedding patterns, we aim to provide clarity for current and prospective Shih Tzu owners.

Understanding Shih Tzus

  • Temperament: Discover their playful nature, loyalty, and sometimes stubborn streak! Learn how their gentle disposition makes them ideal companions for families and individuals alike.
  • Needs and Care: Unpack the secrets to keeping your Shih Tzu happy and healthy. We’ll cover essential aspects like grooming, exercise, training, and potential health concerns.
  • History and Origins: Travel back in time to explore the ancient roots of this breed. Learn about the imperial palaces they once called home and how they became cherished companions.
  • Living with a Shih Tzu: Beyond the cuteness, we’ll discuss the realities of owning a Shih Tzu. Understand their barking tendencies, separation anxiety, and how to integrate them seamlessly into your daily life.
  • Fun Facts and Quirks: Prepare to be surprised! Uncover unique traits and interesting tidbits that make Shih Tzus truly exceptional companions.
Are Shih Tzus double coated

What are Double Coats?

Double coats are a distinctive feature found in many dog breeds, including those designed for diverse purposes such as herding, protection, or harsh weather conditions. This term refers to the presence of two layers of fur: a dense, soft undercoat and a protective outer layer of longer guard hairs. Each layer serves a specific purpose, contributing to the dog’s overall health, insulation, and protection.

Key Characteristics of Double Coats:

  1. Undercoat: The soft and fluffy underlayer close to the skin provides insulation, retaining body heat in colder temperatures.
  2. Guard Hairs: Longer and coarser outer hairs act as a shield against environmental elements, including water, UV rays, and debris.
  3. Functional Purpose: Double coats are adaptive, offering thermal regulation in both hot and cold climates. They play a vital role in keeping dogs comfortable and protected.

Examples of Breeds with Double Coats:

  1. Siberian Husky: Well-known for their thick double coat, Huskies are adapted to the cold climates of Siberia.
  2. German Shepherd: These versatile dogs have a dense double coat that provides insulation and protection, making them suitable for various roles, including police and search-and-rescue work.
  3. Golden Retriever: Although not as dense as some breeds, Golden Retrievers possess a water-resistant outer coat and a soft undercoat, ideal for their retrieving activities.

Do Shih Tzus Have Double Coats?

Shih Tzus are renowned for their luxurious and voluminous coats, but do they possess the double coat characteristic commonly found in many other breeds? The answer is both yes and no, as Shih Tzus have a unique coat structure that differs from traditional double coats.

Understanding Shih Tzu Coats:

Shih Tzus have a single-layered coat comprised of long, silky hairs that lack the distinct undercoat seen in double-coated breeds. While they may not exhibit the typical double coat with a dense underlayer and longer guard hairs, their coat does have some similarities to a double coat in terms of texture and thickness.

Characteristics of Shih Tzu Coats:

  1. Silky Texture: Shih Tzu coats are known for their silky and flowing texture, which adds to their regal appearance.
  2. Length and Density: Despite lacking a traditional undercoat, Shih Tzus have a dense and abundant outer layer of hair that requires regular grooming to prevent mats and tangles.
  3. Shedding Patterns: While Shih Tzus are often touted as low-shedding breeds, they do shed hair, albeit minimally. Their shedding tends to be less pronounced compared to double-coated breeds, but regular grooming is still necessary to manage loose hair and maintain coat health.

Benefits of a Double Coat:

  • Reduced Shedding: Double coats trap shed hair, making Shih Tzus relatively low shedders compared to some single-coated breeds.
  • Temperature Regulation: The undercoat insulates in cold weather while the topcoat helps to keep the dog cool in hot weather.
  • Water Resistance: The topcoat repels water, protecting the undercoat and skin from getting wet.
  • Hypoallergenic Qualities: Double coats tend to trap allergens, making Shih Tzus a good choice for some allergy sufferers (although individual sensitivities may vary).

Shedding and Maintenance

Shedding Patterns:

  1. Minimal Shedding: Shih Tzus are often considered low-shedding breeds, making them suitable for individuals with allergies or those who prefer a cleaner living environment.
  2. Seasonal Changes: While Shih Tzus do shed, their shedding tends to be minimal and often occurs gradually throughout the year. Some may experience slightly increased shedding during seasonal changes, but it is typically not as pronounced as in double-coated breeds.

Maintenance Tips:

  1. Regular Brushing: Brushing is crucial for preventing mats and tangles in a Shih Tzu’s coat. Aim to brush your Shih Tzu’s coat at least a few times a week, if not daily, using a soft-bristled brush or a slicker brush designed for long-haired breeds.
  2. Bathing: Bathe your Shih Tzu regularly, typically every three to four weeks, using a mild dog shampoo formulated for their sensitive skin. Be sure to thoroughly rinse out all shampoo residue to prevent skin irritation.
  3. Trimming: Regular trimming of the coat, particularly around the eyes, ears, and sanitary areas, is essential for maintaining hygiene and preventing discomfort. Many Shih Tzu owners opt for professional grooming services or learn to trim their dog’s coat at home.
  4. Ear Care: Shih Tzus are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears and dense coat around the ear canal. Clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner to remove wax and debris, reducing the risk of infection.
  5. Nutrition: A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is vital for promoting healthy skin and coat in Shih Tzus.

Factors Influencing Coat Characteristics


  1. Breed Standards: The coat of a Shih Tzu is influenced by breed standards established by kennel clubs, which dictate desirable traits such as length, texture, and color. Responsible breeding practices aim to produce Shih Tzus with coats that adhere to these standards.
  2. Hereditary Traits: Coat characteristics, including texture, color, and thickness, are inherited from a Shih Tzu’s parents. Breeders selectively breed dogs with desirable coat traits to maintain or improve the quality of the coat in subsequent generations.


  1. Climate: The climate in which a Shih Tzu lives can impact the condition of its coat. Shih Tzus may experience changes in coat texture and thickness in response to seasonal variations in temperature and humidity. For example, their coat may become thicker in colder climates to provide additional insulation.
  2. Exposure to Elements: Exposure to sun, wind, and harsh weather conditions can affect the health and appearance of a Shih Tzu’s coat. UV radiation from the sun may cause fading or discoloration of the coat, while exposure to saltwater or chlorine can lead to dryness and damage.


  1. Dietary Factors: A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining a healthy coat in Shih Tzus. Foods rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals promote skin and coat health, resulting in a shiny and lustrous coat. Conversely, deficiencies in key nutrients can lead to dullness, dryness, or excessive shedding.
  2. Hydration: Adequate hydration is crucial for skin and coat health in Shih Tzus. Ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration, which can manifest as dry, flaky skin and a dull coat.

Grooming Practices:

  1. Regular Brushing: Brushing helps remove loose hair, debris, and tangles from a Shih Tzu’s coat, preventing mats and promoting healthy circulation to the skin. Regular grooming sessions also distribute natural oils throughout the coat, enhancing its shine and softness.
  2. Proper Bathing: Bathing with a mild dog shampoo removes dirt, excess oil, and odor from the coat, keeping it clean and fresh. But excessive sunbathing can deplete the coat of its natural oils, causing it to become dry and irritated.

Addressing Common Myths

Shih Tzus’ Low Shedding Makes Them Hypoallergenic

Reality: While Shih Tzus are considered low-shedding breeds, no dog is truly hypoallergenic. Instead of the quantity of shedding, proteins in a dog’s dander, saliva, and urine cause allergies. While Shih Tzus may produce fewer allergens than some other breeds, they can still cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Shih Tzus Do Not Need Regular Grooming Because They Do Not Shed Much

Reality: Despite their minimal shedding, Shih Tzus require regular grooming to maintain the health and appearance of their coats. Without proper grooming, their long hair can become matted, tangled, and prone to skin infections. Regular brushing, bathing, and trimming are essential for keeping a Shih Tzu’s coat clean, healthy, and free from mats.

In hot weather, Shih Tzus should be trimmed to stay cool.

Reality: Even in hot weather, it is not advisable to shave a Shih Tzu’s coat all the way down to the skin. Their coat serves as insulation, protecting them from both heat and cold. Shaving can disrupt the natural cooling and heating mechanisms of their coat, making them more susceptible to sunburn, heatstroke, and skin problems.

Shih Tzus Cannot Get Wet Because Their Coat Will Mat Easily

Reality: While it’s true that a wet Shih Tzu’s coat is more prone to tangling and matting, this doesn’t mean they should avoid water altogether. Regular bathing and occasional exposure to water are necessary for maintaining their hygiene and overall health.

Shih Tzus Require Daily Haircuts to Keep Their Coats Manageable

Reality: While regular grooming is essential for Shih Tzus, including brushing and occasional trimming, daily haircuts are not necessary for most individuals. The frequency of grooming depends on the length and style of the coat, as well as personal preferences.

Also Read: How Much Should a Shih Tzu Eat? Helps & Guide


Understanding the complexities of Shih Tzu coats is essential for providing optimal care and ensuring the health and happiness of these beloved companions. While Shih Tzus may not have traditional double coats, their unique coat characteristics require specific grooming techniques and attention to detail. By addressing common myths, debunking misconceptions, and exploring factors influencing coat characteristics, Shih Tzu owners can better appreciate and care for their furry friends.

With proper grooming, nutrition, and environmental considerations, Shih Tzus can maintain their luxurious coats, embodying the grace and elegance that make them cherished members of countless households worldwide.

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