To give a shih tzu a puppy cut, a good pair of scissors and a brush formulated for use on canines is essential. The dog's hair is brushed scrupulously to get rid of tangles, and then the hair is clipped first in sensitive areas. Careful clipping continues in the direction in which the hair grows, until the coat has about two inches of hair all over.

With any dog grooming, including shih tzus, it is imperative to start when the dog is young. This is important as grooming them from an early age accustoms them to being brushed and to lying down in different positions during the process. A long shih tzu coat looks beautiful and elegant, but if the dog is not for show, maintaining the long locks requires a considerable amount of work and time.

Shih tzus were originally bred in China and reach full growth within one year. They are mild-tempered and love being around people; these are traits that make them such great pets. However, shih tzus are prone to having an eye condition called entropion. If not treated properly, this disease potentially causes corneal ulcers and even blindness in some cases.