Shih Tzu: A Guide to the Breed, Lifespan, and Care of the Beloved Dog

Do you ever wonder how long your Shih Tzu will be by your side? Well, you’re in luck!

In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of Shih Tzu life spans. From the leading causes of their lifespan to the common problems they face, we’ll cover it all.

So, grab a cup of tea, sit back, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about how long your furry companion can stick around.

Key Takeaways

  • Responsible breeding practices and proper care can contribute to a longer Shih Tzu lifespan.
  • Respiratory issues are a common health problem in Shih Tzus, which can affect their longevity.
  • With proper care and attention, Shih Tzus have the potential to live up to 20 years.
  • Senior Shih Tzus require adjustments in diet, exercise, and a comfortable living environment to ensure a happy and comfortable life.


If you’re wondering about the average life span of a Shih Tzu, you’ve come to the right place. As a responsible Shih Tzu owner, it’s important to understand the grooming tips and exercise requirements for this adorable breed.

When it comes to grooming, the Shih Tzu requires regular maintenance to keep their long, luxurious coat in top condition. Daily brushing is essential to prevent tangles and matting. You should also consider scheduling regular visits to a professional groomer for trimming and shaping. Additionally, pay attention to their eyes, as they’re prone to tear stains. Use a damp cloth or specialized tear stain solution to keep their eyes clean and clear.

In terms of exercise, it’s important to remember that Shih Tzus aren’t high-energy dogs. They’ve moderate exercise requirements and are generally content with short walks or play sessions indoors. However, it’s still important to provide them with regular physical activity to maintain their overall health and prevent obesity. Engage them in interactive play with toys or consider incorporating mental stimulation through puzzle toys or training sessions.

Remember, each Shih Tzu is unique, and their grooming and exercise needs may vary. It’s crucial to observe your dog’s behavior and adjust their routine accordingly. Regular grooming and exercise not only contribute to their physical well-being, but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.

The typical lifespan of a Shih Tzu

o understand the average life span of a Shih Tzu, you should be aware of certain factors that can influence their longevity. One important factor is the breeding of the Shih Tzu. Responsible breeding practices can help ensure that the dog is healthy and free from genetic diseases that could potentially shorten their lifespan. It’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.

Another factor that can impact a Shih Tzu’s life span is their diet. Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and longevity. A high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs is recommended. It’s important to avoid overfeeding and to monitor their weight to prevent obesity, as this can lead to various health issues and reduce their life expectancy.

Now, let’s transition to the next section, which is about the leading cause of health issues in Shih Tzus. Understanding this cause is crucial in ensuring the well-being and longevity of these beloved dogs.

Shih tzus are most commonly affected by this.

One common cause that can significantly impact a Shih Tzu’s health and longevity is their susceptibility to respiratory issues. These adorable little dogs have a unique facial structure with a short muzzle and large, round eyes, which can make them prone to various respiratory problems. It’s essential for Shih Tzu owners to be aware of these health problems and take necessary precautions to ensure their pet’s well-being.

Here are some key factors that contribute to respiratory issues in Shih Tzus:

  • Brachycephalic syndrome: Shih Tzus, like other brachycephalic breeds, have a compressed airway due to their short snout. This can lead to breathing difficulties, snoring, and even collapse of the airway in severe cases.
  • Allergies: Shih Tzus are known to be sensitive to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and certain foods. Allergies can cause inflammation in the respiratory tract, leading to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
  • Respiratory infections: Shih Tzus are susceptible to various respiratory infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis. These infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi and can significantly impact their overall health.
  • Heat intolerance: Due to their brachycephalic syndrome, Shih Tzus have a harder time regulating their body temperature. They’re more prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be life-threatening.

Considering these factors, it’s crucial for Shih Tzu owners to be vigilant and proactive in maintaining their pet’s respiratory health. Regular veterinary check-ups, proper grooming, a clean environment, and avoiding exposure to allergens can help prevent or manage respiratory issues in Shih Tzus.

Do shih tzus live 20 years?

Shih Tzus can have a lifespan of up to 20 years with proper care and attention throughout their lives. While it is not typical for Shih Tzus to live for 25 years, they can have a longer lifespan under favorable conditions. There are various factors that can influence the lifespan of a Shih Tzu.

First and foremost, genetics play a significant role in determining the lifespan of a Shih Tzu. Some dogs are simply born with stronger genes that allow them to live longer. It’s important to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and longevity of their breeding dogs.

Another crucial factor is the overall health and well-being of the Shih Tzu. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary care are essential for maintaining good health. Providing your Shih Tzu with a nutritious diet that meets their specific needs will help prevent certain health conditions that can shorten their lifespan.

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In addition to physical health, mental stimulation and social interaction are also important for a Shih Tzu’s well-being. They’re social animals and thrive on human companionship. Spending quality time with your Shih Tzu, providing them with mental stimulation through training and interactive play, can contribute to their overall happiness and longevity.

Lastly, environmental factors also play a role in a Shih Tzu’s lifespan. Providing a safe and comfortable living environment, free from excessive heat or cold, can help prevent certain health issues that can shorten their lifespan.

What is the typical age considered old for a Shih Tzu?

As your Shih Tzu ages, it’s important to understand what’s considered old for them in terms of their health and well-being. Taking proper care of your senior Shih Tzu is crucial to ensure they have a happy and comfortable life.

Here are some key points to consider when it comes to the health concerns and senior care for your aging Shih Tzu:

  • Regular Vet Check-ups: Make sure to schedule regular visits to the veterinarian to monitor your Shih Tzu’s overall health and address any issues that may arise.
  • Diet and Nutrition: As your Shih Tzu gets older, their dietary needs may change. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your senior Shih Tzu, considering their specific health conditions and any weight management concerns.
  • Exercise and Mental Stimulation: While older Shih Tzus may not have the same energy levels as when they were younger, it’s still important to provide them with regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them active and engaged.
  • Grooming and Hygiene: Pay extra attention to your senior Shih Tzu’s grooming needs. Regular brushing, dental care, and nail trims are essential to maintain their overall health and prevent any potential issues.

By being proactive and attentive to your senior Shih Tzu’s health concerns and providing them with the necessary senior care, you can help ensure they live a happy and comfortable life in their golden years.

Now, let’s move on to the next section where we’ll explore the topic of ‘how long do indoor Shih Tzu live’ and provide you with more insights into their lifespan.

What is the average lifespan of an indoor shih tzu?

When considering the lifespan of an indoor Shih Tzu, it is important to take into account factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall care. Indoor Shih Tzus typically have a longer lifespan than those who live outdoors because they are exposed to fewer harsh weather conditions and potential accidents. There are various factors that can impact the lifespan of your indoor Shih Tzu.

Genetics play a significant role in determining the lifespan of any dog breed, including the Shih Tzu. Some Shih Tzus may be predisposed to certain genetic health conditions that can impact their overall lifespan. It is essential to choose a reputable breeder who focuses on breeding healthy dogs with a longer life expectancy.

A proper diet and nutrition are important for the well-being and longevity of your indoor Shih Tzu. A balanced diet, which includes high-quality dog food with essential nutrients, can help prevent obesity and decrease the likelihood of certain health conditions that may shorten their lifespan.

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and promoting overall wellness. Indoor Shih Tzus may require less exercise compared to their outdoor counterparts, but it is still important to engage them in daily activities to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Lastly, providing proper care and attention to your indoor Shih Tzu can significantly impact their lifespan. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, grooming, and dental care are all essential aspects of their overall well-being.

In summary, while there is no exact number to quantify the lifespan of an indoor Shih Tzu, taking into consideration these factors can contribute to a healthier and longer life for your beloved pet.

Factors Affecting Shih Tzu Lifespan
Diet and Nutrition
Overall Care

Shih tzus are more prone to health issues.

Shih Tzus can experience a variety of health problems throughout their lives. It’s important to be aware of these potential issues so you can provide the best care for your furry friend. Here are some common health problems that shih tzus may face:

  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: Due to their flat faces, shih tzus can have difficulty breathing which can lead to respiratory problems.
  • Eye Problems: Shih tzus are prone to various eye conditions such as cataracts, corneal ulcers, and dry eye.
  • Dental Issues: The compact size of their mouths can cause dental problems like overcrowding and tooth decay if proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained.
  • Skin Allergies: Shih tzus are susceptible to allergies, which can cause itching, rashes, and hot spots.

These health issues can affect the lifespan of a shih tzu. Some factors that can impact their overall health and lifespan include genetics, diet, exercise, and the quality of care they receive. Regular visits to the veterinarian, a balanced diet, and providing them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can help minimize the occurrence of health problems and prolong their life.

Now that you have an understanding of the potential health issues shih tzus may face, let’s explore the most common problem with this breed in the next section.

Shih Tzus often experience common health issues.

One common problem with Shih Tzus is that they can develop respiratory issues due to their brachycephalic airway. This means that their airway is shorter and narrower than in other breeds, which can lead to difficulty breathing. It is important to be aware of this potential issue and take steps to manage it.

Common Health Issues Grooming Tips
Respiratory Issues Regular Brushing
Eye Problems Bathing
Dental Disease Ear Cleaning
Skin Allergies Nail Trimming
Luxating Patella Teeth Brushing

Respiratory issues in Shih Tzus can range from mild to severe. Some dogs may have difficulty breathing, especially when exercising or in hot weather. They may also snore, wheeze, or have a chronic cough. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

In addition to respiratory issues, Shih Tzus are also prone to other common health issues. Eye problems, such as dry eye or corneal ulcers, can occur in this breed. Regular eye exams and proper eye care are essential for maintaining their eye health.

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Dental disease is another common concern for Shih Tzus. Their small mouths and crowded teeth make them more susceptible to plaque and tartar buildup. Regular dental cleanings and daily teeth brushing can help prevent dental issues and maintain good oral hygiene.

Shih Tzus are also prone to skin allergies, which can cause itching, redness, and discomfort. Regular grooming, including bathing and brushing, can help keep their skin clean and reduce the risk of allergies.

Lastly, luxating patella, a condition where the kneecap slips out of place, can affect Shih Tzus. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent this condition.

The life stages of a shih tzu include various phases.

As your Shih Tzu grows and develops, you may wonder what the different life stages of a Shih Tzu are. Understanding these stages can help you provide the best care for your furry friend.

Here are the life stages of a Shih Tzu:

  • Puppyhood: During this stage, your Shih Tzu is full of energy and curiosity. They’re learning about the world around them and may require extra attention and training.
  • Adolescence: As your Shih Tzu enters adolescence, they may start testing boundaries and asserting their independence. This stage can be challenging, but with consistent training and socialization, your Shih Tzu will grow into a well-behaved adult.
  • Adulthood: In this stage, your Shih Tzu is fully matured both physically and mentally. They’re typically more settled and calmer than in their younger years. However, they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy.
  • Senior years: As your Shih Tzu enters their golden years, they may start to slow down and experience age-related health issues. It’s important to provide them with a comfortable and safe environment, regular vet check-ups, and a balanced diet to support their aging bodies.

In addition to understanding the different life stages of a Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to address their grooming and exercise requirements. Shih Tzus have long, flowing coats that require regular brushing and grooming to prevent matting and keep them looking their best. They also benefit from daily exercise, such as short walks or playtime, to maintain a healthy weight and keep their muscles strong. Remember to tailor the grooming and exercise routine to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs, as individual dogs may have different requirements.

Shih Tzu may experience changes as they age.

When your Shih Tzu reaches old age, their health and well-being may become more fragile, but you can still provide them with love and care to ensure their comfort and happiness. Taking care of an elderly Shih Tzu requires a few adjustments in their daily routine and a keen observation of any signs of aging they may exhibit. Here are some essential aspects of elderly Shih Tzu care and signs of aging in Shih Tzu:

Elderly Shih Tzu Care Signs of Aging in Shih Tzu Importance of Veterinary Check-ups
Provide a comfortable and warm environment Gray hair around the face and body Regular check-ups help identify any health issues early on
Adjust their diet to meet their changing nutritional needs Decreased activity levels and energy Proper medical care can address any age-related conditions
Regular exercise to keep them active and maintain muscle tone Joint stiffness and difficulty in movement Ensure proper medication and treatment for pain management
Maintain good oral hygiene Hearing and vision loss Monitor their overall well-being and quality of life

How long do Shih Tzu Dog usually live?

If you properly care for your Shih Tzu, they can live a relatively long and healthy life. Shih Tzus are known for their longevity compared to other breeds, often living between 10 to 16 years. However, it’s important to note that individual Shih Tzus may vary in terms of their lifespan.

Here are some key factors that can influence the lifespan of your Shih Tzu:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular visits to the vet can help detect and address any potential health issues early on, ensuring your Shih Tzu receives proper care and treatment.
  • Proper nutrition: Providing your Shih Tzu with a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for their overall health and longevity. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet plan for your furry friend.
  • To keep your Shih Tzu physically and mentally fit, make sure they get regular exercise and mental stimulation. This can include short walks and interactive playtime that cater to their specific breed needs.
  • Preventive care: Taking preventive measures, such as vaccinations, flea and tick control, and dental care, can help protect your Shih Tzu from common health issues and potentially extend their lifespan.

While Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs, they may be prone to certain health issues, including brachycephalic syndrome, allergies, eye problems, and dental problems. By being proactive in their care and addressing any health concerns promptly, you can help ensure your Shih Tzu lives a long and happy life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Shih Tzus Prone to Developing Any Specific Health Conditions?

Shih Tzus have a genetic predisposition to certain health conditions. They are prone to developing common issues like respiratory problems, dental issues, eye problems, allergies, and patellar luxation.

What Are the Common Signs of Aging in Shih Tzus?

As your Shih Tzu ages, you may notice graying fur, reduced energy levels, and changes in appetite. To ensure healthy aging, provide regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups.

Can Shih Tzus Live Longer With Proper Care and a Healthy Lifestyle?

With proper care and a healthy lifestyle, you can help your Shih Tzu live longer. Regular grooming and exercise are essential for their well-being. Taking these steps can greatly improve their quality of life.

Are There Any Specific Factors That Can Affect the Lifespan of a Shih Tzu?

Factors affecting the lifespan of your Shih Tzu can include genetics, diet, exercise, and healthcare. For example, if you feed your dog a balanced diet, take them for regular walks, and provide proper medical care, they may live longer.

Are There Any Tips or Recommendations to Help Increase the Life Expectancy of a Shih Tzu?

If you want to increase your Shih Tzu’s life expectancy, there are some tips you can follow. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and keeping them mentally stimulated can all contribute to a longer, healthier life.


Congratulations on completing the article on Shih Tzu life span! Now you know that these adorable dogs can live up to 20 years, but it’s important to be aware of common health issues they may face.

Remember, as they age, they may require extra care and attention. Just like a delicate flower, cherish and nurture your Shih Tzu throughout their long and beautiful journey of life.

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