Shih Tzu Puppies: Pictures, Adoption Tips, and More!

A group of adorable Shih-tzu puppies for adoption posing on the bench and looking at the camera outdoors during the day
© Alessandra Sawick/

Written by Alanna Davis

Published: September 27, 2023

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If you’ve been thinking about purchasing or adopting a Shih Tzu puppy, rest assured you’re making a great choice! This breed has many excellent qualities that make them first-time owner-friendly and relatively low maintenance. They are great with children, intelligent, loving, and lively, making them a great addition to any family. However, Shih Tzus are very versatile and a great choice for experienced dog owners too. Today, we’ll discuss everything you should know about this fun-loving and clever breed.

An Introduction to the Shih Tzu Breed

A group of adorable Shih-tzu puppies for adoption posing on the bench and looking at the camera outdoors during the day

It is rare to see an ill-mannered Shih Tzu.

©Alessandra Sawick/

This breed originates from Tibet and has been around for over 1,000 years. While all Shih Tzu owners agree that these dogs are incredibly smart and loyal, there is a great deal of variance between their personalities. Some owners describe their puppies as lazy lapdogs who love to cuddle, while others describe them as athletic and energetic! The truth is, they reflect the personalities of their owners. Whether you’re looking for a show dog or a running buddy, these pups are up for anything.

History of the Shih Tzu

Front innocent face of young Shih Tzu dog, long tongue and doubtful, on green lawn with soft light

The Shih Tzu doesn’t require much exercise, one walk a day should suffice.

©Michael Mong/

A little-known fact is that at one point in the early 1900s, Shih Tzus came dangerously close to going extinct. Empress Dowager Cixi was a noblewoman who lived during the Qing dynasty. During her life, she bred Pugs, Pekingese, and Shih Tzus. Following her death in 1908, breeding Shih Tzus came to a screeching halt. In the current day, all Shih Tzus can be traced back to one of 14 of her dogs. The name “Shih Tzu” translates to “little lion,” which is perfectly appropriate for this resilient little breed. Since then, the Shih Tzu has made a full recovery. It is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, ranking in the top 20 for many consecutive years.

The Importance of Finding a Reputable Shih Tzu Breeder

A hungry puppy is waiting for food near the bowl. Shih Tzu puppy near his bowl

It is very important to brush your Shih Tzu daily, especially if you want to maintain their long hair.

©Ilina Yuliia/

So, once you’ve decided that you’re heart set on bringing a Shih Tzu puppy home, where do you start looking? The purchase price of a Shih Tzu puppy is roughly $500 to $1500. However, this number can nearly triple if you’re looking to buy a show dog. Searching for a reputable breeder can feel confusing and overwhelming, but it’s extremely important. Dogs purchased from backyard breeders or puppy mill operations often suffer from genetic disorders. More often than not, this means that the puppy that you adopt will not live very long, and if they do, their quality of life may not be good. This breed is prone to medical concerns even at its healthiest, so you should avoid adopting one with the potential for a pre-existing condition at all costs.

How to Properly Vet Breeders

A Cute Shih Tzu Puppy

Purchasing pet insurance is a great safety net for medical emergencies.

©Shari Cote/

Reputable breeders will almost always offer a health guarantee on their puppies. This is a promise from the breeder to you that the dogs they’re selling are unaffected by any genetic disease. In the event that your Shih Tzu is diagnosed with a disease covered by the guarantee, you will receive a refund.

If a breeder does not extend this courtesy to you, it may be a red flag. Another way to properly vet a breeder is word of mouth, so try to connect with others who own Shih Tzus. It’s okay if you don’t know anyone you can reach out to in your day-to-day life, as social media has a wealth of information and communities dedicated to this breed. Adoption is a much more affordable route, costing roughly $50 to $150. However, there will be little way to discern if a Shih Tzu in a shelter was purchased from a reputable breeder or not, so there are risks involved.

How to Prepare

shih tzu dog is looking a snack

It’s always important to bring your new puppy to the veterinarian for an initial health screening.

©Yarnawee Nipatarangkoon/

There are some costs to consider in addition to the purchasing price of a Shih Tzu puppy. The price of neutering or spaying a Shih Tzu will be roughly $75 to $125. This is important, as it reduces the risk of your puppy getting ovarian or testicular cancer in the future. In the event that your breeder does not provide your puppy with their first set of shots, those could cost an additional $100. In addition, if this is the first dog in your household, you’re going to want to set aside at least $150 for supplies. You’ll need food and water bowls, a collar and leash, toys, a dog bed, and a crate just to name a few. Try to put away an extra $300 to $400 dollars for these expenses. You’ll thank yourself later.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a versatile dog breed that fits perfectly into any lifestyle, look no further. Shih Tzus are laid back and make wonderful companions. It’s important to keep in mind that Shih Tzus live between 10 and 16 years, with some reaching nearly 20. Bringing a Shih Tzu puppy into your family is a long-term commitment, and it’s a decision you should put a lot of thought into before taking the plunge.

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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