How to put bows in the short hair of a shih-tzu

Updated April 17, 2017

Shih-tzu dogs are friendly little pups with sweet faces and beautiful hair. The hair is especially pleasing to the eye when it has bows in it. There are a few different areas on the dog that are popular for applying bows, including the ears and on top of the head. Contrary to popular belief, your shih-tzu doesn't need to have long hair in order to have a bow.

Brush the hair where you intend to place the bows. Hair needs to be tangle- and knot-free in order to have bows put there.

Gather the hair with a comb, if you want to place the bows on the head. Typically, bows that are placed on the head hold hair that extends from just above the outside corners or middles of the eyes to about an inch back on the forehead. However, if the hair is too short to do this, simply grab what you can. If you are placing the bows on the ears, select a spot on the ear and collect just enough hair for the rubber band to hold and stay in place. Not much hair is needed for ear bows, which makes this area particularly advantageous for shih-tzus with short hair. Popular spots to place bows on the ears are at the top and the middle.

Tease the hair on top of the head to create a puff, if the hair is long enough. You can also pull the hair slightly out to create an even bigger effect.

Secure the hair that you have gathered with a small rubber band. Examine your shih-tzu to see if this is uncomfortable for her. If she cries, tries to remove the band or is having problems blinking because the hair on her head was pulled too tight, take the band out and start over again, not wrapping the band as much this time.

Wrap the band portion of the bow around the band that is already securing the hair. You may need to adjust the bow to keep it straight and from tilting, especially on the ears.


It may be helpful to apply clear human hair gel to the areas in which you intend to place the bows, when you are drying your shih-tzu's hair. This can help the hair to be more cooperative when trying to manipulate it into different positions, such as in a rubber band. You can use orthodontic rubber bands, or bows and bands that were intentionally made for use in dogs, to secure your shih-tzu's hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair gel
  • Small rubber bands
  • Hair bows
  • Comb
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