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Shih Tzu Hair Not Fluffy: 5 Reasons + 3 Tips

Why Is My Shih Tzu Hair Not Fluffy

You know Shih Tzus are supposed to have silky and fluffy hair…

Yet when you look at your pooch, they don’t seem to meet that standard.

What’s gone wrong?

And how can you make their hair fluffy again?

Keep reading to discover:

  • 3 tips to make your Shih Tzu’s hair fluffy.
  • 3 medical issues that cause thinning of hair in dogs.
  • 5 reasons why your Shih Tzu’s hair isn’t fluffy (take note of #3).
  • And much, much more…

Why is my Shih Tzu hair not fluffy?

Your Shih Tzu’s hair isn’t fluffy because they’re sick. They could have a hormone-related medical problem. If not, they might lack proper nutrition. Sometimes, it’s because they have parasites like fleas or ticks. Other times they’re stressed or lack regular grooming.

Shih Tzu hair not fluffy: 5 reasons

#1: They need regular grooming

Your Shih Tzu’s hair might not be fluffy because it lacks proper care…

You see, these dogs don’t smell and are only low shedders.

But there’s a price to pay for that amazing quality…

And that’s your Shih Tzu’s proper grooming needs.

Oh, let me tell you…

With a hair standard as lovely as Shih Tzu’s…

They’re definitely gonna need the best grooming care available.

If not, their hair won’t be as fluffy.

With that, it’ll appear to be more dry and dull. 

And when you touch such lifeless hair, the texture will be rough.

You might also want to know: Do Shih Tzus have hair or fur?

#2: They lack nutrition

Did you know? You can tell if your dog is nourished by looking at their hair or fur…

Now, you say that your Shih Tzu’s coat isn’t fluffy…


Unfortunately, that’s a bad sign.

Of what?

That your pooch isn’t receiving enough nutrients.

According to VCA Hospitals, nutrition impacts the appearance of your dog’s coat.

And if your Shih Tzu’s hair appears lifeless, that means that they’re experiencing…

Nutritional deficiency

Humans are familiar with a lot of rules when it comes to eating.

A great example is eating a balanced diet.

Now, some rules apply to dogs, too.

However, your pooch isn’t as mindful as you…

You see, they’d eat just about anything that you give them.

Or if they’re a food-obsessed dog, they’ll munch on anything they see or reach…

It can be something that they reach from the counter. Or a piece of food that they see lying around.

And that’s why it’s a great responsibility to look after your dog’s eating habits.

Moreover, it’s not just about what they eat…

That responsibility also involves the following:

  • How much they consume per day.
  • What type of food do they eat daily.
  • How many times do they eat per day.
  • What the contents of their daily meals are.

Those are things to consider to ensure your dog’s nutrition.

And when you look after those, great things will start flowing…

That includes the flow of beautiful hair in your Shih Tzu.

#3: They’re stressed

Your Shih Tzu's Hair Is Not Fluffy Because They're Stressed

You know how they say stress can make your hair thin?

Well, the same goes for your pooch…

Yep, stress can badly influence their coat.

When your dog feels that way, their hair would look dull.

And for your Shih Tzu, theirs won’t be as fluffy.

According to vets, it’s due to the release of adrenaline.

So, when dogs experience stress, they release that hormone.

And it travels up to your dog’s hair follicles.

All in all, such a surge of hormones causes thinning of hair.

That aside, AKC gives us other signs of stress in dogs:

  • Pacing.
  • Barking.
  • Whining.
  • Growling.
  • Lip-licking.
  • Sudden panting.
  • Tucked ears and tails.
  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Stopping their movements suddenly (freezing).

#4: They’re sick

Little do you know, a dog’s coat could be a looking glass for their health…


Yes, that’s true…

Vets state that health can also affect your dog’s coat appearance.


Well, it depends on the exact condition Fido is facing.

Some examples are:

Acquired alopecia (hair loss)

This is the general term for hair loss.

With alopecia, some parts of the skin might lose hair. And for other cases, the dog will lack hair entirely.

According to the MSDVM, hair loss can be congenital or acquired

And since the latter can bring individual discussions, I’ll talk about the former.

Now, congenital means that your pooch is born with it.

In that case, their hair follicles don’t develop normally.

Moreover, such dogs can be born with a normal coat.

Then, they’ll develop patches of hair loss. That can happen until they lose all their hair.

Plus, along with hair loss comes the undesirable appearance of the coat.

That’s why dogs with alopecia have dry and dull hair.

And if your Shih Tzu has this, their hair won’t look fluffy.

Cushing’s disease

This is a type of condition that causes acquired alopecia…

Moreover, Cushing’s disease can make your dog’s hair rough.

According to research, it’s caused by the overproduction of a hormone. It’s called cortisol, which is a type of steroid.

That aside, middle-aged to older dogs mostly suffer from this condition.

Lastly, PetMD gives us a list of other signs of this condition. Those are:

  • Panting.
  • Oily skin.
  • Lethargy.
  • Incontinence.
  • Thinning of the skin.
  • Drinking more water.
  • Chronic skin infections.
  • Recurrent urinary infections.
  • Sudden increase in appetite.


This is a skin disorder that causes rough coats in dogs.

Seborrhea is a condition that leads to oily skin.

That’s because the skin produces too much sebum.

What’s that?

It’s just another term for oil.

Moreover, VCA Hospitals says these are the signs of seborrhea:

  • Constant itching.
  • Red and flaky skin.
  • Presence of dandruff.
  • Suddenly becoming smelly.
  • Inflamed patches on the skin.
  • Licking their body (especially the base of their tail).

Continue reading: Help, My Dog Is Constantly Scratching And Biting Himself!

#5: They have parasites

Sometimes, the explanation behind this problem isn’t internal…

If you look closely at your pooch, you can find the answer.

Check your Shih Tzu’s hair and skin, and you might spot external parasites.

If you did find some, then that’s why their hair isn’t fluffy.

That’s because parasites make your dog itch so much…

And when they do, the damage is done to the skin and hair.

Thus resulting in a rough coat.

Here are some of the parasites to watch out for:


The AVMA warns us that fleas can lay eggs after a day of landing on your pooch.

With that, they multiply in your dog’s coat easily.

Moreover, your canine can easily drop those eggs. Then that can result in the spread of fleas around your place.

All in all, it’s not just gonna be your dog’s problem…

I say so as fleas can be attracted to your blood, too.


These are more dangerous than fleas.


That’s because they can spread infectious diseases.

And not just between canines…

But you can be affected as well because ticks like human blood as well.

Now, the MSDVM gives us some examples of tickborne diseases. Namely:

  • Ehrlichiosis.
  • Lyme disease.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

So the dull and rough coat won’t be the only problem when your pooch has ticks.

Shih Tzu hair not fluffy: 3 tips

#1: Groom them regularly

Groom Them Regularly

As I explained, improper grooming causes a rough coat in your Shih Tzu.

With that, you must start maintaining their coat appropriately.

To start, you need to brush your Shih Tzu’s hair daily. And I suggest that you do so using a pin brush.

Moreover, their long hair requires a weekly bath.

And most of all, cutting their hair is essential.

You see, a Shih Tzu’s hair growth cycle is a little different than other dogs…

To understand better, here’s the hair growth cycle in dogs according to a study:

PhaseWhat occurs
AnagenWhere hair grows actively.
CatagenIt’s when hair stops growing as its limit has been reached.
TelogenThe resting phase of the hair growth cycle.
ExogenThis is the end of the cycle where hair falls out.

Now, Shih Tzus have a long anagen phase.

Then, other phases are brief for them, especially exogen. 

With that, their hair growth is continuous.

And that means that they’ll need regular haircuts.

Moreover, here are other basic grooming needs you shouldn’t also forget:

  • Trimming of the nails.
  • Cleaning of their ears.
  • Face wiping to remove tear stains.

#2: Provide them proper nutrition

Now, this tip goes a long way…

But first, let me repeat what I said:

Providing proper nutrition for your pooch is an important responsibility.

That’s because it can greatly affect your dog’s well-being.

And if they’re well-fed and nutritious, a lot will follow…

You’re gonna be sure that their health will be in its prime.

With that, you can also secure their longevity.

Now, how will you provide this basic yet highly vital need?

Take note of the following:

Buy them high-quality food

It doesn’t have to bother your budget at all…

The rule is to provide Fido with the best dog food you can afford.

So, pick the highest quality food you can give them.

You can do so by always checking the labels of the product.

If there are additives or preservatives, put the product down. Let it be on the grocery aisle…

And once you pick the best for your canine, there’s more…

You’ll have to ensure it’s stored properly.

Put it in an ideal dog food container. Moreover, place it in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight.

Establish a meal schedule

Dogs are their best when they’re familiar.

That’s why even a scheduled meal is important in their daily life.

Moreover, this can lead to the decrease of begging tendencies. Plus, it can also reduce their counter-surfing behaviors.

All in all, it leads to a more obedient and healthy pooch.

#3: Consult their veterinarian

Unfortunately, under that rough coat, you might find a concern…

That’s because a medical condition might be behind it.

With that, you’re gonna need the best help for your pooch.

So, take them to the vet for a consultation. 

This is necessary, especially when they show other signs of an illness.

Moreover, do this as soon as possible.