How to Cut a Shih Tzu's Face


Shih Tzu have a distinctive look, but depending on how you cut a Shih Tzu’s face, the style can vary dramatically.

This regal-looking breed requires quite a bit of maintenance, especially if you opt for the classic, long, flowing show dog look.

However, you can easily dial down the amount of time you need to spend on grooming by selecting one of the more low-maintenance Shih Tzu haircuts, like the puppy cut.

Long white hair and gray streaks Shih Tzu with a top knot, with a comb on its facial hair an a pair of scissors getting ready to cut

How to cut your Shih Tzu’s face will depend on the style of haircut that you choose for your Shih Tzu.  For example, if you opt for the simple puppy cut, then the hair on the face will be kept trimmed short, while more stylized looks like the teddy bear and lion cuts, will require a more involved cut of the hair on the face.

No matter what style you choose, you will want to have the proper tools and take the time to get your pup used to the process.

If you decide to take on your dog’s grooming need yourself, there are several things that you will want to do first.

Get your Shih Tzu used to the whole grooming experience, it will make the more detailed work of cutting the hair on the face a little easier to handle.

Then, of course, you need to decide on what style you want to give your Shih Tzu so you know how to cut her face.

Check out these tips for how to cut your dog’s face, and remember, if you still aren’t confident in your skills, a professional groomer is always an option!

What Do You Need to Cut a Shih Tzu’s Face?

No matter what style you decide on, you want to make sure you have the proper tools for the job.

Before you begin, do a quick assessment of your grooming inventory. If you plan to cut your Shih Tzu’s face, you’ll want the following tools in your arsenal:

1. Fine-toothed comb

A fine-toothed comb is necessary to help brush out tangles and smooth out your pup’s coat before you begin to cut.

2. Blunt-tip scissors

Blunt-tip scissors like these are great for doing work around the eyes and delicate, small areas of the face. Due to their rounded tips, you won’t have to worry as much about poking your pup in the eye.

3.  Curved scissors

Not to be confused with blunt-tip scissors, curved shears have a bend to them that directs them away from your pup’s body when you are trimming and clipping.

They are a great choice for working with top knots, or with styles in which you want to achieve a rounded edge, such as the teddy-bear cut on a Shih Tzu.

4.  Electric Clippers

If you plan to keep any part of your pup’s face short, you will most likely want to get a pair of clippers.

However, dogs can get nervous around clippers due to their loudness, so if you decide to add clippers to your grooming kit try to find a pair that is as quiet as possible.

5.  Hair accessories

If you plan to give your Shih Tzu the iconic top knot, then you will want to have an assortment of small, no-tangle rubber bands, bows, and other barrettes that you may wish to use to adorn your precious pup.

Styles That Determine How to Cut a Shih Tzu’s Face

Puppy Cut

The puppy cut is pretty low maintenance when it comes to Shih Tzu. The entire coat is kept short, including the tail and ears.

Simply keep the hair on your Shih Tzu’s face out of her eyes.

You can also opt for a puppy cut that keeps the ears and tails long if you want a different look or a moderate puppy cut that keeps the overall coat slightly longer.

Teddy Bear Cut

If you opt for this hairstyle for your pooch, you better prepare yourself for some major face grooming.

This style mainly concentrates on the Shih Tzu’s face, giving it a rounded shape resembling that of a teddy bear.

The rest of the coat can be pretty much any style that you want.

Lion Cut

In this cut, the hair on the face is also given major attention. It is styled like a lion’s mane while the rest of the body is kept short except for a tuft on the tip of the tail.

It is important to keep the hair on the face trimmed so that it does not get tangled and does not irritate the eyes.

Top Knot

Top knots are a great way to keep your pup’s hair out of her face.

The length of the top knot will depend on the overall style that you have chosen for your dog.

A practical top knot is usually kept shorter, while the show cut top knot is long and flowing. That means you can bet on needing a lot of detangling sprays and grooming sessions.

We highly recommend you consult with a professional groomer, or your veterinarian for some training before cutting the hair around your dog's face. Cutting near your Shih Tzu's eyes, ears, nose and mouth yourself without proper training may result in injury to your dog.

How Do You Cut a Shih Tzu’s Face?

If you are going to cut your Shih Tzu’s face, the best thing to do is to be prepared.

1.  Gather your supplies ahead of time and make sure both you and your pooch are comfortable.

If necessary, harness or haunch your dog before beginning to make sure she doesn’t suddenly try to jerk or run. This will make sure she stays safe.

2.  Your dog’s face should be washed and dried before clipping.

3.  If you haven’t already done so, take some time during your first few sessions to let your dog get used to all of the different tools that you will use, especially the clippers.

4.  Before you begin, let your pup give the tools a sniff and help her relax with a couple of treats.

5.  If you are using clippers, ensure that the blade is sharp.  Dull blades can pull a hair.  Move the clippers in the direction of the hair.

6.  When using scissors, try to come from behind your dog, this way she doesn’t see pointy blades coming right at her. Use blunt-tip scissors to trim the hair around your pup’s eyes.

7.  Work on one side of the face and then move to the other side.

8.  If you are going for a rounded face, like for a teddy bear cut, use curved shears to carefully shape the hair around your pup’s face.

Shih Tzu face being trimmed with curved, blunt tip shears

9.  When you have finished cutting the hair on your Shih Tzu’s face, give it a gentle wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any loose hairs.

10.  Comb out the hair and check for any last-minute needed snips or uneven edges.

11.  Reward your pup with praise and treats!

Now that you have a better idea of the tools that you need, and what you have to know before you start snipping, hopefully, you feel better prepared to cut your Shih Tzu’s face yourself.

If you still find that you’re a little hesitant, remember, practice makes perfect, or you can always enlist the help of a professional groomer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to clip!

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