How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost? (2024 Price Guide)

Shih Tzu price and expenses how much does a Shih Tzu cost

Whether you are planning on taking home a Shih Tzu or just curious about the breed, having a comprehensive idea about how much Shih Tzus cost is very important. 

Given the demand for Shih Tzus, its price range is within the average. However, there are a lot more other expenses that you need to consider should you decide to own a Shih Tzu dog. 

In this guide, we will give you an in-depth breakdown of the actual costs of keeping a Shih Tzu puppy to help you determine if your finances can shoulder the cost of owning one. Let’s get to it!

The Average Cost of a Shih Tzu Puppy

Average cost of Shih Tzu puppy

The average price of a Shih Tzu puppy is between $500 and $1,500. However, if you want a high-quality Shih Tzu puppy from a champion bloodline, expect the price tag to be higher. Some factors affecting the price of a Shih Tzu are its age, coat color, and size. 

Professional breeders producing Shih Tzu puppies from a top lineage as well as litters of proven show dogs are usually priced at a reasonably higher tag of up to $6,000. 

While there may be breeders selling these pups at low-ball prices, it is important to note that Shih Tzu puppies are not cheap since producing and taking care of them requires a lot of financial investment. 

That said, no matter how tempting low prices are, you must thoroughly check the breeder and refrain from puppy mills at all costs. 

The same is true for dogs sold in pet stores, as they are likely produced by a puppy mill or backyard breeder.

For more details on Shih Tzu pricing, check out this video:


Factors Affecting the Cost of a Shih Tzu Puppy

While Shih Tzu puppies come at a reasonable price, their cost is not randomly assigned by Shih Tzu breeders. Note that their pricing is based on certain factors.

It is essential to know all of these aspects that affect puppy prices before you decide to buy a Shih Tzu puppy. It will help you find the perfect dog according to your needs and budget. 

Here are some of the major factors affecting the Shih Tzu puppy cost:

  • Age: Since most owners like to receive their puppy as young as possible so they can see it grow, younger Shih Tzu puppies are usually sold at a higher price as compared to an adult Shih Tzu. If you are on a tight budget, it’s better to take home an older dog. 
  • Bloodline: It is a no-brainer that Shih Tzu puppies from top breed lines are way more expensive. The same is true for dogs from championship lines that are intended for show purposes. As always, a pet-quality Shih Tzu is priced lower as compared to show-quality dogs.
  • Size: If you are after teacup Shih Tzus or imperial Shih Tzus, expect to shell out more cash compared to buying a standard Shih Tzu. This is because smaller dogs require more veterinary care during breeding and delivery.
  • Color and Markings: Color and markings also play a huge role in determining the Shih Tzu price. The price range of rare-colored Shih Tzu, such as the solid black Shih Tzu, is usually higher. Likewise, the price range for white, cream, and gold Shih Tzus is around $100 to $200 more than the more common colors.
  • Breeder’s Reputation: Reputable breeders with a proven track record usually sell their Shih Tzu puppies at a higher price tag as compared to puppies sold by puppy mills and backyard breeders. This is because reputable breeders do health screenings to make sure they are producing a healthy Shih Tzu for pet owners.

Keep in mind that the list is not complete and that there are a lot more other factors to consider that also contribute to an increased Shih Tzu price, like location, shipping fees, and the pet market in the area. 

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Shih Tzu From a Rescue? 

Shih Tzu adoption costs only run between $350 and $550. Adopting a Shih Tzu from a shelter or rescue organization is not only a good act but also saves you a lot of money. 

Rehoming fees may vary from shelter to shelter, and most of them base their adoption charge on the dog’s age. So, if you want a Shih Tzu for a lower price, you can always opt for an adult dog. 

The adoption fees you will be paying usually cover your potential dog’s vet expenses, including vaccination shots, treatment for fleas, deworming, neutering or spaying, and microchipping

While Shih Tzu dogs are less likely to be found in shelters in the United States as compared to other breeds, there are still a handful of Shih Tzu puppies waiting to be adopted. 

Initial Cost of Shih Tzu Ownership

Shih Tzu initial costs

The Shih Tzu price may be on the cheaper side as compared to other dog breeds, but there are other expenses that new dog owners must prepare for on top of the dog’s price tag. 

In this section, we will take a look at some of the essential supplies that your new dog will need to have a smooth and comfortable transition to its new home. 

Aside from the Shih Tzu cost, here are the initial expenses you need to prepare before taking your Shih Tzu puppy home:

  • Food and Treats: While most breeders will provide a few packs of dog food upon rehoming, it is important that you prepare your initial stocks in advance. Fortunately, since your Shih Tzus are small dogs, you will only need a budget of $50 to $80 to cover the expenses for dog food and treats
  • Food and Water Bowls: Investing in high-quality stainless steel bowls will help you save in the long run since they are sturdier than plastic bowls. It is also important that you get the right size for your Shih Tzu dog so you can portion their food correctly. Small food and water bowls will only cost you about $10 to $25. 
  • Bed: Shih Tzus are playful dogs. Thus, providing your puppy with an excellent quality bed to sleep on at night will be helpful in making sure its energy is recharged for the next day’s playtime. These beds would usually cost you between $30 and $150. 
  • Crate: The crate is your small dog’s safe place and a den-like bedroom where they can relax, especially when no one is around to supervise them. Crates can also be helpful when taking your Shih Tzu on travels. Good-quality crates are priced around $30 to $200. 
  • Leash and Collar: For small dogs like your Shih Tzu, a harness may be a better and more secure option over a leash. This is because small dogs are likely to injure themselves straining against a collar. However, a leash will be helpful when training your Shih Tzu, so it’s best to purchase one. A durable leash and collars range from $15 to $50. 
  • Toys: Play is important for your Shih Tzu, but no matter how much we try, we cannot give a hundred percent of our time playing with them. With a budget of $20 to $30, you can already buy a toy or two at a pet store near you. 
  • Grooming Essentials: The grooming costs of Shih Tzus can be expensive due to the Shih Tzu coat needing to be maintained. That said, for dog owners to lessen their professional groomer expenses, they need to invest in quality Shih Tzu grooming tools such as brushes, nail clippers, and toothbrushes. Grooming kits cost $30 to $150.
  • Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medication: Though Shih Tzus are not susceptible to ticks, it is still important to make sure they are safe from skin infection causing ticks and fleas. Likewise, they may also need to be dewormed to prevent parasites. Expect to pay around $50 to $200 for these medications.
  • Initial Vet Visits: Whether you’re buying from a reputable breeder or taking home a Shih Tzu from the shelter, it is important to have them checked by a vet during its first month with you. Depending on your location and the tests required, you may need to shell out $100 to $300 for the veterinary costs. 
  • Initial Vaccine Shots: Most breeders usually rehome Shih Tzus partially vaccinated. This means the new Shih Tzu owner is responsible for completing the shots needed. Vaccines are important and are usually scheduled, so make sure to allot $75 to $200 to cover these. 
  • Neutering or Spaying: While this procedure may be optional, experts strongly suggest getting your pet spayed or neutered since these have a lot of health benefits. Getting your Shih Tzu neutered or spayed will come at an additional cost of $50 to $500. 
  • Dog License: Regardless if a dog license is required in your state, getting one is a wise decision. When your dog is licensed, it would be easier for you to prove ownership. Likewise, animal control will quickly identify your dog and get them back to you safely. License fees range from $10 to $20.
  • Microchip: A dog license and microchip work hand in hand, so it’s best to get both for your Shih Tzu for added protection and security. Owners need to spend an average price of $40 to $60 for microchipping. 
  • Miscellaneous Supplies: In addition to the list above, pet owners may need to provide several other items for your Shih Tzu, such as poop bags, cleaning supplies, poop inducers, vitamins, accessories, and similar items. For these expenses, it is safe to set aside a budget of $15 to $30. 

Here’s a summary of the initial expenses of owning a Shih Tzu puppy: 

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$50 – $80
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $25
Bed$30 – $150
Crate$30 – $200
Leash and Collar$15 – $50
Toys$20 – $30
Grooming Essentials$30 – $150
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medication$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$525 – $1,995

New pet owners need to prepare an initial investment between $525 and $1,995 to provide for the initial supplies of a Shih Tzu. 

The list may be long and overwhelming, but by providing these items, you are assured that your Shih Tzu will have a smooth and easy transition to its new home. 

It is also best to ask your breeder what the inclusions are when you buy a puppy from them. There are breeders who are generous enough to provide some of the items above. 

Annual Cost of Owning a Shih Tzu 

Shih Tzu yearly and monthly costs

Now that you have an idea about how much a Shih Tzu costs and the initial expenses that you will incur, the next thing to consider are the yearly costs of owning these purebred dogs.

Shih Tzus have a lifespan of 10 to 16 years, so it’s best to determine now if you can provide for and support these dogs in the long run. 

The table below shows the summary of the annual cost of Shih Tzu ownership:

Type of ExpenseYearly Estimate
Food and Treats$240 – $720
Toys$25 – $100
Bed and Crate$60 – $360
Leashes and Collars$20 – $30
Grooming Essentials$100 – $250
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$150 – $250
Routine Veterinary Care$200 – $400
Pet Insurance$500 – $600
Vaccinations$80 – $250
Miscellaneous Supplies$30 – $50
Yearly Total$1,405 – $3,010
Average Monthly Cost$117 – $251

As you can see from the table above, the yearly expenses of owning this dog breed cost around $1,405 to $3,010, with an average monthly expense amounting to $117 to $251. 

Since your dog’s overall health and wellness are your top priority, setting aside a budget of $200 to $400 for the routine vet care for your Shih Tzu is only justifiable.

Your routine vet care budget usually covers the expenses for tests and medications to ensure your dog stays healthy. This is also to avoid incurring higher medical costs later on. 

Pet insurance may also cost you a whopping $500 to $600 but getting one is a wise decision. Pet insurance will help lessen your medical expenses and unexpected vet bills throughout your Shih Tzu’s life. 

Other Potential Expenses

No matter how good you are at budgeting, you may need to shell out extra cash to pay for the additional costs you may incur when you own a Shih Tzu puppy. 

While these expenses may not be high-priority items and are just mostly optional, setting aside a budget for these expenses is highly suggested. 

Below is a list of other things that your Shih Tzu may need:

  • Dog Walker/Dog Sitter: While most Shih Tzu dogs will do fine being left alone for short periods of time, hiring a pet sitter or a dog walker is ideal. The hourly price range of dog walking and pet sitting service is between $30 and $40, depending on your location.
  • Dog Boarding: Like other dogs, you cannot just leave a Shih Tzu alone for long periods. For instance, when you need to go out of town, you can make use of dog boarding services. This will help you feel at ease that your dog is in good care. The price for dog boarding ranges from $25 to $30 per day. 
  • Emergency Medical Procedures: No matter how much we try to keep our Shih Tzu healthy, there still may be health issues and emergency medical procedures that you might encounter in your dog’s lifetime. For serious medical disorders requiring immediate treatment, medical costs and tests could range from $1,000 to $5,000. 
  • Dog Dental: Since small dogs tend to be more susceptible to dental diseases, you must take your Shih Tzu for routine dental cleaning every six months to a year to avoid extreme plaque build-up, which may, later on, cause dental problems. You should expect to pay between $300 and $700 for dental service, depending on the clinic and the procedure that needs to be done. 
  • Grooming Services: Shih Tzus require routine grooming, and sometimes, you might need the use of professional grooming services on top of the daily coat brushing for them to be thoroughly clean. Professional groomers usually charge $30 to $90.

While these expenses may or may not always be applicable to you, it is important to still set aside a budget for these expenses so that you’re prepared when the need arises. 

Having an emergency fund set aside for your Shih Tzu is also highly beneficial for owners. 

Places to Find Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Five cute Shih Tzu puppies for sale and adoption

Finding a Shih Tzu breeder in the country is very easy. The challenge is finding breeders that produce high-quality, healthy dogs while trying to avoid puppy mills.

To help make your search easier, I have here some Shih Tzu breeders known to offer Shih Tzu puppies of the highest caliber. I also included a few facilities dedicated to helping this dog breed. 

Here are a few Shih Tzu breeders you can get in touch with: 

  • Florida’s Fancy Shih Tzus – This Tallahassee-based breeder has been producing sweet Shih Tzu puppies, including teacup Shih Tzus for a while now. Most of their dogs are from champion lines and are registered with the American Kennel Club. You are assured that you get a high-quality puppy when you purchase from them. 
  • Lotus Shih Tzu – If you are looking for a Shih Tzu in the Texas area, you have to check out Lotus Shih Tzu because they offer quality puppies. This breeder has been breeding since 2009 and only produces AKC Champions. To protect the dog’s welfare, this breeder only breeds a limited number of litters per year, so it’s best to reserve your puppy as soon as possible. 
  • Sapphire Shih Tzu – Sapphire Shih Tzu produces top-quality Shih Tzus that do not just make great family pets but also shine in the show ring. Aside from puppies, they also have older dogs that have already retired from competitions. If you are interested in getting a puppy from them, you are required to answer a questionnaire. 

If you still haven’t found the Shih Tzu you’re looking for in the places above, consider adopting low-priced puppies from shelters and rescues. 

Through adoption, you get to give a Shih Tzu dog a new chance in life while saving a good amount of money. 

Here are some Shih Tzu shelters and rescue organizations where you can find a Shih Tzu dog for adoption:

  • Tzu Zoo Rescue – This all-volunteer rescue organization based in Texas works closely with local animal shelters to rescue Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso dogs. After providing the rescued dogs with necessary medical intervention, they turn over these dogs into foster homes where they are cared for until they find a new home. 
  • SASS Rescue – This rescue group is composed of individuals that rescue Shih Tzus from high-kill shelters all over the country. Aside from rescuing, they also accept Shih Tzus surrendered by their owners. They keep rescued dogs in their own homes while they find the perfect family for them. 
  • Lend a Helping Paw Shih Tzu Rescue – This Michigan-based organization is dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apso that have been mistreated, abandoned, or are otherwise homeless. You can check their list of adoptable dogs through their website, but you will have to go through rigorous screenings to adopt.

Aside from the places above, you can also check our Shih Tzu breeders and Shih Tzu rescue recommendations for you to have more choices and chances of finding your Shih Tzu puppy. 

Likewise, our puppy buying guide and adoption guide will also help get you through the time-consuming process of getting a new pup. 

Money-Saving Tips for Shih Tzu Owners

The cost of taking care of a Shih Tzu can be quite high. However, it should not leave you running out of funds. Sometimes you just have to be creative and resourceful since there are a lot of ways to reduce Shih Tzu costs. 

Here are some money-saving tips for lowering your Shih Tzu expenses:

  • Purchase pet insurance. Pet insurance may seem costly at first, but getting one will not just give you peace of mind. You will be financially protected even when your dog suffers an illness or injury. Given the unpredictable costs of vet visits, purchasing pet insurance is a wise decision. 
  • Visit the vet regularly. Prevention is always better and cheaper than cure. That is why it is critical to make sure that your Shih Tzu is healthy and that it receives the medical assistance it needs before things get worse. Regular check-ups will help make sure that your dog is in tip-top condition.
  • Buy dog food in bulk. You can save a lot of money when you buy your dog’s supplies, such as dog food, in large quantities. Pet stores typically give good discounts on large orders, so it’s best to take advantage of this and buy big bags of kibble instead. 
  • Make homemade treats. Instead of buying expensive commercially made dog treats to give your sweet pup during training, consider making your own treats instead. There are a lot of recipes on how to make homemade treats available online. 

While these tips are meant to help you save money, it is also important to make sure that you are not jeopardizing your Shih Tzu’s health in the process. 

Final Thoughts 

The Shih Tzu price range is on the average side; however, the cost of owning this dog breed is quite expensive considering that it is a lifetime commitment to provide for its needs. 

While these adorable pups may be great family pets, it is still important to think a hundred times before you get one since these pups need a fur parent who can financially support them. 

If you think you are not able to sustain the needs of these puppies for years, you’re better off without them. 

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in your Shih Tzu ownership journey. If you have any thoughts about the cost of owning a Shih Tzu, leave a comment below! 

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