How long do Shih Tzu live?

shih tzu puppy

Who doesn’t love their pet and if it is a cute, elegant, and little lion-like dog Shih Tzu? But sadly our sweethearts can’t live as long as we, humans. An average life span of a Shih Tzu is 10-16 years. Moreover, older Shih Tzu can die earlier because of various heart diseases.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu, pronounced as Sheed Zoo, Sheet sue, or Shid Zoo, are smaller dog breeds with long, luxuriant, and straight hairs.

Surprisingly, it looks it someone has mixed lion’s mane, rabbit’s playfulness, cats naughtiness, jesters humor, ballerinas elegance, old man’s tiredness, the cuteness of teddy bear and rest dog and this is how a Shih Tzu was born.

Nicknames of Shih Tzu

 If we translated Shih Tzu’s name it will translate as a little lion. Well, this name suits him because of his long lion’s mane-like hair.

With its tied topknot hairs, it looks so elegant and royal, and that he only belongs to a palace. And this is the fact; Ancient Royal Chinese and Tibetan families kept and adore Shih Tzu as their royal pet.

It is also known as Chrysanthemum as face looks like one. With his hair growing in all directions and a nose in the center, it makes it look like petals and center.

Dog breed group

These Chrysanthemum-faced Dogs were bred by Tibetan monks for Chinese royalty as a present. They were destined to be loved and kept as companion dogs.

 Physical features

  • A Dog breeder uses imperial Shih Tzu and teacup Shih Tzu as a term to denote small and large Shih Tzu.
  • Average height of a Shih Tzu is around 9-10 inches tall and weighs around -16 pounds averagely.
  • Shih Tzu’s upper jaw is slightly wider than their upper, hence when they close their mouth their upper tooth goes inside the lower.
  • Shih Tzu comes in different colors including Gold, Light Brown. White, Black (yes, Black Shih Tzu), grey, Silver, etc.


Shih Tzu’s temperament is lively, active, and playful. Here are some common personality traits of a Shih Tzu.

  • Shih Tzu are good-natured and friendly dogs
  • They can easily adapt to apartment living
  • He can make a perfect family dog. They also love children but they should never be left alone with them as small children can harm them.
  • This doo breed will easily become your cuddling partner.
  • This do is highly sociable. They get along with everyone including kids, strangers, and other dogs. So he will make friends every time you take him out.
  • He loves attention and will love to be spoiled by your love.
  • They are hyperactive and need a lot of exercise.
  • They have a flat-shaped face and therefore are highly susceptible to heat.

shih tzu dog

How long does Shih Tzu live?

No matter which dog breed you ask, the answer depends on several factors, like, Breed size, genetics, Care, health concern, the breeder you brought your Shih Tzu.

Firstly, Size is important, it is a known fact that smaller dog breeds live longer than giant dog breeds.

Second, genetics plays an important role in a puppy’s overall health and life expectancy. A purebred Shih Tzu is recorded to live around 11 years.

The third is a health concern, Shih Tzu is prone to many health problems which we will discuss later in this article.

A Shih Tzu lives around 13 years on average. But they can their average life expectancy is around 10-16 years.

What is the oldest living Shih Tzu?

The oldest living Shih Tzu was a Shih Tzu named Smokey, who is said to be lived for 23 years old.

Currently, A Shih Tzu named Teddy holds the title of oldest living Shih Tzu.

Health issues

 Conformational defects: Conformation diseases are a health issue that arises because of body structure. A Shih Tzu short muzzle makes him prone to respiratory problems and heat strokes.

  • The other issue is Patellar luxation which means dislocation of the kneecap which causes severe pain.
  • Eye problem: Eye problems are a common issue with Shih Tzu because of their large bulging eyes. Some eye-related problems include:
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
  • Proptosis ( dislodged eyeball and eyelids clamp behind eyeballs)
  • Distichiasis (abnormal growth of eyelashes)
  • progressive retinal atrophy ( disease of the retinal visual cell)
  • Dry eye
  • Genetic diseases: genetic diseases are a disease which a Shih Tzu gets from his parentage. For instance, liver shunt in which blood doesn’t flow well in the liver.
  • Cancer: Cancer is another life-threatening disease that can decrease your Shih Tzu lifespan.
  • Other disease includes Hypothyroidism, Kidney failure, etc.

Tips to increase your Shih Tzu’s life span

With lots of love and care, you can surely expand your Shih Tzu’s lifespan. Here are some best and effective tips that can help you to increase your lifespan and avoid any kind of health problems.

  1. Never leave your Shih Tzu unsupervised :

No one will believe if I will say a Dog can fly. But if you are an owner of a Shih Tzu you certainly understand what I want to say.

A Shih Tzu can fly without wings. Every time your Shih Tzu is excited he will fearlessly jump from a high place. But it can injure them severely if he crashes onto something.

Therefore always be careful around them and try to hold them securely. Moreover, do some modifications to your house and lawn to protect them from crashing on something hard and dangerous.

  1. Take care of his Feeding habits:

A Shih Tzu can easily be overweighed. And obesity can be detrimental to your Shih Tzu overall health and life span.

No matter how cute those looks are, never let your Shih Tzu overeat, offer unhealthy treats. Just think about your dos health and don’t let him over-eat.

  1. Only filtered water:

Always use filtered water for your Shih Tzu to decrease toxins and harmful elements from his body.

  1. Regular Exercise:

Shih Tzu should always be properly exercised, but owners avoid exercising them during the afternoon or summer season. A proper exercise can help Shih Tzu in many ways:

  1. Increase Metabolism and lessen obesity
  2. Good for bones, helps to develop bone density in puppyhood, and prevents osteoporosis in Adulthood.
  3. Promotes skin health.
  4. Help in proper sleep
  5. Protect your house, furniture, and your belongings from destructive habits
  6. Spayed/Neutered:

Getting your dog spayed or Neutered can increase his lifespan and decrease his chances of getting fatal diseases. How?

  1. A spayed female Shih Tzu is prone to mammary cancer, ovarian infections, uterus disease, overheat, etc.
  2. And a neutered male Shih Tzu is protected from urogenital problems, testicular tumors, less aggressive, and lonely.
  3. Male or Female:

If you want your Shih Tzu to stay aside for a long time, then go for a female over a male, as female Shih Tzu lives 1.4 years longer than a male Shih Tzu.

4. Regular Vet checkup:

Regular vet checks can decrease the chances of your Shih Tzu getting a disease. Moreover, if your dog is unfortunately sick he can be treated on time and diseases are less fatal if caught early and treated accordingly. This can ensure his longevity.

5. Keep him out of the heat:

A Shih Tzu is prone to heatstroke and can get easily overheated. Therefore special care should be taken of your Shih Tzu in the summer season or if you live in a tropical country. They should never be exercised around the afternoon and should be kept in a cool room