Puppy Cut vs Teddy Bear Cut: Which Style Is Right for Your Shih Tzu?

You’re standing in front of the mirror with your Shih Tzu, contemplating their next haircut. Should you go for the classic puppy cut or the adorable teddy bear style? It’s a tough choice!

Good for me I’ve styled my Shih Tzu in both cuts. Each has its charm, and I’ve seen firsthand how the right style can transform a pup’s look (and their owner’s smile).

In this guide, we’ll break down the differences between puppy cuts and teddy bear cuts for Shih Tzus. You’ll learn the pros and cons of each style, how to maintain them, and which might be best for your furry friend.

Ready to become a Shih Tzu style expert? Let’s dive in!

The Puppy Cut Look.

The puppy cut is a classic, all-over trim that gives your Shih Tzu a youthful, easy-to-maintain look.

Key features of the puppy cut:

  1. Even length all over the body (usually 1-2 inches)
  2. Rounded face trim
  3. Slightly longer ears
  4. Tail trimmed but left fluffy

Why choose a puppy cut:

  • Low maintenance
  • Keeps your Shih Tzu cool in warm weather
  • Reduces matting and tangling
  • Gives a “forever puppy” look

Teddy Bear Cut Looks.

The teddy bear cut is a more styled option that gives your Shih Tzu an adorable, stuffed-animal appearance.

Key features of the teddy bear cut:

  1. Body fur trimmed to 1-2 inches
  2. Face left fuller and rounded
  3. Ears trimmed to blend with face
  4. Legs left slightly fuller than body

Why choose a teddy bear cut:

  • Creates a cute, cuddly look
  • Emphasizes your Shih Tzu’s expressive face
  • Offers a bit more style while still being manageable
  • Great for show dogs or those who love a more “done-up” look

Puppy Cut vs Teddy Bear Cut: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Let’s break down the main differences:

FeaturePuppy CutTeddy Bear Cut
Overall LengthEven all overVaried, with fuller face and legs
Face ShapeRounded, but closer trimVery round and full
SuitabilityAll Shih TzusShih Tzus with thicker coats
Grooming FrequencyEvery 6-8 weeksEvery 4-6 weeks

How to Decide Between a Puppy Cut and Teddy Bear Cut

Choosing the right cut for your Shih Tzu depends on several factors:

  1. Your Shih Tzu’s coat type:
    • Thicker coats do well with both styles
    • Thinner coats might look better with a puppy cut
  2. Your lifestyle:
    • Busy schedule? Puppy cut is lower maintenance
    • Love to primp your pup? Teddy bear cut lets you style more
  3. Climate:
    • Hot weather? Puppy cut keeps them cooler
    • Cold weather? Teddy bear cut offers a bit more warmth
  4. Your Shih Tzu’s personality:
  5. Your grooming skills:
    • Comfortable with regular brushing? Teddy bear cut could work
    • Prefer minimal home grooming? Stick with the puppy cut

Related Post: How to Successfully Groom A Shih Tzu From Scratch At Home.

Maintaining Your Shih Tzu’s Cut

No matter which style you choose, proper maintenance is key to keeping your Shih Tzu looking great.

For Puppy Cuts:

  1. Brush 2-3 times a week
  2. Bathe every 2-3 weeks
  3. Trim face and paw pads monthly
  4. Professional grooming every 6-8 weeks

For Teddy Bear Cuts:

  1. Brush daily
  2. Bathe every 2 weeks
  3. Trim face and paw pads every 2-3 weeks
  4. Professional grooming every 4-6 weeks

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to Shih Tzu haircuts, here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

  1. Cutting too short: This can expose sensitive skin and change coat texture
  2. Neglecting the face: Regular face trims prevent eye irritation
  3. Forgetting the paw pads: Overgrown paw fur can cause slipping
  4. Skipping regular brushing: This leads to matting, especially with teddy bear cuts
  5. DIY gone wrong: Some cuts are best left to professionals

The Impact of Haircuts on Your Shih Tzu’s Comfort

The right haircut isn’t just about looks – it affects your dog’s comfort too:

  • Proper length reduces overheating
  • Regular trims prevent painful matting
  • Face trims improve vision and reduce eye irritation
  • Even cuts distribute natural oils for healthier skin

Seasonal Considerations for Shih Tzu Haircuts

Your Shih Tzu’s grooming needs change with the seasons:


  • Shorter puppy cuts keep them cool
  • More frequent baths may be needed


  • Slightly longer cuts provide warmth
  • Consider leaving leg fur fuller for snow protection


  • Moderate length works well
  • Watch for seasonal allergies affecting skin

How Haircuts Affect Shih Tzu Behavior

Believe it or not, a haircut can change your Shih Tzu’s behavior:

  • Short cuts might make them more active
  • Teddy bear cuts can boost confidence in shy dogs
  • Removing hair from eyes often makes dogs more responsive
  • Comfortable dogs are generally happier and more playful


How long does it take for a Shih Tzu’s hair to grow back after a cut? 

On average, Shih Tzu hair grows about half an inch per month. Full regrowth can take 3-4 months.

Can I switch between puppy cuts and teddy bear cuts? 

Yes! Just be aware it might take a few months to grow out from a short puppy cut to a full teddy bear style.

Are there other popular cuts for Shih Tzus? 

Yes, some others include the top knot, lion cut, and show cut. Each has its own unique style and maintenance needs.

How do I keep my Shih Tzu still during home grooming? 

Start with short sessions, use lots of praise and treats, and gradually increase grooming time as your dog gets comfortable.

Can haircuts help with my Shih Tzu’s shedding? 

While Shih Tzus aren’t heavy shedders, regular grooming and proper cuts can help manage loose fur and reduce visible shedding.

Remember, the best haircut for your Shih Tzu is one that keeps them comfortable and fits your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to talk to your groomer about customizing these cuts to suit your pup’s unique needs.

Whether you choose the easy-breezy puppy cut or the cuddly teddy bear style, your Shih Tzu is sure to look adorable. The most important thing is that they’re healthy, happy, and enjoying lots of love and attention from you!

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