Shih Tzu Lifespan
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Shih Tzu dog lifespan on the average is about 14 years. I often hear people ask “how long does Shih Tzu live?”

It’s an importance question because losing your pet is one of the saddest moment in life.

This is why Shih Tzu dog owners do worry about Shih Tzu life expectancy, as the thought of seeing pet dying is often scary.

Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog in existence. It is an adorable breed of dog with high energy and power.

Small dog usually live longer than larger ones and this gives Shih Tzu a very big advantage.

How Long Do Shih Tzu Live? – Shih Tzu Lifespan

Shih Tzu’s lifespan ranges from 12 to 16 years old, having an average age of 14 years.

Most Shih Tzus are considered senior dogs from 9 to 10 years of existence. Fortunately, if you get yourself a Shih Tzu dog, there is a greater chance that you will spend many years with the dog.

There are many factors that affect how long Shih Tzu dog will live, these things include; genetics, accidents, and health problems. But the good news is that there are certain things you can do to make our dog live longer.

Shih Tzu Dogs Health Problems – Health Issues That Impact Shih Tzu Lifespan

Like other dogs, Shih Tzu dogs are prone to some health issues that affect how long they live.

There are a number of things that affect a dog’s life expectancy. The two major ones are shape and size.

Looking at the size, as earlier said, larger dogs have a shorter lifespan than the smaller breeds. In this case, Shih Tzu is not affected because of its moderate size body.

Considering shape, the shape of a dog can raise several health problems known as conformational defeats. Some of the health problems that Shih Tzu breeds are prone to include, hip dysplasia, collapsed trachea, breathing problems, patellar luxation, eye, ear, and teeth issues.

These problems, although they seem to be much, are also common to other breeds of dog.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia happens when the hip socket is not properly developed. This condition usually leads to severe pain and arthritis. The problem can be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian, but depending on the severity, surgery may be needed.

Breathing Problems

Some Shih Tzu are usually born with very small passageways to the nostrils, making breathing difficult for them. Due to the small size of nostrils pipe, they get an inadequate supply of oxygen and in turn, problems start to develop.

Another respiratory issue Shih Tzu usually faces is a collapsed trachea. Usually, a dog’s trachea or windpipe is made of cartilage. But when the cartilage becomes weak, the dog will experience painful and difficult breathing. Some dogs can adapt to these conditions, but if the breathing problems are severe, surgery may be needed.

Luxatory patella

Luxatory patella is a condition in Shih Tzu where their knee cap pops out of position. This can cause painful legs, surgery may be needed to correct the condition depending on the severity. But if the condition is mild, the dog can still live completely fine with the help of medicine.

Back Problems

Shih Tzus usually have short legs and large back, and due to this, they are prone to a back problem called Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVD).

This is a condition where a disk slips out of place and presses against the spinal cord. It leads to muscle spasm, weakness, and in some cases, paralysis. This condition can be treated with surgery and/or medicine.

Eye Disease

Shih Tzu are prone to eye disease and injuries due to the large size of the eyeballs.

The most common eye problem shih tzu is ‘dry eye’. This condition occurs when the dog is not producing enough tears.

It can be fixed by a veterinarian, but if not treated, a shih tzu with dry eye can developed ulcers and become totally blind.

Distichiasis is another eye disease in shih tzu. This occurs when the dogs have extra eyelashes. It doesn’t affect the dog at times, but sometimes can be very harmful and irritaty. The condition can be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.

Another eye problem common in Shih Tzu is corneal ulcers. This usually affects the dogs sensitively to light and affected Shih Tzu may squint frequently or have red eyes. This condition can lead to blindness of left untreated. However, it can be managed and treated by a veterinarian. 

Cataracts is another eye disease common in Shih Tzu. This is caused by the excess accumulation of proteins in the lens. A shih tzu with cataracts may have cloudy eyes and will lose vision in the affected eye as the condition persists. A veterinarian can diagnosed and treat cataracts in Shih Tzu.

Ear infection

Shih Tzu is a breed that has a lot of hair. The hair in their ears provides a comfortable place for mites and bacterial growth. This ear infection in Shih Tzu is characterized by itching and redness of the ear, and when these signals begin to manifest, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Dental Problem

Shih Tzu is susceptible to teeth problems due to their small-sized mouths making teeth unable to line up. They are prone to gum disease (periodontal disease) which can affect the dog’s overall health. The infection can spread throughout the bloodstreams to organs like kidneys, liver, heart, or brain. Brushing a dog’s teeth is very important.

Kidney disease

The most common kidney disease in Shih Tzu is renal dysplasia. It is a genetic disease and occurs when the kidneys don’t develop properly. It is a fatal condition and sometimes dogs with this disease die from it.

Liver Disease

The commonest liver disease in Shih Tzu is called liver shunt. This condition compromises the flow of blood to and from the liver.

Shih Tzu or other dogs with lover shunt do usually grow smaller and weaker than other of the same age. A dog can be born with liver shunt disease. A veterinarian can diagnose and treat liver shunt disease properly.


Hypothyroidism is a disease condition in Shih Tzu. It occurs when the dog’s thyroid is not producing enough hormones. This disease affects a dog’s overall metabolism and organs function. A veterinarian can treat hypothyroidism.


A Shih Tzu usually experience different types of allergies. Always contact a veterinarian to find out what your dog is allergic to and treat them.

Increasing Shih Tzu’s lifespan – How to extend your Shih Tzu’s lifespan

Genetics play a greater role in the lifespan of a dog, but environmental factors greatly constitute too.

However, pets owners can take some told steps to extend how long their dogs live.

The first thing is the veterinarian visits. Always take your Shih Tzu to a veterinarian. The vet can monitor and spot any health problems as easily as possible and provide proper treatment to the dog before the condition gets worse.

Feed your Shih Tzu with nutritious diets. Give your pet vitamins and minerals supplements.

Exercising your Shih Tzu is a good way of increasing his lifespan. This helps the dog to release all his pent-up energy.

Take him out for a walk every day, as this will give his muscle a good workout and help prevent heart problems. Keep your work short so as not to over-exert his cardiovascular system.

Ways And Tips To Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy

Shih Tzu breed of dog requires lots of specific care to stay healthy and thrive well.

Whether you are new to Shih Tzu breed or you have been a long time Shih Tzu parent, here, you’ll find useful tips, advice, guidelines, and ways you can keep your Shih Tzu healthy.

Administer Proper Eye Care To Shih Tzu

Setting aside a little time each day to care for your dog’s eye can help reduce the risk of eye problems.  

Wipe your Shih Tzu’s eyes daily even if it appears clean. Make use of a clean cloth moistened with warm water. You can also use eye wipes for dogs.

Check Your Dogs For Back Issues

Back pain in Shih Tzu may result from a bulgy disc or slipped disc. Keep a watchful eye on your dog especially when you notice signs of discomfort which may result from inflammation.

To avoid the back problems in Shih Tzu, prevent him from jumping very high. If you allow your dog on your bed, place doggies steps by your bed, train them to use the doggie steps instead of jumping.

Keep Shih Tzu Ears Clean And Free Of Hair And Debris  

Shih Tzu dogs usually have low hanging ears that obstruct air from entering the easily.

Most Shih Tzu breeds have thick hair that completely covers the ears. This can create a good breeding ground for bacterial growth.

Some of them produce a huge amount of ear wax. Checking their ears at hast once a week and cleaning them will help ward off ear infection.

Keep Your Shih Tzu Clean To Ward Off Pests

Your Shih Tzu needs to be kept clean to keep pests off the body. Bath your dog regularly and brush their teeth daily. If you notice ticks while cleaning and grooming your Shih Tzu dog, use tweezers to grab and pull them off his body.

Serve Shih Tzu With Clean Water

Serve your Shih Tzu with fitted water. There are few allowable water contaminants, but serving your pet with filtered water much better.

Serve your Shih Tzu with a High quality Dog food

Serving your Shih Tzu with excellent foods will go a long way towards keeping your dog healthy.

Provide your dog with foods that cover healthy grains. In the case of poultry, choose chicken or Turkey over poultry, serve your dog with beef instead of meat. Contact your vet or pet nutritionist first if you choose to cook for your dog.

What Do Shih Tzu Die Of? – Possible Cause Of Shih Tzu’s Death

Heart Disease is the prime cause of Shih Tzu’s death. Most heart diseases in dogs are caused by heart valve deterioration.

Involving Shih Tzu on a daily exercise is very vital as this will help protect the dogs from pilling on the pounds and stressing the heart.

The exercise must be optimum because Shih Tzus overheat easy. However, a 30 minutes walk with the dog or playtime at home is enough for the dog.

What Age Does Shih Tzu Die?

The Shih Tzu dog lifespan ranges approximately from 12 to 16 years. The average is 14 years. Most Shih Tzu die then they get extremely old. But most times, how long Shih Tzu lives depends on how the dog is taken care of.

The Longest Living Shih Tzu

The oldest living Shih Tzu is smokey from St. peterburey, Florida. The dog live to be 28 years old.

Shih Tzu Lifespan Compared To Other Dog Breeds 

Shih Tzu life expectancy ranges from 12 to 16 years. That of other dog breeds are:

  • Pug 12 to 15 years
  • Pekingese 13 to 15 years
  • Maltese 12 to 15 years
  • Lhasa Apso 12 to 14 years
  • Pomeranian 12 to 16 years
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel 9 to 14 years
  • Chihuahua 15 to 20 years
  • Bichon Frise 12 to 15 years

Aging Signs Of Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu at old age, requires extra care and attention. As a dog owner, these are the tell-tale aging signs of Shih Tzu you should take note of:

  • Hazy eyes
  • Unresponsiveness to your commands
  • Weight gain: this is because as they grow old, their metabolism rate slows down making them less prone to exercise.
  • Weight loss: As they grow old, Shih Tzu can develop dental problem making them reluctant to eat 
  • Sluggishness
  • Increased urinary
  •  Difficulty in walking around
  • Hair loss
  • Weakness and sleeping heavily


The question “How long do Shih Tzu live?” or “what is Shih Tzu lifespan?” does not have a straight forward answer.

Shih Tzu’s life expectancy depends solely on how the dog is taken care of, especially at old age.

While you cant totally determine your Shih Tzu average expectancy, however, the way you care for your pet will determine how long it lives.

You can do everything in your capacity to ensure your dog lives longer and happily by providing the best possible care.

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