shih tzu tail styles

Shih Tzu tail styles | Issues, Injury, Show vs Pet, Shaving, FAQs

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Shih Tzu dogs are known for their adorable looks, and their tails significantly affect their overall appearance. However, there are various tail styles and grooming considerations that every Shih Tzu owner should be aware of.

In this post, we’ll explore the different tail styles, potential issues and injuries, grooming practices for show dogs versus pets, and shaving concerns, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about Shih Tzu tails.

1.1. The Allure of the Shih Tzu Tail: Exploring its expressive nature and role in communication

Unlike some dog breeds whose tails hang limply, the Shih Tzu’s tail is a canvas for emotional expression. A high tail held proudly aloft often indicates alertness, confidence, or excitement. Conversely, a tail tucked between the legs can signal fear, submission, or anxiety.

The way a Shih Tzu wags its tail can also be informative. A slow, relaxed wag might suggest contentment, while a rapid, full-bodied wag often signifies joy or playful anticipation.

By attuning yourself to these subtle tail cues, you can strengthen the bond with your furry friend and become more responsive to their needs.

1.2. Natural Beauty: Understanding the Shih Tzu’s signature plume and its variations in length and texture

The Shih Tzu’s tail is a glorious plume of fur, typically medium to long. This luxurious coat can vary slightly in texture, with some Shih Tzus sporting a straighter, silkier tail while others have a slightly wavy or “feathered” appearance. The tail fur should flow freely and feel soft regardless of the texture.

Shih Tzu Tail Styles

So, you’ve got yourself a Shih Tzu – lucky you! Their luxurious fur and playful personalities are enough to melt anyone’s heart. But did you know their tails can be as customizable as their adorable haircuts? Let’s delve into the fabulous world of Shih Tzu tail styles!

Tail Talk: Choosing the Perfect Style for Your Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu tails are like works of art – fluffy, expressive, and endlessly customizable! But with so many options, choosing the right tail style for your furry friend can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered!

For the Show Stoppers:

If you aim for that head-turning, show-dog look, the classic long tail with a gentle curl at the end is the way to go. This style requires regular brushing and grooming to maintain its elegance. Think of it as a luxurious flowing mane for your Shih Tzu’s rump!

Unleashing Personality:

For family pets, comfort and practicality are key. Popular options include:

  • Puppy Cut: Short, fluffy, and easy to maintain, this playful style keeps your Shih Tzu looking perpetually youthful.
  • Teddy Bear Cut: Uniform all over; this creates a cuddly, huggable look perfect for snuggle sessions.
  • Lion Cut: This one’s for the castle’s little kings (and queens)! It features a short body clip with a poof of fur around the head and the tip of the tail, making your Shih Tzu look like a majestic mini lion.

Keeping it Natural:

Some Shih Tzu owners prefer to embrace the natural beauty of their pup’s tail. This low-maintenance option is great for busy schedules and lets your Shih Tzu’s tail wag freely without restrictions.

Remember, these are just a few ideas to get you started. The possibilities are endless for personalizing your Shih Tzu’s tail style. Talk to your groomer about what would work best for your pup’s fur type, activity level, and your preference!

2.3. Keeping it Simple: Discussing the Benefits and Ease of Maintaining a Natural Tail

Let’s not forget the natural beauty of a Shih Tzu’s tail! Some pet parents keep their pup’s tail untrimmed, allowing it to flow freely in all its glory. This is a fantastic option for those who prefer a low-maintenance approach.

Here’s the good news: A natural tail is easy to care for and provides some practical benefits. The long fur helps protect your Shih Tzu’s rear end from dirt and debris and can offer some warmth during cooler weather.

Ultimately, deciding whether to groom your Shih Tzu‘s tail is completely up to you! There’s no right or wrong answer – just what works best for you and your furry friend.

Spotting a Tail Injury in Your Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu tails are expressive and full of life, so it’s easy to notice when something isn’t quite right. If your furry friend’s tail suddenly seems droopy, whimpers when you touch it, or can’t stop licking it, they might have a tail injury.

Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Tail Woes: Is their tail limp and lifeless? This could signify a pulled muscle, strain, or wound.
  • Ouch factor: Do they yelp or flinch when you touch their tail? Pain is a clear indicator that something’s wrong.
  • Lickety-split: Excessive licking or chewing at the tail can be a way for your Shih Tzu to soothe discomfort caused by an injury.

What to do if you suspect a tail injury:

  1. Hold the Fort: Limit your Shih Tzu’s activity to prevent further strain.
  2. Gentle Check: Carefully examine the tail for visible wounds, swelling, or bruising.
  3. Vet ASAP: Don’t hesitate to schedule a vet visit if you notice any of these signs. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to a speedy recovery.

Tailored Care: Keeping Your Shih Tzu’s Tail Healthy

So, you adore your Shih Tzu’s wagging tail, but how do you keep it happy and healthy? Fear not, Shih Tzu owners; this chapter will turn you into a tail care pro!

3.1. Brush It Out: Unleashing the Power of Regular Brushing

Brushing your Shih Tzu’s tail regularly is like giving it a high five with a grooming glove. It removes tangles and mats that can be uncomfortable for your pup and helps spread natural oils throughout the fur, keeping it shiny and healthy.

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Imagine your Shih Tzu wagging its tail through dirt and leaves on their walks. Brushing regularly helps remove all that gunk, preventing skin irritation and keeping their tail looking awesome! How often should you brush? Aim for a quick brush a few times a week and a more thorough brushing session once weekly.

3.2. Hygiene Heroes: Keeping Your Shih Tzu’s Tail Squeaky Clean

Let’s talk about bath time! When you bathe your Shih Tzu, don’t forget their tail! Gently lather up the shampoo, working your way down to the tip. Be careful not to scrub too hard, and rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue.

Here’s a bonus tip: after bath time, gently squeeze out excess water with a towel to keep your Shih Tzu’s tail from dragging on the floor. This will help prevent matting and keep the tail smelling fresh.

3.3. Spotting Trouble: Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For

Like any other part of your Shih Tzu’s body, its tail can also experience problems. Here’s what to keep an eye out for:

  • Matting: Clumps of fur that can be painful for your Shih Tzu. If you notice any mats, gently brush them out or seek help from a professional groomer.
  • Dry Skin: This can cause flaking and itching. If you notice dry skin on your Shih Tzu’s tail, consult your vet for advice on proper moisturizing solutions.
  • Injuries: If your Shih Tzu’s tail seems sore, red, or swollen, it could be injured. Look for any cuts, wounds, or signs of biting or chewing. If you suspect an injury, get your pup to the vet immediately.

3.4. Shaving or Not Shaving: Weighing the Options

Thinking about shaving your Shih Tzu’s tail? There are a few things to consider. On the plus side, shaving can make brushing and cleaning easier, and it might be a good option for Shih Tzus, who live in hot climates.

However, there’s also a downside. A Shih Tzu’s tail fur helps protect its rear end from dirt and debris. Shaving it can leave them exposed and vulnerable. So, unless there’s a medical reason for shaving, keeping your Shih Tzu’s tail natural is often best.

Ultimately, you should decide whether or not to shave. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully, and talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions.

From Show Ring to Backyard: Addressing Common Concerns

So, you’ve learned all about keeping your Shih Tzu’s tail healthy and happy, but there might be a few lingering questions. This chapter tackles some of the most common tail-related topics Shih Tzu owners ponder.

4.1. Tail Docking: A Fading Tradition

In the past, docking tails was a common practice for many dog breeds, including Shih Tzus. The reasons varied, from preventing injuries in working dogs to aesthetic preferences. However, the tide is turning.

Tail docking is banned in many countries due to ethical concerns and a lack of evidence for health benefits. In the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) discourages the practice.

So, if you’re wondering whether to dock your Shih Tzu’s tail, the answer is likely no. Their natural tails are a beautiful part of their breed heritage, and docking them offers no proven advantages.

4.2. Balance in Question: Shaving and Stability

You might have heard that shaving a Shih Tzu’s tail can affect its balance. This is a common myth! A Shih Tzu’s tail isn’t essential for balance; they rely on their inner ear and proprioception (body awareness) to stay steady.

So, if you prefer a shorter tail for easier maintenance or a particular aesthetic, go for it! Remember to prioritize your Shih Tzu’s comfort and overall health over cosmetic concerns.

4.3. Show Dog vs. Family Friend: Tailoring Tails for Different Lifestyles

Tail styles can vary, whether you’re prepping your Shih Tzu for the show ring or snuggling them on the couch.

For show dogs, the classic long, plume tail with a slight curl at the end is the standard. This style requires meticulous grooming to maintain its elegance.

Comfort and practicality are key for family pets. Popular options include the puppy cut (short and fluffy), the teddy bear cut (uniform length), or simply keeping the tail natural.

Ultimately, the best tail style for your Shih Tzu is the one that suits both their personality and your lifestyle.


Ever wondered if brushing your Shih Tzu’s tail is a daily chore or worried a shaved tail might throw your pup off balance? Don’t fret! This FAQ section answers all your burning questions about keeping your Shih Tzu’s tail happy and healthy.

Can shaving my Shih Tzu’s tail affect its health?

Nope! Shaving itself isn’t unhealthy for your Shih Tzu’s tail. However, their tail fur helps protect their rear end from dirt and irritation. So, if you shave it, watch for any redness or discomfort.

How often should I brush my Shih Tzu’s tail?

Brushing your Shih Tzu’s tail a few times a week helps prevent matting and keeps it looking fluffy. During bath time, brush their tail thoroughly to remove any tangles or dirt.

What are the signs of a tail injury in my Shih Tzu?

Watch out for these signs: excessive licking, chewing, or whining around the tail area. If your pup’s tail seems limp, swollen, or red, it could be injured. If you notice these signs, get your pup to the vet ASAP.

Is tail docking still common in Shih Tzus?

Tail docking is becoming less and less frequent. Many countries have banned it, and the American Veterinary Medical Association discourages it. Shih Tzus are born with naturally beautiful tails, and docking offers no health benefits.

What is the best tail style for a Shih Tzu puppy?

The best style is the one that works for you and your pup! Show dogs typically have a long, flowing tail, but a shorter puppy cut or teddy bear cut might be easier to manage for family pets. Remember, prioritize your Shih Tzu’s comfort over any particular style.

Is it Okay to Shave a Shih Tzu’s Tail?

Shaving your Shih Tzu’s tail is perfectly fine if you’re careful. It can be a good option for keeping things neat, especially if your pup has a long, flowing tail that tends to drag on the ground. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Protection: A Shih Tzu’s tail fur helps shield its rear end from dirt and irritation. If you shave it, clean the area regularly and watch for any signs of discomfort.
  • Comfort: Avoid shaving too close to the skin, and be mindful of their natural curves to avoid nicks or cuts.

Can I Shave the Hair Right Under My Shih Tzu’s Tail?

Absolutely! This area can trap moisture and harbor dirt, so trimming it can help prevent irritation and infection. Just be gentle when shaving around their delicate undercarriage.

If a Shih Tzu Chews on the Tip of Their Tail:

There could be a few reasons behind this behavior. Here are some possibilities:

  • Dry Skin: Dry, itchy skin can make your Shih Tzu chew on their tail for relief. Consult your vet to discuss proper moisturizing solutions.
  • Anal Gland Issues: If their anal glands are impacted or infected, they might chew at their tail to try and soothe the discomfort. A vet visit can address this problem.
  • Parasites: Fleas or mites can cause itching and irritation, leading to tail chewing. Regular parasite prevention is key.
  • Boredom or Anxiety: Sometimes, chewing is a sign of boredom or anxiety. Providing your Shih Tzu with enough playtime and mental stimulation can help curb this behavior.

If your Shih Tzu is persistently chewing on their tail, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

If a Shih Tzu Suddenly Stops Moving Their Tail:

A limp tail in a Shih Tzu can signify pain or discomfort. Here are some potential causes:

  • Injury: A pulled muscle, strain, or wound in the tail area can make it painful for your Shih Tzu to move.
  • Arthritis: As Shih Tzu’s ages, they can develop arthritis, which can cause pain in the tail.
  • Neurological Issues: In rare cases, a limp tail could be a symptom of a neurological problem.

If your Shih Tzu’s tail suddenly stops wagging, schedule a vet appointment to determine the cause and get proper treatment.

Final words

Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the secrets of the Shih Tzu tail! Now you know how to keep this expressive appendage happy, healthy, and wagging with joy.

Remember, a Shih Tzu’s tail is more than a fluffy plume. It’s a key part of their communication, helping them express everything from excitement to contentment. You can ensure their tail stays wagging strong throughout their life with proper care.

So, brush regularly, watch for any problems, and choose a tail style that works for you and your furry friend. After all, a Shih Tzu with a happy tail is living their best life!

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