How Much Does A Shih Tzu Cost? (2024)

Little cuddly lapdogs, Shih Tzus are one of the most popular breeds in the world. 

The exact origins of the breed are unknown, but it is believed to be a descendant of the Tibetan Mountain dog. The Shih Tzu was first introduced to China in the 8th century, and it soon became a favorite of the imperial court. 

how much does a Shih Tzu cost
How much does a Shih Tzu cost?
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In the 13th century, Kublai Khan gifted a Shih Tzu to the Japanese emperor, and the breed quickly became popular in Japan as well. The Shih Tzu eventually made its way to Europe in the 19th century, and it has been a cherished companion ever since. 

With its regal appearance and loving personality, it is no wonder that the Shih Tzu remains one of the most popular toy dog breeds today. 

On average, a Shih Tzu puppy will cost between $750 and $3,000. The large variance in price is due to several factors. 

Factors Affecting The Shih Tzu Price

Shih Tzus are little smart dogs that often have a small number of puppies in each litter, hence they can be pretty pricey. A puppy from a breeder registered with the American Kennel Club can cost about $1,200 while dogs that have rare colors or champion lineages will cost significantly more. 

Ethical breeders may invest months in planning and a sizable sum of money when mating the parent dogs, so the higher price might be justified. Additionally, puppies from licensed breeders will always have parents who have completed several health examinations, which can cost a breeder a pretty penny. 

Shih Tzu approaching
Shih Tzu approaching a stranger.

1. Reputation of the Breeder

There is an enormous difference between a backyard breeder or puppy mill dog and a dog bred by a responsible, ethical breeder that is doing it for the love of the breed. 

A good breeder might charge more as they spend more on food and healthcare, in addition to having fewer puppies a year to avoid overbreeding their female dogs. If you are looking for a dog, always check around your area with other doggy professionals, trainers, and veterinarians to get in touch with responsible breeders. 

a shih tzu licking its owners face
A Shih Tzu licks its owners face. Lick frenzy!

2. Lineage

Although Shih Tzus are often healthy dogs, you should only purchase a puppy from a well-reputed breeder who has accurate evidence of the genetic health of both parent canines.

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3. Gender

Due to the female Shih Tzus’ potential for future reproduction, they are often more expensive than the male Shi Tzus. Good breeders often have spay and neuter clauses to prevent unwanted litters which means that your dog wouldn’t be able to be bred. 

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4. Coating Color and Type

Even if the other colors, coat types, and markings fall under the breed standard, some Shih Tzu breeders charge higher for those since they are more desirable than the others. Blue, pure black, liver, and silver are the most uncommon hues for Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu grooming preparation
Shih Tzu on the grooming table for his grooming session.

5. Breeder Location

The breeder’s geographic location also affects the cost. There may be fewer Shih Tzu breeders and less competition in remote regions, breeders may be able to charge more for their Shih Tzu puppies.

Shih Tzu on the grass
Shih Tzu standing on the grass in an afternoon.

6. Shih Tzu’s Size

Shih Tzus are tiny companion dogs that are often bred down in size. Smaller dogs tend to cost more for their aesthetic value as lapdogs

Shih Tzu lying on the grass
Shih Tzu is lying on the grass and being playful.

7. Shih Tzu’s Age 

Most puppies are sold when they reach eight weeks. Older puppies might cost less, as the breeders need to find them homes before new litters can be bred. 

combing Shih Tzu's hair
Combing Shih Tzu’s hair by her owner.

8. Supply and Demand

Prices will increase dramatically if the Shih Tzu breed is well-liked and in demand. These tiny dogs tend to be more common in towns or cities because most people are looking for small, apartment-friendly pets.

Initial Costs For Buying A Shih Tzu

In general, getting a four-legged companion entails significant upfront costs for their upkeep in addition to the cost of the canine itself. The upfront expenses for purchasing a Shih Tzu are:

1. Dog Food 

Despite being little, Shih Tzu requires premium dog food. Due to their quick metabolisms, puppies require two to three meals every day. There are a few considerations you should make while picking the best food for your dog, so take into account your dog’s age, amount of exercise, and any dietary restrictions.

Puppies require a diet heavy in protein and calories to support their growth, whereas senior dogs may need food that is simpler to digest. 

owner pouring dog food
The owner pouring dog food in a bowl.

2. Feeding bowls 

You’ll need to buy feeding dishes for them so they can eat and drink. Choose BPA-free polycarbonate or stainless steel, which typically cost $10 to $20 each.

cookie and dog bowl
A dog bowl with cookies scattered on the floor.

3. Shampoo 

Although Shih Tzus are low-shedding, their hair grows into a long, silky coat and they’ll need to be bathed frequently to maintain their magnificent coats clean and clear of dirt, filth, and dust. Make sure you choose a shampoo that is mild, efficient, and secure for your furry buddy while making your selection.

4. Bed 

Your Shih Tzu will need a bed to sleep in. If your pet doesn’t sleep next to you, make or buy a comfortable bed for them, ideally with you or other people or pets in the house. Place their bed in the spaces where they spend most of their time.

dog bed
Dog bed should be washed at least once a week.

5. Brush 

Shih Tzus require frequent brushing and shampooing because of their difficult-to-manage coat. A skilled groomer who offers Shih Tzus an appealing haircut is often chosen by owners to handle their dog’s long coat

Shih Tzu coat
Brushing Shih Tzu’s coat.

6. Leash and Collar 

For your Shih Tzu, you’ll need a leash and collar that are the right size. Because puppies grow quickly, choose an adjustable collar

Shih Tzu at pet store
Owners are accompanied by their Shih Tzu to buy pet supplies.

7. Crates

Puppies are cute, cuddly and full of energy. They’re also curious, which can lead to them getting into all sorts of mischief. That’s why crate training is an important part of raising a well-behaved dog.

A crate provides your puppy with a safe, comfortable space of their own where they can relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of family life. It also helps to prevent destructive chewing and accidents inside the house. 

In addition, when it comes to potty training, crates are useful tools that may also keep your dog secure when you aren’t around to check over him. 

Crate training takes patience and consistency, but it’s well worth the effort. A crate-trained puppy is a happy puppy – and a happy puppy makes for a happy owner.

Shih Tzu look up
Shih Tzu looks up from his crate.

8. Toys 

Shih Tzus are playful dogs that adore playing with toys and running about. To keep your canine partner active, you’ll need a range of toys. 

It’s preferable to buy toys without choking hazards that dogs can ingest. Make sure the toys’ colors and materials are safe and free of heavy metals. 

shih tzu puppy licks tonuge out
A Shih Tzu puppy with its tongue out. Expect a Shih Tzu puppy to lick EVERYTHING!

9. Vet Bills 

You must complete your Shih Tzus vaccination schedule, which should be finished in 12 weeks. Additionally, you’ll need to set aside money for booster doses and a yearly checkup.

First-Year Expenses of Your Shih Tzu

In addition to the setup costs of taking a new dog home, you’ll have to keep up and budget for the expenses within the year. 

1. Pet Insurance 

This provides pet owners with coverage in the event of a medical emergency and lowers medical costs. Depending on the chosen coverage plan, this can pay all of the expenses or just a portion of them.

vet payment
The customer pays for the dog’s procedure at a vet clinic.

2. Medication for Fleas and Ticks 

Medication or proper treatment is required to prevent fleas and ticks because they can cause serious diseases and infections. 

3. Vaccines 

You’ll need to vaccinate your dog against dangerous diseases like rabies, parvo, and distemper. 

Shih Tzu vaccine shot
Shih Tzu receiving a vaccination shot.

4. Vet checkups 

Prevention is always better than cure, and a yearly checkup by the vet might uncover some conditions that your untrained eye cannot detect. 

5. Dog Food

Shih Tzus thankfully don’t eat much, but you’ll still have to buy top-quality dog food that is specific for small breed dogs. You can get away with buying a small bag of food and check the label and with your veterinarian on how much to feed.

Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 meals a year until they are two years old, after which they can be switched to two meals a day. 

Shih Tzu asking for food
Shih Tzu is hungry!

6. Grooming 

A Shih Tzu’s coat grows continuously and will have to be cut. If you are unable to cut it at home, you’ll have to take your pooch to a professional groomer to have your dog’s coat clipped and orderly as well as his nails clean and cut in addition to bathing him approximately every three weeks.

7. Training 

A well-trained Shih Tzu will be content, and content dogs are enjoyable to be around. If you need some guidance in training your dog, you’ll have to budget in something for group or private lessons. Shih Tzus are happy-go-lucky companion dogs, but all dogs need training. 

Shih Tzu and owner
The owner commands Shih Tzu to do his “thing.”

Final Thoughts 

Shih Tzu’s are small, easy-to-maintain dogs that are well-suited for most households, even those with inexperienced or first-time owners. By acquiring your dog only from reputable, responsible sources, you can eliminate the possibility of behavioral and genetic problems down the road.

Be wary of cheap Shih Tzus posted on sites like eBay and CraigsList, as they often are from puppy mills and backyard breeders that breed for profit with no regard for the health of their dogs and litters!