How Long Do Shih Tzus Live?

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If you’re like me and never want to lose a family pet, it’s important to know a rough estimate of how long your Shih Tzu will live.

It’s important to know this as it allows you to plan your life with your pet so that it can grow with yourself or your family.

If you want to know not only how long a Shih Tzu can live but ways to make your Shih Tzu live longer, make sure you read on.

Shih Tzu Lifespan

A Shih Tzu can live for anywhere between 10 and 18 years, with the average lifespan being around 14 years. A Shih Tzu can live for a lot longer it has great nutrition, regular exercise, great sleep, and reduced stress, and comes from a breeder which has healthy Shih Tzu puppy litters.

It is quite common for most Shih Tzus to reach the average age of 14 with either none or minimal health issues, as this pint-sized dog will generally have a stress-free lifestyle allowing it to fully reach its maximum lifespan. It’s a great choice for anyone wanting a dog to live as long as possible with relatively minor issues.

How to make your Shih Tzu live longer?

It is possible to give your Shih Tzu the chance of living a longer life than the estimated lifespan range by making sure you follow a proper diet, and regular exercise, make their life less stressful, and also make sure they have ample rest.

Shih Tzu Diet

Diet is one of the most important factors in determining how long a Shih Tzu lives.

A healthy diet will help to keep a Shih Tzu’s immune system strong and its organs functioning properly. A Shih Tzu should eat a diet that is rich in protein, fat, and carbs. There is a wide variety of pet food on the market and from our own experience, we have found that we have had to try many different foods in order to find the right mix for our Shih Tzus.

Our number one go-to food at the moment is a roast chicken from the supermarket mixed in with some dry food on top. We have found this very easy to prepare and it doesn’t take much time at all. It also gives our Shih Tzu’s adequate protein in conjunction with the mix of dry food with a little bit of water to mix it together.

The secondary food that we give our Shih Tzu’s is a couple of sardines mixed with a small amount of dry food as well. We have found that our Shih Tzu’s love this mix and it also helps with their coats. We have noticed a significant improvement in our dog’s coats since they started eating Sardines.

Other foods to consider:

Beef and pumpkin

Lamb and Quinoa



Exercise is also important for a Shih Tzu’s health and longevity. Regular exercise will help to keep a Shih Tzu’s weight at a healthy level, as well as help to reduce the risk of developing a large range of health conditions.

The exercise requirements for a Shih Tzu are not that long, a brisk 15-minute walk a day should be enough to keep your Shih Tzu in healthy shape.

If the weather is bad outside, you will still be able to exercise your Shih Tzu by playing various games of fetch or tug-o-war with a small toy inside.

After 10 minutes your Shih Tz expends all of its energy, and it will be satisfied with its activity for the day.

However, if you do not do this, you might start finding your Shih Tzu develops some unwanted health conditions. So make sure you do some activity with your Shih Tzu daily!

How long can Shih Tzu live for?


Genetics also plays a role in how long a Shih Tzu lives. Some Shih Tzus are simply genetically predisposed to have a shorter lifespan than others.

However, there is not much that can be done to change this. What you can do, is make sure you purchase your Shih Tzu from a reputable breeder with a full history about other litters.

Most reputable breeders can provide the history of both parents and you should go over these carefully to make sure there isn’t genetic issues that could affect your Shih Tzu.

Less Stress

Just like for humans, stress can be an important factor in determining how long a Shih Tzu can live!

To eliminate stress on your Shih Tzu it’s important to have them attend a puppy school from an early age so that they are exposed to other dogs and other humans which will prepare them for the real world.

Shih Tzu’s are very social dogs and almost too friendly for their own good sometimes, so you shouldn’t have any trouble in keeping your Shih Tzu stress free


Shih Tzu’s sleep for an average of 12 to 14 hours per day. This is normal for a dog their size. Puppies however can sleep up to 18 hours a day!

As your Shih Tzu gets older, it’s important to make sure they are getting enough sleep. If you notice your Shih Tzu is sleeping more than usual, this could be a sign of illness and you should take them to the vet.

Can a Shih Tzu live beyond 20 years?

If you do everything right and have a bit of luck your Shih Tzu can possibly live for more than 20 years, although this is relatively rare. The average lifespan for a Shih Tzu is around 14 years.

However, if your Shih Tzu reaches 14 years of age it means your dog has outlived most and it’s another reason why the Shih Tzu makes a great choice for anyone.

Shih Tzu lifespan, is it certain?

While it can be hard to know exactly how long your Shih Tzu will live, we can safely estimate that you will hopefully get at least 14 years to spend with your Shih Tzu.

This can be potentially more if you follow the advice above and make sure you concentrate on the areas of diet, nutrition, sleep, stress, and the breeder you choose from as these will play major factors in determining how long your Shih Tzu will live for.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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