Most of us believe Shih Tzu dogs to be non-shedder and “hypoallergenic dogs” producing very little dander.
But, what’s the truth about Shih Tzus? Do they really meet the description of a hypoallergenic dog?
To start with, it’s significant to note that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. All dogs exude dander to some degree, so even hypoallergenic dogs may not be compatible with people with extreme allergies. Some may even find that individual dogs that are considered allergy-friendly for others may not be compatible with their allergies.
For allergy sufferers:
The Shih Tzu is indeed a great pet choice and to say they are a non-shedding dog breed isn’t completely true. Yes, they also shed but Shih Tzus shed less than other breeds. These lap dogs have almost human-like hair instead of the fur found in most dog breeds. These long strands of hair produce less dander, so there is less possibility for your allergies to flare up.
So why Shih Tzu is considered to be a non-shedding breed?
Shih Tzus are one of the most immediately familiar dog breeds, and that is for a good reason. Besides their snugly built bodies, delightfully short snouts, and friendly, sociable, perky personalities, the Shih Tzu’s graceful, free-flowing coat gives them their distinguishing look.
They were adored by the Chinese thousands of years ago and used as foot warmers and lap dogs by Tibetan emperors. (Perhaps that’s why these sturdy toy dogs are so habituated to being treated like sovereigns!)
Simply, all types of Shih Tzus are pretty hairy dogs. But many people will be surprised to know that all that hair doesn’t mean a lot of shedding. They have a double coat made up of two distinct layers: the undercoat and the topcoat, just like other breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Lhasa Apso, the Golden Retriever, etc. The dog’s undercoat is feathery, and soft with short hairs, whereas the topcoat (outer coat) is made up of silky, fine, long hair. Actually, the undercoat is the main culprit and does most of the shedding. At any given time, only about 10% -15% hang about in the hair-falling stage (Catagen Phase) depending on the coat’s health and with no other issues involved.
A longer topcoat traps up the loose hairs from the undercoat resulting in less hair falling on the floor or furnishings. The trapped hairs can be brushed out during regular grooming.
In addition, all Shih Tzu types have hair rather than fur. Hair strands are typically longer and more slender than fur. Moreover, Hair’s growth cycle is also longer than that of fur, which means it takes longer to wither and drop out. Due to all these reasons, Shih Tzus are considered to be non-shedders.
Pet owners don’t have to get the lint brush to clear out a horde of hairs after these silky-haired pets have been reclining on the couch all day.
Most importantly, they don’t have to worry about changing their clothes after they’ve cuddled with them before heading out somewhere.
So, what exactly is the Shih Tzus shedding volume?
For those who have a Shih Tzu, they almost certainly won’t come across more than a sporadic bit of dog hair all over the place in their home.
It is only in two scenarios in which they’ll notice their pet’s hair discharge more than normal:
- During the brushing session: As said earlier, this is due to the fact that the brushing session extricates the fallen hair that got trapped in the outer coat. This is the reason why vet experts suggest regular brushing for Shih Tzus to preserve their lush, beautiful locks.
- Coat transition: There is a stage in the dog’s life — around 9 to 12 months of age — Shih Tzu puppies’ coat transitions to the adult coat. This is during this development phase shedding will be increased in volume and it is quite normal —don’t worry; it should only last one or two weeks.
Are Shih Tzu Hypoallergenic?
Yes, they are hypoallergenic. As Shih Tzus shed very little, the allergen-causing dander (microscopic dead skin cells) that adheres to their hair is less likely released into the air, your clothing, onto the floor or the furniture, just like it would be with a dog that sheds heavily such as Siberian husky.
So, are Shih Tzu is good for allergic people? Yes!
The important thing to note is that although Shih Tzu is not a big shedder, their skin can too become dry and flaky. The dander or dry skin flakes may trigger an allergic reaction in some sensitive people.
Skin flakes can happen with any dog breed and Shih Tzu is not resistant to skin issues.
The best way of handling a Shih Tzu coat from becoming dull and skin from becoming dry is to brush him more often to stimulate oil glands and feed him the best dog food you can.