Shih Tzu - Coat Care

Published: 29th October 2005
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The shih tzu with a long, flowing coat and an arrogant air is beautiful and captures the heart of many who own and professionally show the breed. Satisfaction, joy and pride can result from conditioning and growing a beautiful coat of hair for the shih tzu. For the showring, this is an absolute must. The complete protrait of a showring shih tzu is one that is draped in a long luxurious coat that has been maintained and groomed properly. This can also be accomplished by sending the shih tzu to a handler getting the shih tzu ready for the showring. If you have the time, patience and ability yourself, whether your shih tzu is a pet or a show dog prospect, you certainly are very fortunate indeed. Most likely you will receive rave reviews everywhere you and your shih tzu go.

A lot of shih tzu owners, however, do opt for the shorter cuts. In my opinion, the shih tzu is just as cute and lovely. Maintaining the longer coats is a "fulltime" job. It takes hours and hours of careful brushing and most often daily brushing. One of the most important aspects of the procedure is your ability to remain faithful to a schedule.

Start with good health from the inside. Be sure you keep your shih tzu free from parasites and you feed a good, quality, nutritious dog food. I highly recommend HealthyPetNet Life's Abundance pet foods, treats and grooming supplies. I am a faithful user of these products myself and I am completely satisfied with the results evident in my shih tzu. I have a few that I "try" to keep in long coat. It is very time consuming, but I must admit when I see these romping around in my yard or moving about, I get an extra kind of thrill inside to behold their beauty. So I must say, a beautiful, long coat on a shih tzu is probably my favorite. I just don't have the "exact ability and time" to maintain all of mine in that long coat and those I do, are still not as perfected as they could be. Personally, I have just not developed the skills to do so. I believe I have the ability. That ability has not been developed. Maybe some day.....

Whatever you feed your shih tzu, dry food is always superior. And I would think that if you are going all out for a long coat for your shih tzu, you probably will need to add some extra supplements. Again, I would recommend HealthyPetNet Life's Abundance Daily Nutritional System, which is the dry food with a daily supplement, and add to that, their skin and coat supplement, plus add their health bar for skin and coat, which is full of antioxidants. The decision belongs to you, your vet and to your handler, if you use a professional handler or groomer.

I have found where I live that most of the groomers do not like to mess with a long coat. And when I do get this done, the expense is far greater than a simple hair cut. I do have one groomer in particular, only one I have found within driving distance who halfway was descent in combing out and grooming my long haired shih tzu. Then, the expense was so great, I could not afford using her that often. I keep most of my short at this time. The cost for me would have been at least $70 per month for one dog and that is going every two weeks. For the shih tzu lover of long, long hair, it is wise to learn how to do it yourself, yet, also you got your time and labor involved in that. Time is something most of us seem to never have enough of.

Good coats are inherited in many lines. I really do have some show dog coats of hair in my bloodlines at Stain Glass Shih Tzu, and one day I hope to be able to at least take a course in grooming. When I do, I most likely will include what I learn through the course in my articles and e-books I will offer to others. Most likely, this is coming soon. It is just not totally "right" it seems to not at least have one very long haired shih tzu in the crowd. For some bloodlines, to grow a long and flowing coat is impossible. You will see beautiful and cute faces, wonderful personalities still, but the coat of some of the shih tzu bloodlines just will not grow. There is no other choice in that matter but to the keep it clipped. One of the goals of my breeding program is to continually search for the bloodlines that most closely meet the AKC standard for a long, flowing coat. I am very partial to the smaller sizes, but even in those, I search for the long flowing coat of hair. My Holly, Simon, Danny Boy and Jane Jane all have this type of coat. Holly probably had the best of all. It was extremely long and thick, but guess what, time was not on my side about keeping it that way, so I had to opt for a shave down to start all over. She is still just as cute and perky, and I think she has been very happy with her new haircut. I was saddened to tears almost, but my own fault. A person has to allocate the time to grow these beautiful long coats or else hire someone else to do it for them. That is just the starting point for the entire process.

There are lots of products to help us deal with the shih tzu that do not have the better coats of hair. And as I mentioned before, HealthyPetNet products is always my first choice. There are, however, dozens of other products you can try that may suit you and your shih tzu even better. If you have the time and money, it can be a very enjoyable hobby. I have too many hobbies concerning the shih tzu right now anyway, but.....I do plan on gaining more skill at coat handling and grooming. I just recently bought my first clipper, a must for the types of work I am in at this time - raising puppies. Many times, shih tzu moms need to be completely shaven down for the sake of cleanliness and this is a routine I follow with mine. In my plans is a special grooming room with all the bells and whistles - a nice tub - tables and all the right equipment. Even for the person who has only one shih tzu, having the exact equipment needed and the lighting and tubs can be a very fun experience and much more rewarding than using the family bathtub and a small space in the corner of one very dimly lit room. I tell you plans include a nice grooming room with all the bells and whistles. I just hope I am not 95 before I can afford that. I plan to live to be 100 years old. And then, I plan an afterlife for myself, not as a shih tzu of course, but just as a soul that lives on....that's a whole other topic however.

Connie Limon publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts on shih tzu puppies are offered to subscribers. Weekly updates of available puppies. Sign up at:

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