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Shih Tzu: Frequently Asked Questions

What health problems do Shih Tzus have?

Although generally a healthy breed, Shih Tzus can suffer from certain hereditary and congenital health issues with allergies, hip dysplasia and breathing problems being high on the list. Being a brachycephalic breed, they are also prone to suffering from dental issues. Some other health concerns associated with the breed include the following:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) for which a test is available although not through the KC/BVA scheme
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Injuries to eyes
  • Hernias
  • Pinched nostrils and soft palates
  • Ear infections

How much does a Shih Tzu cost?

The Shih Tzu is among one of the most popular breeds in the UK and according to our Pets4Homes statistics, well-bred Kennel Club registered Shih Tzu puppies for sale can command around £770 on average, whilst non KC registered puppies average around £530. The other thing that puts the price of a Shih Tzu higher than some other breeds is that a high percentage of puppies need to be delivered by caesarean section, a procedure which must be carried in a veterinary surgery under sterile conditions which adds to the cost of Shih Tzu puppies.

How long do Shih Tzus live for?

Shih Tzus can live anything from 10 to 16 years with some dogs living for even longer when they are well cared for and fed an appropriate diet to suit their ages. However, some Shih Tzu’s may develop health issues during the course of their lives which can negatively impact their lifespans. Studies have established that their average lifespan is anything from 12 to 13 years.

Do Shih Tzu shed a lot

Shih Tzus have low shedding coats and unlike many other breeds, they have “hair” not fur which means they shed their coats much like a person sheds hair. Regular grooming sessions are needed to keep a Shih Tzu’s coat looking great and in good condition with frequent visits to a grooming parlour are a must. As such, they are higher maintenance on the grooming front and it can add to the cost of sharing a home with a Shih Tzu.

Are Shih Tzus a smart dog?

Shih Tzus are clever little dogs and they love to learn new things. The bad news is they are just as quick to learn a lot of bad habits too and if they are spoiled, they can develop “Small Dog Syndrome” making them harder to live with and handle. Although small in stature, they enjoy taking part in all sorts of canine sports which includes agility and obedience. They like being trained and are always eager to please which makes teaching them to do things great fun.

Is a Shih Tzu a hypoallergenic dog?

Although no breed is truly hypoallergenic because all dogs shed dander which can trigger an allergy in anyone who is susceptible to suffering from pet allergies. However, they are one of the best choices for people who do suffer from any sort of allergy because they have low shedding coats which are made up of hair rather than “fur”. With this said, it’s best to spend a little time around a Shih Tzu if you do suffer from allergies before finally deciding to share a home with one of these charming little dogs.

Are Shih Tzu puppies hard to train?

Although very smart, Shih Tzus can be stubborn when the mood takes them. This means training them can take a little more effort, time and patience than it does some other small breeds. However, with perseverance and because the Shih Tzu is a smart little dog, in the right hands, they can be taught to do all sorts of things with some dogs excelling at canine activities like agility and obedience.

Are Shih Tzu puppies hard to housetrain?

It can take up to 8 months to house train some Shih Tzu but eventually, they do get it right although there may be the odd accident every now and again. As such, their potty training has to begin early and owners must show a lot of patience and be prepared to clean up after their pets without getting angry with them which would just make matters worse.

Do Shih Tzus bark a lot?

Shih Tzus like to bark for just about any reason when the mood takes them. The good news is they can be taught not to voice an opinion just for the sake of it providing they are taught early enough when they are still puppies. With this said, some Shih Tzus just like to bark which can be a problem with neighbours.

Are Shih Tzus good family pets?

Shih Tzus make good family pets and enjoy being in a home environment. They thrive on human contact and hate being left on their own for too long which can see them suffering from separation anxiety which can lead to excessive barking and being destructive around the home.

Are Shih Tzus good around children

Although friendly by nature, Shih Tzus are better suited to families with older children rather than toddlers because when cornered or when they feel threatened in any way, a Shih Tzu will turn around and nip. Younger children can be a little too boisterous and pushy around a small dog so it’s best avoided. However, they are brilliant around older children.

Are Shih Tzus good around cats and other animals?

Shih Tzus are generally good around cats and other pets they have grown up with but should not be trusted around any animals and other pets they have never met before. They have a high prey drive and will happily chase anything that moves or tries to run away. Introductions to smaller pets must be done carefully and they should never be left unsupervised because it could end disastrously.

Looking for Further Shih Tzu Information and Advice?

Pets4Homes has a detailed Shih Tzu Information and Buying Advice page which is very useful for further reading and research if you already own or are looking to buy or adopt a shih tzu.


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