How Long Does a Shih Tzu Live? Lifespan Factors Explained

If you’re a Shih Tzu owner or considering adding one to your family, you might be curious about how long these adorable dogs live. Understanding their lifespan can help you provide the best care and companionship for your furry friend.

On average, a Shih Tzu can live between 10 to 18 years, with the most common lifespan being around 13 years.  They are one of the longer lived dog breeds.

shi tzu lifespan

This range, however, depends on factors such as genetics, environment, diet, and overall care. As your Shih Tzu approaches the age of 9 to 10 years old, they’re considered a senior dog, which may require special attention to their health and well-being.

To ensure your Shih Tzu lives a long and healthy life, it’s important to consider their family genetics, provide proper nutrition, engage in regular exercise, and create a happy, stress-free environment for them.

Average Lifespan of a Shih Tzu

How Long Does a Shi Tzu Live

When it comes to the average lifespan of a Shih Tzu, you can expect them to live between 10 and 18 years, with the most common average being around 13 years.

This range is taken from various sources, including the American Kennel Club (AKC) and VCA Hospitals. However, it is crucial to understand that the lifespan of your Shih Tzu depends on several factors, such as their genetics, environment, and overall care.

Factors Affecting Shih Tzu Lifespan

A Shi Tzu can live 18 years


Genetics play a significant role in determining a Shih Tzu’s lifespan. Inherited traits from their parents can impact their overall health and susceptibility to certain diseases. While you cannot control your Shih Tzu’s genetics, being aware of any potential health issues in their lineage can help you take proper preventative measures.

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced, high-quality diet is crucial for maintaining a Shih Tzu’s overall health and wellbeing. Proper nutrition helps support their immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and promotes a long, healthy life. Be sure to feed your Shih Tzu a diet that meets their age, weight, and activity level needs. Additionally, monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly to prevent obesity, which can shorten their lifespan.

Regular Exercise

Keeping your Shih Tzu physically active is essential for their longevity. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, supports strong muscles and joints, and promotes mental stimulation. Aim for daily walks and playtime activities that are appropriate for your Shih Tzu’s age, size, and energy level. Keep in mind that Shih Tzus are prone to overheating, so avoid excessive physical activity in hot weather.

Healthcare and Diseases

Routine healthcare is vital in detecting and preventing health issues that could affect your Shih Tzu’s lifespan. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite control contribute to their overall wellbeing. It’s essential to be aware of common health concerns in Shih Tzus, such as eye problems and ear infections, and address these issues promptly to ensure a long and healthy life for your furry companion.

Maximizing Your Shih Tzu’s Lifespan

Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 10 to 18 years. However, with proper care and attention, you can help to maximize the length and quality of your Shih Tzu’s life.

Routine Check-Ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for keeping your Shih Tzu healthy. It is recommended to visit the vet at least once a year for routine examinations, vaccinations, and preventative care. Early detection of health issues can significantly increase the chance of successful treatment and potentially extend your Shih Tzu’s life.

Mental Stimulation

Keeping your Shih Tzu mentally stimulated is important for their overall well-being. Engage your dog in interactive play, learning new tricks, or solving puzzle toys to keep their mind sharp. A mentally-engaged Shih Tzu is more likely to stay active and healthy in their later years.

Balanced Meals

A balanced and nutritious diet plays a vital role in your Shih Tzu’s longevity. Choose high-quality dog food that is appropriate for your Shih Tzu’s age, size, and activity level. Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent obesity, which can lead to a host of health issues, including diabetes and heart disease. Make sure to provide fresh water at all times, and consider consulting your veterinarian for dietary recommendations tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average lifespan of a Shih Tzu?

The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu ranges between 10 to 18 years, with the majority living around 13 years. However, some Shih Tzus have been known to live as long as 18 or even 20 years.

What factors influence Shih Tzu longevity?

There are several factors that can influence the lifespan of a Shih Tzu, including genetics, diet, environment, and care. Providing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper veterinary care can help ensure your Shih Tzu lives a long and healthy life.

What health issues are common in Shih Tzus?

Some common health issues in Shih Tzus include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye problems, and allergies. Regular checkups with a veterinarian can help monitor and manage these health concerns.

How can you extend the life of a Shih Tzu?

To extend the life of your Shih Tzu, ensure they receive proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care. Regular grooming and dental care can also help maintain their overall health. Additionally, providing a loving and supportive environment will contribute to their wellbeing and happiness.

Do mixed breed Shih Tzus have longer lifespans?

Mixed breed Shih Tzus may have longer or shorter lifespans depending on the specific breeds involved. Genetic diversity in mixed breeds can sometimes result in fewer health issues, potentially leading to a longer life.

How do Shih Tzus compare to other small dog breeds in terms of lifespan?

Shih Tzus have a lifespan that is similar to or slightly longer than other small dog breeds. While the average lifespan of small dog breeds is around 12-15 years, Shih Tzus generally live between 10-18 years, with many reaching 13 years or older.