Shih Tzu Price & Lifetime Costs: Can You Afford One?

The adorable Shih Tzu is an extremely popular dog breed these days, but what is the true Shih Tzu price tag?

Photo of Shih Tzu  Outdoors Long Hair Min

It is easy to see how so many people have fallen in love with these tiny toy dogs.

Shih Tzus are very cute and cuddly—especially when they are puppies. They look like precious plush toys. They have big, round eyes that make them look like babies forever.

However, Shih Tzus have some very specific needs. For example, Shih Tzus are prone to a lot of health problems, especially eye issues due to their abnormally large and bulging eyes. Shih Tzus also require frequent trips to the groomer and routine dental care.

Many people are unaware of these extra costs when they take home a Shih Tzu. That is why it is so important to do your research before acquiring any new pet.

In this article, we will dive into the hidden aspects of the Shih Tzu price.

If you are thinking about adopting a Shih Tzu, this article will give you a better sense of what to expect when it comes to the true Shih Tzu cost.

Is a Shih Tzu the Right Dog for You?

Before we get into all of the elements of the average Shih Tzu price, we should first determine if a Shih Tzu is a good fit for your household.

Shih Tzu Temperament

Shih Tzu temperament is usually described as affectionate, playful and lively.

These little dogs can be a little shy at first with strangers. However, they are goofy and loving with their families.

Shih Tzus are small and delicate. They should be supervised closely when they interact with children or other animals. They can be accidentally injured if play gets too rough.

Some Shih Tzus can be skittish and nippy. However, if you are diligent about training and socializing your Shih Tzu, he will be more outgoing and confident.

Shih Tzus can do fine in apartments or small, city houses. However, they still need daily exercise and enrichment to keep them from getting bored.

This can be a vocal breed, so if you are not a fan of barking, the Shih Tzu might not be the best choice for you.

The Price of Purchasing a Shih Tzu Puppy from a Good Breeder

The price of Shih Tzu puppies can vary widely depending on the source.

Since Shih Tzus are so desirable right now, there are lots of Shih Tzu breeders trying to get into the market.

Finding a High-Quality Breeder

Some of Shih Tzu breeders are high-quality breeders who are trying to create the healthiest specimens of the breed.

Sadly, some breeders are unethical and are only concerned with breeding as many puppies as possible to make as much money as possible.

It is up to you to do your due diligence and work with a responsible Shih Tzu breeder.

The Shih Tzu puppy price can be anywhere between $500 and $1500 per puppy. In general, higher-quality breeders tend to be on the upper end of the price spectrum, but this is not always the case.

You will have to dig deeper to find out if a breeder is a reputable breeder.

Contact the American Shih Tzu Club for a list of recommended breeders. The club can give you a list of breeders in your region that adhere to their code of ethics.

Schedule a Visit

Once you identify a possible breeder, make arrangements to visit the breeder in person and tour the facility. Make sure you meet the dogs on the property and inspect their papers, health records, and genetic testing. If a breeder does not want you to visit their premises, this is a bad sign.

Avoid the Internet and Pet Shops

Never purchase Shih Tzu puppies over the internet or from a pet store. Even if the breeder assures you that the Shih Tzu puppy has papers, this does not guarantee that you are working with a responsible breeder.

The only way to know what you are getting is to take the time and effort to visit the breeder yourself and see the operations with your own eyes.

Therefore, when you purchase a Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder, you will also have to factor in the cost of travel and accommodations.

If you would like to read more about finding a good breeder, check out this helpful article.

The Cost of Adopting a Shih Tzu from a Rescue Group or Animal Shelter

If you are looking for a way to save some money, adoption is a great option for you!

There are many Shih Tzus available for adoption in rescue groups, animal shelters, and humane societies.

Can you Find a Shih Tzu in an Animal Shelter?

Shih Tzus are actually one of the most common breeds in American animal shelters today.

Anytime a breed gets wildly popular, a certain percentage of those dogs end up with people who are not truly equipped to take care of them. Consequently, many of those dogs end up in animal shelters.

This happened with Dalmatians and Cocker Spaniels after Disney movies such as 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp.

It also happened with Chihuahuas and then Shih Tzus and other fluffy breeds after Hollywood celebrities showed them off like fashion accessories.

If you visit your local animal shelter or humane society, you have a good chance of finding a Shih Tzu to add to your family without breaking the bank.

Typical adoption fees at animal shelters are usually between $75 and $200 depending on the organization. This price almost always includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, and other basic veterinary care.

Shih Tzu Rescue Groups

There are also rescue groups that are specifically dedicated to Shih Tzus and other small breeds. You can contact the American Shih Tzu Club Rescue Committee for more information.

The staff at your local animal shelter can also provide you with a list of rescue groups that focus on Shih Tzus or Shih Tzu mixes. The adoption fee from a rescue group may be slightly higher than from a public shelter, but is still less than purchasing from a breeder.

You can search for more adoptable Shih Tzus on websites such as Facebook, Petfinder, Adoptapet, and Getyourpet.

When you adopt a Shih Tzu that is in need of a home, you not only save money, you also save a dog’s life.

The Price of Shih Tzu Designer Dogs

Shih Tzus are sometimes crossed with other breeds to create “designer dogs.”

For example, a Shih Tzu and a Yorkie is called a Shorkie. A Shih Tzu and a Pomeranian is called a Shih Pom. A Shih Tzu and a Maltese is called a Mal-Shi.

All of these designer dogs are very expensive to purchase from a breeder, but can also be found in rescue groups and animal shelters for a more affordable cost.

Can You Afford Shih Tzu Care?

Of course, the initial fee is only the beginning of your Shih Tzu’s expenses.

There are many ongoing costs to factor in as well.

The Cost of Feeding a Shih Tzu

Luckily, Shih Tzus are small dogs, so they do not require a lot of food.

However, high-quality dog food can still be quite expensive, even for a small dog.

You will want to find a dog food that does not contain a lot of filler ingredients such as corn or animal by-products.

Talk with your vet about the best Shih Tzu diet. Keep in mind that the best nutrition is often the most expensive.

The Cost of Training a Shih Tzu

Training is a crucial part of dog ownership.

Sign up for an obedience class with a trainer at your earliest opportunity.

These classes cost anywhere between $75 and $200 for a 5- or 6-week course.

You can also hire a private trainer for one-on-one training, but this is more expensive.

Make sure you find a trainer that uses positive reinforcement training methods.

The Cost of Shih Tzu Grooming

Shih Tzus require a lot of grooming, and this can quickly get expensive.

Shih Tzus need routine haircuts to prevent their fur from becoming matted. This is not optional. Shih Tzus can become painfully matted if their coats are neglected.

Your Shih Tzu will need to go to a professional groomer about once per month or every other month.

Depending on the groomer and the hairstyle, this can cost you about $30-$100 per visit.

One major perk of this breed is that Shih Tzu hair is considered hypoallergenic. This makes the Shih Tzu a good pet for people with allergies.

Other Shih Tzu Expenses

Your Shih Tzu will need plenty of toys and enrichment items to keep him entertained.

Shih Tzus are small dogs with small bladders. Most Shih Tzus cannot “hold it” for a full day while you are at work.

This means you will have to invest in a dog walker, doggie daycare, dog door or pee pads.

Lots of Shih Tzu owners like to dress their dogs in sweaters and jackets. Doggie wardrobes can get pricey, but they are of course optional.

Shih Tzu Medical Costs

The thing that can really break the bank is the cost of medical care for your Shih Tzu.

Yearly Medical Costs

Like all dogs, your Shih Tzu will need to visit the vet at least once per year for an annual checkup and vaccinations. The cost of an annual visit usually costs between $100 and $250 depending on the veterinarian.

Your Shih Tzu will also need monthly parasite prevention for fleas, ticks and heartworms. The medicine is dosed by weight, so you will not have to pay as much as you would for a Saint Bernard, but you will still need to budget about $20-$40 per month depending on the products you choose.

Shih Tzu Health Issues

In addition to routine costs, Shih Tzus are prone to a number of expensive medical problems.

Eye Issues

For example, Shih Tzus are plagued by eye issues. Their large, bulging eyes can easily develop cataracts, glaucoma, or KCS (also called dry eye).

These conditions either require surgical procedures that cost thousands of dollars, or medication for life.

Short Snouts

Shih Tzus are brachycephalic, which means they have short, snub snouts. This often leads to breathing problems and/or collapsing tracheas.

Their small, squashed mouths almost always have an overbite or an underbite.

Dogs with these types of jaw misalignments need more frequent dental cleanings and sometimes require dental extractions.

Joint Issues

This breed also suffers from knee and joint issues due to their short, stubby legs. For example, many Shih Tzus have luxating patellas.

This can usually be managed by weight control and joint supplements, but it sometimes requires surgery.

Other Health Issues

Some Shih Tzus have bad allergies that lead to chronic skin and ear infections.

In conclusion, these popular little dogs are prone to a host of expensive medical problems. If you bring one home, you will want to set aside an emergency fund for medical expenses.

You might also want to talk with your veterinarian about pet health insurance.

Final Thoughts on the Shih Tzu Price

It is always important to do your research before adopting any new pet.

When you delve into the details of the Shih Tzu price, you can see that it is vital to budget for ongoing expenses especially grooming and medical care.