Shih-Tzu Companion Guide

Companion Animal Guide
helping you find your new best friend


A Shih-Tzu is a good companion for:

Children under 5
Children ages 5–11
Busy People
Rural Homes

Life Span

Generally, the life span for a Shih-Tzu is up to 15 years with proper care.

Typical Behavior

Shih-Tzu are great family dogs due to their spunky, energetic and hardy personalities. A Shih-Tzu will make friends with most people, but will alert the family to any strangers with their loud, high-pitched bark.

Shih-Tzu love to please their owners, but tend to be hard to housebreak. Working with them on a daily basis will help develop their understanding of the household rules and help them learn more quickly. These little dogs will end up ruling the house if you do not train them properly.

Care Requirements

Shih-Tzu require daily grooming due to their long hair and woolly undercoat. Brushing them with a bristle brush will help to keep mats off their fur, which can be very painful if proper attention is not given. Many owners keep their Shih-Tzu trimmed to help reduce the daily maintenance needed.

Shih-Tzu have sensitive eyes. It is important to wipe the eyes every day and make sure the hair isn’t growing into the eye area. Like the eyes, it is important to maintain Shih-Tzu ears by keeping them clean and keeping hair trimmed away from the ear passage. There are special drops you can purchase from your veterinarian to help maintain Shih-Tzu ear canals.

SPCA International strongly recommends that you have your dog spayed or neutered. There continues to be serious overpopulation of companion animals for which permanent homes cannot be found. This means that every year, millions of animals are euthanized in shelters before they have the chance to live a full and happy life.

Proper Habitat and Habitat Maintenance Requirements

Shih-Tzu are great indoor dogs and do well in apartments. However, they do need to get out and stretch their legs and a daily walk is always recommended – especially if you do not have a yard.

Shih-Tzu are prone to heat exhaustion and require special attention in the summer months to keep them cool.

Dietary Requirements

A high quality dog food is recommended for your Shih-Tzu. It is important to choose a food designed for small dogs with smaller pieces of kibble soft enough for your Shih-Tzu to chew.

Financial Considerations for a Shih-Tzu:


Regular veterinary care is recommended for all dogs, including Shih-Tzu. A yearly check up runs approximately $120; year shots are approximately $60.

It is also strongly recommended that your dog be spayed or neutered. At your veterinarian clinic or local animal hospital, the cost for these services should run between $250 and $400 for a spay and $200 and $350 for a neuter. If you need financial assistance, there are low-cost spay and neuter clinics in most areas that will help you defray the expense to between $50 and $175 for a female dog (depending on weight) and between $45 and $175 for a male dog (depending on weight).


Shih-Tzu need to be groomed regularly. You can do it yourself at home or you can find a veterinarian or groomer in your area. The estimated cost for grooming a Shih-Tzu is between $30 and $50, at least once a month.

Animal Sitter

Shih-Tzu are very friendly and will adapt to most situations. Finding a sitter should be easy. If you need to take your Shih-Tzu to a boarding facility, it will usually cost $25 per day depending on the services you request.


A high quality food can cost $12 to $25 per bag.

Other Supplies:

Shih-Tzu love toys. Providing them with a variety will help them stay active while you are not home.

Interesting Facts about Shin-Tzu:

  • Shih-Tzu are community dogs and need the companionship of other animals or people.
  • Regardless of size, Shih-Tzu are very sturdy dogs that love to run and play.
  • Shih-Tzu are known to be risk-takers and are not afraid of anything.
  • Shih-Tzu have been known to take on the personality traits of their owners.