I am sure you will agree with me when I say:
The coat of a Shih Tzu is a beautiful thing. It’s long and flowing and hardly ever sheds. The coat makes Shih Tzu lovely show dogs.
But as pets, they can be hard to manage. The long, fine hair becomes tangled easily and requires lots of brushing. Trips to the groomers can become frequent and expensive. One alternative to this is to groom your Shih Tzu at home using your own set of dog clippers. But how to find that best Clipper for Shih Tzu? or for any other breed? as it turns out, there are 3 critical things to look out for when doing your research. Here we cover all 3 and mroe…
Many people will probably think it’s ok to try and clip their Shih Tzu’s hair using human hair clippers, especially since specialised Shih Tzu clippers are a bit more expensive. While there is some logic to this assumption as Shih Tzu have hair as opposed to fur, it’s not entirely accurate. Shih Tzu hair is far thicker than human hair and your clippers will struggle to cut it all in one go without overheating. Using human hair clippers can lead to an uneven cut and a shoddy looking Shih Tzu at best and an injured and traumatised Shih Tzu if the weaker blades pull on the hair or catch the skin, causing injury. If you want to groom your Shih Tzu at home rather than take it to a groomer, then it’s worth the extra expense to get professional dog clippers to make sure your Shih Tzu is comfortable and its cut is neat.
Grooming should be something that you can both look forward to and shouldn’t be dreaded. When preparing your Shih Tzu for grooming, make sure that its coat is clean, dry and well brushed out. You don’t want to catch any knots or tangles in the clippers as this can be painful and stressful for your Shih Tzu.
The type of clippers you need will also depend on what you plan to do with them. If you are just neatening up your Shih Tzu’s face and paws between trips to the groomers, you won’t need such high tech clippers and cheaper ones will probably suffice. However, if you are planning to maintain your Shih Tzu’s coat completely on your own at home, then investing in a high quality set of clippers will make all the difference to your grooming experience and that of your Shih Tzu.
- power of the motor,
- how noisy they are,
- the quality of the blade and
- how comfortable and convenient they are to use.
For professional use and for Shih Tzu with heavy coats, clippers with rotary motors are best as they are more powerful. The high speed blades will get through the process faster than slower blades, with less chance of pulling or tangling the hair. For grooming a dog with a medium coat, you don’t need quite so much power and would get away with a pivot motor or even a high quality electromagnetic motor. The electromagnetic motors are usually for dogs with thinner coats. They have a slower stroke per minute rate, but this also means that they take longer to heat up due to there being less friction on the blades.
One issue with the heavy duty clippers for dogs is that they tend to be noisy and vibrate a lot. This can be stressful for you Shih Tzu as its hearing is more sensitive than ours and the clippers are going right by its ears. You want to find ones that will minimise vibrations and only hum a bit rather than buzz loudly. This will cause much less stress to your Shih Tzu and make grooming a pleasant bonding experience between you and your pet rather than a traumatic experience for you both.
The clippers you choose should have attachments of different lengths for the different parts of your Shih Tzu and comb attachments for the shorter cutting blades. When you buy your clippers, check if they come with extra blades. Some are able to take different sized blades and attachments, but only come with one and you have to buy the others separately. As a general rule, higher numbers results in shorter cuts and you need to make sure the blades you buy are compatible with the fittings of your clippers so that they fit properly.
The blades should be easy to clean to make sure that they cut properly and don’t pull on your Shih Tzu’s hair. Some clippers that have more powerful motors also have a tendency to overheat after some time. This is because the blades move faster, creating more friction when they come into contact with the hair and oil in your Shih Tzu’s coat. In this case, you can get a blade cooling spray or any silicone cooling lubricant to reduce the temperature or use some ice cubes on the blades while giving them a small break. There is also the option of buying blades in different materials. Ceramic blades will not get as hot as metal blades so they can cut for longer without overheating. They will, though, need to be replaced more often. They are considered disposable as you’re not able to sharpen them like you would with a metal blade.
For your own comfort, you should consider whether you want to get corded or cordless clippers. Cordless ones obviously give you much more flexibility regarding where you can groom your Shih Tzu. You might find it easier to have your Shih Tzu up on a table or maybe you’d prefer to sit on the floor with your Shih Tzu. With corded clippers you’re restricted to where you can plug them in and how far the cable can reach. However, there’s no chance of them running out of power halfway through cutting your Shih Tzu’s hair. As the battery power runs down, the blades will start to move more slowly and this will affect the cut of your Shih Tzu. Of course, there is the option to purchase a replacement battery and have it charged and ready to swap in when one starts running low on power.
You should also consider the weight and shape of the clippers. Grooming your Shih Tzu is a rather time consuming endeavour and having clippers that are heavy or uncomfortable or awkward to hold will make it a rather tedious and unpleasant task for you. Cordless clippers will weigh more due to the added battery. If you’re just doing a neatening up of your Shih Tzu, then this probably won’t matter too much, but if you’re doing a full grooming or multiple dogs, then the extra weight can put stress on your hands and wrists over time.
When looking at clippers to buy, check which accessories come with them. Ideally, you’ll be able to buy everything you need in a set that includes a variety of comb attachments, a cleaning brush and cleaning oils. This will save you some time and expense of having to find and purchase things separately. You should also pay out a bit more for this set and look for clippers that are of professional quality. When you buy clippers for your Shih Tzu, you are making an investment. They should be durable and long lasting. Cheaper clippers will wear out quickly and possibly be less powerful with blunt blades. This can cause pain and injury to your Shih Tzu and that isn’t what any of us want for our pets.
Now that you have the ideal clippers for your Shih Tzu, you still need to do some research before you start hacking away at its coat. If you plan to groom your Shih Tzu at home, it’s best to start this as young as possible so that your Shih Tzu gets used to being groomed and sees it as a normal part of its routine. Trying to introduce the new experience to an older dog and be stressful for the dog and exasperating for you.
You should also do some thinking about what style you want to clip your Shih Tzu into and consider whether this look is purely for aesthetics or of there are some cuts that are beneficial for your breed. Shih Tzu in particular have quite specific styles of grooming that are particular to their breed. Before you start, watch some videos to get an idea of what you’re supposed to do and ask someone who has experience, like a professional groomer or someone who has been grooming their own Shih Tzu for a while, for any tips and advice.
Before beginning with clipping the hair, make sure you bathe, comb and dry your Shih Tzu. By blow drying the coat, you can can make it stand out from the skin and so it’s easier to cut. For some areas, like around the eyes and ears, it’s better to use trimming scissors, rather than the clippers. Take your time, practice on small areas that need neatened up before you go for a full cut and enjoy this quality time with your Shih Tzu.