Shih Tzu dogs are said to be a non shedding dog breed, and are "hypoallergenic dogs", making them a great pet choice for people who suffer from dog allergies.
Well...although they are indeed a great pet choice for allergy sufferers, to say they are a non shedding dog breed isn't entirely accurate.
Shih Tzu's are among the few breeds whose coat is made up of hair (like humans) instead of fur, but they will shed their hair daily, just as humans do.
The thing about Shih Tzu's is they have what is called a double coat. When the hair is kept long, the shedding hairs don't fall to the ground or furniture, but tend to shed off into the coat itself, which is brushed out during regular grooming.
This may be the reason he appears to be a non-shedding dog breed.
Slightly off the subject but worth mentioning is that since the Shih Tzu's hair does tend to shed off into itself, and when his hair is kept long, brushing must be done often otherwise his hair would become tangled and matted, which if left uncared for will pull on your Shih Tzu's skin and cause pain and unhappiness.
And when your Shih Tzu is unhappy, and you look into those big round beautiful sad eyes, it will just about break your heart.
If matting has occurred it can be a haven for an insect invasion and infections arise, which of course will be very uncomfortable for your Shih Tzu.
At that point, the only thing you can do is have his hair shaved off.
You probably also heard that the Shih Tzu were a hypoallergenic dog...well again, this isn't quite accurate either.
Since the Shih Tzu dog breed is covered in hair and not fur, what is probably meant by "hypoallergenic" simply means that most people, who are allergic to fur, will not be allergic to the Shih Tzu's hair.
I have mild allergies to dog fur, and when my sisters dog visits us, which I entirely encourage, my eyes get itchy and watery, my lips feel like they are swollen, and I have a harder time breathing through my nose. But with my Rocky and Max, I can cuddle with them with none of these side effects.
Another thing worth mentioning is that dogs skin can become dry, which could cause an allergic reaction to people.
You will know when his skin is dry because he will be scratching quite a bit, his hair will be dull, and you'll see the tiny flakes on him and on your clothes.
However, this happens with any dog breed.
The best way to keep his skin from becoming dry and his coat dull is to feed him the best dog food you can, and brush him more often to stimulate oil glands.
Another beneficial option is to add a little omega oils in his diet.
However, if the problem persists you'll want to have your Veterinarian check him out for any underlying issues like food allergies or thyroid disease.
No dog will be completely allergy free to all humans, but as far as a hypoallergenic dog or non shedding dog breed go, the Shih Tzu comes pretty close.
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