How much is a Shih Tzu if you want to buy one? This article will tell you everything you need to know for buying and raising your pup.
The Shih Tzu is one of those purebred dog breeds that nearly everyone knows by sight if not by name.
While the Imperial Shih Tzu may weigh 9 to 16 pounds, the teacup Shih Tzu will weigh in at just 8 pounds or less. Some Shih Tzu puppies will fit easily into the palm of your hand!
In this focused article, we take a close look at how much is a Shih Tzu, including price differences based on weight, “pet” versus “show” dogs and expensive versus low price puppy breeders.
We also take a special moment to look at your options for rescuing a Shih Tzu.
We hope the information presented here will help you shop for your Shih Tzu pup with knowledge and confidence!
Calculating The Cost For A Shih Tzu Puppy
Pricing out the cost for a Shih Tzu puppy is definitely not an exact science!
If you have already spent some time researching the cost for a Shih Tzu puppy online or locally, you probably have noticed how prices can vary for reasons it can be difficult to pinpoint.
In the world of dog breeding, some breeds have special health issues.
In particular, very small dog breeds like the Shih Tzu often need a veterinarian’s assistance to breed and deliver their puppies.
This can drive up the price of puppies, since the breeder needs to factor in litter costs to break even and then afford to breed another litter.
Other factors that can influence Shih Tzu puppy price include
- coat color
- overall conformation (appearance)
- demand for puppies and
- whether the puppy in question is being sold as:
- a family pet or
- as a potential show contestant or
- breeding dog (breeding rights from a reputable Shih Tzu breeder always cost extra).
As of publication time, posted breeder prices for purebred Shih Tzu puppies range from $1,800 to $3,600+.
Expensive Puppies Vs Low Price Puppies
If you have your heart set on a Shih Tzu puppy, it can be daunting to realize the cost to afford this breed can put a significant dent in your budget!
However, the choice to purchase a Shih Tzu puppy from a responsible, reputable, AKC-registered Shih Tzu breeder can literally put hundreds to thousands of dollars back into your pocket over the next 10 to 18 years you and your puppy share together.
In this section, we take a look at the differences between expensive puppies vs low price puppies and why you will thank yourself again and again later for choosing the former!
Expensive Shih Tzu Puppies
While the price tag for a Shih Tzu puppy bred, whelped and raised through a responsible, reputable kennel will not always be higher than the price for a puppy mill Shih Tzu, typically this is the case.
The reason is simple: it just costs more to breed healthy, sound Shih Tzu dogs – or dogs of any breed.
Also, due to pregnancy and whelping complications, the smaller the dog breed, the more it often costs the breeder per litter to raise healthy puppies!
A responsible breeder will tell you up front they are not in the “dog breeding business” to make a profit.
Most don’t see it as a business at all, save for the need to recoup expenses and make sufficient profit to breed another litter. They just love the breed!
A good way to tell if a breeder is responsible is to check to see if they are registered with the American Kennel Club.
This shows the breeder values their own reputation in their field and intends to continue breeding genetically sound, healthy puppies.
Low Price Shih Tzu Puppies
Now let’s bounce over to the other extreme and take a look at low price Shih Tzu puppies, because they are everywhere.
It won’t take you any time at all to find ads for “cheap puppies” or “low price puppies” on the internet, and the prices you find will probably make your budget breathe a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, these puppies most likely come from two kinds of dog breeders: backyard breeders or puppy mills.
Backyard breeders, as the name suggests, don’t have a kennel set up.
They breed dogs in their backyard. Some will eventually become puppy mills while others are simply trying to do the right thing after their unfixed female got knocked up by the unfixed male next door.
Either way, these puppies will not have been bred by someone knowledgeable about
- canine genetic (heritable) health issues
- canine STDs
- mom and puppy health or
- whelping complications.
If the breeder is a puppy mill, your puppy has been bred
- in the harshest of conditions
- fed inferior food
- caged inhumanely and
- probably not even vaccinated or de-wormed.
The newest kind of puppy mill, the import breeder, specializes in breeding puppies out of the country where oversight is low and importing them to sell for a quick profit.
By choosing a Shih Tzu, your dog will have the brachycephalic (flat-faced) muzzle shape that can lead to chronic, lifelong health concerns, including
- brachycephalic ocular disease
- BOAS (obstructive airway syndrome),
- dental disease and
- gastrointestinal disruption.
Each one of these health issues can represent literally thousands of dollars in veterinary care over the lifetime of your dog.
In light of this, it becomes easier to see why it can actually be cheaper to purchase a Shih Tzu that has been health tested and bred responsibly.
This minimizes the health impact of these known genetic concerns!
This article gives you 41 signs to look for to steer clear of a bad dog breeder.
Rescuing a Shih Tzu
There is a third option that many people embrace for a variety of reasons – that is to rescue a Shih Tzu.
The Shih Tzu may be adorable and personable, but this is not always the right dog breed for every family.
When a Shih Tzu is relinquished, the rescue organization must fund that dog’s care until a new forever home can be found.
Typically, adoption fees are quite affordable – between $25 and $400 on average – and often come with valuable freebies including
- free food and
- dog supplies
and even assistance with training.
What Is The Cost Of A Shih Tzu Puppy
Let’s take a look at some of the typical costs a reputable Shih Tzu breeder will incur to breed a single litter of Shih Tzu puppies:
- Health pre-tests (eyes, kidneys, hips, blood, et al): $250
- Brucellosis (canine STD) test for the female: $55
- Stud services: $500+ per attempt
- Pregnancy and whelping (delivery) supplies: $200
- Pregnancy and puppy food: $250
- C-section delivery (one-quarter of moms need this): $2,000+
- Puppy required vaccinations and de-worming: $150 per puppy
- AKC registration: $25 + $2 per puppy
- Microchipping: $45 per puppy
- “Well puppy” initial veterinary exam: $125 per litter
- Advertising and website fees: $300 annually
- New owner puppy packs: $250 per litter.
The average litter size for a Shih Tzu mother is 1 to 5 puppies. All of these costs will need to be paid regardless of whether the mother whelps one puppy, five puppies or more puppies.
Assuming just one puppy and a natural birth, the breeder will bear a cost of $2,152 for a single litter of Shih Tzu puppies.
Assume there are five puppies and you get $430 cost per puppy that must be recouped before the breeder can even break even, let alone afford to breed and whelp another litter.
Hopefully now it makes even more sense why responsible, health-focused Shih Tzu breeders say they don’t do it for the money!
Are There Other Costs With A Shih Tzu Puppy?
In addition to the initial cost to purchase your Shih Tzu puppy, you can expect a variety of other one-time and ongoing costs to welcome your new pup home and provide care, including veterinary care, for the next one to two decades.
These costs can include
- dog food and water bowls
- I.D. tag
- preventative veterinary care
- dog crate for at home and in the car
- dog bedding and blankets
- professional grooming and
- at-home grooming tools.
As you begin planning to bring a Shih Tzu puppy or rescue dog into your life, you will want to make sure your budget includes these 4 essential expenses:
1. The Shih Tzu puppy price or rescue adoption fee.
2. The one-time costs to welcome your new fur baby home.
3. The ongoing maintenance costs to care for your pup.
4. An emergency health fund just in case.
How Much Is A Shih Tzu?
We hope the information presented in this focused article about how much is a Shih Tzu puppy or rescue dog will help you shop for your new fur baby with confidence.
Drop us a line in the comments, we’d love to hear about your Shih Tzu puppy!
References and Resources
- Bodenhamer, M., 2019, “Sunnybelle Shih Tzu Puppy Prices,” Sunnybelle Shih Tzus Kennels.
- Coolman, L., 2019, “Toy Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale Prices,” The Shih Tzu Collection Kennel.
- Schwindt, K., 2019 “Pricing,” Tiny Tot Shih Tzu Kennel.
- Bonfini, E., 2019, “Imperial Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale,” Teacups, Puppies & Boutique of South Florida.
- Lindbloom, M.L., 2019, “Pricing and Information,” Tuscany Tiny Shih Tzu Kennel.
- Larson, G., et al, 2019, “ASTC Breeder Guidelines,” The American Shih Tzu Club.
- Johnson, J., 2019, “Costs,” Wendy Lee’s Shih Tzu Heaven.
- Godfrey, R., BVetMed MRCVS, et al, 2011, “Shih Tzu Brachycephalic Ocular Syndrome,” UFAW.
- Rickenback, E., 2019, “Adoption,” Shih Tzu Rescue.