Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic? — Are you wondering whether the Shih Tzu is a good pet choice if you or your family has allergies? It’s a question we get asked a lot.

Perhaps you think that the Shih Tzu doesn’t shed at all and you won’t get their fur on your clothes or furniture? Let’s set the record straight and find out once and for all if a Shih Tzu really is hypoallergenic.


shih tzu hypoallergenic

Phase 1 of figuring out whether any dog is hypoallergenic is knowing what causes us to react and experience pet allergies. Most people think it’s all to do with the animals fur. That’s not the case, our allergies are triggered by saliva and something called “dander”.

The good news is that there are breeds that are less likely to trigger our allergic reaction and a Shih tzu is one such breed because of their “fur”. But all dogs have saliva so a truly allergy free dog is not possible.

Yes dander, it is a real thing and it’s a terms that to dead skin cells (dandruff as an example is dead scalp cells), so dogs and humans have this dander stuff. Because us humans are allergic to dog dander, rather than the hair or fur on a dog, there are no absolute hypoallergenic dogs.

That being said, Shih Tzu’s are great dog breeds for people who has allergies. They are not (ad no dog is) hypoallergenic but they are a good choice for anyone with allergies and if you’re house proud and don’t like tonnes of fur being shed!



A shih Tzu has an unusual coat, if you’ve ever petted a Shih Tzu you’ll notice how soft and silky their fur is. This is because their coat isn’t fur, it’s a type of fine, layered hair. So if you’re allergic reaction is to dense fur, you won’t experience that as the Shih Tzu doesn’t have any. But does that make a Shih Tzu a hypoallergenic dog? 

As we know it’s not the fur causing the issue but this danger a breed like the Shih Tzu sheds a lot less than other breeds. This results in less dander in the air so less chance of those irritating allergies being triggered.

That’s only one of many pet allergies so people with allergies can still go through allergic reactions based on their sensitivity to a certain dog. In the end, it all depends on the person and their allergy rather than the actual breed.

Even when the Tzu does shed, the hairs tend to stay within the double layer coat rather than clinging to you, the flooring and the furniture!

Check Out Some Recommended Allergy Help


As we said its the dead skin cells that cause a lot of the allergic reactions, this “dander” and saliva etc. and there are things you can do in your pet care to help keep your Shih Tzu’s dander to a minimum.

Bathing your dog is a good way to minimise the amount of dander build up on their skin and hair. It’s a good idea to use a pet shampoo and these dogs tend to have sensitive skin so like you would on yourself, use a good shampoo product.

We recommend using THIS PRODUCT.

Use a product that is both soothing and moisturizing to the skin, with very little fragrance. Some of the perfumes that are added to certain shampoos can irritate your dog’s skin making the dander worse.

Recommending Regular Grooming

When it comes to grooming, Shih Tzu dogs will shed less if their hair is kept long and brushed often. That of course is down to personal preference. But grooming whether you’ve a long style or something like the teddy bear cut is vitally important.

Shih Tzus have both an over and an under coat, so keeping their hair long causes the undercoat shedding to remain in the hair. Brushing can cause any loose hairs in the overcoat to show up. So have a daily brushing routine. It’s not only good for the coat but it’s also a perfect way to be close and bond with your dog.

If you have strong allergies, then we recommend grooming be done outside where possible to keep excess hair and dander outside. In addition to frequent bathing and grooming, you need to vacuum your carpets often to free them of any dander and hair. Buy a mat or bed that can be washed easily. Finally, keep your pet out of your bedroom to keep the dander away from the place that you sleep.

Shih Tzus are an excellent breed to adopt when there is an allergic person in your family. Shed control and grooming are essential for keeping allergies at bay, but they worth the time in order to have the Shih Tzu you have always wanted.


Yes, the Shih Tzu does indeed shed hair. The difference between them and other dogs is the amount of hair that they shed along with where it goes when it falls out. Not unlike us humans.

Any hair that is shed by the Shih Tzu usually gets caught in the rest of their coat. Unlike the homes of short haired, high shedding dogs most Shih Tzu homes are generally hair free because the lost hair usually stays on the dog. Then because the Shih Tzu is either clipped regularly or groomed daily it is taken out of the coat and away on a regular basis.

The fact that the hair stays in the coat is another reason why, without regular Shih Tzu grooming, the dog can become matted and uncomfortable. All of the loose (blown) hair and attached (healthy) hair becomes stuck together and eventually impossible to groom out. Shih Tzus do suffer from this coat matting if they are not groomed regularly.

This is why many rescued Shih Tzu dogs initially look like big bundles of hair and need everything clipping away in order to refresh the skin and give the coat another chance to grow back in a healthy state.

shih tzu hypoallergenic dog


Your Shih Tzu will go through specific shedding times based upon the rhythm of the season, the weather and their living conditions. Some Shih Tzus notably shed hair once a year, in the very early spring as a response to the warming weather and less notably in the autumn to get ready for the winter coat.

Shih Tzus can also shed hair in one big event as they leave puppyhood behind and also when they are whelping puppies. If you groom them, there will be times when you notice more hair in the brush or comb but it is significantly less than other breeds and doing the above grooming and bathing steps will help keep that shedding and dander to a minimum.


If you’re unlucky enough to suffer from a bad dog allergy even the allergy friendly Shih Tzu could trigger that. But, the good news is there are definite actions you can take to minimise that and keep things great for you and the dog.

When you buy or re-home a Tzu spend some time with them and see if and how bad the allergy you or your family member has is triggered. Any responsible breeder or homing centre will understand the need for you to do this and should encourage you to spend some time with the animal before committing to being their lifetime home.

Bathe & groom your Shih Tzu as outlined above, keep the home free of allergy contaminants like dander and excess hair with a good vacuum. Also doing things like setting a specific sleeping zone for your pet is a good idea. Don’t let the dog sleep in the same areas as the allergy sufferer at night is just common sense.


Lots of sites and pseudo-experts will claim that the Shih Tzu breed is hypoallergenic, now you know, they aren’t. What they are is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Bear in mind while this breed it allergy friendly, our allergies are unique so while a Tzu is a great breed and less likely to trigger an allergic reaction, it is not guaranteed. That’s why we say, spend some time with the dog before adoption and check for yourself.  

So, you might be allergic to dander and a Shih Tzu might not trigger that because of their genetics and how their coat is made up. For many, this breed is a perfect solution that either does not trigger their allergies or in such a low level way as making the chance of being a dog owner a reality.

Share your comments below on your experience with Shih tzus and allergies and any tips of your own you’d like to share.