Why Shih Tzu May Not Be the Ideal Dog Breed: 16 Reasons Explained

By Sam M. •  Updated: 02/10/24 •  30 min read

Are you considering bringing a Shih Tzu into your home? Well, before you make that decision, let me share with you some eye-opening reasons why Shih Tzus may not be the best fit for everyone. While these small and fluffy companions are adored by many, there’s a side to them that often goes unnoticed. In this text, I’ll shed light on 16 real-life reasons that illustrate just how challenging it can be to own a Shih Tzu. From their stubborn nature to their high maintenance coats, we’ll explore the ups and downs of having a Shih Tzu as your furry friend. So, if you’re ready to uncover the truth behind these adorable pups, keep reading. It might just save you from a lot of headaches down the road.

Shih Tzus: The Not-so-Perfect Pet

When it comes to choosing the perfect pet, there are a few factors to consider. While Shih Tzus may be adorable, they are not without their challenges. As a seasoned pet owner and expert, I have encountered many reasons why Shih Tzus may not be the best fit for everyone. In this section, I will shed light on some of the less-than-ideal qualities of these furry companions.

First and foremost, Shih Tzus are known for their excessive barking. This can become a major nuisance for both owners and neighbors alike. These dogs have a natural tendency to vocalize their opinions on just about everything, from the wind rustling the leaves to the mailman making his rounds. Without proper training and socialization, their barking can quickly become out of control. But, with the right approach and patience, you can train your Shih Tzu to bark appropriately and reduce this excessive behavior.

Another aspect of owning a Shih Tzu that can make them less than perfect pets is their strong-willed personalities. These dogs are known for their stubborn nature, which can make training a challenge. Without consistent and positive reinforcement, they can easily develop stubbornness and exhibit destructive behaviors. This can be frustrating and time-consuming for Shih Tzu owners like myself, as we find ourselves constantly trying to get them to follow commands.

Besides, Shih Tzus can also be quite territorial. They have a strong desire to protect their space, which often leads to excessive barking. This territorial behavior can create tension with neighbors and potentially strain relationships within the community. It’s important for Shih Tzu owners to be aware of this characteristic and take appropriate steps to address it through training and socialization.

Finally, housetraining can be a challenging job with Shih Tzus. Even though their intelligence, they can be quite stubborn in this area. Potty training requires patience and consistency, especially for first-time dog owners. Experts suggest that housetraining a Shih Tzu may not be as straightforward as with other breeds, requiring additional time and effort.

1. Stubborn By Nature

Shih Tzus are known for their stubbornness, which can make them challenging to train. As an owner of a Shih Tzu, I can attest to this firsthand. Their independent and strong-willed personalities can sometimes lead them to resist commands or ignore their owners altogether. It’s not uncommon for them to prefer doing things on their own terms.

This stubbornness may frustrate inexperienced dog owners or those who prefer a more obedient companion. But, it’s important to understand that it’s not the dog’s fault. The stubborn nature of Shih Tzus is partly due to their breeding as companion dogs. They were designed to be pampered and treated like royalty, which can foster a sense of entitlement in some individuals.

Also, Shih Tzus have a strong prey drive, which means they can become fixated on smells or sights, making it difficult to redirect their attention. Training them to focus on commands and tasks can require patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. But with dedication and the right approach, it is possible to overcome their stubbornness and establish a strong bond with your Shih Tzu.

Overall, while their stubborn nature can present training challenges, it’s important to remember, it is just one aspect of their personality. Shih Tzus have many other delightful traits that make them a beloved companion for many people.

2. High Maintenance Coats

Shih Tzus are renowned for their beautiful flowing coats, but it’s crucial to understand the grooming commitments associated with these adorable pups. Maintaining their coat’s health and appearance requires regular attention, making it one of the factors to consider before welcoming a Shih Tzu into your home.

Coat Maintenance

Shih Tzus have a thick, long coat that demands daily brushing to prevent matting and tangles. This brushing routine is not just for aesthetics; it also helps distribute natural oils, keeps the coat healthy, and promotes a shiny appearance. Plus, it creates an opportunity for you to bond with your furry friend while ensuring their coat stays in top-notch shape.


To keep your Shih Tzu’s coat manageable and comfortable, occasional haircuts are necessary. The frequency of these haircuts depends on personal preference and the desired length of the coat. Some owners choose to enlist the help of professional groomers who specialize in Shih Tzu grooming styles, while others may opt to learn how to trim their dog’s coat themselves.

Shih Tzu coats grow quickly, and if left unattended, they can become messy and prone to matting. Regular grooming sessions, including brushing and haircuts, are essential to keep their coats in excellent condition. But, these grooming tasks can be time-consuming and require dedicated effort on your part.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, the average dog owner spends $1,480 annually on their dog. While this cost includes various expenses such as food, veterinary care, and toys, the grooming requirements of a Shih Tzu can contribute significantly to these overall expenses.

Summarizing, Shih Tzus have high maintenance coats that demand regular brushing, occasional haircuts, and attention to prevent matting and tangles. The grooming commitments involved can be time-consuming and costly. But, for those who are willing to put in the effort, the end result is a beautiful and healthy-looking dog with a stunning coat.

3. Frequent Grooming Needs

As I mentioned earlier, owning a Shih Tzu can be quite challenging due to their high maintenance coats. These adorable dogs have long, silky coats that require regular grooming to keep them looking their best. But, this grooming routine can be time-consuming and costly, making it a significant consideration for potential owners.

Here are a few grooming tasks that Shih Tzus require on a regular basis:

  1. Coat Brushing: Shih Tzus with long coats must be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangles. Even Shih Tzus with shorter coats require brushing every 13 days to keep their fur looking healthy and free from debris.
  2. Eye and Face Wiping: Due to their facial structure, Shih Tzus are prone to tear staining. Daily wiping of their eyes and face is necessary to prevent the build-up of tear stains and maintain their overall hygiene.
  3. Baths: Shih Tzus typically require a bath every three weeks to keep their coats clean and their skin healthy. But, those with coat or skin disorders may need more frequent bathing to address specific conditions.
  4. Nail Cutting: The nails of a Shih Tzu should be trimmed every six weeks to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Regular nail care is essential for their overall well-being.
  5. Coat Trimming: Shih Tzus may also require occasional coat trimming to keep their fur at a manageable length. This task can be done as needed to maintain their appearance.
  6. Nose and Paw Care: Checking and cleaning their noses and paws as needed ensures their comfort and prevents any potential issues.

While some owners prefer to take their Shih Tzus to professional groomers for these grooming tasks, it can be quite an expensive choice. A typical Shih Tzu haircut can cost around $20, and professional nail cutting can be an additional $15. Besides, if you decide to take your Shih Tzu to a dog boarding facility for extra care, additional fees may apply.

With their frequent grooming needs, it’s no wonder that some people may find it overwhelming to continue the same grooming routine for over a decade and a half as their Shih Tzus age. But, for those willing to put in the effort, the end result is a beautiful and healthy-looking dog with a stunning coat.

4. Potential Health Issues

When it comes to owning a Shih Tzu, it’s important to be aware of the potential health issues that this breed may face. While they may be undeniably adorable, they are also prone to certain health problems. Here are some common distresses among Shih Tzus:

  1. Respiratory Issues: Shih Tzus have brachycephalic (short-nosed) faces, which can contribute to respiratory challenges. Their flat faces can result in restricted airways, making it harder for them to breathe comfortably. This can lead to snoring, wheezing, and even more serious breathing difficulties.
  2. Eye Problems: Shih Tzus are known for their beautiful, round eyes, but unfortunately, they are susceptible to a range of eye problems. These can include dry eyes, corneal ulcers, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular eye care, including cleaning and veterinary check-ups, is essential to maintain their ocular health.
  3. Dental Troubles: Like many small dog breeds, Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues. Their small mouths and crowded teeth can make them more susceptible to tartar buildup, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Regular dental care, such as teeth brushing and professional cleanings, is crucial to prevent these problems and maintain good oral hygiene.
  4. Allergies: Shih Tzus have a tendency to develop various allergies, including food allergies and environmental allergies such as pollen or dust mites. These allergies can cause skin irritations, itching, hair loss, and gastrointestinal issues. Identifying and avoiding allergens, as well as proper medical treatment prescribed by a veterinarian, can help manage these allergies effectively.

It’s important to note that while these potential health issues are common among Shih Tzus, not all dogs of this breed will necessarily experience them. But, being aware of these possibilities can help you better prepare and provide the necessary care for your furry friend. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy lifestyle is key to ensuring the overall well-being of your Shih Tzu.

5. Prone to Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common issue among Shih Tzus and can make them quite challenging to deal with. This condition occurs when a dog becomes extremely distressed or anxious when left alone. It can be a distressing experience for both the dog and the owner.

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, which makes them great companions. But, this same trait can also make them prone to separation anxiety. They form strong bonds with their owners and become highly dependent on their presence.

If a Shih Tzu is not properly trained and socialized to be alone, they can become extremely anxious when their owner leaves. They may exhibit behaviors such as excessive barking, whining, destructive chewing, and even toilet accidents. These behaviors are their way of expressing their distress and trying to reconnect with their owners.

Dealing with separation anxiety in a Shih Tzu requires patience, understanding, and consistent training. Gradual desensitization is an effective technique that involves gradually increasing the time that a dog is left alone, starting with short periods and slowly building up to longer durations. This helps the dog understand that their owner will always come back and teaches them how to cope with being alone.

Positive reinforcement training is also crucial in addressing separation anxiety. By rewarding desired behaviors, such as calmness and independence, the dog learns to associate being alone with positive experiences. This can help reduce their anxiety and make them feel more comfortable when left alone.

Also, providing distractions for your Shih Tzu when you leave can help alleviate their anxiety. Interactive toys, food puzzles, or leaving the television or radio on can provide mental stimulation and help keep them occupied in your absence.

Remember, it is important to take the time and effort to properly train and socialize your Shih Tzu to prevent and address separation anxiety. With the right approach and patience, you can help your Shih Tzu feel more secure and confident, even when they are alone.

6. Difficulties with House Training

House training a Shih Tzu can be quite challenging. Their stubborn nature and independent personality can make the process of teaching them to eliminate outside a test of patience. It requires consistent training and a lot of patience from the owner.

Shih Tzus have a tendency to resist commands and may take longer to catch on to the concept of house training compared to some other breeds. This means that you’ll need to be prepared for accidents in the house while you work on establishing a routine and reinforcing good bathroom habits.

When house training a Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to be consistent with the approach. Set a regular schedule for bathroom breaks throughout the day and take your Shih Tzu outside to the designated elimination area. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise when they go potty outside. Avoid punishing or scolding your Shih Tzu for accidents indoors, as this can confuse and stress them out.

It’s important to create a positive and comfortable environment for your Shih Tzu during the house training process. Make sure they have easy access to the designated elimination area and provide them with plenty of opportunities to go outside. Supervise them closely indoors to prevent accidents and quickly redirect them to the designated area if needed.

While it may require extra time and patience, successfully house training a Shih Tzu is possible. With consistent training, positive reinforcement, and a lot of understanding, you can help your Shih Tzu develop good bathroom habits and establish a routine that works for both of you.

Remember, owning a Shih Tzu comes with its challenges, but with the right approach and a lot of love and patience, you can overcome these difficulties and create a strong bond with your adorable Shih Tzu companion.

7. Excessive Barking Habits

When it comes to owning a Shih Tzu, one challenge that many owners face is their excessive barking habits. While some barking is normal for any dog breed, Shih Tzus are known to take it to another level.

Shih Tzus have a tendency to bark at almost anything and everything. From the doorbell ringing to a squirrel running across the yard, these little dogs have quite the vocal cords. It can be exhausting and even frustrating to deal with their constant barking, especially if you live in an apartment or have close neighbors.

The reasons behind their excessive barking can vary. Shih Tzus are known to be a bit territorial, and they will bark to alert you of any potential threats. They are also highly alert and can easily get excited, which can lead to barking out of sheer enthusiasm.

To tackle this issue, it’s important to address the root cause of their barking. If it’s due to anxiety or fear, it’s crucial to provide them with a safe and comfortable environment and consider behavioral training to help them overcome their insecurities. If it’s out of excitement, redirecting their energy with toys or exercise can help reduce their excessive barking.

Consistency is key when it comes to training a Shih Tzu to control their barking. Positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding them for quiet behavior and using commands like “quiet” or “enough” can be effective. It’s important to remain patient and never resort to punishment or yelling, as this may only increase their anxiety and lead to more barking.

While it may take time and effort to address their excessive barking habits, with proper training and consistency, it is possible to help your Shih Tzu become a quieter and more well-behaved companion. Remember, understanding their needs and providing them with the necessary tools and training can go a long way in curbing their barking tendencies.

8. Tendency to Snore and Wheeze

Snoring and wheezing are common health concerns in Shih Tzus and can be quite bothersome for both the dog and the owner. These adorable little pups have short snouts and flat faces, which are known as brachycephalic features. While they are undeniably cute, these facial characteristics can lead to respiratory issues.

Here are a few reasons why Shih Tzus are prone to snoring and wheezing:

  1. Narrow airways: The anatomy of a Shih Tzu’s airways, including their shorter nasal passages and elongated soft palate, can cause air to be obstructed during breathing. This obstruction often results in the distinct snorting, snoring, and wheezing sounds that are common in this breed.
  2. Difficulty regulating temperature: Shih Tzus have a harder time regulating their body temperature due to their short muzzles. This can lead to breathing difficulties, especially in hot and humid weather. It’s important to provide a cool and comfortable environment for your Shih Tzu to prevent overheating.
  3. Excess weight: Being overweight or obese can exacerbate the respiratory issues in Shih Tzus. The extra weight puts additional strain on their already compromised airways, making it even harder for them to breathe properly.
  4. Allergies: Like any other breed, Shih Tzus can also suffer from allergies, which can contribute to snoring and wheezing. Allergens like pollen, dust mites, and certain foods can cause inflammation in their airways, making it difficult for them to breathe freely.
  5. Infections and respiratory illnesses: Shih Tzus are prone to respiratory infections and illnesses, such as kennel cough or pneumonia. These conditions can cause inflammation and irritation in their airways, leading to snoring and wheezing.

If your Shih Tzu regularly snores or wheezes, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. They can assess your dog’s overall health and provide the necessary advice and treatment options. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as weight management or environmental modifications, may help alleviate the snoring and wheezing symptoms.

9. Fragile and Delicate

When it comes to physicality, Shih Tzus are undeniably delicate. Their small size, standing at around 11 inches and weighing no more than 15 pounds, makes them fragile compared to larger dog breeds. While their diminutive stature may make them appealing to some, it also means that they require careful handling.

As a Shih Tzu owner, I have learned firsthand that rough play is out of the question. These petite pups have delicate bones that could easily be injured, especially when handled roughly by young children or during play with larger, more energetic dogs. This fragility is a significant concern, especially for families with young children who may unknowingly cause harm to these small companions.

The delicate nature of Shih Tzus is not only a concern when it comes to physical safety but also in terms of their overall well-being. Their brachycephalic features, namely their short and flat faces, can lead to breathing difficulties and other respiratory issues. This puts them at a higher risk for respiratory problems compared to other dog breeds.

Veterinarians often see Shih Tzus suffering from respiratory problems due to their anatomy. The short and flat structure of their face can cause narrow airways, making it difficult for them to breathe easily. This can result in snoring, wheezing, and other respiratory distress. If you notice your Shih Tzu regularly exhibiting these symptoms, it is important to consult with a veterinarian who can provide advice and treatment options to alleviate their discomfort.

Plus to respiratory issues, Shih Tzus are also prone to other health problems. They are known to have a higher risk of eye problems such as corneal ulcers and cataracts. Dental issues are also common in this breed. It is essential to prioritize regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy lifestyle to ensure the overall well-being of your Shih Tzu.

While their fragility and susceptibility to health issues may be a concern for potential owners, it is important to remember, with proper care and attention, these challenges can be mitigated. Taking precautions, handling them gently, and providing them with a healthy lifestyle can help ensure that your Shih Tzu remains happy and healthy for years to come.

10. Demanding Attention Seekers

Shih Tzus are well-known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, often described as lively and playful. They thrive on human companionship and love to be the center of attention. These little dogs have a natural instinct to form connections with everyone they encounter, whether it’s people or other dogs. They have an inherent desire to experience the world with a diverse group of friends.

One thing to keep in mind is that Shih Tzus can be quite demanding when it comes to seeking attention. They yearn to have a friendly connection with everyone they meet and truly strive to make friends and acquaintances wherever they go. This can sometimes be overwhelming for owners, especially if they have a more introverted or low-energy lifestyle.

Their need for constant attention and interaction can also become exhausting if you’re unable to provide them with the level of engagement they desire. This is something to consider if you have a busy schedule or if you’re looking for a more independent companion.

Creating a balance between giving them attention and setting boundaries is important when living with a Shih Tzu. While they are affectionate and loving, it’s crucial to establish boundaries and teach them appropriate behaviors. This will help them understand when it’s time to relax and when it’s appropriate to seek attention.

Summarizing, Shih Tzus are demanding attention seekers who thrive on human companionship and love to be the center of attention. While their friendly nature is endearing, it’s essential to find a balance between meeting their needs for interaction and ensuring that their behavior is appropriate. By understanding their need for attention and setting boundaries, you can create a harmonious and fulfilling relationship with your Shih Tzu.

11. Limited Outdoor Tolerance

One important aspect to consider when owning a Shih Tzu is their limited tolerance for outdoor activities. While they may enjoy short walks or playtime in the yard, they are not typically well-suited for extensive outdoor adventures.

  1. Brachycephalic Features: Shih Tzus have a brachycephalic skull shape, which means they have a shortened muzzle and a pushed-in face. This can lead to breathing difficulties, especially in hot and humid weather. It’s important to monitor their exposure to extreme temperatures and provide them with plenty of shade and water during outdoor activities.
  2. Delicate and Fragile: Due to their small size and delicate bone structure, Shih Tzus are more susceptible to injuries compared to larger dog breeds. Activities like rough play or jumping from high surfaces can pose a risk to their well-being. It’s crucial to supervise them during outdoor activities and ensure their safety at all times.
  3. Limited Exercise Needs: Shih Tzus are not high-energy dogs and typically require only moderate exercise. They are more content with indoor playtime or shorter walks around the neighborhood. Engaging them in less strenuous activities can help prevent strain on their petite frames.

While it’s important to provide regular exercise for the overall health and well-being of your Shih Tzu, it’s equally essential to understand their limitations when it comes to prolonged outdoor activities. By being mindful of their specific needs and preferences, you can ensure that they have a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Remember, just because Shih Tzus may have limited outdoor tolerance, it doesn’t mean they are any less lovable or affectionate as pets. Their small size, charming personality, and adoring nature make them wonderful companions for those who appreciate their unique traits. With proper care and attention, you can provide a fulfilling and happy life for your Shih Tzu both indoors and outdoors, striking a balance between their exercise needs and comfort.

12. Sensitivity to Extreme Temperatures

Shih Tzus are known for their sensitivity to extreme temperatures, which is another factor to consider when owning one of these dogs. Their brachycephalic features, such as a shorter muzzle and narrow airways, make it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature effectively. This means that they are more susceptible to overheating in hot weather and can have difficulty staying warm in cold weather.

During hot summer months, it’s crucial to keep your Shih Tzu cool and prevent them from overheating. Here are some tips to help you care for your Shih Tzu in hot weather:

On the other hand, during cold winter months, you need to take extra precautions to ensure your Shih Tzu stays warm. Here are some tips to help you care for your Shih Tzu in cold weather:

Keep in mind that while it’s important to protect your Shih Tzu from extreme temperatures, they still need regular exercise and mental stimulation. If the weather is too extreme, consider engaging them in indoor activities to keep them active.

By understanding and addressing their sensitivity to extreme temperatures, you can ensure a comfortable and healthy living environment for your Shih Tzu. Remember to always prioritize their well-being and make adjustments accordingly based on the weather conditions.

13. Not Ideal for Families with Small Children

As much as I love Shih Tzus, I have to admit that they may not be the best fit for families with small children. While Shih Tzus are generally friendly and affectionate, their small size and delicate nature make them more susceptible to accidental harm.

Here are a few reasons why Shih Tzus may not be ideal for families with small children:

  1. Fragile bone structure: Shih Tzus have delicate bones that can easily break or fracture if handled roughly or accidentally stepped on. Young children may not fully understand how to handle such a small and fragile dog, putting them at risk of unintentionally causing harm.
  2. Limited tolerance for rough play: Shih Tzus are not as sturdy as some other dog breeds, which means they may not enjoy rough play or being roughly handled. Children, especially younger ones, may have difficulty understanding their limits, leading to a potential risk of injury for both the child and the dog.
  3. Patience and gentleness needed: Shih Tzus thrive on gentle, loving interactions. Young children, with their boisterous and energetic nature, may have a hard time grasping the concept of being calm and gentle around the dog. This can potentially cause stress or anxiety for the Shih Tzu, leading to unwanted behavior or even aggression.

It is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of both the children and the dog. If you have small children and are considering getting a Shih Tzu, it’s essential to supervise all interactions and teach your children how to properly interact with the dog. Also, teaching children to respect the dog’s boundaries and providing them with alternative outlets for their energy, such as supervised playtime or games, can help mitigate potential risks.

Remember, while Shih Tzus can make wonderful companions, it’s important to assess the compatibility of any dog breed with your family dynamics and lifestyle. By considering the unique needs and limitations of both the dog and the children, you can make an well-informed choice and ensure a harmonious and safe environment for everyone involved.

14. May Not Get Along with Other Pets

When it comes to introducing a Shih Tzu to other pets, it’s important to proceed with caution. While Shih Tzus can get along well with other animals if they are properly socialized early on and introduced in a controlled manner, they can also be territorial and may not tolerate the presence of other dogs or cats in their home.

Shih Tzus have a strong sense of ownership over their space and belongings, which can sometimes lead to aggression towards other animals. This territorial behavior can be a challenge for owners who already have pets or are considering getting another one.

To ensure a harmonious introduction, it’s crucial to take things slowly and gradually. Allow the pets to sniff each other from a safe distance and observe their body language for signs of comfort or aggression. If any signs of tension or aggression arise, it’s best to separate them and consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance.

Proper training and early socialization are key in helping a Shih Tzu develop good manners and adaptability around other pets. By exposing them to different animals, environments, and experiences from a young age, you can help them become more comfortable and tolerant.

But, it’s important to remember, some Shih Tzus may never fully accept or get along with other pets. Each dog is unique and may have different preferences and personalities. It’s essential to respect their boundaries and consider their well-being when making decisions about introducing them to other animals.

Having a Shih Tzu who may not get along with other pets doesn’t necessarily mean they are a “bad” dog. It just means that they require extra attention, training, and management to ensure a peaceful coexistence with their furry housemates.

So, if you already have pets or are considering getting another one and currently own a Shih Tzu, be prepared to devote time and effort into proper introductions and ongoing socialization. With patience and guidance, you can create a harmonious multi-pet household and enjoy the company of your Shih Tzu along with other furry friends.

15. Costly Upkeep and Maintenance

Owning a Shih Tzu comes with its fair share of expenses. The frequent grooming tasks alone can be quite costly, making it difficult for low-income households to afford. Here are some of the upkeep and maintenance tasks that can put a strain on your budget:

  1. Coat brushing: Shih Tzus have long, silky coats that require regular brushing to prevent matting and tangles. Depending on the length of their coat, you may need to brush them every 1-3 days. For long coats, daily brushing is necessary. This can be time-consuming, especially if you have a busy schedule.
  2. Eye and face wiping: Shih Tzus are prone to tear stains and eye discharge, so daily wiping of their eyes and face is necessary to keep them clean and prevent infections.
  3. Baths: Shih Tzus should be bathed every 2-3 weeks to keep their coat and skin healthy. But, if your Shih Tzu has coat or skin disorders, they may require more frequent baths. Professional grooming services can charge extra for frequent bathing.
  4. Nail cutting: Shih Tzus’ nails should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks to prevent overgrowth and avoid discomfort. Professional nail cutting services can add up to the expenses.
  5. Coat trimming: Depending on your preference, you may choose to have your Shih Tzu’s coat professionally trimmed periodically. This can be an additional cost to consider.
  6. Nose and paw care: Shih Tzus with longer hair around their noses and paws may require regular trimming to keep them clean. This can be done at home or by a professional groomer.

All these grooming tasks are necessary to maintain the appearance and overall hygiene of your Shih Tzu. But, the costs can add up over time, especially if you choose to take your dog to professional groomers. A typical Shih Tzu haircut can cost around $20, while professional nail cutting can cost around $15. You may also incur extra fees if you take your Shih Tzu to a dog boarding facility that requires extra care.

16. Short Lifespan

When considering which breed of dog to bring into your home, it’s important to take into account their lifespan. Unfortunately, Shih Tzus are known for having a relatively short lifespan compared to other breeds. On average, a Shih Tzu will live between 10 and 16 years.

This shorter lifespan can be quite difficult for owners who become deeply attached to their furry companions. It means that we have a shorter amount of time to create memories and build a strong bond with our beloved pets. Also, the loss of a pet can be emotionally challenging, and the shorter lifespan of a Shih Tzu means that we may have to face this heartbreak sooner than with other breeds.

There are several factors that contribute to the shorter lifespan of Shih Tzus. One of the key factors is their brachycephalic (flat-faced) features, which can lead to a higher risk of respiratory issues and other health problems. Also, Shih Tzus are prone to certain genetic conditions and diseases, such as kidney problems, respiratory issues, and eye problems, which can impact their overall health and lifespan.

While it’s impossible to predict how long any individual Shih Tzu will live, it’s important to be aware of their shorter lifespan when considering them as a pet. This knowledge can help us make informed decisions about bringing a Shih Tzu into our home and prepare us for the possibility of having a shorter time with our furry friend.

Even though their shorter lifespan, Shih Tzus can still bring immense joy and love into our lives. What they lack in years, they make up for in their affectionate nature and playful spirit. By providing them with a loving and caring home, regular veterinary care, and a healthy lifestyle, we can ensure that they have the best possible quality of life during their time with us.

So, while the shorter lifespan of a Shih Tzu can be a challenging aspect to consider, it’s important to approach pet ownership with an open heart and the understanding that every precious moment spent with our furry companions is truly invaluable.


To conclude, owning a Shih Tzu can present unique challenges and may not be the best fit for everyone. Their stubborn nature, high maintenance coats, excessive barking, and strong-willed personalities can make them a handful to handle. Also, their territorial behavior, housetraining difficulties, and separation anxiety can be overwhelming for some owners.

Besides, Shih Tzus have limited tolerance for outdoor activities, which may not suit individuals with an active lifestyle. Their sensitivity to extreme temperatures, along with the challenges of managing them around small children and other pets, can also be a concern.

Also, the costly upkeep and maintenance of owning a Shih Tzu, coupled with potential health issues and their relatively shorter lifespan, should be taken into consideration before making a decision.

But, with a loving and caring home, regular veterinary care, and a healthy lifestyle, Shih Tzus can still enjoy a good quality of life during their time with us. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons and make an well-informed choice based on your lifestyle and preferences when considering a Shih Tzu as a pet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Shih Tzu have a temper?

Shih Tzus are generally friendly and sociable, but they can exhibit aggressive behavior in certain situations. Overall, they are known for their affectionate nature.

How do you discipline a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are sensitive to punishment, so reward-based methods work best. Use a training clicker and treats to reinforce positive behaviors.

What is the leading cause of death for Shih Tzus?

Old age is the most common cause of death for Shih Tzus. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help prevent conditions associated with advanced age, such as heart disease.

Do Shih Tzus bark a lot?

Shih Tzus can be prone to excessive barking, especially when they see people or dogs passing by. It is a part of their nature and can be managed through training.

What irritates Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus can have allergies to things like dust mites, cleaning products, grass, pollen, and certain shampoos. It’s important to be aware of potential irritants and take steps to minimize exposure.

Sam M.

Hi! I'm Sam, the founder of PetFoodsReview.com, I created PetFoodsReview.com to help pets live healthier through better food. I combine my love for animals and research to guide pet owners in choosing the right meals for their pets.

Keep Reading