UPDATED MARCH 26, 2019 | WRITTEN BY MOLLY
Many people consider Shih Tzu dogs to be a non-shedding dog breed, and that they are "hypoallergenic dogs"...but are they really?
And what exactly does being hypoallergenic mean for people who suffer from dog allergies?
Well…although the Shih Tzu are indeed a great pet choice for allergy sufferers, to say they are a non shedding dog breed isn't entirely accurate.
Shih Tzu are among the few breeds whose coat is made up of hair (like people) instead of fur, but they will shed their hair daily, just as people do.
The difference is what happens to the hair they have shed.
The thing about the Shih Tzu breed is they have what is called a double coat.
When the hair is kept long the shedding hairs don't fall to the ground or furniture. Instead these hairs will shed off into the coat itself and is then brushed out during regular grooming.
This means you won't have to pull out the lint roller to clean up a bunch of hairs after these pampered, longed haired pooches have been lounging on the couch all day.
Nor worry about changing your clothes after you've cuddled with them before heading out to work.
And since clumps of loose hair are not visibly seen, this is likely the reason many consider them to be a non-shedding dog breed.
I hope this answers your question on Shih Tzu being a non-shedding breed, but you may have heard they are hypoallergenic as well...
So, you have heard that the Shih Tzu were a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Well again, this isn't quite accurate either.
Although they are good for people who are generally allergic to dogs who shed a lot, like myself.
Since the Shih Tzu dog breed is covered in hair and not fur, what is probably meant by "hypoallergenic" simply means that most people, who are allergic to fur, will not be allergic to the Shih Tzu hair.
Something to consider is that a dogs skin can become dry and flaky.
When a dog shakes its body, these flakes tend to fly into the area around him.
It's these dry skin flakes that could trigger an allergic reaction in some people.
Unfortunately, dry skin can happen with any dog breed.
It's easy to tell when their skin is dry because they will be scratching quite a bit, their hair will be dull, and you'll see the tiny flakes on them, your furniture and your clothes after you've been cuddling with them.
The best way to keep his skin from becoming dry and his coat dull is to feed him the best dog food you can, and brush him more often to stimulate oil glands.
Another beneficial option is to add a little omega oils in his diet.
We've had pretty good luck using supplements, however my dogs prefer the liver flavor compared to salmon.
(I am particularly fond of the omega oil supplement in liver flavor that we use with our Shih Tzu dogs because they don't stink like many omega oil supplements do. If you hate the smell of omega oils, check out these supplements on Amazon)
But, if after trying all of the above and the problem persists you'll want to have your Veterinarian check him out for any underlying issues like food allergies or thyroid disease.
It's worth mentioning that since the Shih Tzu hair does tend to shed off into itself, and especially when the hair is kept long, brushing must be done daily.
Daily brushing will keep his hair from getting tangled.
Tangles leads to knots. Shortly thereafter, these knots become a tangled, matted mess, which is not easy to remove.
(Read the NY Post story about the 9 pounds of matted hair removed from a Shih Tzu here)
Matted hair pulls on the Shih Tzu's skin and causes pain and discomfort to them.
Even the easy going Shih Tzu can become aggressive and nip at you, due to the mats causing them even more pain when someone touches them.
Also matted hair becomes a haven for an insect invasion and skin infections do arise.
You could try to get the mats out with a good slicker brush (like this self cleaning brush from Amazon).
But usually mats are so bad that brushing doesn't seem to help or could actually make it worse. The only thing you can do is have all their hair shaved off and start over.
So that's the truth about non-shedding and hypoallergenic dogs.
Keep in mind...no dog will be completely allergy free to all people, but as far as a hypoallergenic dog, or non shedding dog breed go, the Shih Tzu comes pretty close.