Shih Tzu features
Usually very small dogs, fully grown they are roughly 27cm in height.
The typical weight of a fully grown Shih Tzu ranges from 4.5-7.5kg.
10 years, though this figure varies.
Black and white, brindle, brindle and white, gold and white, gold brindle, gold brindle and white, gold with black mask, grey and white, solid black, and solid gold.
A short, dense undercoat with a long, silky topcoat. While shedding is minimal, they’ll lose more hair during autumn and spring.
Affectionate, playful and outgoing. A little stubborn and have a relatively short attention span. They can suffer with separation anxiety. You can learn how to deal with it here.
What conditions do Shih Tzus suffer from?
Shih Tzus have a few common health problems. Ensure the breeder has carried out any necessary health tests before buying a puppy.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
BOAS makes breathing difficult, and dogs who suffer from it struggle even with gentle exercise. Surgery is sometimes necessary to open the airway. Flat-faced dogs can suffer from this.
This can be a problem with Shih Tzus due to overcrowding of teeth in their short jaws. Read our article on dental insurance for dogs if you need more information.
A hormone disorder in which the body produces too much cortisol. Lifelong medication manages the condition.
These include dry eye (which produces a lack of tears), cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and retinal detachment, which can lead to blindness.
Problems can include allergies and atopic dermatitis.
A condition in which the kidney does not develop properly and leads to failure at a young age.
Shih Tzus have a long back and short legs, which means they’re prone to back issues like slipped discs.
This list isn't exhaustive. Regular visits to the vet will help pick up these conditions early.
How to keep a Shih Tzu healthy
Research the breeder
To keep your puppy healthy, always ensure the breed carries out all health tests for both parents before they mate. The tests include:
- general veterinary health check
- hip and elbow scoring
- eye testing
- inherited disease/DNA testing
- deafness testing
- respiratory function
Always follow the advice of your vet. This’ll give your Shih Tzu the best start in life.
Feed them correctly
Pick good-quality, complete food, and don’t feed them too much.
Give them proper exercise
Exercise them regularly. Their flat-faced nature makes breathing difficult in hot conditions, so exercise them in the early morning or late evening on hot days.
Give them annual health checks
It’s a good idea for your Shih Tzu to have an annual health check with your vet so that any issues can be picked up early.
Most owners combine this with their pet's yearly vaccination boosters.
remember insurance doesn't typically cover routine visits. - remind yourself about what vet bills insurers cover.
Living with a Shih Tzu
How to train/exercise a Shih Tzu
An adult Shih Tzu needs up to an hour of exercise each day. Try to split into two or three shorter walks rather than one long one, with plenty of time for sniffing along the way.
As mentioned, due to being a flat-faced breed, you shouldn’t exercise Shih Tzus on hot days as there’s a risk of them overheating. Try to exercise them earlier or later in the day; if this isn’t possible, give your dog a mental workout indoors using games, training or puzzle feeders.
Shih Tzus are intelligent and friendly, making them relatively easy to train despite being a little headstrong at times. Start training as early as possible.
They respond best to positive reinforcement training, which uses rewards instead of punishment. Speak to your vet if you want local dog trainers or training classes.
How to feed a Shih Tzu
Feed your Shih Tzu good-quality, complete food.
The amount of food depends on a dog’s size and life stage, so follow the guidelines given on the food packaging or consult your vet.
Rather than feeding one big meal a day, vets say it is better to split a dog’s daily allowance into two or more small meals to spread their energy intake.
It’s important to monitor your Shih Tzu’s weight so they stay healthy. Overweight or obese dogs are at a much higher risk of developing conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
You can read more about insurance for overweight pets.
Remember to factor in treats when calculating how much your dog eats per day.
How to groom a Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus take a lot of effort to maintain. They’ll need daily brushing to remove knots and matting.
Keep your dog’s fur clipped unless you intend to take yours to shows. We recommend taking your Shih Tzu every 6-8 weeks.
The hair around a Shih Tzu’s mouth and nose should be trimmed to help keep it clean as food can get trapped. Trapped food can make their skin sore and lead to infection.
What information do I need for a dog insurance quote?
To get a dog insurance quote, we just need:
Your Shih Tzu's details
- purchase or donation price
- spay or neuter status
- date of birth
- email address
- phone number
- preferred policy start date
Get a Shih Tzu quote
Stay prepared by giving your Shih Tzu cover with our pet insurance.
If you're not sure which cover is best for your dog, then read our post on how to choose.