Lifespan of a Shih-Tzu Dog: How Many Years Will They Live?

Shih Tzus are one of the best small family dogs and you may be wondering how long these lovable canine companions can live. On average, a Shih Tzu will live for around 13 years. However, there are many different factors that can affect a Shih Tzu's life expectancy.

If you own a Shih Tzu and you want to know more about how long they will live, keep reading here to know all about the Shih Tzu health problems and other information that may affect the dog life expectancy of a Shih Tzu. 

Common Health Issues Affecting a Shih-Tzu’s Life Expectancy

As just mentioned, you know there are some health issues that might affect your Shih Tzu’s life expectancy, so it's important that you know that signs of good health in dogs. While not every Shih Tzu will get these health issues, it is still important to know they could occur.

One of the common problems with a Shih Tzu's health is canine hip dysplasia. This occurs when a dog’s hip socket isn’t developing correctly. If your dog gets hip dysplasia, they might experience arthritis and increased pain. Your Shih Tzu may also experience hypothyroidism. This occurs when your dog’s thyroid isn’t making enough hormones. Hypothyroidism can affect your Shih Tzu's organ functions and metabolism. Shih Tzu's often have eye diseases, as well. They may develop dry eye, which could cause blindness or ulcers. Ulcers can be a big problem for little dogs and make it nearly impossible for them to see properly. Cataracts are another common eye issue in Shih Tzus. As this issue progresses, your dog might lose their vision. This can become quite serious. Some Shih Tzus are prone to kidney and liver disease, as well. Unfortunately, many of the dogs that get this type of disease will pass away from it.

Increasing Your Shih-Tzu’s Life Expectancy

It is possible to increase your Shih Tzu's lifespan. The first and most important thing to do is make sure you are buying a Shih Tzu from a responsible breeder. They will have the parents tested for health issues and disclose any issues to the buyers of their puppies. You should also have your Shih Tzu regularly see the veterinarian and get all the proper vaccinations. If you ever notice your dog acting differently than normal, you should bring them to the veterinarian. Catching any health issues that might be going on earlier gives your dog the best chance for proper treatment.

You should also make sure your Shih Tzu isn’t left outside in the heat for too long. They can overheat too easily and this could cause major health issues. Shih Tzus, on average, will live around 13 years old. There are some Shih Tzus that have lived longer than this and some who have lived less than this. With that being said, if you want to extend your Shih Tzu's life expectancy you need to make sure you are keeping them active, taking proper care of them, and having them visit the veterinarian on a regular basis. You need to make sure they are getting their vaccinations. If you do these things, you can expect your Shih Tzu to live for many wonderful, healthy, and happy years.

How long do Shih Tzus live?

Known for their longevity, the cute and lovely Shih Tzu dog has an average lifespan of around 13 years. There are many factors that can affect their life expectancy but they can live up to 16 years or more.

Are Shih Tzus smart dogs?

Yes. Shih Tzus are not only cute and lovable, but they're also known to be very smart dogs. They love learning and are great in obedience classes.

How much does a Shih Tzu weigh?

Considered to be a toy dog breed, the cute and small Shih Tzu dogs are usually less than 20 pounds. They have an average height of 11 inches and they reach adult size by about 10 months.

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Written by Leo Roux


Our shitzu we acquired from a friend when he was 13 he’s now 18. We had to have teeth taken out. He has a heart murmur, arthritus in one leg, we’ve had problems with his eyes ones ulcerated and one he has cataracts in so now he’s sniffing his way round and bumps into things most of the time! Very grumpy old man now a days!! Wish we had had him from a young age but helped a friend out as no-one would take him they were going to put him down…….. Lovely breed of dog

Sarah Hoggarth on Aug 09, 2021

I agree with the person Rachel was talking about. Stay away from vets, unless your dog is sick and in need of medications. My 2 shih tzu’s surpassed 16. My first rescue was 17 when he passed, my second girl was 2 months short of her 20th birthday, and my 3rd whom is still with me is going to be 16 in 2 months. They have all been taken to the vet when needed. But i never let the doctor mess with them a great deal. It’s like a car, the mechanic messes with it and something goes wrong. Sometimes, they’re given medications and things they really don’t need. As a dog parent, you do what is best for them.

Stacy on Jun 22, 2021

I just met someone the other day who told me she had just put down her 22-year-old Shih Tzu. Her other Shih Tzu is 20. I asked her what her secret was to them living so long and she said stay away from vets.

Rachel on May 25, 2021

I am looking on getting a shih tzu. Any ideas where I can go. I cant paid alot of money I would love to adopt one. Thank you for you help.

Kathy Stefanac on Mar 17, 2021

My Shih-tzu named Prissy lived to be 16 years old. The only health issues she had was she had to be on special dog food for her digestive system. She passed away from her heart. She was the smartest and sweetest breed I’ve ever owed. Stop making them sound like a money pit. I got her from a breeder and she was the runt. She only weighed 10lbs. They all don’t get big. You need to check you information and RIP Prissy Tierra. I had to speak up for you. See you at the Rainbow bridge.

Tonya Gaffney on Dec 06, 2020

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