How to Trim a Dog's Tail

10 - 15 Minutes
6 Weeks


Don’t ignore your dog’s tail when grooming. His tail sees as more of the ground than his nose. It can become matted, tangled, and filthy. Make sure to add tail grooming to your regimen whether you are bathing or trimming or simply brushing. Dogs with short tails or short fur on their tails won't require a whole lot of care, but dogs with long fur and fluffy tails will require regular brushing as well as trimming. While you're grooming your dog's tail, don't forget to trim the fur around your dog's sanitary area. This will keep feces out of your dog's fur and off of your floors and furniture. That particular fur can be cut very short while still keeping much of the tail long and fluffy if you wish. 

Dog's Perspective

The fur on your dog’s tail tangles quite easily. This may cause some problems with comfort during brushing or trimming. This is typically a pretty sensitive area, so be gentle when you are combing or brushing through any knots or tangles. Some dogs don't like their tails to be touched because they don't have a whole lot of control over how to address somebody or something touching them from behind. Ease any tension with treats and a soft, soothing tone while talking to your dog during tail grooming.

Caution & Considerations

  • The tail is often ignored in home grooming sessions. Your dog's tail is often the dirtiest part of your dog because it makes contact with the ground more often than anything other than his paws.
  •  When you brush your dog on a daily or weekly basis, be sure to include brushing the tail as part of this grooming process.
  •  You may not need to trim your dog's tail every single time you groom him, however, do brush his tail every time you brush him.
  •  You can cut the fur short on the very bottom at the base of the tail to help keep any feces out of that long fur. Just don't make that area too large at the bottom of the tail, or it will be obvious your dog has a big bald spot.
  • If you're cutting the fur at the tip of your dog's tail, be sure you know where his tailbone is so you do not accidentally cut skin or bone.
  •  When you groom your dog's tail it is a good time to groom his sanitary areas as well. When grooming his backside, keep the fur short to help keep poop out of the fur but do not cut too close to the skin.


Leave the backside for the end of your grooming session, but don't leave out the tail. Brush out and trim your dog's fluffy end and give him a furtastically beautiful tail. Create a long and luscious tail by brushing on a regular basis and giving that fluff a good trim. Bring shape to your dog's tail with a fancy arc and watch him wag!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Shih Tzu
3 Years
0 found helpful
0 found helpful
Shih Tzu
3 Years

Should you ever cut his tail very.,very short?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. The style of the tail is up to you - if you are trimming the tail yourself, be very careful not to nick the skin. Take it slowly - trim a little and gradually trim more once you see how the first attempt looks. This article has everything you need to know about trimming a Shih Tzu's tail. There are lots of details. All the best!

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