From a casual browse at the American Kennel Club’s website, shih tzus seem like the ideal dog to have. AKC states their temperament is affectionate, playful, and outgoing (1).
These dogs (who weigh somewhere between 9-16 pounds and stand 8 to 11 inches tall) work out well in apartments, don’t need large backyards, and can potentially be the dogs that adorably sit in your lap.
But those who have owned shih tzus know this breed can also be temperamental and sometimes the best shih tzu muzzle is absolutely necessary. Who would need a muzzle for shitzu? Anyone who is uncertain of how their shih tzu will react to strangers usually.
While they are the kind of breed that be well-behaved around children, as with all dogs, they have teeth. And no matter how often a dog owner says “my dog won’t bite,” the truth is anything with teeth can bite. It’s up to you to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Check out the small and X-Small versions of the 10 suggested muzzles below to help avoid the risks.
Top-Rated Shih Tuz Muzzles
While certain breeds are more likely to bite, and result in dangerous and/or lethal results, a shih tzu did not make the top 10 list.
Which dogs are most likely to bite? Chihuahua, Bulldog, Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Jack Russell Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Bull Terrier, Pekingese, and Papillion (2). But with that said, even the smallest dog may be dangerous if not socialized.
- Cold-resistant snap buckle
- Available in six sizes
Reportedly recommended by veterinary experts and dog breeders, this high-quality and flexible muzzle should be able to prevent accidental openings with its extra security measures.
- Soft padding
- Lightweight material
- Refund and/or warranty policy unclear
- Couple of users stated that their dog was able to get out of it
When using a muzzle on your dog for the first time, especially one like this that wraps around, you may want to let him test it out at home. Get used to the feel of it. Try not to just abruptly put it on your dog and hope for the best.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, nearly 5 million Americans are bitten annually (3). The most common victims are children who rough-house with them.
So if your muzzle is needed because of something that can be controlled, consider helping your child understand how to interact with the shih tzu, in addition to dog training.
- Double adjustment of snout width and neck circumference
- Nylon mesh
- Layer of vinyl chloride resin for flexibility
This quick fit muzzle has adjustable straps to prevent biting and protection against accidental eating. Because shih tzus are small, they can too easily get into dangerous corners and under furniture, where you may have stored mouse poison, ant spray, etc.
- Breathable mesh material
- Wear-resistant material
- May have an initial odor that takes ventilation and several cleanings to get rid of
- Several dog owners confirmed their dogs got out of it, but it seems medium-sized dogs were more likely to
Pick and choose which color you want. There are eight to choose from.
If your dog is not a fan of the veterinarian, this is an easy-carry muzzle to secure onto your dog’s snout beforehand to make the visit far less uncomfortable. If your dog is not big on groomers, use it there too.
- Available in black and red
- Adjustable nylon
For a slightly looser fit, you can allow your dog to pant, eat treats, or drink water. If you want your dog to be less aggressive when it comes to wearing this muzzle, try giving him a treat ahead of time so he can affiliate wearing it with positive reinforcement.
- Easy to clean
- Side release buckle for extra security
- Refund, replacement, and/or warranty is unclear
- Although it fit one user’s dog, it sat too high on the dog’s eyelids, resulting in him blinking repeatedly
Whether you want to gently wipe it or put it in the washing machine, it can easily be cleaned. Be careful with the buckles though if used with more delicate materials such as brass. You may want to use a mesh bag for one or the other.
What is it that makes people so confident that their dogs won’t bite? It turns out a solid reputation and no signs that the dog is aggressive are surefire signs that this is a reasonable belief.
But as with every dog—before they bite—there are usually signs that you’re putting yourself at risk. Some of the most simple things to be aware of include not messing with a dog’s food while she’s eating, taking care of her puppies, and/or sleeping.
- Sheath-style cloth
- Quick-release buckle
- Nylon fabric
If your shih tzu is a barker or a bit on the rambunctious side, this muzzle may help. If your dog can be an anxious biter, this helps avoid that, too. This chafe-free piping is both soft and adjustable, which makes it easy to use and efficient.
- Easy to wash
- Refund and/or warranty option unclear
- Not ideal for long walks
Sheath-style cloth muzzles should not be worn for more than 20 minutes, which is just fine for a shih tzu’s exercise regiment. But in the case that you decide to walk longer anyway, consider a leather strap or maybe metal basket muzzle option instead.
If you previously had a dog who was more rambunctious and loved to play games like Tug-of-War, etc., try not to treat your shih tzu the same way.
Playing aggressively with your dog may result in accidental bites. While they are usually up for a brisk walk around the block, their idea of “playful” is not that of a more joyful, hyper play session commonly associated with bigger dogs such as Labrador Retrievers.
- Oxford fabric
- Mesh structure for maximum visibility
- Soft edge to protect eyes and nose from being rubbed
The average width of a shih tzu is somewhere between 10 to 14 inches, and this medium-version will fit necks ranging from 11 to 18.9 inches. This skin-friendly version is easy to clean and use as needed.
- Warranty and/or refund policy unclear
- While several users complained that it’s not meant for shih tzus, several more positive reviews specifically state it worked well for their shih tzus
This foldable muzzle is easy to store in your pocket and use as needed. This also makes it ideal for travel purposes.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding wearing a muzzle, but it doesn’t have to be. It is a good idea to know why your dog is expressing aggression. According to the American Cancer Society, a dog that is under stress or in pain (whether you can see it or not) may be more surprisingly aggressive than others.
Pay attention if your dog has drastically different behavior.
- Available in two colors (grey, orange)
- Available with and without eye holes
- Side release buckle
If you’ve tried a few different muzzles that were hard-to-fit, this one may be the most ideal for your short-snout dog. And your dog can still eat, drink and breathe comfortably behind it.
- Breathable mesh material
- Refund and/or warranty agreement unclear
- Check stitching to make sure it’s neat; one user said it was uncomfortable on his dog
What does your dog need eye holes for? The same reason you do. If you’re wearing a Halloween mask or even a winter ski mask, it helps to be able to fully see without a mesh cover over your eyes. This may help your dog feel more cooperative wearing this muzzle.
While dog training may help with a dog who loves to chew on everything on the ground, in the meantime, this muzzle may help. In an ideal world, saying “no” or “down” would work. But if your dog tends to ignore those commands, you may need to take extra precautions to avoid any dangerous food being picked up.
- Safety buckle
- Ventilated mesh structure
- Available in three colors (black, grey, blue)
This skin-friendly, nylon construction nuzzle is both durable and easy to wash as needed. No residue or marks should show up on your dog’s face either.
- Adjustable neck length
- Breathable material
- Refund, replacement, and/or warranty policy unclear
- Silky straps may be too easy for a dog to scratch off or rub off on the floor
In addition to your snacking shih tzu not picking up dirty food, this soft muzzle may also help you from having to pick other non-food out of your dog’s mouth, too. Any owner who has had to pull away paper, dirt, and even other dog feces knows how frustrating this can be.
Let’s say your family friend or neighbor has a dog in the next yard who loves to “say hi.” Should either of your dogs have had a bad altercation, both of you may want to consider a muzzle.
See how your dogs react around each other without an immediate threat of being bitten. And if your shih tzu is the aggressor who has bitten this dog before, that’s even more of a reason to use this muzzle.
- ABS material buckle
- Ventilation mesh
- Available in two colors (grey, orange)
This muzzle is easy to insert and release when you’re getting ready for your walk. Unlike other muzzles, this short snout muzzle widens in the chin area. This way, your dog can pant and have more freedom to move his tongue around.
- Adjustable buckle
- Breathable material
- Refund, replacement, and/or warranty policy not clear
- For a few users, the muzzle kept coming off
This muzzle gives your dog the option to still be able to see clearly through his eyes (in the eye holes), breathe, and eat as needed.
When you’re in the beginning stages of letting your dog get groomed, you may want to use a muzzle. Professional groomers are probably used to dealing with dogs of various temperaments. But if you’re dealing with an amateur groomer, better safe than sorry.
- Available in two colors (black, brown)
- Natural leather
- Metal buckle
Watch your dog closely with this leather muzzle around her mouth. Just as a leather jacket may collect on humid, sunny days, the same problem can happen with a leather muzzle. If your dog seems to be panting more or uncomfortable, consider a cooler, alternate option for hotter days.
- Adjustable straps
- Makes use of leftover leather (eco-friendly)
- No refund or warranty policy stated
- No option to eat or drink, which is common for some other softer and open versions
While plastic muzzles may be cheaper and cloth muzzles may be easier to clean, leather muzzles are about as sturdy and durable as leather leashes. Choose what works best for you.
Anytime you put anything over any living being’s mouth, expect there to be hesitation. You should be prepared for the dog to try to take the muzzle off no matter what.
Making sure it can breathe, be comfortable, and move around per usual are the demands that matter most. While some muzzles say they’re for shih tzus, it’s up to you to decide if this muzzle is for your particular dog.
- Webbing-reinforced construction
- Quick-release plastic buckle
Constructed of durable water and dirt-resistant nylon, having a softer muzzle like this may make it less of an annoyance for your dog to wear. As with any muzzle, make sure the fur around your dog’s snout and eyes is trimmed down.
If it’s not, that fur can inconveniently move up toward the eye area or around the nostril area and create discomfort. While this muzzle is designed to be softer and cozier than others, your dog’s grooming could change the experience, too.
- Eco-friendly material
- Fleece-soft comfort
- Currently only available from third parties
- Several users pointed out that padding is not on actual product; seller accused of false advertising in photographs
Unfortunately, this model is only available from third-party sellers at this time. However, for online users who regularly purchase from third-party, online sellers anyway, this should not be a problem.
Make sure to ask about the return policy (unclear on site) first since third-party sellers often have the option to choose no refunds or replacements.
While your shih tzu’s snout circumference size may differ slightly from general measurements, here’s a safe figure to work with—20 centimeters (7.9 inches) for a female’s nose circumference and 22 centimeters (8.8 inches) for a male’s nose circumference.
The snout width is 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) for a female’s snout width and 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) for a male’s snout width. And the snout height is 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) for a female’s snout height while a male’s snout height is 10 centimeters (3.9 inches).
Keep these measurements in mind for the 10 muzzles above. Of course, how your dog reacts to the muzzle will matter more than just making sure it “fits.” But choosing one that is both safe for your dog’s eyes and snout, and works correctly, is the larger goal.
While it would ideally just be a precaution accessory, you may want to consider initial (or additional) dog training should this muzzle become absolutely necessary during all walks and home visitors.
- AKC. Shih Tzu. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/shih-tzu/
- Guest Author, 2019. Dog Bite Statistics. https://www.caninejournal.com/dog-bite-statistics
- Tony McReynolds. 2019. New study identifies most damaging dog bites by breed.
Check out our ratings for the best muzzles for Shih Tzus.
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