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How Much Does A Shih Tzu Cost?

For most dog lovers, the first online encounter with the exotic breed that is the Shih Tzu involves floor-length fur and cute little bows. These dogs are stinking cute and they have personalities that are just as endearing. The breed was developed in Tibet but has become globally popular especially among toy dog breed enthusiasts.

Buying a Shih Tzu from a breeder will cost between $750 to $2,500. However, prized bloodlines and unique coat colors could cost you up to $10,000. This makes them among the most expensive small dog breeds on the market. They are also relatively pricey in terms of maintenance costing about $1,180 to $2,570 yearly in terms of grooming, training, medical care, and food.

Clearly, Shih Tzus can be expensive to buy and raise. Is it worth it? Here is more about what makes them so costly and what you have to look forward to from your investment.

Are Shih Tzu Puppies Expensive?

Shih Tzu puppies cost on average from $750 to $2,500 with most breeders.

However, Shih Tzus bred from prized bloodlines are way more expensive going for $10,000 or even more. Unfortunately, they are not very common so your chances of getting one free or for much less from a rescue shelter are not very great.

So why is it that Shih Tzu puppies are so expensive? Here are some of the potential reasons.

They Are Great Pets

Shih Tzus are great companion pets. Whether you are looking for a first time pooch or for a family doggy, these little, bubbly balls of fur will always be a great pick. As a result, they are in very high demand especially for fans of smaller dogs.

They Have A Unique Aesthetic

Shih Tzus are cute. There is no fighting that. Whether you let their fur grow out or have it trimmed, they are always adorable. This may seem insignificant but it is one of the biggest determinants of popularity and demand which is why the doggies can be so pricey.

They Are Generally Popular

Finally, their actual popularity in general could be the reasons why these dogs are so expensive. They were actually ranked the 20th most popular dog in 2019 the American Kennel Club. This popularity is due to both obvious and inexplicable reasons. 

In addition to the high purchase price, you will have to spend between $1180 and $2570 on yearly maintenance. Shih Tzus are relatively high maintenance mainly due to their coat and their special health needs.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Shih Tzu?

The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu is 10 to 16 years.

However, when healthy and well taken care of they have been known to live for much longer. A great example in this case is Smokey the Shih Tzu who lived up to 23 years.

Most of their health issues manifest when the Shih Tzu is fully grown which is at around 9 t0 12 months. Here are a few that you may have to deal with.

Breathing Problems

One of the main reasons why the Shih Tzu is so heart meltingly cute is their flat faces. However, this brachycephalic structure comes with a world of problems.

The most important are breathing difficulties. In fact severe cases could result in respiratory distress and general poor quality of life for the doggy.

Eye Injuries

Another common issue associated with their flat faces is eye injury. This is because their big eyes are more exposed, lacking the protection that a longer snout and more protruded forehead would offer.


This is a psychological condition that manifests with the Shih Tzu eating their poop. It could be due to a number of reasons mainly stress, nutritional deficiency, or even boredom. It should definitely be discouraged especially if they are also eating other dogs’ poop which could result in worm infestations.


A good weight range for an adult Shih Tzu is 8 to 18 lbs. This depends on a number of factors including the diet, activity level, and gender.

Due to their high appetites and tendency to be lazy, Shih Tzus are at risk of becoming obese. Regular exercise and healthy portions are all you need to prevent this from happening.

How To Take Care Of Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus may be expensive to keep happy and healthy but they are not necessarily high maintenance in terms of effort investments. To give you an idea what you are in for, here are all the general care needs you need to factor in.

Get Them On A Healthy Diet

Shih Tzus need a healthy balanced diet for their health and wellbeing. We recommend Pet Plate if you want to feed your Shih Tzu the best quality food there is. The meal plans are customized and include fruits, vegetables, and very high quality sources of meat.

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Quantity Is As Important As Quality In The Diet

In addition to figuring out what your Shih Tzu should and should not eat, you also have to know how much they can eat in a day.

Ideally, you should feed them ¾ to 1 cup of food every day when they are adults. This should be spread out over 2 to 3 meals per day depending on the dog’s activity levels and schedule.

Incorporate Multivitamins Supplements

As with most other small dogs, Shih Tzus tend to have musculoskeletal issues. These include intervertebral disc disease, hip and shoulder dysplasia, and even arthritis.

Multivitamin supplements come in particularly handy for these and many other health issues that the dog may have.

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Keep The Shih Tzu Occupied

While these doggies are typically very lively, they have a lazy side and will do nothing all day if allowed to get away with it. It is therefore very important to keep them active by investing in toys and play time.

Do Shih Tzus Like To Cuddle? Temperament Of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are widely considered to be lap dogs and with their temperament traits it is not so hard to understand why. Here’s what they are like once they get home and get comfortable.


Where these doggies lack in size they more than make up for in terms of loyalty. They form very strong bonds especially with humans that play with or feed them the most. And once you get on a Shih Tzu’s good side, there is no going back.


These doggies are also quite affectionate. They will not hesitate to initiate cuddles or play time when they get comfortable with you. They even demonstrate this same level of affection and clinginess to strangers who do not seem threatening.


Shih Tzu dogs tend to bark a lot.

This can be quite annoying to you and your neighbors especially if you live in a small apartment setting. The bright side is that this trait comes in handy if you want to keep the dog as a watchdog.


Shih Tzus are very friendly and outgoing dogs. Do not be surprised if your pooch is the life of the party at the doggy day care or the pooch park. They are particularly social if they have been exposed to new people and pets from an early age.


You should never leave a Shih Tzu for more than 4 to 6 hours maximum. They thrive on company and may develop separation anxiety when left alone for very long.

Mistrusting Of Strangers

While Shih Tzus can be very friendly with strangers, they are more often than not mistrusting. In fact they will bark at and even charge at humans they deem suspicious.

This is why Shih Tzus are sometimes thought of as being aggressive and mean. Fortunately, socialization is all you need to solve the issue.


It costs about $150 to $200 for about 2 to 4 weeks of professional training for a Shih Tzu. This is because they are not always easy to train due to their stubborn nature. You could save a lot by doing the training yourself in which case we recommend the Brain Training for Dogs program. It works wonders whether you want to generally housebreak or potty train your Shih Tzu.

[SPOTLIGHT] Develop the “Hidden Intelligence” in your pooch. Eliminate bad behaviors to nurture dear Fido into pets you love and not nuisance you hate
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Can I Groom My Shih Tzu Myself? Grooming Tips For Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are known for their long, beautiful coats. If allowed to grow out, they can reach past the level of the paws. This could look intimidating as far as grooming is concerned.

However, Shih Tzus actually do not shed much.

In fact, they are considered hypoallergenic dogs. Your job as far as grooming is therefore not going to be too hard. You could also get it done professionally for $50 to $100 per session depending on the length of the coat and the specific grooming you want done.

For DIY care, here are a few tips that should help you figure things out:

Establish A Grooming Routine

Shih Tzus should be brushed 3 to 4 times every week. This is mainly to help prevent matting especially with very long-haired doggies. They should also get a bath every 6 to 12 weeks. It is entirely up to you to find the schedule that best works for you and your dog.

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Get That Mane Under Control

For the most part, only Shih Tzus bred for shows and competitions have fur grown out to ground length. While it is super cute, it may not always be the most practical option.

It is therefore important to schedule regular trimming to make the coat neater and easier to manage. Again, this is entirely up to you depending on your preferences.

Find A Style That Suits Your Pooch’s Personality

Finding the best hairstyle for your Shih Tzu is always fun as they are very versatile in terms of aesthetics. You can have them rock a shaggy mane or invest in professional grooming for a super cute teddy bear cut.

Whatever you go for, they will no doubt look incredibly cute.

Related Questions

What Is The Rarest Color Shih Tzu? The rarest color for a Shih Tzu is solid black. While it is quite an edgy and cool look for the dog, it is unfortunately super uncommon due to the recessive nature of the genes required for the trait. This means that two solid black Shih Tzus need to mate in order to produce black puppies.

Is A Male Or Female Shih Tzu Better? Male Shih Tzus are more popular when it comes to temperament. They tend to be very affectionate and social, and are also known to be more loyal to their human companions. However, females also have a lot to offer. They may take a bit more time to open up but with love and care are every bit as loving and friendly.

How Long Do Teacup Shih Tzus Live? A teacup Shih Tzu can live for 10 to 16 years when kept safe and healthy. This is quite similar to the full-sized version despite teacups not exceeding 2.5 lbs. This is because despite the small size, they are more or less the same as regular Shih Tzus in terms of health issues.

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