Cutting Down the Shih Tzu 

                                                                                                           by Jennifer Lynn Winship

Eventually the glorious sweeping coat we've worked so hard to grow is going to be too much to keep. There are three basic cuts that enable the Shih Tzu to retain an attractive appearance and still require minimum upkeep. Be creative and attempt different combinations that suit your particular dog best.

Be sure to begin with a clean, dry coat free of any trace of oil. The basic supplies you will use area good set of clippers with 10 and/or 7 blades, a slicker brush, shears, and a Whippet comb. (see below)and trim the mustache, the ears, and the tail. Trim the feet in a large rounded pattern. A variation on this style is to leave a skirt shown in drawing 2, on the right. You can trim this remaining skirt to whatever length that suits your dog's lifestyle.

The second basic clip shown in drawing 3at right. Begin in the same manner as drawing 1, but instead of leaving the legs long, scissor them to a 1 inch length. To scissor, use a slicker brush and pull the hair out and hold your shears parallel to the plane of the leg. Trim the feet close, also.

The third clip is the puppy trim shown in drawing 4 at far left. This is simply scissoring the dog to between 1 inch and 2 inches all over. To achieve a smooth effect, use a slicker brush and pull the hair out and old the shears parallel to the plane of the leg, as in "second basic clip." There are two variations that can be used on the head. Both variations look cute, with some practice are easy to achieve, and they are are low maintenance. Both of them will require using clippers, trimming from the outer eye to the base of the ear, as shown in drawing 5 at left.

In drawing 6 at left, the "cap" is scissor cut like a bowl, forming a curved line to create the angles that achieve the rounding effect. The hair on the head can be left longer, so it semi-parts in the center of the head shown in drawing 7, yet still keep the edges of the "cap." In both cases, the hair from the bridge of the nose is removed.