How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost? (2023 Average Pricing Guide)

How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost? (2023 Average Pricing Guide)

Last Updated on February, 2023

Do you LOVE Shih Tzu dogs? Would you like to adopt one but don’t know the prices for the breed or their upkeep? 

Most people buy dogs without understanding the expenditure that goes into maintaining them. It can be disheartening and stressful to realize you got more expenses than you bargained for.

Another problem is where to find Shih Tzu puppies and the process of buying them. As an extremely popular dog, the Shih Tzu can be pretty costly. Since it is a show dog, there can be unethical breeders who also try to sell low-priced puppies with health issues.

I will break down the cost of a Shih Tzu in this article and walk you through where to find quality puppies and the expenses for raising one.

Quick Summary

Shih Tzu’s cost can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of breeder, location, age, and quality of the dog.

An older Shih Tzu will generally be cheaper than a puppy. An adult dog is available for as low as $500.

Factors that can affect the cost of a Shih Tzu include breed type, quality/bloodline, age, health, and coloration.

How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost?

Shih Tzu standing on the ground

Let’s answer the question you came here for. How much does a Shih Tzu cost? Well, there is no straight answer; it depends on various factors.

They are generally expensive dogs since they make fantastic show dogs. However, the Shih tzu price range is quite vast for several reasons, such as the type of breeders, location, age, etc.

Shih Tzu dog

The older the dog, the lower the price.

Usually, an adult Shih Tzu will be cheaper than a puppy by atleast $200 to $500. You can get an adult dog of this breed for even $500. However, you should be wary if someone is selling even an adult Shih Tzu for less than $500, as it might be an unhealthy dog.

Shih Tzu Puppy

The average price of a Shih Tzu puppy is between $750 and $3,000. It depends on the pedigree and quality of the puppy.

Regarding the price of a Shih Tzu, everything is based on supply and demand.

Prices uaually are on the low end when considering the southern regions in countries like the United States, where there are many breeders, including small-scale breeders and major kennels. Shih Tzu puppies in these states may be available for as little as $500 to $700.

Shih Tzu puppy

However, prices are often on the high end in other places where few people do their own breeding. In this case, the price will start at $1,000 at least and go up from there.

Factors That Will Affect the Cost of Shih Tzu Dogs

Shih Tzu standing on the grass

Breed Type: A purebred Shih Tzu generally costs more than a mixed breed. However, when there are several purebred variants, some are bound to be more expensive than others. 

Usually, miniature-sized purebred Shih Tzus are atleast $500 to $1000 more expensive than the standard-sized ones. 

Quality/Bloodline: The cost will be substantially higher if the parents are show-quality dogs from a reputed breeder. Most reputable breeders spend more money on caring for their breeding dogs and puppies to reduce the chances of creating unhealthy pets.

Due to Shih Tzus being famous show dogs, the price can go beyond $3000 if they come from winning show dog parents.

Age: Shih Tzu costs tend to drop as they age because most people prefer adopting puppies. For instance, a 6-month-old Shih Tzu puppy often costs more than an adult dog, even if the dog has already been vaccinated and trained.

Health: Since the Shih Tzu is a highly prized show dog, reputed breeders will have their puppies examined and tested for various illnesses to separate the healthy dogs they can sell for higher prices.

Before selling their puppies, the majority of reputable breeders will take the puppies to the vet for an examination, worming, vaccinations, and microchipping.

Coloration: Shih Tzu puppies cost more if they are a particular color as people become more interested since rising demand drives up market prices. Due to existing demand issues for Shih Tzus, they cost as much as $3000 if that particular color is highly sought after. 

Most kennel clubs only permit specific colors and combinations on purebred dogs. Especially in the case of the Shih Tzu, more than any other dog, puppies with unique hues can be extremely pricy.

But avoid buying a cheaper mixed breed with similar color combinations; always look for responsible breeders.

About the Shih Tzu Dog

Shih Tzu running on the ground

For centuries, lion-like canines like the Shih Tzu (pronounced “sheed-zoo”) flourished in China.

Shih Tzu is possibly descended from lion-like dogs like the Lhasa Apso that were transferred from Tibet to the Chinese imperial court in Beijing, despite their early history being 1000s of years old.

The Dowager Empress Cixi (1835–1908) lowered size and favored unusual markings and colors to create a distinct breed of Shih Tzus, symbolizing royalty and wealth.

Size and Appearance

The Shih Tzu is a toy dog with a long, flowing double coat that is strong, active, and attentive.

The breed’s broad, rounded head with wide-set eyes, undershot jaw, and a square, short nose placed no lower than the bottom of the eye rims is one of its most distinguishing characteristics. 

There are a variety of colors the American Kennel Club (AKC) has approved for a Shih Tzu, ranging from black to gold and white. In terms of markings, the AKC currently approved three: tan, black, and black mask.

Height is ideally between 9 to 10.5 inches for both male and female Shih Tzu, but it shouldn’t be less than 8 inches or more than 11 inches.

A healthy Shih Tzu should weigh between 9 and 16 pounds.

Life expectancy

This canine has a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years. The Shih Tzu has one of the longest life spans for a dog besides a chihuahua. However, the lifespan can differ if it is a mixed breed.

Temperament

It has a cheerful, trusting, affectionate, and playful character. Although the Shih Tzu is very alert, it does not bark easily and is very easy to train. The majority are quite lovable and playful. Since they are expressive, you typically do not need to wonder how your pet feels.

This breed often enjoys soaking up attention and loves to be spoiled. Shih Tzus typically enjoy being deeply involved with family, and many enjoy being accompanied on outings and taking part in fun activities like hiking or boating.

Types of Shih Tzu Breeds 

American Shih Tzu
European Shih Tzu
Teacup Shih Tzu
Black Shih Tzu

Although Shih Tzus are purebred, there are many variants among the pure breed besides mixed types. Here are eight types of Shih Tzu breeds.

American Shih Tzu: The American Kennel Club declared the American Shih Tzu a purebred in 1969. Its physical characteristics include a tiny chest and tall, straight legs.

European Shih Tzu: Another purebred dog is the European Shih Tzu. In 1946, the United Kingdom Kennel Club recognized this breed.

Shih Tzus can be found in both the United States and Europe. However, they look different from one another.

The front legs of the Europeans are bent back, and they have a wider stance. This type features a round head and a lengthy neck rather than a square. It also has a big chest and large eyes.

Teacup Shih Tzu: The Teacup Shih Tzu got its moniker because it is small. This breed is little compared to an average Shih Tzu. Teacup Shih Tzus are the smallest of the lot. They are vulnerable to diseases because they are typically the offspring of two litter runts.

Imperial Shih Tzu: The Imperial Shih Tzu is frequently mistaken for a purebred dog. The National Kennel Club, on the other hand, disagrees.

Although the phrase “Imperial” tends to be portrayed in a favorable light, this particular Shih Tzu is an impure breed and is viewed as a scaled-down version of the purebred.

Black Shih Tzu: The Black Shih Tzu is an additional breed to take into account. These are the least common varieties among the others.

Naturally, it’s possible to observe Shih Tzus with a hint of black in their fur. However, it’s uncommon to see ones that are completely black in hue.

Brindle Shih Tzu: “Brindle” refers to this breed’s stunning coat, which typically has one base color with streaks of a different hue. These hues make them popular as it gives a lovely multicolored appearance.

Bridle does not describe a specific color. It denotes a reminder of numerous colors while emphasizing the pattern more specifically.

Nevertheless, the Brindle Shih Tzu is approved by the AKC. Consequently, the phrase is often used to refer to the color rather than the pattern.

Blue-eyed Shih Tzu: The Blue-eyed Shih Tzu has blue eyes, which are extremely uncommon. It commonly exhibits this type when it is deficient in the black color gene.

The pup’s blue eyes are the consequence of diluted pigmentation, giving it a distinctive color that distinguishes it from other dogs of its breed. But keep in mind the coat isn’t affected, only the eye color.

If you intend to get a blue-eyed dog, you should be aware that it is more prone to diseases than a typical dog since a lighter color, such as blue usually indicate a weak gene.

Mixed breed: Shih Tzus have recently been mixed with various dogs like poodles and pugs. However, once they are crossbred, the offspring will have different needs, temperament, and even lifespan compared to the purebred. 

Health and Trainability

The Shih Tzu is a poor swimmer and heat-intolerant due to its short face and heavy coat.

Therefore it is advisable not to own a Shih Tzu if you live in tropical regions unless you can keep it healthy and hydrated. The majority of Shih Tzu are typically in good health. 

Responsible breeders check their stock for diseases like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (a slipped kneecap), eye anomalies like cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal detachment, and corneal dryness and inflammation.

Shih Tzu sitting on the table

As for training, it may be entertaining and frustrating at the same time. As a charming breed, they can frequently convince the owner to give them the freedom to do as they please.

Shih Tzus are such people dogs, so praise and reward-based training techniques are the most effective. 

With this breed, harsh corrections ought to be avoided. Be firm, introduce new habits gradually, and never give in to the dog’s misbehavior. Early socialization and puppy training lessons are advised to help the Shih Tzu develop into a well-mannered, well-adjusted pet.

Where to Buy a Shih Tzu Dog?

Shih Tzu lying on the table

There are two types of Shih Tzu dogs sold, “show quality and “pet-quality.” Puppies that meet the AKC requirements so well that they might have a chance of succeeding in the show ring are considered to be “show quality.” 

Puppies are categorized as pet quality if they display clear faults that preclude them from competing in or succeeding in the show ring.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a companion to join your family, be aware of Shih Tzu puppies deemed “show quality” as they are priced extremely high.

Rescue Puppy

If you would like to adopt instead of buy, there are many dog shelters and Shih Tzu rescue websites to consider. If you need help figuring out where to start, try the continental kennel club or the AKC for guidance. 

The Shih Tzu price range is lower when adopting as opposed to buying. Since you can get older dogs, the price can be $500 or even lower, depending on the location.

Shih Tzu Breeders

Backyard breeders: As backyard breeders, they are limited in terms of litter and range of knowledge. Ideally, a backyard breeder is a great option if you seek a pet-quality dog instead of a champion bloodline. 

Show dog breeders: As a prized show dog, many reputed breeders will try to breed the highest quality dogs, with a champion bloodline playing a crucial role.

They are usually registered in the AKC or Shih Tzu breeder communities and thoroughly examine the health of their canines. You will only find Shih Tzu breeders like this in kennel clubs.

Shih Tzu dogs standing on the ground

Certified puppy breeders: Like show dog breeders, they are certified and registered under kennel clubs. But sell pet-quality dogs as well. Some licensed breeders also run dog-related businesses like training centers, boarding kennels, or grooming. 

Licensed breeders usually do everything right, including health screenings; therefore, the Shih Tzu puppy cost might be higher, like $1000. 

Puppy Mill breeders: Avoid puppy mills at all costs. Beware, the Shih Tzus cost might be the same as a reputable breeder, although they are not of a champion bloodline, and the health is unknown. 

Online Website

Many pet stores have since closed or transformed into pet supplies stores due to public awareness campaigns against puppy mills. It cannot be emphasized enough that there is a probability that a Shih Tzu puppy you buy from a pet store was created in a puppy mill. 

Purchasing the dog entails aiding and continuation of the puppy mill. Dedicated breeders don’t sell their puppies in pet shops. If you want to buy a puppy online, contact your local kennel club for reputed online pet stores. 

Steps to Adopt Shih Tzu Puppies

a human holding Shih Tzu puppies

Owning a Shih Tzu can be easy if you follow the steps provided by the Shih Tzu rescue organization

Step 1: The potential adopter must fill out an adoption application on the website first and then submit it to start the adoption process. The application aims to pair you with the dog that best fits your family and way of life; therefore, please answer honestly.

Step 2: You can meet with the dog to see if it’s a match. 

Step 3: Personal and veterinary references are checked. A home check is done to see if everything is in order.

Step 4: If the potential pet owner and the adoption committee believe that the Shih Tzu is a fantastic match for the family, the dog can be adopted after paying the adoption fees.

The adoption fee is at least $500 depending on the age and health of the Shih Tzu.

Registration

It is simple to register a dog through a rescue because the organization will have already taken care of the paperwork and given the Shih Tzu its vaccinations.

According to the Continental Kennel Club (CKC), if you want u to purchase through a certified breeder, these are the steps to follow:

Dog Registration

Step 1: The official, signed CKC Puppy Registration Application provided by the breeder must be used by anybody registering a puppy from a CKC litter.

Step 2: The registrant must complete the registration application, sign it, and send it to CKC with the required funds. Note that the breeder must also sign it.

Step 3: For the CKC to register the puppy in the new owner’s name and mail the registration certificate to the registered owner, the registrant must supply their name and a valid, readable physical address.

After registration, you will get the following:

  • A birth certificate for your puppy.
  • A starter kit that includes microchip kits, dog tags, training books, and a free trial of pet health insurance.
  • Personalized training and care advice based on your dog’s stage of development.

Shih Tzu Owner Membership: 

  • The registration applicant becomes a member, subject to the conditions of this agreement, which may be revised from time to time, upon the first successful registration or transfer of a dog with Continental Kennel Club, Inc. (CKC).
  • The member shall be deemed to have agreed to, followed, abided by, and complied with the current CKC registration rules, guidelines, policies, and procedures as if they had been signed and sealed by the member in the same way that a binding contract would be.

Cost of Raising a Shih Tzu Dog

Shih Tzu lying on the table

Meals 

A Shih Tzu must be fed premium dog food. Costs associated with eating might range from $50 to $130. However, as small dogs tend not to eat too much, you will not have to worry too much about the consumption cost.

Adult Shih Tzu typically consumes 90 lbs. of dry food annually. Therefore make sure to select a good dog food brand or consult the American Shih Tzu club or a vet to develop a diet plan for your dog.

Health and Vet Visitation

Expect to pay $465 in vet bills each year after that or about $590 for the first year. These costs could differ based on your dog’s age, health, and geographic region.

You must make at least three visits to the vet clinic during the puppy’s first year. The first appointment should be planned for the puppy’s early development when they are about eight weeks old. You could expect to pay between $65 and $170 for each appointment.

A neutering or spaying surgery can be considered as your Shih Tzu dog matures. Routine vet care can cost between $100 to $300, depending on where you live.

Grooming

Most new dog owners try to cut grooming costs by doing it at home. However, the Shih Tzu’s long fur can be difficult for new Shih Tzu owners.

Therefore, at least the first year, you should take your dog at least four to eight times a year to professional dog grooming services.

The annual grooming cost should be close to $320, with visits ranging from $40 to $60.

The owner’s decision to take the dog to a professional groomer will help the dog’s health and well-being.

a human grooming a Shih Tzu

Training

Shih Tzu typically doesn’t need private professional training. However, I recommend taking a few group sessions to address any issues related to barking and socializing with other people and dogs outside the home.

Reading a dog training book in advance is a terrific way to get ready to welcome a dog into your home. You may find nice, affordable ones online if you want to learn more about dog behavior and the best ways to engage with them.

Additional Expenses

You might have to pay for extra supplies such as toys, dog beds, and food bowls in the first year. 

Additionally, you will have to consider the extra expenses for pet sitters, pet insurance and, the dog license, and dog boarding services if you are going out of town, which can add up to $700 depending on the services you choose. 

Overall Annual Expenses

This is how the overall annual expenses would look, depending on the type of expenditure you choose.

Usually, a good kennel club will guide you and give you free tips on grooming and training, which can cut your yearly cost by half, be sure to register once you buy your pet.

AnnualExpensiveAffordable
FoodAbove $600Less than $360
Grooming$1000$350 (home)
Vaccination$200$50 (shelter)
Training(Group) $600
Others( pet walker, travel, insurance)$1000$410
Total expensesApprox $ 3400 Approx $1770

Other Dog Breeds Pricing Guides:

FAQs

The small-sized, healthy bloodline Shih Tzu are the easiest and least costly to maintain.

Shih Tzus are expensive pets due to the high demand for the breed and their status as “designer dogs.”

When purchasing a Shih Tzu dog, it is important to consider the temperament of other dogs in the household, as well as the ability to provide care for the dog throughout its lifespan.

The monthly cost of owning a Shih Tzu dog can vary depending on location, but it may reach around $1000 per month in addition to the initial cost of purchasing the dog and necessary supplies.

Shih Tzu dogs are known to be friendly and make great family pets as they are compatible with both children and other dogs.

Conclusion

You have come to the end of the article! I hope you got all the information you need before considering buying or adopting a Shih Tzu dog. 

The Shih Tzu can be an expensive dog to buy and maintain. However, if you can find the right breeder and get proper advice from a kennel club and vet on their health and grooming, taking care of a Shih Tzu can be a breeze. 

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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