If you have a Shih Tzu or are thinking about getting one, you might be wondering do Shih Tzus have fur or hair? There are some misconceptions about the whole issue, so let’s set the record straight.
Shih Tzus – Hair or Fur?
When you see a Shit Tzu one of the first things you are bound to notice is their hair. It is long and flowing and quite a show stopper, but is it hair or fur?
Fur tends to be shorter and a little denser.
Shih Tzus do have hair instead of fur. They actually have two coats of hair.
The topcoat is the long, silky hair that you see. The undercoat is shorter and feathery.
Do Shih Tzus Shed?
Yes, Shih Tzus do shed hair on a daily basis, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at them or living with them.
When they shed hair, it is caught by the undercoat and kept there until you brush them. In fact, you most likely won’t see any hair until you brush them or give them a bath.
You won’t find Shih Tzu dog hair all over your clothes or on the floor or furniture of your house.
In my opinion, this is one of the great advantages of owning a Shih Tzu.
I once had a Bouvier named Claude. He looked exactly like this photo. He was an absolutely great dog, but boy did he shed. His hair was everywhere and no matter how much you cleaned it up, you could never get all of it.
Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic?
No, Shih Tzus are not hypoallergenic. In fact, no dog is completely hypoallergenic. People aren’t actually allergic to the dog’s hair. It is the dog’s dander that causes allergies. All dogs have dander to some degree.
There are breeds that have far less than other breeds, so they are considered hypoallergenic.
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Because Shih Tzus have hair and not fur and because it is caught up in the undercoat, there is less dander that fills the air and your home environment.
That does help with allergies, so Shih Tzus are better than some breeds when it comes to allergies, but they aren’t completely hypoallergenic.
Shih Tzu puppies are another story. Their hair is different than an adult Shih Tzu. This is true of most puppies.
According to the American Kennel Club, “Puppies are born with a single coat of soft, fluffy fur that helps regulate their body temperature. This coat naturally gives way to their adult coat, which is usually thicker and stiffer than their puppy coat.”
While your Shih Tzu is a puppy, it will shed more than it will once it reaches adulthood.
Having hair instead of fur is certainly an advantage when it comes to shedding and allergies, but it does mean that your Shih Tzu will require more grooming than a short-haired dog.
You will need to brush your Shih Tzu daily. If you don’t, your dog will become tangled and then matted.
Once the hair is matted it can pull on the skin and cause your Shih Tzu pain. At that point, brushing won’t help. You will have to take your pup to the groomers and have him shaved.
The other option is to keep your Shih Tzu’s hair short. That’s what I have always done. I take Truman and Sammy to the groomers once every couple of months. (You can learn more about Truman and Sammy here.)
It is a bit of an expense, but I like how they look and they are easier to take care of grooming wise than if I let their hair grow really long.
There’s no right or wrong here. It really is up to personal preference, your budget, and how much time you have to groom your Shih Tzu.
Keep in mind, feeding your Shih Tzu the right food will also help to keep their coat looking healthy and shiny all year long. Find out the top 9 dog foods for Shih Tzus here.
Which Dog Breeds Have Hair Instead of Fur?
There are a number of dogs that have hair instead of fur.
- Shih Tzus
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Bichon Frise
- Miniature Poodle
How Can You Tell if Your Dog Has Hair or Fur?
Dogs with hair instead of fur tend to have finer and longer hair that can also be curly or wavy. They will typically have a double-coat.
Fur is usually dense and longer.
Do Shih Tzus Have Human Hair?
No, Shih Tzus don’t have human hair. Only humans have human hair.
Even so, Shih Tzus do have hair that is similar to humans. Like us, Shih Tzus do shed their hair every day, but it is caught in the shorter undercoat and doesn’t fall on the floor or get on all of your clothes.
You really only see this hair when you brush your Shih Tzu or give them a bath.
Does Dog Hair Stop Growing?
Dog’s hair tends to grow in cycles. Depending on the season it will grow more or less and they will shed more or less. Once it reaches its natural length, determined by the dog’s genetics, it does stop growing.
That’s when it will be shed and then new hairs will grow to replace it and the cycle begins all over again.
To Sum it All Up:
Shih Tzus do have hair instead of fur. Most little dogs with long, skilly hair do. This makes them a good choice for people with dog allergies. Even so, Shih Tzus are not hypoallergenic. But since they aren’t big shedders it does reduce the amount of dander they produce. Dander is what people are actually allergic to and not the hair or fur.