Probably one of the most popular toy breed dogs is the Shih Tzu. With a name that literally translates to “lion dog,” the Shih Tzu was originally bred for royalty.
Pronounced as “SHEED-zoo,” this is an ancient breed of dog with references going back as far as the 7th Century C.E. as well as the discovery of the remains of a wild ancestor dating back to 10,000 years ago.
Known for their small size and friendly temperament, the Shih Tzus were bred to be pets of Chinese emperors and while they may have fallen from their stature in today’s modern age, they surely don’t mind because they have become one of man’s perfect companions.
The Costs of Owning a Shih Tzu
This article will discuss the overall numbers and figures of buying and owning a Shih Tzu dog which would include one-time costs such as the actual price of the dog, shipping fees, and certification.
Recurring costs would come in the form of food, medical, and grooming expenses as well as accessory items that the Shih Tzu would need.
As far as breeds go, Shih Tzus are definitely not the most expensive dogs out there. Unfortunately, interested buyers would still need to pay a hefty price to acquire one as a pet.
- Actual Shih Tzu Price
Although Shih Tzu dogs are miniature in size, they do not come cheap. Dogs from this breed typically cost around $500 to $6,000.
With a wide price range, it would all have to depend on what is included when you buy a Shih Tzu. Most of the time, the Shih Tzu would include a health guarantee, a copy of the dog’s shot history, and a limited AKC registration among other things.
Most of the time, breeders would assess which of their Shih Tzu puppies have the potential to become show dogs and it is only those that pass their standards would be given paperwork. Oftentimes, these pups would come from champion bloodlines and would be given a higher price.
Furthermore, for Shih Tzu pups that are less than 8 weeks old or those less than 2 pounds, breeders would be entitled to ask a holding fee of $200 to $500 for them to use in caring for the chosen puppy of their buyers until they are deemed ready to be shipped.
- Shipping & Transport Costs
Most breeders would make all the necessary arrangements for the dogs you buy from them.
The extent of shipping and delivery would depend on the breeders. If air travel is involved, shipping may cost around $190 to $450 depending on the distance that will be traveled as well as the breeders’ own agreement with shipping services.
Some breeders such as Joiful Shih Tzu recommend the use of a pet nanny to fly with your dog in order to make sure it is taken care of. This service may increase the shipping price.
You will also be given the choice to come and pick up your puppy at the breeder’s facility yourself or you can just pick it up at the nearest airport.
- Obedience Training
This is important for Shih Tzu dogs because they can be quite difficult to housebreak. They are intelligent creatures and they do love to learn. However, they could also be stubborn due to their own natural playfulness which brings us to the need for obedience training.
Luckily, most breeders would start training their puppies early. Despite this, you would still need to enroll your dog in obedience classes which may cost around $119 to $165. If you can afford it, you can even have your Shih Tzu trained privately for about $800.
Most reputable breeders would sell puppies with limited American Kennel Club registration which you can upgrade to full-time for only $25. However, only the litter owners can request to revoke a dog’s limited status which is why you should talk to your breeder regarding this matter.
The cost of Shih Tzus aren’t all that high in the long run compared to bigger and more expensive dogs as they aren’t that difficult to maintain. When you buy a Shih Tzu, you may want to consider the following recurring costs:
- Food Costs
Since Shih Tzu dogs are small in size, you do not need to feed them that much at all. With this being said, one half to a full cup of high-grade dog food would be enough for your Shih Tzu every day.
It is important to take into consideration the level of physical activity your dog does per day. The more physically active the dog is, the bigger the amount it should be fed. Do not overfeed your Shih Tzu as it gains weight quite fast.
Depending on your budget, it is recommended that you feed your dog only high-grade dog food. This may cost more but it can definitely help you meet your dog’s daily nutritional needs.
Dog foods ranging from 5.5 oz cans to 27.5-lb. packs can cost somewhere between $2 and $46.99 but the high-quality ones can reach up to $71.
Your dog would need a few accessory items when it begins its stay with you. Unfortunately, some of these items can be subjected to constant wear-and-tear which gives you the need to replace them from time to time.
First on the list should be a dog kennel which will serve as your Shih Tzu’s very own carrier whenever you go traveling with your pet. This can also serve as a spot where you can place your dog in case it misbehaves.
Dog kennels can cost around $19 to $322 depending on the size and quality. But since your Shih Tzu has a small build, you don’t have to spend too much on kennels.
Shih Tzu dogs are suited for the apartment life so a dog house may become optional for you. But if you do have the space to place one, then you may want to get a dog house for your pet which can cost somewhere between $89.99 and $274.99.
The dog would also need a collar for everyone to know its identity and owner. Dog collars can be quite inexpensive and you can buy them for as low as $4.45. Some collars may cost over $100 depending on the quality especially the electronic ones which come with their own tracking systems.
Another thing you should get is a dog leash for whenever you take your Shih Tzu out for walks. It costs only about $9.49 up to $32.99.
Since Shih Tzus are playful dogs, you may also consider buying a number of toys for them which may cost only around $1.47 to $15.99.
- Grooming Costs
One of the qualities that make Shih Tzus popular is their gorgeous coat. With colors ranging from white to brown, to black, blue, or a mixture of these colors, Shih Tzu dogs are no doubt prized for their aesthetics. Unfortunately, maintaining their appearance is no easy task.
You would need to brush your dog’s fur at least once a day and to do this you would need a quality dog brush. Brushes may cost about $9.99 to $37.99 depending on the brand and quality.
It’s up to you whether you want to keep your Shih Tzu’s hair long or short but remember that if you go for the former, it would be harder to maintain.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can help prevent tartar buildup and avoid dental diseases. To do this you should buy a proper toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog which may cost around $4.99 to $12.99.
You would also need to maintain your dog’s nails in order for you to avoid getting scratched. A nail clipper may cost as low as $5.99 but if you think this is too much of a hassle, you can always hire someone to do that for you for only $14.
Every few weeks, you may want to treat your beloved pet to a full grooming session. Doing this may cost you around $45 to $55. But despite the costs, you would be able to effectively maintain your dog’s appearance for a long while.
- Medical Costs
Shih Tzu dogs tend to live long healthy lives with a lifespan of 10 to 16 years. This is because they do not have many genetic illnesses. However, the dog would still need regular checkups from a vet to make sure it is always in optimum health.
A physical exam would cost about $35 to $55 but apart from that, your pet should undergo frequent de-worming costing about $12 to $60, as well as receive vaccinations strengthen its immunity. Vaccines may cost around $25 to $35 per shot.
Where to Buy Shih Tzu Dogs
With the popularity of Shih Tzu dogs, it doesn’t take much to find breeders online. However, what’s difficult to find are breeders you can trust.
Two of the first places you can try are the American Kennel Club and the American Shih Tzu Club. These organizations have a wide network of reputable breeders that you can gain access to.
If you have found a breeder that you think you can trust, you should consider a few characteristics most responsible breeders have.
- They are transparent and would provide you with any information you might need such as a puppy’s pedigree, shot history, parent history, and more.
- They would have you sign a contract detailing your responsibilities as well as obligating you to return the Shih Tzu in case you are no longer able to care for it.
- They would interview you and ask a lot of questions regarding your living conditions, your occupation, and your availability in order to make sure that you can care for the Shih Tzu.